Cushion vs Cushion Modified

Cushion vs Cushion Modified

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  • The cushion diamond shape comes in two main cuts – the older cushion brilliant cut and the more recent cushion modified cut. The cushion modified features an extra row of facets under the girdle while the cushion cut does not. The differences in appearance are unmistakable and the best way to choose between the two is to compare them side by side.
  • The cushion cut has a star faceting pattern when you observe the diamond from above as you can see here. The cushion modified on the other hand has a crushed ice appearance. Take a look here. Some people prefer the cushion cut while others like the crushed ice look. make sure to compare the two and choose one that is most appealing to you.
  • If you want a cushion diamond and you want to save on the price, the cushion modified is a great choice. It is cheaper than the cushion cut as less of the diamond rough is wasted during cutting. To see a good example, click here.
  • The cushion modified cut has more fire while the cushion brilliant cut has more brilliance. Again, it’s about choosing the cushion diamond that most appeals to your eyes. At the end of the day, it’s all about the appearance of the diamond and personal preference.
  • You have plenty of options when it comes to diamond settings. Since both the cushion cut and the cushion modified have curved edges, they are durable and not prone to snagging. You can view many different settings and pick one that you like.

In the early years of the cushion cuts, the diamonds were cut using step cuts. They thus featured elongated sides with the appearance of a staircase. It was Marcel Tolkowsky who first came up with the idea of cutting the facets perpendicularly as opposed to a horizontal fashion.

As a result, the diamond produced more fire and brilliance. Marcel first did this on the round brilliant cut.

Later the same principle was used on the cushion cut diamond. While the diamond’s outline remained the same, the faceting resulted in more brilliance in the cushion cut.

Whether you plan on buying your diamond online or at a local jewelry store, there are two very important considerations when dealing with cushion cut diamonds. First is the faceting and second, is the length to width ratio.

The good thing is that many diamond buyers are already aware of the length to width ratio that most appeals to them.

That said, there are diamond buyers out there who may not be aware of the difference between the cushion cut and the cushion modified.

James Allen Diamonds

The Cushion Cut

The arrangement of the cushion cut facets is similar to the round brilliant cut. The facets start from the center of the pavilion and rise to the girdle. This creates an image of a star. Unlike some diamond cuts which have a crushed ice appearance, the cushion cut does not.

Their facets are much larger than the round brilliant. The shape of the cushion cut is similar to a pillow.

The Cushion Modified Brilliants

This diamond cut is a different version of the cushion cut. It features a row of facets that are situated below the girdle. The result is a flower shape. Cushion modified cuts have a crushed ice appearance unlike the cushion cut and are popular for their great sparkle.

One of the main advantages if the modified cushion cut is that the demand is lower than the cushion cut and since there is less of the diamond rough that is wasted, their prices are much cheaper than the cushion cut.

This is great news for anyone who is on a budget and wants to strike a good deal while still getting the cushion shape.

Cushion brilliant vs Cushion modified – Brilliance

Since the cushion cut has broader flashes and lacks that crushed ice appearance, it is also brighter than the cushion modified cut. When both are set in natural light, you can expect the cushion brilliant cut to grab more attention than the cushion modified.

Cushion brilliant vs Cushion modified – Fire

Fire is a result of white light that is dispersed inside the diamond into its seven colors. The cushion modified cut has more fire than the cushion modified cut. If you are a buyer who is more concerned about the fire of a diamond than its sparkle, then the cushion modified cut is the way to go.

Cushion brilliant vs Cushion modified – The scintillation

Looking down at both the cushion modified cut and the cushion cut, you will notice that the faceting appears completely different. The cushion modified has more facets than the cushion cut.

The larger facets in the cushion cut make the diamond give off broader flashes of sparkle while the modified cushion cut gives off smaller flashes of sparkle.

These flashes are the diamond’s scintillation.

Cushion brilliant vs Cushion modified – Cut

The cushion modified cut is more common yet less popular than the cushion brilliant cut. It accounts for 98 percent of all the cushion diamonds.

Looking down at the cushion modified cut you will see a crushed ice appearance and it is hard to make out the faceting patterns.

Light tends to leak with the cushion modified cut which makes it less bright than the cushion brilliant.

Many people will prefer light performance and the cut of the cushion brilliant. The fewer and larger facets mean that it is much easier to make up the faceting structure of the diamond.

Cushion cuts make up just 2% of the cushion shape diamonds. Their larger faceting, brilliance, and fire make them worth more than the cushion modified.

Some people, however, will still prefer the crushed ice look and the numerous tiny flashes of the modified cushion cut. It is always a good idea to compare both cuts and pick the one that is most appealing to you.

Do not just rely on the GIA lab reports as these will not tell you everything you need about the appearance and light performance of the diamonds.

Cushion brilliant vs Cushion modified – Clarity

The clarity of a diamond is its lack of imperfections or its ability to hide such imperfections. Inclusions in a diamond may occur nearer to the center of the stone or they may occur nearer the edges.

With the latter, the diamond setting may help hide some of these inclusions. The same cannot be said if the imperfections are nearer to the center. In this case, you may only rely on the diamond’s ability to hide such imperfections.

Brilliance has a lot to do with a diamonds ability to hide imperfections. Since the cushion cut has more fire and brilliance, it will be much harder to notice the inclusions. This means that the cushion brilliant will have better clarity than the modified cushion.

The advantage of this is that you can move lower on the GIA clarity scale and save significantly on the price.

Cushion brilliant vs Cushion modified – Color

Broader flashes and more brilliance will affect the color of the diamond. Diamonds with more brilliance are much better at hiding color when you go down on the color scale.

Between the cushion brilliant cut and the cushion modified brilliant cut, which of the two is better at hiding color? That title goes to the cushion brilliant cut.

Thanks to its brilliance, you can take a cushion cut that is much lower on the color scale than the cushion modified.

For a cushion modified, one way to make the diamond appear whiter is to use a yellow gold setting. This will reflect through the stone and cancel out the yellow tint in the stone.

Cushion brilliant vs Cushion modified – The price

For the same carat weight, there is less diamond rough wasted with the cushion modified than the cushion brilliant cut. Because of this, the cushion modified sells at a much cheaper price. If you are searching for an affordable cushion diamond, and you have budget constraints, the cushion modified is the one for you.

As the cushion brilliant cut aims to provide as much brilliance and fire as possible, a more precise cut is required meaning that more of the diamond rough is wasted.

The combination of more waste on the rough diamond and more demand in the diamond market means that the price of the cushion brilliant cut is higher. This type of cut is for the buyer who is not restricted by the budget and wants to maximize fire and brilliance.

Cushion brilliant vs Cushion modified – The setting

When it comes to the setting, both the cushion brilliant cut and the cushion modified cut offer a wide range of options.

The fact that they lack sharp edges means that they don’t need as much protection and will not snag onto objects and clothing.

A more open diamond setting such as a 4-prong setting will allow maximum light into the stone. With the cushion brilliant-cut, this means more fire and brilliance.

However, if you want to increase the brilliance of the cushion modified cut, you can go for the halo setting. The more sparkle added by the smaller surrounding stones helps draw the eye away from imperfections that could be in the cushion modified cut.


If you are searching for vintage elegance in a diamond, the cushion cut is an excellent choice. This is a style that has been in existence since the 19th century and was once the standard cut for all diamonds.

This just goes to show that the cushion shape will never really go out of style.

The main difference between the cushion cut and the cushion modified is the extra row of facets under the girdle.

Which one is best for you to depend on your personal preference. If you want a diamond with more brilliance and fire and with larger and broader sparkles, and when you are not constrained by your budget, the cushion brilliant cut is the one for you.

On the other hand, if you are budget conscious and you still find the cushion shape quite remarkable, then you can go for the cushion modified, provided you don’t mind the crushed ice look and the less fire and brilliance. Some people will prefer the cushion modified to the cushion brilliant.

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