Show Off Your Cabochons

Feb 22, 2010
Leslie Rogalski Working with cabochons

I used to have something called a worry stone. It was a small polished stone with a smooth indentation, offering a tactile path to serenity, like a kid who rubs the satin on a comfort blankie. I have the same sense of  “ahhhh” when I touch a shiny cabochon. Made of stone, glass, gemstone, or other materials, cabochons usually have no holes. They’re level on one side and domed to some extent on the other and come every shape and size you can imagine.

Bezels

Bezels are the rims that hold a cabochon or other focal piece in place. I know many of you have already made pendants with wire or metal, enclosing stones, shells, even buttons. Some of you have even used metal techniques such as prongs to hold a special stone in design. I haven’t ventured too far into metalsmithing myself yet, but I am such a fan of cabochons in jewelry––whether rings, pins, or pendants, cabochons can be showcased in beadwork, wirework, even clay, as well as metalsmithing.
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glass cabochons
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Jeff Barber is a lampwork artist known for his beads but who also makes glass cabochons such as these with their striking swirls of pattern and color. And look, a couple have beaded bezels.
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The Entangled Wire Bezel by Lisa Niven Kelly shows the adaptability and texture of wire for different-shaped focal cabs.

 

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metal bezel
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Editor Helen Driggs shows an unusual approach to a metal bezel in her Carrasite and Copper pendant. Her bezel plays around the shape of the focal piece.
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Bead a cabochon pendant
Here’s one of the ways I incorporate a cabochon as a beader: I use circular netting because it allows more of the focal to show than if I covered its sides with a more solid beadwork stitch. It's more a cage than a bezel. Use a symmetrical round or oval shape for your first go at this. Shown here: a 35mm black tigereye cabochon, beading thread, and two sizes of beads: size 11˚ seed beads and 3mm round crystals.

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1: On a comfortable length of thread, string a circle alternating 1 crystal and 1 seed bead, to form a ring that will fit on top of your cab but well within the perimeter, leaving about ¼" around the edge. My ring uses 18 crystals and 18 seed beads. Tie the tail and the working thread securely.

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2: Form a starburst of picot points around this ring: string 3 seed beads, 1 crystal, and 1 seed bead. Pass back through the crystal. String 3 seed beads. Skip 1 crystal in the ring and pass through the next, forming a point. Repeat for 9 points around the circle.

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3: Exit the 3 seed beads, the crystal, and the tip seed bead in one of the picot points.


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4: Work another round of netting, looping between the tip seed beads of the picot points: string 10 seed beads,1 crystal and 10 seed beads. Pass through the next tip seed bead. Repeat to form 9 large loops.

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5: When you return to the first loop, pass through the first 10 seed beads and the crystal in the center of the loop. Lay the cabochon face down inside this netted circle.

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6: String twice through all the center crystals for a secure circle, pulling them into a snug ring in the middle of the back of the cabochon. And yes, you can wear this side facing out!


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  7: For a bail, exit near the top of one of the back strands of seed beads. I used 2-drop square stitch to form a strip and joined it to a bead at the front of the cabochon.

Learn to bezel with the best
If I were working in metal, I’d be at my bench instantly after seeing the 10 Cabochon Pendant Jewelry Projects eBook from Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist.  These designs are so unique and the stones and gems so gorgeous, I get goose granulations all over just looking at them! See if you don’t, too.

Have you found a way to wear a fabulous cabochon? Share it on our Beading Daily galleries!

 


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10 Cabochon Pendant Jewelry Projects: Best of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, Volume 5 (eBook)

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Price: $9.99

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Comments

Annpace wrote
on Feb 22, 2010 8:57 AM

Actually, some of my nicest cabs ARE worry stones!  If you purchase them at a rock shop, bead shop etc., as cabochons, they are several times more expensive compared to purchasing the stone as a "worry stone" at a tourist gift shop.  The fact that there is an indention (as opposed to a flat back on a cab) for you to "worry" away your troubles has never given me a problem when gluing the stone to a a backing, or working around it in beaded netting.  So - check out the "worry stone" basket at the checkouts when you travel.  The stones are never more than $1 or $2, they are always highly polished, and they may include all sorts of agates, amethysts, and other beautiful gifts from Mother Nature!

on Feb 22, 2010 9:18 AM

I have a beaded netting bezel enclosure that works beautifully for odd shaped stones as well as cabochons.  Some of my favorite stones I've found at little rock shops in the mountains of Colorado and Arizona.

CandyW2 wrote
on Feb 22, 2010 11:39 AM

Thank you for the excellent instructions on another way to bead a bezel!

on Feb 22, 2010 2:31 PM

I like beading around found stones, too, but you can't call them bezels. They're more like little altar talismans, captured in freeform peyote.

on Feb 22, 2010 4:18 PM

I'm realitvly new at beading cabs. I just completed my second one, now working that into a necklace. Compared with the first one I did (some months ago, been a while), it sucks. But I still like it. :D

-CC, a 17yr old beader

Teresa@181 wrote
on Feb 23, 2010 2:59 AM

Thanks for sharing this good ideas, I have some painted stones that I think its could be beautiful if I tray them as a cabochon. I'm going to show you as soon as posible. Best regards. Teresa.

on Feb 23, 2010 12:32 PM

I collect stones that have markings on them, which we call messages. Periodically, we sit them in water to let their true color shine through! Now, we can create cabochon forms.

Thank you!

AngelHugs wrote
on Feb 23, 2010 3:02 PM

okay, what the heck am I doing wrong?  I have tried to "copy&paste" this article so I can save it in my Beading Daily folder, but no matter what I do, I cannot get the pictures to paste along with the article...  and I need the visual reference!!!  any help would be deeply appreciated...  blessings- Peggy

on Feb 24, 2010 9:29 AM

Copy and paste--try instead going up to your browser application menu bar (Safari, Firefox, Explorer, etc) and see if you have a "File-save page as-" option. or, just select print page.

Good luck--maybe another BD pal can add something here?

Wendy Lucka wrote
on Feb 26, 2010 9:58 AM

Dear Leslie, First of all I love your style! Secondly, I have an uncle who polishes stones. (I'm very lucky he doesn't charge me for any of them! ) Most come out beautifully but, not round. I like the idea of the netted surround so one can see the stone. Wonder if this will work on  uneven stones.

Happy Beading, Wendy

on Mar 2, 2010 2:27 PM

Netting or working in freeform brick or peyote (or RAW) works beautifully around non-round stones--and even those not polished. Start with a single strand or band around the stone and branch off from there. It is very hard to stop making little caged stones once you begin, I'm warning you . . .!

on Jul 20, 2011 11:23 PM

can anyone help me with a starburst ring?? i have the book and i dont understand what im doing wrong