Select Stones, Cabochon Special Edition
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Author:  DistinctionJewelry [ Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:02 am ]
Post subject:  Select Stones, Cabochon Special Edition

Seeing the stunning ocean jasper posted recently inspired this thread. Shall we give our lesser-known mineral friends some love?

I personally collect cabochons as much as I do faceted gems; the patterns, colors, and the one-of-a-kind nature of each piece fascinate me.

Here are some pretties from my collection to start us off....why don't you share your prizes?

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Chrysocolla with tenorite, from the Morenci mine.

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Idocrase from Kenya.

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Gemmy chrysocolla from Peru.

Author:  DistinctionJewelry [ Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Select Stones, Cabochon Special Edition

One more, dendritic common opal:

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Author:  ROM [ Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Select Stones, Cabochon Special Edition

Great stones, Distinction!

Here are a few of mine to start. I'm very partial to fortification agates and few of them are more fascinating than the fine gray-to-pink stones from Botswana. This is one of the nicest I've cut:
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I love translucent gem cabochons too, like this fine pyrope-almandine garnet from India.
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Here's another fortification agate cab from the world-famous Laguna deposit in Mexico. I coaxed this stone from a discarded "heel" slab.
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Author:  Jason [ Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Select Stones, Cabochon Special Edition

Love them all!

Author:  maialetto [ Sun Dec 05, 2010 2:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Select Stones, Cabochon Special Edition

I think nobody is surprised to hear my favorite materials for cabbing are Moss Agate and Poppy Jasper... :D

This is probably my favorite moss agate cab (Priday Moss):

This one comes as close second (and it has been cut from the same slab of the one above!):

This is my new favorite Guadalupe poppy jasper cab, I cut this one yesterday...

And my favorite Morgan Hill poppy jasper cab:

Author:  ROM [ Sun Dec 05, 2010 3:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Select Stones, Cabochon Special Edition

You're lucky to have sources for those materials, Maialetto. I recall spending 3 hard bloody-knuckled days chiseling Priday plume and red moss nodules from the perlite flow at the former Priday Ranch. All that work was for nothing when that rough and much more was burglarized.

Now and then I see inferior Morgan Hill material offered but it's usually too full of fractures to bother with. The Guadalupe jasper from the deposit near Morgan Hill is new to me but the two occurrences are clearly geologically related. There's supposed to be an outcrop of that type of jasper at the Sausalito end of the Golden Gate bridge according to what I've read but I imagine collecting is now prohibited.

Just for fun here's a cab featuring sagenitic agate from a deposit smack on the Idaho-Oregon border.
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Author:  michael_e [ Sun Dec 05, 2010 4:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Select Stones, Cabochon Special Edition

I haven't cut too many cabs in the last few years, but you guys are sure making me think about doing it again...what beautiful cabs! =D>

Author:  mehoose [ Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Select Stones, Cabochon Special Edition

Gorgeous rocks guys :P

Author:  gingerkid [ Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Select Stones, Cabochon Special Edition

\:D/ :smt007 beautiful cabs!!

please tell 'em, moohaus, please keep 'em comin'!!! :D

Author:  maialetto [ Tue Dec 07, 2010 8:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Select Stones, Cabochon Special Edition

I've to admit I overlooked cabs for a very long time... I thought cabbing was only for the false-looking dyed Brazilian agate pieces and other stuff too included to be faceted. Then I saw my first poppy jasper cab... :idea: I was really astonished by the pattern of that rock (but that cab was outrageously expensive...). I needed to know more, more! :D Googleing around I found some good info and pics about jaspers. Oh, boy, there are such things as Ocean Jasper, Morrisonite, Ohywee, etc.? Then I found a very nice forum with people involved in cabbing this stuff. Then, after looking I decided I had to try... :twisted:
Not in the mood (and in the $) to buy a cabbing machine I started to recycle a couple of old faceting laps and making sandpaper soft-backed flat laps for sanding. Then my limestone and chert test-cabs said I was ready to use good material. :) So I started to cab some poppy jasper and moss agate. Poppy jasper of decent quality is hard to find and it's expensive: I was lucky to find two small of Guadalupe slabs for a reasonable price. The vendor was kind enough to slip into the box an end-cut of Morgan Hill poppy jasper that with some hard work provided two pretty cabs as well. I sure appreciated. :D

I see in US a small but very active community of nice people enjoying the awesome materials available for cabbing (and many of those rocks are coming from US. You lucky people...). IMHO the very fine cabs are quite undervalued, usually. I hope they'll find their way to the better goldsmiths and to the market they deserve...

Author:  skycritter [ Tue Dec 07, 2010 11:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Select Stones, Cabochon Special Edition

This thread is right up my alley. I love cabs!

Green Forest Fire Plume Agate

Laguna Lace Agate



Author:  skycritter [ Tue Dec 07, 2010 11:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Select Stones, Cabochon Special Edition

Here are a couple more cabs. These are ones I have collected but didn't cut myself.

Etched Black Onyx

Rutilated Quartz

Simbercite Agate with Pyrite

Dendretic Rose Quartz

Another Rutilated Quartz

Author:  mehoose [ Tue Dec 07, 2010 11:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Select Stones, Cabochon Special Edition

Lovely Green Forest, another newie for me. :P
Oh that's right, add some more pics while I'm posting.
Well yeah, you've blown me away with that last lot. What a fantastic collection. Golly, I love the etched onyx, the rutilated under it and the rose with dendrites...WICKED!!!!

Author:  esjayp [ Wed Dec 08, 2010 1:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Select Stones, Cabochon Special Edition

I'm loving that pinolith, I think anything cabbed or carved from that would look amazing.

Author:  DistinctionJewelry [ Wed Dec 08, 2010 11:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Select Stones, Cabochon Special Edition

Wow, some stunning cabs! I love those Priday moss agates and the inclusion quartzes in particular.

I agree cabs are undervalued and under-appreciated. I think they get a poor shake on three fronts.

One, traditionally when it came to gem material, the worst was cut as beads, the mediocre as cabs, and the best as faceted gems. When it comes to non-transparent rocks and minerals, even the best pretty much has to be cabbed, but those then fall under the onus of "just rocks. It's easy then for anyone to assume a cab has to be cheap and uninteresting.

Two, at least here in the US, setting cabs is the beginning stone setting operation taught to most jewelry students, many of whom never advance to setting faceted gems. Thus the market is filled with beginner work containing cabs of various quality, usually in nothing higher than silver. They are also common in mass-produced silver work.

Three, cabs have never gained a commercial champion to market them to consumers as fine jewelry. They remain the fascination of more rockhounds, cutters, and jewelry makers than consumers.

One of these days if the gold market ever falls so that I can afford the initial outlay, I hope to set some of my better cabs in gold with traditional fine jewelry accent stones and see what happens. In the meantime, they are wonderful fun to collect and show off - and to set the occasional cab in silver.

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