Cushion Cut Diamond

Cushion cut diamond is an antique diamond shape and its faceting pattern can be placed between Old Mine Cut (popular in late 19th and early 20th century) and modern oval diamond.

Cushion shaped diamond

What is Cushion Diamond?

Cushion cut has been into existence for more than one and half centuries now. From 1830 to 1919 (year of invention of modern round brilliant diamond design), cushion was the only shape in which diamonds were cut to default.

The traditional cushion diamonds had steep crown, large facets, small table, generally a big culet and very thin girdle (read more about diamond facets and parts of round brilliant cut).

Due to these features, cushion diamonds were not known for high brilliance and fire. Also, very thin girdle led to diamond getting damaged while setting in jewelry.

So in 1919, Belgian diamond cutter Marcel Tolkowsky developed modern round brilliant which had more fire and brilliance.

With the success of round brilliant, he incorporated angles of round brilliant into cushion to enhance the brilliance and durability of latter.

Facets Pattern

Cushion diamond has 58 brilliant (facets pattern that radiates from center to edge of diamond) style facets with facets pattern varying from traditional to modified version.

The brilliance (reflective property that signifies mirror-like shine) of cushion cut is less than round brilliant diamonds but its fire (refractive property that signifies splitting of white light into seven spectral colors) is comparatively more which is the unique feature of this shape.

Modern cushion diamonds have one of 3 basic pavilion facet patterns as shown in the images below. The GIA classifies the first two patterns as Cushion Brilliants and the third pattern is classified as a Modified Cushion Brilliant. Modified Cushion Brilliant has an extra row of facets just below the girdle.

As you can see in above images, crown facets pattern of traditional cushion brilliant (1st two images) is same as modified cushion brilliant (3rd image). Difference lies in pavilion facets pattern with modified brilliant cushion having a extra row of facets.

Now, you would be thinking what could be the reason behind modification of traditional pattern. Well, keeping extra row of facets in pavilion requires less cutting, thus more weight can be retained. Secondly, this faceting arrangement adds more sparkle to diamond.

Display of Fire

Cushion diamond does not have as much brilliance as modern round brilliant diamonds but its fire is extraordinary. Just like rose cut, you can see the mesmerizing beauty of traditional cushion cut at its best under low light or candlelight (as these cuts were designed before the invention of electricity when diamonds sparkled in candle light).

However, with the popularity of modern round brilliant diamonds, people started moving away from cushion diamonds because of its comparatively less sparkle. But, cushion again started gaining popularity after it was re-designed by Tolkowsky.

Modern cushion shaped diamond has 2 types of fire display.

  • Left Image: Diamond has large facets which create broader flashes of light.
  • Right Image: Facets are small with "crushed ice" or "needle like" pattern similar to radiant cut. This gives smaller burst of fire or "pin fire".

I would suggest to avoid excessively deep or excessively shallow cushion cut diamond, as it will not do justice to diamond’s fire.

Some cushion diamonds have large facets which make inclusions easily visible. So, lot of emphasis should be given on clarity and color of these type of stones, because even the slightest of imperfections or color ting is easily visible in large open facets.

Settings for Cushion Diamond

Cushion cut diamond looks good in many settings. It blends with antique setting as well as contemporary ones like pave. You can easily find ready cushion cut engagement rings at any jewelry store, or you can ask your jeweler as well to get it designed for you.

Below are the popular settings for cushion diamond:

  • Prong Setting: Cushion cut diamonds look beautiful in 4 prongs setting. In this setting, diamond appears elevated and thus attracts more light as compared to other settings.

Cushion Diamond 4 Prong Setting
Cushion Diamond - 4 Prong Setting
  • Side Stone Setting: You can choose to set your diamond with side stones. Oval, trilliant and princess shapes blend beautifully with this shape. However, I would suggest to not mixing too many shapes, as they may distract the observer’s eye to side stones from center stone. But, you can set your side stones in channel or pave setting so that they are subdued and do not steal attention from unique cushion diamond.
Cushion Diamond Side Stone Setting
Cushion Diamond - Side Stone Setting
  • Pave Setting: Pave setting is quite popular in the cushion cut engagement rings. Small round diamonds are set in the band in pave setting to compliment the unique shape of the centre cushion cut diamond.
Cushion Diamond Pave Setting
Cushion Diamond - Pave Setting

Antique Cushion Cut Engagement Rings

This shape was quite popular from 1830 to 1919 (year of invention of modern round brilliant). If you want to add classic flavor to cushion shape then you can get it set in an antique setting. One can find cushion shaped diamonds in jewelry designs of late 19th and early 20th century as well.

You can easily get vintage or antique cushion cut engagement rings in pawn shops and jewelry store selling estate jewelry.

Cushion Diamond Vintage Setting
Antique Cushion Engagement Ring

Cushion – The Most Popular Shape for Fancy Colored Diamonds

Cushion is the most preferred shape for fancy colored diamonds. This shape allows even display of color throughout the diamond, displaying the color at its best.

The infamous Blue Hope diamond is a cushion shaped stone. Initially, it was a heart shaped, but later on it was given cushion shape to make it more appealing. Its cut was described as "cushion antique brilliant with a faceted girdle and extra facets on the pavilion".

Cullinan ll (The Lesser Star of Africa), which is the 4th largest cut diamond in the world is also cushion shaped.

Is the Cushion Shape Diamond the Right Choice?

Price

Cushion diamonds are rare and are popular in rings and earrings. So, since supply is less and demand is increasing, these can be expensive.

Not available in small sizes

Being rare and not easily available in small sizes, you may find it difficult to get cushions with size less than 1 carat. So, if you are looking for smaller sized diamond then cushion diamond may not fit your requirement.

Romantic, Elegant and Unique

This shape has its unique romantic charm and classic look and stands out in crowd. So, if you want something that very few possess, then go for cushion.

Vintage

Rings with cushion cut diamonds were quite popular in late 19th and early 20th century and gaining popularity again in modern rings. So, if you want a vintage engagement ring then consider cushion cut engagement ring.

The cushion diamond gives an "old-world" charm. You can also customize your ring in vintage style according to your taste.

Celebrities’ Choice

Reality show "The Bachelor" highlighted a 2.07 carat cushion cut ring. This gave lot of exposure and attention to this cut which led to its sudden increase in demand.

Celebrities like Britney Spears have flaunted this beautiful classic shape from time to time. Dario Franchitti proposed to Ashley Judd with a 3 carat cushion cut diamond. Kelis the hip hop star wears a cushion cut diamond ring with two pink, heart shaped diamond.

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