Tuesday, May 12, 2015

New Direction for Panda Wear - Stone DIY

New direction and focus for Panda Wear...what is this about you ask?
I am a lapidary which means I hand cut my own stones.  Having enjoyed cutting gemstone for many years, there is a surplus of stones I am unable to use right away. Also, there is a surplus of rough stone - which is the rocks before they are cut into cabochons.  The rocks started to accumulate (pile up) around my home.    To make space,  I decided to start selling the extras.

Above is a Unakite boulder in the quarry where I have collected some rough in NY state.  The travel mug in this pic is about 10" tall to show perspective. The boulders are over 3 feet tall.  The blue rocks on the left side are mostly calcite.
Steps to make a cabochon
  1. select a rock
  2. cut a slab form the rock
  3. decide  the shape of the cabochon & draw it
  4. trim the slice around the lines
  5.  dop the trimmed piece
  6. start cutting the cab
  7. polish the cab
Michigan Kona dolomite slab.  This is a piece of the selected rock cut into a slice.

Texas graveyard point agate slab.  This is a slab or a slice from the rock. the slice is the second step to making the rock into cabochons.    Imagine the rock as a home made loaf of bread cut into slices.  They can be cut whatever thickness I desire. Clear or transparent rough works best cut thick to show the beauty in the stone when finished. 

In my work, I have bought nice quality supplies for many years. Having bought the high quality beads and cabochons for years I believe I have an idea what other designers are looking for.  Your referrals of friends whom are jewelry designers or jewelry store owners are always appreciated.   Most of my cabochon sales are to other jewelry designers right now.   A few are sales to collectors. Yes, I still sell my OOAK jewelry.  It is just that my focus is on the gemstones right now

On the right, a piece of the Unakite I collected as a finished cabochon.  I went through all of the 7 steps above with this rock.

Below is a Montana Moss Agate cabochon ready to be set into a piece of jewelry. This is a transparent stone and the light is reflected best when the back of the piece is left open.

My cabochons are free form which meas they are not round, or oval like most of the ones I see for sale.  This makes them unique and OOAK.
OOAK means One of a Kind. Cabochons are also called cabs.

Please feel free to ask any questions about the process of stone cutting or making cabochons that you have.   I have taught wire wrapping and jewelry making for years.  I also taught my boyfriend to cut cabs. He is a natural and is a better cutter than I am.

My stores: Jewelry shop
                 Cabochons and Supplies

Facebook:  PW Facebook
Twitter:  Panda Wear Gems  


  1. That's a pretty impressive and thorough breakdown of how to form a piece of jewelry. This should give your customers a finer appreciation on how these are made, and the ways that these can be reinvented. It’s neat that you cut the stones from the source yourself. It seems labor-intensive, but I’m sure it’s worth the effort, especially since you have control of which parts you want to use. Anyway, thanks for sharing your process with us. Cheers!

    Ricky Rowe @ Find A Jewelry Expert

  2. Ricky, I am glad you enjoyed the DIY for stone cutting. As a teacher, I am always satisfied when I see that light bulb in one of my students. I wanted to demonstrate the most frequent quandary... How do you make the stones. I am delighted to share my process.

  3. Fantastic. Thanks Kim, it's so interesting.