Colorless Diamonds > Cushion Cut

Cushion Cut
Cushion Cut
Cushion Cut Diamond Ring
Cushion Cut Diamond Ring.


Cushion Cut Diamond


Cushion cut diamonds combine the appeal of a square cut diamond but with soft, rounded edges, lending this shape a romantic feel. This timeless shape is derived from the old mine cut, and has been refined over hundreds of years. For the first century of its existence was the most popular diamond shape (similar to round cut today). Until the early 20th century, the cushion cut diamond was the de facto diamond shape. Cushion cut diamonds are a beautiful choice for any setting style.

One of the rarer and more unique choices, the cushion cut's large facets allow for great light dispersion, giving birth to a much larger range of spectral colors and making for a highly scintillating stone.

Cushion Cut Diamonds


The Basics


Also referred to as: PILLOW or CANDLELIGHT CUT


Cushion Cut Diamond Basics


Cushion Cut Quick Guide


Unique Features

Larger facets, light dispersive

Facets

Usually 58

L/W Ratio

1.00-1.05 (square) > 1.10 (rectangular)

Origin

19th Century

Expert Tip

Opt for modified brilliants with "crushed ice effect" if looking for more scintillation




Features



Cushion Cut Diamond Features

As its name suggests, a cushion cut is a square or rectangular shape with rounded corners that resemble a pillow. The cushion cut is usually comprised of 58 facets with a typical ratio of 1.00 to 1.05 for square shapes and 1.10 or greater for more rectangular ones. Although not as brilliant as round brilliants, cushion cuts have large facets allowing for a greater separation of white light into spectral colors.

The cushion cut may be described as a cross between the old mine cut and modern oval shape. As techniques and cutting styles have evolved over the years, several variations of the cushion cut have been developed, such as the Cushion Modified Brilliant which may have an extra row of facets on the pavilion that alter the look of the diamond.

These modified brilliants often have what is called the "sparkling water" or "crushed ice" effect, giving them greater scintillation. Other subtle alterations have also been introduced, such as adding symmetrical kite or half moon shaped facets to the pavilion and below the girdle (see Expert Advice below).

Expert Advice


Because of its extra facets, the cushion cut can disperse more light through the stone which serves to hide inclusions more efficiently, making it one of the most brilliant of all square and rectangular shaped stones. The Cushion cut diamond is also reknowned for hiding inclusions well.

Traditional cushion cut diamonds return light in a chunkier pattern than modern cuts. Combined with the enlarged culet (which was considered desirable for the pattern created when viewed through the table), this created a distinctive look that is prized today among dealers in antique diamonds.

Partially based on cut research initiated by Marcel Tolkowsky in the 1920's, refinements to cushion cut diamonds over time (such as shrinking the culet, enlarging the table, and improving cut angles for increased brilliance), have led to a resurgence in popularity. Many buyers are attracted to the antique feel combined with modern performance offered by the cushion cut.

The standards for cushion cut vary more than most other shapes, and personal taste will dictate choice. While generally less brilliant than round brilliant diamonds, cushion cut diamonds often have better fire, which is part of their appeal. Modern cushion cuts tend to have one of three basic pavilion facet patterns (see picture). The third pattern has an extra row of facets on the pavilion and is classified by GIA as a "modified" cushion cut. These modified cuts tend to have a "crushed ice" or needle like facet pattern, more similar to a radiant cut than a traditional cushion cut.


Cushion Cut Diamond Types


While the classic cushion cut diamond is a square (with a length to width ratio of 1.00), they are often found in slightly rectangular shapes as well. The most popular shape is a slight rectangle of 1.10-1.20 length to width, however personal preference should dictate choice.

The chart below serves as a general guideline for evaluating the cut of a cushion cut diamond:

Cushion Diamond - Cut Guide



Cushion Cut Excellent Very Good Good Fair Poor
Depth % 62 to 68 58 to 70 57 to 75 56 to 80 >56 or <79
Table % 58 to 65 56 to 70 54 to 75 53 to 79 >53 or <79
Symmetry Good to excellent Good to excellent Good to excellent Fair to Excellent Poor to Excellent
Polish Good to excellent Good to excellent Good to excellent Fair to Excellent Poor to Excellent
Girdle Very Thin - Sl Thick Very Thin - Sl Thick Very Thin to Thick Very Thin to Very Thick Ex. Thin to Ex. Thick
Culet None Very Small Small Medium > Medium
L/W Ratio Square 1.00 to 1.03 1.00 to 1.03 1.04 to 1.05 1.06 to 1.08 > 1.08
L/W Ratio Rectangle 1.15 to 1.20 1.10 to 1.30 1.10 to 1.30 1.08 to 1.50 < 1.08 or > 1.50


While the classic cushion cut diamond is a square (with a length to width ratio of 1.00), they are often found in slightly rectangular shapes as well. The most popular shape is a slight rectangle of 1.10-1.20 length to width, however personal preference should dictate choice.

Evaluating color in cushion cut diamonds is subjective. Keep in mind that many buyers may actually prefer the ever so slightly warmer colors of a G-H diamond over the cool colorlessness of a D-F diamond. In fact, most of the premium in price associated with cushion cut diamonds at the higher end of the color scale is driven by supply and demand; customers want the D-F color grades, and are willing to pay a premium to get them. In a world without diamond color grading, the price premium for higher grades would be much lower, as the actual differences in color are difficult to perceive. The color chart below provides a general guide for evaluating color in cushion cut diamonds:

Cushion Diamond - Color Guide



Cushion Cut Excellent Very Good Good Fair Poor
< .50 ct. D - G H - I J - K L - M > M
.51-1.0 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
Fluorescence None Faint - Med Strong Very Strong Very Strong


Like color, evaluating clarity in cushion cut diamonds is subjective. GIA provides excellent help with their clarity grades. Still, it is important to understand that each customer will have a unique standard for clarity. Some may be perfectly comfortable with an inclusion as long as they cannot easily see it. Others may insist on a more technically flawless appearance. The clarity chart below provides a general guide for evaluating clarity in cushion cut diamonds:

Cushion Diamond - Clarity Guide



Cushion Cut Excellent Very Good Good Fair Poor
< .50 ct. FL - VS2 SI1 - SI2 I1 I2 > I2
.51-1.0 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


History & Background



The cushion, pillow or candlelight cut was developed in the 19th century and has undergone several transformations and developments since. The cushion cut has especially benefited from the invention of cleaving as this process has helped to maximise the shape's light dispersion making it more dynamic and brilliant.

Cushion Cut Diamond History