Porcelain Cabochons: Overview of These Vintage Pieces

vintage porcelain doll face cabochon

Jewelry set with porcelain cabochons, a style popularized during the Victorian era, are still sought-after jewelry items today.

Cabochons Made From Porcelain

The term 'cabochon' has been traditionally used to describe the cut or shape of a gemstone. The distinctive shape of a cabochon has a flat back with a slightly domed top. These cabochon cut stones are typically set into a 'rub over' setting.

Cabochon Cut Porcelain

The popular shape of the gemstone cabochon has transferred to other materials including porcelain. Porcelain has many qualities that makes it ideal for use in jewelry. It has a natural inner beauty with the bright while color lending itself to being decorated with tiny paintings or other markings. These decorations often include pictures of figures, animals, zodiac signs or fantasy figures such as fairies or dragons.

Porcelain cabochons are a popular choice for people looking for something a little different, as they are often used by independent jewelry artists who produce unique one-of-a-kind items of jewelry.

Vintage Cabochons

This type of jewelry was very popular in the Victorian era and many vintage and antique items of jewelry feature porcelain cabochons. They also provide inspiration for many modern jewelry designers who like to introduce some traditional styling into their work. Antique jewelry with these cabochons is very collectible and enjoyed by people all over the world. These are often set in gold or sterling silver.

Types of Jewelry Made With Porcelain Cabochons

There are many different types of jewelry that can feature these beautiful cabochons. The fragile nature of porcelain, however, means that the most suitable type of jewelry is that which is not going to be subject to regular knocks or tough wear. The best type of jewelry to look for includes:

Pendants - Pendants are an excellent choice for a cabochon which has been formed from porcelain. Large pendants will really show off a decorated cabochon and this is the perfect way to wear a piece of jewelry with a special significance, such as a picture of a favorite dog breed or with the sign of the zodiac of a loved one. These can also make interesting alternatives to mother necklaces or other family jewelry.

Bracelets - The cabochon shape is a practical choice for bracelets. The smooth and domed surface will not get caught on items of clothes or soft furnishings. This type of bracelet is also comfortable to wear. Decorated porcelain is subject to wear and tear, however, and therefore is not suitable for every day bracelets.

Earrings - Are another great choice for decorated cabochons as they won't get knocked or damaged. Tiny images are painted onto the cabochons and these can be a subtle yet attractive form of jewelry. Porcelain is relatively light making earrings comfortable to wear.

Rings - A porcelain cabochon makes a dramatic statement when set into a ring and is an attractive choice. It is not suitable for everyday wear, however, and care should be taken to avoid damage to the ring.

Care of Porcelain Jewelry

Porcelain can be fragile and is prone to damage, unlike gemstones which are hard wearing and resist scratches. This means that a little extra care needs to be taken to keep the jewelry looking in tip top condition. Caring for porcelain jewelry includes:

  • Keep the jewelry clean using a soft cloth and avoiding any abrasive cleaners
  • Store the jewelry carefully when it is not being worn in a jewelry organizer
  • Avoid inks or dyes which might stain the porcelain

Buying Jewelry With Porcelain Cabochons

Many jewelry stores sell a range of jewelry that is set with cabochons made from porcelain. There are several online stores that also have an interesting selection and these include:

Many antique and secondhand stores will also offer a range of vintage jewelry featuring beautiful cabochons that have been created from porcelain. This can be an interesting and rewarding way to find some unusual items of jewelry. When buying old jewelry it is important to check that the settings are still sound and that the porcelain is free from damage. For a unique twist to modern jewelry, or to bring alive a lovely jewelry style form the past, porcelain cabochons make a treasured choice.

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Porcelain Cabochons: Overview of These Vintage Pieces