The dictionary defines the word “cabochon” as a gem polished but not faceted, derived from the French word caboche. It’s a thing of beauty, allowed to shine in a more natural way that almost seems lit from within. For Cabochon Limited, the name implies that unique splendor, something that is inherent in the lamps and vases created under the brand.
Unveiled at the Dallas Market in 2015, Cabochon Limited has since become a company synonymous with high-quality craftsmanship and custom design. The company’s products are far more than just accessories to light a room or sit on a table—they are works of art created from start to finish with excellence in mind. It is the client who drives the design, not the other way around, and that is something that sets Cabochon apart from so many other lamp manufacturers in the market.
“Most lamp companies import or buy a lamp in a predetermined color, with a standard shade that has been manufactured and assembled in China,” says Gary Humphries, who bought into the company when it was only a couple of years old. A rep in Texas and the surrounding states since 1979, Humphries’ sales acumen has been an asset to the business—as has the love for lamps that first made him take notice of the brand.
“Customers who buy from these companies cannot make any modifications to the color of the ceramic or change a cream shade to white when it is needed. They are limited to what they see, as it is. By contrast, we work with designers who are looking for pieces for a project and offer them the color needed for each job. They can even choose a white or cream shade, and custom colors are also available.”
That concept was the driving force behind the company when it was launched, and it is what has made it the success it has become over the past six years. Clients can specify the color of their kiln-fired ceramic lamp, then select the base of their choice: acrylic, gold, silver or rustic wood. Next, they select the shade, and lastly the hardware in their choice of brass or nickel. Lead time is typically two to four weeks from the Dallas plant.
“We want to be a resource to the professional interior designer for unique lamps and vases that can be made in the color needed and locally, rather than having to import them,” says Humphries. “Our clients have come to know that they can expect quality and flexibility from us, and that’s something that they greatly appreciate. Many also comment on shapes they have not seen before, and our shades are made to our high specifications in the USA, which is another aspect of our company that sets us apart.”
Being local—and completely American-made—is something the company takes great pride in. It employs only a handful of people to run the manufacturing and design processes, and they literally do it all: Cabochon makes the mold, fires the ceramic, then glazes the ceramic pieces one at a time. The high temperatures used to fire the ceramic result in deep, rich colors that seem to saturate the pieces and achieve beautiful solid, crackle and marble finishes. The company also offers pieces finished in the Japanese raku method—a low firing process that is characterized by the removal of a ceramic object from the kiln at the height of the firing, causing it to cool very rapidly. The result is a unique finish that seems to bend color.
“Our Palladium Marble, Midnight Lace and crackle finishes are some of our most popular finishes,” says Humphries of the top sellers. “Any shape can be done in any color, and our taller lamps seem to sell best—some of which measure up to 37 inches in height.”
Offering a wide range of lamps as well as vases and pots, Cabochon is about more than just lighting. “We are a ceramic factory, and we love lamps, but we can make other things for display in the home,” says Humphries. “We work with interior designers, lamp shops and upper-end furniture stores, so we offer a diverse range that appeals to that clientele and the homeowners they work with. Our pieces add a great pop of color in an otherwise neutral space.”
Much like the rest of the world, Cabochon had to weather the challenges of the pandemic, but the company met those challenges with ease. “The pandemic helped us focus more on our design industry clients,” says Humphries. “Other than sourcing our shade fabrics, it didn’t slow us down.”
As successful as the company has become, it has no plans for major expansion. “We want to stay small and be the factory of choice for Dallas-area designers,” says Humphries. For Cabochon, world domination and wide brand recognition have never been the goal. Instead, it thrives on focused excellence, maintaining
a rarity that makes it like a gem on a coalface, a light in a darkened room. *
Liesel Schmidt lives in Navarre, Florida, and works as a freelance writer for local and regional magazines. She is also a web content writer and book editor. Follow her on Twitter at @laswrites or download her novels, Coming Home to You, The Secret of Us and Life Without You, at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.