So you love our beautiful semi-precious gemstone cabochons, but you are not a jewelry designer, so what do you do with them? We admit our cabochons are “designer cabochons”, meaning they are one of a kind stone cabochons cut into specialty shapes for the creative jeweler or wire wrapper. Unfortunately we do not due standard or calibrated shapes like the well-known 30 mm by 40 mm oval. This makes it more difficult for just anybody to buy and wear them as they cannot usually be set in standard 30 mm by 40 mm findings.
So here are some suggestions for those of you who see something they love, but don’t know how to get it finished so you can wear it!
Craft stores often have a jewelry section where you can purchase inexpensive jewelry supplies and findings. A “finding” is defined as a component used by an artisan or jeweler. It is usually used to describe a “setting” or piece of metal that holds a stone. The term “setting” comes from to set a stone. Sometimes the term “semi mounts” is used too, as it is also said you mount the stone. Although findings and settings are much easier to find for faceted stones and calibrated cabochons, it is possible to find ones that well work with your designer cabochons.
The part of the finding that goes around the edge of a cabochon stone is called a “bezel”. Sometimes the findings are close in size and the bezel can be pinched or crimped a little with pliers to fit. Sometimes the findings are flat-as is often seen in jewelry supplies for making stud earrings. The stone cabochon can simply be glued to these mountings. A five minute epoxy is perfect for this.
Inexpensive mounts are often just stamped sheet metal with a plating to make them shine. There are plenty of them available. Better mounts are fabricated from base metals like copper, brass, and bronze, and of course, silver, gold and platinum. Those are especially nice-especially if you have a lot of money invested in your jewelry cabochon, but they can get expensive.
Though you may first think of a pendant, there are other types of jewelry to consider. A brooch or pin can be very lovely on a jacket lapel or pinned to your purse. Belt buckles and bolos (a jewelry necktie originating from the southwest United States.) come and go in popularity. They are not just for men! Perhaps you can be responsible for bringing them back. Belt buckle blanks come in a wide variety of sizes and styles. Belt buckle blanks usually come with a bezel you mount the stone into and then they screw onto the back that sports the loop and pin to fit on your belt. There are also flat blanks, where once again you can just glue a large cabochon or polished slab to it with the five minute epoxy. There are companies that also special design belt buckles for sports awards and such and perhaps they could design a unique one just for you! Consider harder stones for belt buckles because the softer ones can scratch easier if you bump the buckle a lot.
Other options include earrings, keychains, hairpins, bracelets, and anklets. I actually have a wonderful cabochon displayed on the flap of my purse and I get lots of compliments on it. If you don’t want jewelry you can create other items and embellish them with cabochon stones. How about one glued to the top of a jewelry box, on a bookmark, on a photo frame, as a knob for a cabinet? I know somebody who put them on gear shifts, and walking canes. I’ve seen gorgeous lamps, and furniture, artwork, and even articles like clothing such as hats or shoes decorated with lovely stone cabochons! The possibilities are endless!
If you aren’t happy with the options, you might be able to find a custom jeweler or wire wrapper who can design a special setting for you. Check at your local college, rock shop, lapidary club, or rock and mineral show for referrals.