Cushion Cut Guide

Cushion Cut Diamond Buying Guide

Cutting stones into the cushion cut is one of the oldest and most popular shapes for all types of natural gemstones, and the shape particularly is highly in demand when it comes to natural diamonds.

This shape gets its name cushion from the fact that it resembles a pillow.  It usually gives out a unique shape that balances the brilliance of a round and a square cut diamond. The cushion cut diamond dates to as early as the 1800s.

There are three types of cushion cut diamonds, the cushion brilliant, the cushion modified brilliant, and the hybrid cushion brilliant that brings the best of both cushion brilliant and modified together. The modified version was introduced to give the diamond a more crashed-iced look and also to save a rough diamond while cutting it into a cushion shape.

Diamondbuild’s Bottom Line Recommendation:

  • Minimum Clarity: Cushion under 1ct. SI2 GIA. Above 1.5ct. SI1 GIA
  • Color: D-F is always great. G is of exceptional quality and as good as Colorless. H and I are great budget options without compromising on quality.
  • Buy a GIA or AGS graded/certified cushion cut diamond.
  • Length to width ratio of 1 to 1.05 is great for a square cushion cut and 1.2 to 1.35 is excellent for the elongated cushion cut.
  • A depth of depth of 61 to 70% and a table of 60 to 69% is ideal (2-3% up or down is fine) .
  • Use James Allen’s HD video technology to review the quality of the diamond’s cut before buying it.

James Allen Diamonds

The Cushion Cut Guide

GirdleExtra. ThinA bit ThickBetween extra. Thin to thick Extremely thin to extremely thickEx. Lean to Ex. Thick
CuletNoneExtra. SmallSmallAverage


L/W Ratio1.00-1.03<1.00>1.03Appro. 1.05<1.06>1.08>1.08

Cushion Cut Color Guide

<0.7 ct.D-GH-IJ-KL-M>M
0.7-1.0 ct.D-FGH-IJ-K>K
1.0-2.0 ct.D-FD-FG-HI-J>J
>2.0 ct.D-FD-FGH-I>I
FluoroNoneSlightly faint to mediumSomewhat StrongExtra strongExtra. strong

Cushion Cut Clarity Guide Chart

<0.7 ct.FL-VS2SI1-SI2I1I2>I2
0.7-1.0 ct.FL-VS1VS2-SI1SI2I1-I2>I2
1.0-2.0 ct.FL-VVS2VS1-VS2SI1-SI2I1>I1
>2.0 ct.FL-VVS2VS1-VS2SI1SI2>SI2

The Beginnings

Just as the diamond’s name suggests, the cushion cut exists as either a rectangular or square shape with rounded corners resembling a pillow. The cushion cut diamond has been in the picture for almost 200 years now, making it one of the oldest diamond cut. However, a couple of diamond cutters and gemologists state that this classic shape has not always been as popular as everyone thinks.

The cushion cut diamond gained in popularity during the first one hundred years of its creation. Throughout history, royals and monarchs bought the most significant and most extravagant cushion cuts to add to their jewelry collection mostly because the stone sparkled under candlelight.

Unfortunately, even with the popularity of the cushion cut diamond, it quickly went out of style in the last one hundred years. And the stone has only recently come back into the spotlight. 

The Buzz Creator

The cushion cut diamond comeback has been creating a whole lot of buzz in the celebrity world. It is considered the fourth most famous piece of diamond jewelry, especially for engagement rings. A lot of couples want the stone because of its pillow-like shape and vintage-inspired settings. Most experts attribute the renewed interest in the cushion cut diamonds with the growing interest in all things vintage by a large number of influencers, sparking the attention of the general public. 

Diamond cutters have significantly modified cushion cut diamonds to suit current market needs. The stone comes in 3 variations; cushion modified, cushion brilliant, and cushion hybrid. All the modifications have an elegant, sophisticated shape, suitable for different finger shapes and sizes.

Gets Better With Age

With the evolution in cutting styles and technology, some variations of the cushion cut diamond exists. An example of a new modified cushion cut diamond is the “Cushion Modified Brilliant.” This type of pillow cut diamond contains an extra row of facets on the pavilion, and these usually alter the appearance of the entire diamond.

The various modifications on the brilliants contain the “crushed ice” and the “sparkling water effect.” These two effects make the cushion cut diamond popular because it gives the variations greater scintillation.

A cut above

The Cut Feature

Generally, the cushion cut is made up of fifty-eight facets that typically have a 1.00 to 1.05 ratio for its square shapes, and as for the rectangular shape, the rate lies at around 1.10 or higher. Although the cushion cut diamond exudes as much brilliance as the round diamond, this piece of jewelry tends to have more significant facets which allow for a greater separation of white light into a variety of different spectral colors.

As for the traditional cushion cut diamonds, they usually return light in a more fabulous and chunkier pattern as compared to the modern cuts. Now, in combination with the enlarged culet which most people prefer, the traditional cushion cut diamonds create a unique look currently priced in the market, especially among the dealers of vintage diamonds. Most buyers are becoming more attracted to the antique feel in the cushion diamond. The antique feel combined with the modern appearance makes the cushion cut diamond more unique than any other type of diamond currently in the market.

The standards for this particular stone varies typically more than the other diamond shapes. With that in mind, the buyer’s taste often dictates the different choices that the individual makes.

The one thing that creates the appeal for the cushion cut diamond is the fact that even though it appears to portray lesser brilliance than the round diamonds, this piece generally gives out the better fire. The modern cushion cut diamond tends to carry one of the three most central pavilion basic patterns.

The third pattern generally carries an extra row of the facets found on the pavilion, and that is what the Gemological Institute of America classifies as a cushion cut that is typically “modified.” As a buyer, the best thing to have while going to purchase any piece of jewelry, and in this case, a cushion cut diamond is a chart. Everything in life requires a process, even life itself, and going into something with a blind eye has never yielded positive results to anyone on the planet.

In this respect, below is a chart that works as a general guideline to help you while you are evaluating which specific type of cut is perfect for a cushion cut diamond. Knowing what one is purchasing first hand is a great advantage in life and especially when it comes to the jewelry industry. However, it is also advisable that one has a diamond expert while purchasing so that every decision made is correct.



Color on the Finger

One essential characteristic that makes the cushion cut diamond rather unique is the ability to retain freshness. Due to this significant reason, the cushion cut is trendy when it comes to both the colored gemstones and the colored diamonds, as it carries within it the ability to maximize the beauty of the diamond’s color. In the case of the colorless diamonds, this becomes a significant issue since the color tends to have a more direct correlation to the value. From this perspective, experts state that it is vital that a buyer chooses the corresponding color with extreme care.

For the cushion cut diamond, the specific setting metal that a buyer chooses could either be the destruction or the maintenance of the diamond’s color. The setting metal can cause a massive impact on the color grade the buyer ends up choosing. In case a person goes for either the rose gold or yellow, the advisable thing to do is to drop the color grade to around I or J.

Also, even with such a decision, one is still assured of having a fantastic and fabulous looking gem since the metal contrast significantly reduces the appearance of the specific tints that exist within the stone.

In case the buyer wants a cushion cut diamond with silver-hued settings, like the platinum and the white gold, the best color grade to go for is H. As for the perfect luster and whiteness, the best decision will be choosing a diamond that typically falls between the D and F range. Most of the customers in the jewelry industry prefer the D-F range and are willing to pay a premium to acquire these diamonds.

Below is a chart guide that comes in handy when purchasing a cushion cut diamond. Also, as mentioned earlier, it is safe to have an expert on-site while buying this piece. Mainly because the cushion cut diamond is considered as a masterpiece as it has been around for the last 200 years.

Clarity Is Key

When it comes to choosing a clarity grade for a cushion cut diamond, it is advisable that one goes ahead and picks between the chunky cushion and the crushed ice cushion. On the one hand, the crushed ice cushions often hide the impurities and flaws within the diamond. With that in mind, the faceting patterns in this type of cushion cut diamond tends to make it quite challenging to see these impurities and flaws. On the other hand, in the case of the chunky cushion, these usually show a little bit more of the inclusions than the crushed ice cushions, as they tend a distinct faceting pattern.

However, regardless of these two distinctions, the most crucial factors that a buyer needs to note is whether the particular type of cushion cut diamond is either eye-clean or not, rather than the buyer having to focus only on the diamond’s clarity grade.

Now just like color, the process of evaluating clarity in the cushion cut diamonds comes out as subjective. The Gemological Institute of America usually provides everyone with the appropriate yet perfect help with their clarity grades. Also, everyone needs to understand that it’s alright to have a different standard when it comes to clarity in the cushion cut diamonds.

A majority of customers could be perfectly comfortable having a couple of inclusions in the cushion cut diamond provided none of these are visible to the naked eye. Other buyers or customers will find greater comfort in owning a cushion-cut diamond that appears to be utterly flawless.

To have a better understanding of the best features to include in a cushion cut diamond, the chart below works to provide the buyer with an outline and a guide that one could use during the evaluation of this beautiful piece of jewelry. Also, another thing to note is to have an expert present that will lend a hand during the purchasing of the cushion cut diamond.


Carat Weight and Style

During the mining of most rough diamonds, a majority of these tend to either be too inferior or too small in quality to produce the perfect princess cut diamond that is usually on-demand within the fine jewelry industry. With that in mind, to acquire a bigger size princess diamond ring, an individual needs to have a couple of bucks to spare during the purchasing of this particular piece. The princess cut diamonds are usually in most occasions cut using a standardized guideline which tends to make it easier to estimate the carat weight of the diamonds using a couple of mm dimensions.

Additionally, the cushion cut tends to pair perfectly with a range of styles as well as settings, and this is because it is a versatile cut. While the cushion cut diamond contains in it an old-world charm due to the years, it has been existent and also looks as splendid in vintage designs, existing as in sleek modern styles still enthralls in the day to day life. Also, since the cushion cut diamond does not usually have any weak points, this is an added advantage as it generally does not require any protective settings.

Make the Perfect Choice

If you are a lady with long, slender fingers, then the cushion cut diamond is the choice to make. The pillow-like diamond gives an elegant look in almost every type of setting. Moreover, the simplicity of a particular solitaire, or in case the buyer wants some extra sparkle, an exquisite yet delicate band of the pave diamonds works miracles here. These diamonds tend to give the cushion cut room to breathe, which turns head and draws the attention of every single eye in the room.

Now for the perfect light performance and visibility, the advisable type of cushion cut diamond ring to purchase is the prong setting. Majority of the cushion cut diamonds often come with about four prongs that work to hold on to the diamond at every corner. The fantastic thing about this fact is that the prongs do the holding secretly while still giving room for the light to subsequently interact with the cushion cut diamond. In case you want to own a square or a rectangular shaped cushion cut diamond, the best choice would be the one with six prongs as it offers more security.

For a flashier and more brilliant look, the best piece of cushion cut diamond is the one with a halo setting. The halo setting is perfect as it has a sparkle present at the center of this diamond, accentuated by the variety of the small surrounding diamonds. The halo setting in the cushion cut diamond provides the stone with an extra level of security since it acts as a buffer and minimizes damage. The barrier protects the diamond’s edges and ensures that the impact is not as damaging.

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