What is a Cushion Cut?

intablogdiamonds, education, Engagement Rings, video


Even though I love the brilliance on a round brilliant cut diamond, my personal all time favorite shape is a cushion cut. I love cushions because it has a very unique shape that is somewhat a combination between a round and a princess. Originally I was a big fan of the princess cut diamond, but once I stumbled upon the cushion, I fell in love. I really love that pillow-like shape. The rounded corners gives it a softer romantic appearance. If you’re wondering what exactly is a cushion cut diamond, here are some facts…

A Cushion cut is a square or squarish-rectangular cut that contains rounded corners and 58 brilliant-style facets. As I mentioned earlier, the rounded corners give it a softer appearance than a princess. Cushions acquired its name because of its rounded corners and resemblance to a pillow. Cushions are a shape that originated in the late 19th- early 20th century and is the generic name for the “Old Mine Cut”, a deep cut with large pavilion facets and a steep crown. Many of the older cushions contain a culet and a smaller table. Unlike round brilliant cut diamonds, which have more brilliance, cushions are more dispersive (separate white light into spectral colors). Cushion cuts are perfect for fancy colored diamonds because it displays the color evenly.

During 1913, when Tolkowsky created the modern round brilliant, some of those angles were incorporated into the cushion cuts to give cushions more fire. Older cushion cuts usually have a bigger culet (the bottom tip of the diamond) and a very thin girdle that made these older stones chip more easily.

Most cushion cut diamonds have a culet that acts as a window through the diamond. As a result, what ever color underneath the diamond is shown through the table. However, placing the cushion in white metal would make the stone appear just like another sparkle of light. Once the culet size reaches to medium sized or thicker, the culet starts to become visible to the eye.

Additionally, older cushion cuts return light in blocky patterns, while newly cut cushions return light in needlelike patterns. Newer cushion cuts usually have smaller culets, better proportions, and better symmetry.

Cushion cut diamonds can be more squared (length to width ratio 1.05 or less) or rectangular (ratio 1.3 or more). The pillow shape many associate with cushions tends to have ratios in the 1.10 to 1.20 range. However, the ratio ultimately comes down to the customer’s particular preference.

Nowadays, there are three basic facet patterns for cushions, but the two most popular are: the GIA Cushion Brilliants and the Modified Cushion Brilliant (which has an extra row of facets just below the girdle). The facet pattern has no effect on the cushion’s sparkle and brilliance. Instead, the overall sparkle and brilliance depends on the skill of the cutter. However, the Modified Cushion Brilliants often have exceptional sparkle that compares to radiant cuts.

Advice: When searching for a cushion, make sure to examine the stone carefully in a variety of lights and different angles to check that the stone does not have a bow tie pattern. The bow tie shadow is evident across the center of an improperly cut diamond. If looking for cushion cuts, we recommend that you choose one of SI1 clarity. Throughout the years, many jewelers have been using cushions for antique settings and opted for lower color grades of I or K color because the yellow tint compliments the antique look. However, if you want the more common white color diamonds are usually associated with, we recommend you get a G color above. We also suggest a classic pillow shape with the length-to-width ratio of 1.10 to 1.20 (but this ratio does not apply to more squarish stones.

Cushion cut diamonds are perfect stones because it not only displays colors evenly on fancy colored diamonds, but its versatility makes it perfect for all types of settings. Not only are cushions perfect for antique-styled settings, but they also go great in contemporary settings such as pavé. Cushions are a perfect choice for those that want to be different, but still crave exceptional brilliance and sparkle.

Buying Tips:
1) Make sure your diamond is accompanied with a GIA or EGL Certificate in order to verify the stone’s authenticity. The certificate or diamond lab report indicates all the characteristics of that particular diamond. It is important that every diamond buyer purchases a diamond with a certificate.
2) Have a budget in mind. The typical engagement ring cost would be at least two months salary.
3) Check out a few stores to develop an eye for the cushion cut. Some great stores to try are Tiffany, Harry Winston, Cartier, and of course, INTA Gems!

Anyway, I hope this helps!