Your Cushion Cut Diamond Guide

    Whether your lusting after a cushion cut engagement ring or plotting a cushion cut present to yourself, you're in the right place to find your perfect cushion cut diamond! Keep reading for:

    • What is a cushion cut diamond?

    • The pros and cons of cushion cut diamonds

    • How to choose a cushion cut diamond - the 4Cs

    • Cushion cut Q & A

    • Cushion cut diamonds vs round brilliant, radiant cut, and princess cut

    • The most famous cushion cut engagement rings

    What is a Cushion Cut Diamond?

    A modern version of the old mine cut diamond, a cushion cut diamond is a square or rectangular shape with rounded, pillow-esque edges - hence the name 'cushion'. A blend between a round brilliant and a princess cut diamond, cushion cuts have a soft, vintage vibe that's hard to resist. This cut has been around for 200 years and were the most popular shape for the first 100 years of their diamond reign.

    types of cushion cut diamonds

    Standard and Modified Brilliant Cushion Cuts

    Cushion cut diamonds may be labelled as a "standard cushion cut" or a "modified cushion cut". The standard cushion is the original cushion cut, and the modified cushion is the newer version (invented in the 1920s) with more facets added below the girdle.

    champagne cushion cut diamond

    Champagne cushion cut diamond

    So what's the difference between standard cushion cut and modified cushion cut? Truthfully, not much. They're both considered cushion cuts and they look almost identical to the untrained eye.

    "Chunky" vs "crushed ice" cushion cut diamonds

    Cushion cut diamonds have two distinct looks when it comes to their facet pattern: "chunky" and "crushed ice".

    A "chunky" cushion cut diamond has clearly defined facets and looks similar to the facet pattern on a round brilliant diamond.

    A "crushed ice" cushion cut diamond has no clearly defined facets and has a more haphazard broken-ice look with an all-over glitter.

    Why We Love cushion Cut Diamonds

    cushion cut diamonds are the fieriest of all diamonds

    Of all the diamond cuts, cushion cut diamonds have the most fire - those magical flashes of colored light that give a diamond its unmistakeable hypnotism.

    cushion cust diamonds have incredible fire and brilliance

    so many options to choose from

    Cushion cuts are like 6 different cuts in one! You can choose from square vs rectangular, chunky vs crushed ice, and standard vs modifed cushion cuts - it's the choice-lover's dream diamond.

    cushion cut diamonds are less expensive

    Despite their stunning cushiony magic, cushion cuts are less expensive than round brilliant diamonds of the same carat weight and quality. Since they're rising in popularity however, the prices may continue to rise - making them a great investment.

    Why Are cushion Cuts less expensive?

    The cushion cuts uses more of the rough diamond when cutting - that means less diamond wasted and a lower price for you. Not to mention, cutting down on waste speaks to our sustainbility-minded souls!

    cushion cut diamonds are less expensive

    cushion cut diamonds are ultra-durable

    The rounded corners on a cushion cut diamond are for more than just looks - those soft-sided edges prevent damage that can happen with sharp-edged diamonds like princess cut or emerald cut diamonds.

    So, if you're especially active or unavoidably accident-prone, a cushion cut may be the diamond for you!  

    A cushion cut diamond is a unique choice

    Even though they've been around forever, a cushion cut diamond is still the diamond-less-chosen. They make up less than 1% of all diamonds cut, making them a super unique and unexpected option that we love.


    cushion cuts show color more than other shapes

    Color differences are more obvious in cushion cuts than other diamond shapes, so if you're looking for a white diamond, you'll have to move up the color scale slightly vs other cuts.

    Cushion cuts show inclusions more

    Imperfections are easier to see in a cushion cut diamond's open table (top). That means you'll want to choose a higher clarity grade to get an eye-clean diamond vs other diamond cuts.

    Cushion cuts look smaller for their carat weight

    Because they're a taller cut, more of the diamond lives below the girdle, meaning it looks smaller from the top view vs other diamond shapes. That means you'll choose a higher carat weight for the same amount of finger coverage you'd get with other diamond cuts.

    How to choose a cushion cut diamond - the 4Cs

    cushion cut diamond - clarity

    Clarity is a measure of imperfections in a diamond. Unless you're on team salt & pepper diamond, you want an eye-clean diamond - that means no inclusions are visible to the naked eye. Keep in mind, inclusions may still be visible under magnification, but not to the unaided eye.

    Because of their open table, cushion cut diamonds show inclusions more than some other diamond cuts. So, you'll want to opt for a higher clarity grade vs other diamond shapes. Keep in mind though, the goal is to find an eye-clean diamond at the lowest possible clarity grade so you're not paying for stats you can't see.

    This also varies depending on the type of cushion cut you're after - a crushed ice cushion cut will hide inclusions much more than a chunky cushion cut.

    The GIA clarity scale

    • Flawless (FL) - No inclusions or blemishes can be seen with 10× magnification

    • Internally Flawless (IF) - No inclusions (but some blemishes) can be seen with 10x magnification

    • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) - Inclusions are difficult to see under 10× magnification

    • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) - Minor inclusions can be seen under 10x magnification

    • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) - Noticeable inclusions under 10x magnification

    • Included (I1, I2, and I3) - Obvious inclusions under 10× magnification

    cushion cut diamond - color

    Diamonds are graded for color from D (colorless) to Z (champagne tones) by the GIA.

    Cushion cut diamonds show color differences more than other cuts, so all other factors considered, you'll want to choose a higher color grade for the same hue of diamond.

    Keep in mind though, diamond color is highly subjective, so worry less about the stats and pick what speaks to you - whether that's an icy white diamond or a golden champagne stunner.

    cushion cut diamond - cut

    'Cut' is the most important "C" of all - it's what really determines a diamond's appeal. Like all fancy cut diamonds, the GIA doesn't give cushion cuts an overall cut grade like they do with round brilliant diamonds. They do provide a few helpful stats that can narrow down your options, but ultimately, it's about choosing the diamond you love!

    Below are some cut recommendations for cushion cut diamonds to use as a starting point. These numbers are a good base to find a sparkling, well-cut cushion diamond.

    • Depth: Under 70%
    • Table: Under 70%
    • Polish/Symmetry: Good, Very Good, or Excellent
    • Length/Width Ratio: Whatever proportions you love!

    cushion cut diamond Shape

    Cushion cut diamonds have so much shape variation - they vary from almost circular to rounded squares to round-edged rectangles. The most popular shape is somewhere in the middle with rounded edges and subtley curved sides. A GIA report won't tell you anything about shape though, it's all about what looks right to you - trust your intuition!

    Length-to-Width Ratio for cushion cut diamonds

    If you're overwhelmed and need some help narrowing down shapes, look at length-to-width ratio:

    elongated cushion cut diamond

    Rectangular cushion cuts (aka elongated cushion cuts) are generally their most aesthetic at a L/W of 1.1 to 1.20. Rectangular cushions usually look larger for their carat weight, so keep that in mind if you're a bigger-is-better diamond stan.

    Square cushion cut diamond

    For square cushion cut diamonds, the most favored L/W ratio is between 1 to 1.05.

    How to choose a cushion cut diamond: summary

    1. Begin with cut - start with depth and table percentages under 70% and polish/symmetry rated very good or better.

    2. For colorless diamonds, start your search with H grade diamonds and then pick what looks best to you. If you're choosing a yellow gold, rose gold, or peach gold setting, you can usually choose a lower color grade.

    3. Choose the lowest clarity grade that still looks eye-clean.

    4. Choose a diamond based on the look rather than the stats - especially with fancy cut diamonds, the stats do not tell the full (or even half of the) story.
    5. As always, your best bet to find the diamond of your dreams: consult an expert jeweler who speaks fluent diamond-ese - we will do the vetting for you and present you with the best of the best in your budget! Bonus: we know where to skimp and splurge to find the most beautiful, glittering, well-cut diamond. Book a free consult anytime to talk diamonds!

    Cushion cut engagement ring

    Cushion cut diamonds vs radiant cut diamonds

    Cushion Cut Diamond vs Radiant Cut

    Cushion cuts and radiant cuts look similar but have a few key differences:

    • Both are very durable: with beveled edges on a radiant cut and rounded corners on a cushion cut, both shapes are very durable and chip-resistant.
    • Radiant cuts have more brilliance: that means they give off more white light. Cushion cuts are still very brilliant, however.
    • Cushion cuts stop the charts for fire - that means they give off more colored light.
    • Shape appeal: cushion cuts have a softer, more vintage tufted-cushion vibe with their rounded outline, and radiant cuts give off a more dramatic, angular energy. In the end, it's all about which stone feels like you!
    radiant cut diamonds vs cushion cut diamonds

    Princess cut diamonds vs cushion cut diamonds

    Cushion Cut Diamond vs Princess Cut

    A square cushion cut can look similar to a princess cut, but there are a few key aspects to consider:

    • Rounded vs pointed: cushion cut diamonds have rounded edges whereas princess cuts have pointed edges. Because the corners are often hidden behind a setting, the difference comes down to durability - cushion cuts are more durable without those pointed tips.
    • Princess cut diamonds are more popular: princess cuts come in second in the popularity contest after round brilliant cuts - so if you're looking for a lesser-chosen option, cushion cuts may be for you.
    • Princess cut and cushion cut are pretty comparable in price, fire, and brilliance. Mostly it comes down to which stone you personally prefer!

    How to choose between princess cut and cushion cut diamonds

    If you love a princess cut diamond, but could use some extra durability, a cushion cut diamond may be the answer.

    princess cut diamonds vs cushion cut diamonds

    round brilliant cut diamonds vs cushion cut diamonds

    Cushion Cut Diamond vs Round Cut

    How to choose between a cushion cut and a round cut diamond? A few key difference to keep in mind:

    • Round brilliant diamonds are perfectly circular whereas cuhion cuts are square with rounded corners.
    • Cushion cuts are significantly less expensive than round brilliant diamonds.
    • Round cuts are the most popular diamond shape, so if you're looking for uniqueness, choose a cushion cut diamond. If you'd rather a tried and true, the round brilliant may be for you!
    • Round cut diamonds are more brilliant than all other diamonds shapes, so if you can't get enough glitter, the round cut may be your match. Cushion cuts are still incredibly brilliant, however.
    round brilliant cut diamonds vs cushion cut diamonds

    your cushion cut diamond questions answered

    Are cushion Cut Diamonds Rare?

    Yes! Cushion cut diamonds make up only about 1% of diamonds cut worldwide - we won't lie, that's one of the top reasons why we love them.

    Salt & Pepper cushion cut diamond ring

    are cushion cut diamonds more expensive?

    Cushion cuts are much less expensive than round cut diamonds of the same carat weight and quality.  

    is cushion cut diamond a good cut?

    Cushion cut diamonds are a unique yet timeless cut that give off an idyllic, romantic energy that's as irrestible today as it was a hundred years ago.

    Our favorite setting for a cushion diamond

    While your setting is entirely up to your personal preference, our favorite setting for a cushion cut diamond is a sleek and forever chic 4-claw prong setting. It lets the diamond have center stage and allows the most light to pass through for that can't-stop sparkle.

    Our second favorite: a cushion cut halo engagement ring. A halo setting makes the center diamond appear larger, so if you're looking for the most finger coverage for less budget, you may love a halo!

    The most famous cushion cut engagement rings

    The biggest cushion cut engagement ring this world has ever seen is Kim Kardashian's 20-carat cushion cut diamond ring from Kanye West. It was set in a simple but chic compass 4-prong setting with a diamond pavé band.

    Gossip girl here - Adam Brody proposed to Leighton Meester with a 4-carat, bezel set cushion cut engagement ring in rose gold. Blair Waldorf would approve.

    Sofia Vergara said yes to John Manganiello with a 7-carat cushion cut halo engagement ring whose sparkle can be seen from space.

    And maybe the most simple but striking setting is Gabrielle's Union 8.5 carat cushion cut diamond ring from Dwayne Wade set in a minimalistic but magical 4-prong setting. That stone needs no distractions!

    Thinking of creating your own cushion cut diamond ring? Book a free consult with us to talk designs!

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