Cushion Cut Diamonds
Cushion cut diamonds derive their name from the shape, which resembles a pillow. Their distinctive soft, rounded corners with a square shape make them the third most popular diamond shape. Cushion cut diamonds are square or rectangular in shape. Cushion cuts are considered more traditional or vintage because they have slightly larger brilliant cut facets. Traditionally cut diamonds have fewer, larger facets. The modern cushions or modified cushion brilliants have as many or more facets than a round cut diamond for greater sparkle and light reflection. The cushion shape has been extremely popular in the last decade.
What is a Cushion Cut Diamond
The origins of this beautiful diamond traces back to the 19th century. The cushion cut diamond wasn't always known as that - in the past, the shape was originally referred to as the “mine cut.” The mine cut was a square diamond that had rounded corners. It was named after the Brazilian diamond mines. Once diamonds were discovered in South Africa, the Brazilian diamond mines became known as the “old mines.” The old mine cut had 33 crown facets and 25 pavilion facets. The modern cushion cut resembles a cross between the old mine cut and a modern oval cut. Instead of 58 facets like the old mine cut had, the modern cushion cut has 64 facets.
There are many celebrities today who wear a cushion cut diamond engagement ring. These people include Ashley Tisdale, Molly Sims, Jennifer Garner, Ivanka Trump, Naya Rivera, and Kelly Rowland. It is a very popular cut, and actually, many of the world’s most famous and largest diamonds are the cushion cut. This includes the Hope Diamond, which has a hefty weight of 45.42 carats. Additionally, the yellow Tiffany Diamond weighs an incredible 128.54 carats. Finally, the Regent Diamond is also a cushion cut, which is a whopping 140.5 carats. In 2003, there was an iconic moment for the cushion cut diamond when Tiffany & Co introduced a cushion cut diamond into their Legacy collection. This is a collection that celebrates the five most iconic engagement ring styles, and the cushion cut was one of the five. It’s clear to see that the cushion cut diamond will continue to be a popular choice for many more decades.
Cushion Cut Diamond Settings
Cushion cut diamonds are most adored for their enticing vintage charm. While vintage-style engagement rings tend to pair well with a large array of settings, a certain hint of nostalgia can only be achieved through perfect settings for the cushion cut diamond. Whether it is a 2-carat cushion cut diamond or a 4-carat cushion cut diamond, the most practical setting is four-prong. This setting ensures the stone will remain in place for the longest period of time possible. Since there are only 4 prongs holding the stone in place, much more light can reach the stone which allows the stone to shine even brighter than usual. If the stone is particularly large or rectangular, 4 prongs may not be the best choice. A 6-prong setting is typically used for these larger diamonds to ensure maximum stability of the stone. However, with these added prongs, the shine is slightly compromised; a 6-prong setting will appear duller than its 4-prong counterpart.
In stylistic terms, one of the most popular choices is the bezel setting. Although it appears beautiful and elegant paired with a diamond, a bezel setting looks particularly phenomenal with colored gemstones, such as sapphires or rubies. A bezel setting makes any ring appear all the more gorgeous, but keep in mind that a bezel-set diamond will not shine as brightly as a diamond in a different setting because the setting wraps around the entire setting, and therefore, most diamond experts suggest picking a different setting. Regardless of the compromised shine, the bezel setting for cushion cut diamonds remains a popular and marvelous choice.
Cushion Cut vs Princess Cut
Many buyers hesitate when choosing a cushion cut diamond because it is so similar to a princess cut diamond, but there are enough subtle differences that a buyer may feel overwhelmed. Firstly, a cushion cut diamond has rounded corners versus the princess cut’s sharper edges. However, with a prong setting, these corners may not be visible once part of the engagement ring. Additionally, princess cuts are only square in shape while the cushion cut diamond can be either square or rectangular. The cushion cut represents a more vintage vibe compared to the modern style of the princess cut. All-in-all, there is no “right” diamond cut to choose; the ultimate decision depends on the buyer’s style, preference, and other stylistic choices he or she makes for the ring.
As mentioned above, cushion cuts do not necessarily have to be square; the more rectangular cushion diamonds are considered elongated cushion cut diamonds. Although these diamonds have all of the same characteristics as the square cushion cut diamonds, they also allow more light to come in due to the bigger surface area. Since the lack of light is a common issue with cushion cut diamonds, the extra light goes a long way. These elongated cushion cut diamonds tend to have much more luster making them a popular choice for cushion cuts.
Cushion Cut Diamond Pricing
Cushion cut diamonds are similar to other fancy shapes in that they are less expensive than round cut diamonds. This is because they are very efficient at using the rough diamond and minimize rough wastage. The result, however, is increased depth and more carat weight inside the center of the diamond, as opposed to on the corners or sides, where the diamond expands. Therefore, a 1.00ct cushion cut diamond will only be about 5.5mm (like a princess cut diamond) versus a 1.00ct round cut diamond, which will be about 6.4mm. Popularity has driven the prices of cushion cut diamonds a bit higher, particularly with square cushion diamonds. It is very important to examine a diamond’s length to width ratio when considering the shape, particularly in cushion cuts. Cushion diamonds with a ratio of 1.00 to 1.05 are considered square. These are the most desirable cushion cuts. From 1.06 to 1.10, the diamond is considered squarish, meaning it is slightly off square. This can actually make the diamond look visually larger. Finally, rectangular cushion cut diamonds have a 1.10+ ratio. These diamonds tend to be less expensive by 5% - 10%, when compared to square cushion cuts. Learn more about diamond pricing.
Cushion cut diamonds sound amazing, but what is the price for such a lovely stone? Well, cushion diamonds are relatively affordable when observing a smaller size in carats, but once the stone reaches 2 carats, the price shoots up to anywhere from 17,000 dollars to 21,000 dollars. Compare that with a 4-carat cushion cut diamond, and the price skyrockets. Some even go for 100 grand. However, do not fret, the smaller carat sizes are decently priced and will not put a hole in your wallet. This wild price increase is only due to the rarity of such a stone; finding a diamond of 4 carats worthy of being cushion cut is an amazing feat, but there are plenty of smaller stones to go around that look just as beautiful as the larger stones.
Cushion Diamond Guide
Below, please see the ideal table, depth and length to width ratio combinations for cushion cuts. One additional important consideration when selecting a cushion cut is the color. Cushions tend to show color more than round diamonds. A G color cushion will look closer to an H color diamond.
Depth % for Cushion Diamonds
Very Good: 70%-52%
Table % of Cushion Diamonds
Very Good: 77%-50%
Length to width Ratio for Cushion Diamonds
Cushion Diamond Size Chart
Cushion cut diamonds have approximate millimeter sizes that correspond to certain carat weights. Please see a chart of the popular cushion diamond sizes and their carat weights. For all sizes and shapes, please visit our diamond size chart page.
How To Purchase a Cushion Diamond
When you choose to buy a cushion cut diamond engagement ring, there are a few things that you should look out for. Cushion cuts retain their natural color better than most other diamond cuts. This is why many colored diamonds are cut as a cushion. In order to get the clearest color in your cushion cut diamond, you should aim to get the H color or higher. In terms of clarity, stick to SI1 clarity or better to get the best look and value. Cushion cuts have a large open table, so sometimes it might be hard to find a high-quality SI2 clarity cushion cut. The polish/symmetry of a cushion cut diamond should be good, very good, or excellent. Both the depth and table of cushion cut diamonds should be under 70%. For the length/width ratio, that doesn't matter and it’s up to you to choose!
There are many settings that work great with cushion cut diamonds. Due to their sleek style and symmetrical lines, the cushion cut looks perfect in modern and classic settings. Cushion cuts are generally soft and romantic-looking, so they will shine in a solitaire setting, or with a halo or side stone setting.
Furthermore, buyers should only seek out diamonds sold by gemstone professionals to ensure that the stone is of high quality. In addition to the quality, it is also vital to know what type of cushion cut diamond is preferred. If the buyer wants a “perfect” square diamond, he or she should ask about the proper size ratio, but if a more rectangular diamond is preferred, he or she should be sure to seek out significantly different ratios of length to width in order to ensure that the diamond will not just appear oblong in shape.
One advantage, in addition to all of the advantages listed, is that the cushion cut diamond lacks sharp edges, making it a smart choice for a woman with a more active lifestyle. However, one disadvantage of choosing this cut is that the diamond’s facets are larger than in most other diamond cuts which makes blemishes and flaws more easily seen by the naked eye. Because of the numerous advantages, it is no wonder many women opt for cushion cut halo engagement rings or cushion cut solitaire engagement rings to represent their eternal love.Shop Cushion Diamonds
Antique Cushion Cuts
Cushion cut was one of the first shapes among diamonds and many antique cushions are still in circulation today. The vintage look has fewer, longer facets than its modern brilliant cushions and this style of cutting comes from the early-mid 20th century. Generally, the antique cushion cuts are less brilliant than brilliant and modified brilliant cut cushions because the cutters of that time period did not have the skills or technology to optimize brilliance. You'll see open culets, misshapen facets and shallow diamonds with steep crown angles. These do have a sense of beauty though and the vintage, handcut nature gives them a unique charm unlike other shapes.
Cushion Modified Brilliant vs Brilliant Cut
The Cushion Brillaint diamonds have very similar faceting arrangements as round brilliant cut diamonds. The facets in the pavilion or lower portion of a cushion brilliant reach from the culet of the diamond out toward the girdle, resembling a star. Cushion brilliants contain larger facets and and look more like an X when viewed through the table facet face up. Rather, they resemble the appearance of round cut diamonds with soft edges. This makes them desirable, popular and means they carry a premium versus other cushions. It is more common to see the cushion brilliant in the square shape versus the rectangular shape.
Cushion modified brilliants are a newer version of the original cushion brilliant shape. These diamonds contain an extra row of faceting below the girdle, which then more closely resembles a flower. This is done to increase the amount of brilliance or sparkle versus traditional cuts. Cushion modified brilliants look more like crushed ice or flowing water when you see them reflect light, similar to the radiant cut diamond. This style is quite common because it allows manufacturers to save rough weight and so they diamond weight increases with value. However, they can be less expensive because they are less desired so they often carry great value and sparkle well. Tip: Look at the GIA diamond report plot for cushions above 1.00ct. They will show you the diamond plot so you can identify the cut.