What are Cushion Cut Diamonds?

September 17, 2023

The cushion cut diamond combines the brilliance of a round with the beauty of a square in a unique pillow-like shape. With over two centuries of history, cushion cuts remain a classic for engagement rings and jewelry wanting vintage flair. This guide covers everything you need to know about cushion cut diamonds.

History of Cushion Cut Diamonds

Cushion cuts trace their origins to old mine cuts in the 18th century. Mine cut diamonds had rounded sides, high crowns, and extra depth. These gave them a squarish pillow “cushion” shape.

As cutting techniques improved in the late 1800s, the modern cushion cut emerged. The cushion brilliant cut was designed with better light return through a balanced crown and pavilion.

Cushion cuts saw a revival in the early 2000s as couples sought vintage alternative diamond shapes. Their romantic look made them ideal for engagement rings.

Cushion Cut Faceting and Shape

The cushion cut fuses the square outline of an emerald with the brilliance of a round diamond. The open culet gives it a softer pillow-like shape.

Cut specifications:

  • Square outline with rounded corners
  • 58 facets
  • Shallow crown, deep pavilion
  • Large table
  • Length to width ratio of 1.00-1.05

Cushion diamonds require precision cutting to achieve ideal light performance. Well-made cushions exhibit a warm glow with pinpoints of rainbow sparkle accenting the center when viewed face-up.

Cushion Cut Diamond Quality

Cushion cut diamonds are graded using the same 4Cs criteria as other shapes:

  • Cut – Cushions rely on expert faceting for brilliance. Select Excellent or Very Good cut grade.
  • Clarity – VS2 or higher optimizes face-up clarity and sparkle.
  • Color – G-J color grades offer excellent value without visible warmth.
  • Carat – 0.50-1.50 ct. balances size with quality factors.

Cushions over 1 carat retain impressive spread area and highlight the square outline. Consider going just under size thresholds like 1 carat to maximize cut and clarity while lowering price.

Ideal Settings for Cushion Cut Diamonds

Cushion cuts pair elegantly with clean lines or delicate metalwork:

  • Solitaire - Four prong settings highlight the shape.
  • Side stones - Work well with tapered baguettes or trillion cuts.
  • Three stone - Stunning as centerpiece with two complementing side stones.
  • Halo setting - Softly outlines the cushion shape with pavé or micropavé diamonds.

Cushion cut rings evoke vintage romance with filigree detail. But more modern styles also suit the versatile cushion beautifully.

Cushion Cut Diamond Prices

Price ranges for 1 carat cushion cut diamonds:

  • D color, VVS2 clarity, Excellent cut - $7,200
  • G color, VS2 clarity, Very Good cut - $4,100
  • J color, SI1 clarity, Good cut - $2,600

The cushion shape commands a slight premium over other square cuts like Asscher or radiant, while offering similar brilliance.

Cushion Cut Diamond FAQs

How does the cushion cut's brilliance compare to other shapes?

Properly faceted cushion diamonds deliver exceptional light return similar to princess cuts and rounds. Cut quality is essential for maximizing fire.

Does a cushion diamond show more color than other shapes?

Cushions typically face up with very faint color. Hues are minimized compared to emerald cut. Near colorless G-J grades are ideal.

Do all cushion diamonds have a crushed ice effect?

Crushed ice faceting is optional. Cushions may exhibit scintillating high contrast patterns or a softer antique pillowed look depending on cutting style.

Should I choose a cushion or an asscher cut diamond?

Asscher has bolder facets. Cushion has softer brilliance. Pick Asscher for deco flair or cushion for romantic vintage appeal.

Can a cushion diamond ever have a bow tie?

Yes, well-cut cushion diamonds often exhibit a faint bow tie effect accented by rainbow sparkle at the center. Avoid dark or unsightly bow ties.

With its timeless beauty, subtle vintage vibe, and exceptional brilliance, the cushion cut is a unique architectural choice offering numerous styling possibilities. When artfully crafted, cushion diamonds radiate alluring light.

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