Cushion Cut Diamond Buying Guide

Cutting stones into 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 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 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.

The Cushion Cut Guide

Table% 61-70% <59>73 <56>82 <53>85 <53>85
Depth% 62-71% <64>73 <58>80 <56>84 <56>84
Girdle Extra. Thin A bit Thick Between extra. Thin to thick Extremely thin to extremely thick Ex. Lean to Ex. Thick
Culet None Extra. Small Small Average


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

Cushion Cut Color Guide

<0.7 ct. D-G H-I J-K L-M >M
0.7-1.0 ct. D-F G H-I J-K >K
1.0-2.0 ct. D-F D-F G-H I-J >J
>2.0 ct. D-F D-F G H-I >I
Fluoro None Slightly faint to medium Somewhat Strong Extra strong Extra. strong

Cushion Cut Clarity Guide Chart

<0.7 ct. FL-VS2 SI1-SI2 I1 I2 >I2
0.7-1.0 ct. FL-VS1 VS2-SI1 SI2 I1-I2 >I2
1.0-2.0 ct. FL-VVS2 VS1-VS2 SI1-SI2 I1 >I1
>2.0 ct. FL-VVS2 VS1-VS2 SI1 SI2 >SI2

 The Beginnings

Just as the diamond’s name suggests, the cushion cut exists as either a rectangular or a square shape that contains 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 pieces of jewelry. However, a couple of diamond cutters and gemologists state that this classic shape has not always been as popular as everyone tends to think.

The cushion cut diamond came to see its peak during the first one hundred years of its creations. Experts say that this piece was deemed more of a de facto diamond shape. Through history, one can see that the Royals were the ones wearing the cushion cut diamond as these individuals were known to wear the most extravagant and prominent gemstones in history. The creators of the cushion cut diamond purposed it to sparkle better under the candlelight.

Unfortunately, even with the cushion cut diamond is so supreme, it drastically went out of style within the last one hundred years. However, the good news is, due to the incredible cycle of fashion in the world, the piece is now slowly coming back to the spotlight. In the modern day, the cut cushion diamonds are among one of the most favorite cuts that a majority of celebrities prefer to rock.

The Buzz Creator

The cushion cut diamond comeback has been creating a whole lot of buzz within the celebrity world. It is now considered to the fourth most famous piece of diamond jewelry, and especially when it comes to engagement rings. A lot of couples are getting this piece since it portrays more of vintage-inspired designs. Therefore, most experts are saying that the renewed interest in the cushion cut diamonds primarily comes with the surge that seems to exist in the popularity of owning anything that has vintage or antique designs.

Diamond cutters have since time memorial gotten to modify this timeless piece of jewelry to suit today’s requirement subsequently. The cushion cut diamond also becomes worthwhile as it comes in a variety of different versions. The cutters of the cushion cut diamond did a number on it as it comes out with both an elegant and sophisticated shape. The shapes work miracles as it amazingly suits any finger, which means that its popularity is most definitely set to remain.

Gets Better With Age

With the evolution in cutting styles and technology, some variations of the cushion cut diamond cut are now developing. An example of a recent modified cushion cut diamond is the “Cushion Modified Brilliant.” This type of pillow cut diamond contains in most occasions an extra row of facets on the pavilion, and these generally alter the entire diamond look.

The various modifications on the brilliants contain the “crushed ice” and the “sparkling water effect.” These two effects are making the cushion cut diamond so popular since it goes to give the modifications greater scintillation.

The Cut Feature

The cushion cut is generally made up of about fifty-eight facets that have a typical 1.00 to 1.05 ratio for its square shapes, and as for the rectangular shape, the rate lies typically at around 1.10 or higher. Although the cushion cut diamond does to exude 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 couple of different spectral colors.

As for the traditional cushion cut diamonds, these usually return light in a more fabulous and chunkier pattern as compared to the modern cuts. Now, in combination to the enlarged culet which most people have been considering desirable, this has come out to create a unique look that is now prized in the modern day world and especially among the dealers of the vintage diamonds. Most of the buyers out here are becoming more and more attracted to the antique feel in the cushion cut diamond. The antique feel combined with the modern appearance makes the cushion cut diamond more unique than any other type of diamonds in the market at the moment.

The standards for this piece of jewelry generally vary more than any other diamond shapes out there. 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 life, even life itself, and going into something with a blind eye has never come out victorious to any person on the planet.

In this respect, below is a chart that works as a guideline to generally help you while you are evaluating the 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 respective 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 one can cause a massive impact on the color grade the buyer ends up choosing. In the case that 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 subsequently.

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

In the case that the buyer feels the desire to own one 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 y 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 could come in hand while purchasing a cushion cut diamond. Also, as mentioned earlier, it is safe to have an expert in site while purchasing this piece mainly because this is one piece that is considered as a masterpiece as it has been present for the last 200 years.

Clarity Is Key

In the instance where the buyer is choosing for the clarity grade of the cushion cut diamond, it is advisable that one goes ahead and considers either the chunky cushion or 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 the whether the particular type of cushion cut diamond is either eye-clean or not, rather than the buyer having to simple 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 the own clarity grades. Also, everyone needs to understand that it is okay 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 on 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 that it is advisable for a buyer 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 cut diamond goes to give an elegant look in almost every type of setting. Moreover, the simplicity of a particular solitaire, or in the 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 one 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 the case that you would want to own a more substantial 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, 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, and this is usually accentuated by the variety of the small surrounding diamonds. The halo setting in the cushion cut diamond provides it with an extra level of security since in most occasions it acts more as a buffer in the case where an impact occurs. The barrier much protects the diamond’s edges and ensures that this impact is not as damaging.

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