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Fine Jewelry Design

Cabochons Heat Up (As Slices Simmer Down)

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Personally, I’m a big fan of jewelry with gem slices.

Lorraine DePasque


Contributing writer for INSTORE and INDESIGN.
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ersonally, I’m a big fan of jewelry with gem slices. Nevertheless, my many market appointments this fall have shown me there’s a definite focus away from those oft-off-shaped stone slivers—even by companies that, in the last two years, came out with complete collections concentrated on them. I suspect over-saturation to be the cause—just as I imagine they’ll resurface stronger in a year or two.

The funny thing is, I didn’t expect their replacement would be cabochons. Yet, here they are, everywhere—in all their round-topped, polished glory. Last week, in my blog here, I pointed to green stones as a leading gem color in AGTA’s 2016 Spectrum Awards. What I didn’t discuss was a leading gem cut: yes, the cabochon. (In the same competition, there were far fewer entries with gem slices seen than in recent years.)

Honestly? I was fascinated. Let’s face facts: It’s been a long time since colorful cabs have taken such a primary position in fashion pieces. Indeed, well over a decade. (Notwithstanding the obvious, of course, like cabochon star sapphires, opals, moonstones, labradorites—and such opaques that naturally lend themselves to a cab shape, given their innate properties.)

As it happens, however, I’ve been spotting clusters of cabochon Big Three stones especially, in jewelry with a fresh 2015 vibe. And, into next year, given what my peeks at spring jewelry collections have shown me, interest in cabs will intensify. As the most fashion-forward jewelers look to the runways for trends, I’m confident they see the same direction I’ve noted: a modern Sixties style slowly on its way in. And, realistically speaking, cab cuts do usually evoke a strong feeling of that decade’s geometry and modernity—more so than slices, which often tend to be less symmetric and more crafted than cut-to-the-chase contemporary.

Oh, and one last thing: Cabochons in the recent Spectrum competition, especially, tended to be über-sized. In fact, the many cab creations echoed my particular jewelry takeaway from spring’s catwalks in New York, Paris, Milan, and London: From earrings to rings, jeweled accessories were huge. Well, then, cue the cabs.

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