Cabochon clusters: the smooth, sensuous way to wear gems

Rachael Taylor invites us to take a break from faceted jewels and embrace the textural delight of cabochon-cut gemstones.

de GRISOGONO Melody of Colours purple amethyst cabochon earrings

The perfect curves of cabochons can offer a welcome break from the strict proportions of faceted stones, and a new wave of jewellery designs are using colourful cabochon clusters to create pieces that offer a textural delight for the senses.

Cabochons are gemstones that have been shaped and polished but not cut into facets, and so have a smooth, convex, bubble-like appearance at the top with a flat edge underneath. Often, these gems will be cut in large sizes that might be used as the centre stone of a design, but a key jewellery trend this year is to cluster smaller cabochons together.  

Spectrum turquoise and diamond ear jackets in yellow gold
Nikos Koulis has clustered together smooth cabochons of turquoise to create these Spectrum ear jackets (€10,900).

Greek jewellery designer Nikos Koulis has been experimenting with clusters of cabochons and you’ll see small, smooth bubbles of gemstones popping up throughout his new collections. One design that shows off the cabochon cluster effect particularly well is a pair of ear jackets within the Spectrum collection, which have been embellished with smooth rounds of turquoise or pink topazes, littered with tiny brilliant round diamonds. The result is a truly organic design that, when off the ear, looks almost like a small sea creature.

While Nikos Koulis jewellery is smooth and uniform, Italian jeweller Crivelli has embraced cabochons in a more chaotic cluster. It has used smoothed gemstones in juicy pink and green tones and set them at jaunty angles, with each stone offering a unique shade, size and display of inclusions.  

Capri ceramic and multicolour gemstone rings in rose gold
These Pomellato Capri rings present cabochon-like shapes of coloured ceramic with rubies, sapphires or tsavorites (£1,360).

Pomellato has also been working with the cluster formation in its new Capri collection, but rather than use coloured gemstones it has opted for ceramics. The high-shine material has been tailored with gem-like colours such as turquoise, rose and onyx black. The ceramic is set in clusters on top of rose gold Pomellato rings, with seemingly random-set, real faceted gems such as sapphires, tsavorites and rubies.

Another way to tap into this trend without the gemstones is to replace them with clusters of polished metal globes shaped to look like cabochons. Mattioli has created a collection called The One that answers this brief exactly, with polished rose gold cabochons, some pavé set with diamonds. Whether you opt for gems, metal, or even ceramics, cluster your cabochons this year for a seriously smooth style.   

Editor's Pick

The Jewellery Editor is for sale

Help us make the future bright

Since founding The Jewellery Editor in 2010, we have grown our digital magazine to be the number one global source of information and inspiration for fine jewellery and luxury watches.

3,500 articles, 150 videos with over 5 million views and a reach of over 2 million per month on social media later, we have offered unparalleled and highly respected coverage of our sector. However, despite our editorial success, we are financially struggling as an independent publisher.

Entirely funded, owned and run by Christine and Maria in London, we are now looking to sell The Jewellery Editor so that it can continue to grow. As e-commerce becomes a priority in our industry, we believe there is huge potential for engaging editorial content and are seeking a buyer who shares our values and passion so that under their guidance we can give a bright future to the platform and help us grow our business to the next stage.

If you are interested to discuss the above, please contact [email protected]

Alternatively, if you are willing to help, you can donate so that in the meantime, we can continue to publish more interesting content.

Terms and conditions

Shop this article




We use our own and third party cookies to improve your experience and our services. If you continue, we consider that you accept their use. You can get more information on your website at cookies policy.