What is a Cushion Cut Diamond? | The Diamond Reserve

What is a Cushion Cut Diamond?

Step aside, round brilliants and princesses, let’s dive into the captivating realm of cushion-cut diamonds, where timeless elegance meets a modern edge. Cushion cuts are a modified version of an antique diamond shape, the old mine cut, and have a timeless appeal with soft, rounded edges. These pillow-shaped beauties boast a unique charm that’s stolen the hearts of celebrities and jewelry enthusiasts alike. Let’s unravel the mystery of cushion cuts and discover why they deserve a place in your jewelry box.

What Makes a Cushion Cut So Captivating? 

The old mine cut is a square cut with rounded corners and 58 facets that dates back to the 1700’s in Brazil where most of the world’s diamond mining was taking place at that time. Brazilian stonecutters preferred the old mine cut because it maximized carat retention. Once diamonds were discovered in South Africa, the mines in Brazil became known as the “old mines,” hence the name of the cut that originated there.

Cushion cuts, with their rounded corners and slightly curved sides, have a rich heritage and rose to prominence in the 18th and 19th centuries, adorning pieces of the Georgian and Art Deco eras. Most stones in the nineteenth century were cut in this shape, much like the round cut today. Many of the world’s most famous diamonds are an early version of the cushion cut including the Hope and the Regent Diamond. Unlike their trendier counterparts, cushion cuts didn’t fade away, instead it evolved, adapting to contemporary preferences while retaining its classic appeal.

As diamond cutting technology, tools, and knowledge got better, so too did the quality and style of the resulting cuts. Partially based on cut research initiated by Marcel Tolkowsky in the 1920’s, refinements to cushion cut diamonds such as shrinking the culet, enlarging the table, and improving cut angles for increased brilliance, have led to a resurgence in popularity. Out of these developments rose the modern cushion cut diamond that incorporates the old cushion cut patterns together with aspects of the round brilliant diamond cut to create a uniquely lovely gemstone.

Designing a Ring With a Cushion Cut Diamond

The cushion cut is considered a “fancy shape” and has gained a lot of popularity over recent years for good reason. It has a high level of brilliance and fire, meaning it reflects white and colored light well. This squared cut has a ton of dispersion, so if you love colored flashes of light coming from a diamond, then this could be the perfect cut for your engagement ring. It’s also a popular cut, so you’ll likely find a large variety of stones available, and it’s less expensive per carat than brilliant round cut diamonds. Due to the rounded edges of the cut, it’s also a very durable option.

With their intricate faceting patterns, cushion cuts deliver impressive brilliance and fire, comparable to round brilliants. The light play creates a mesmerizing sparkle that dances across the diamond. Unlike the geometric precision of rounds or squares, cushion cuts offer a softer, more romantic silhouette, and their subtle curves add a touch of vintage charm and modern flair, making them ideal for those who crave something special. They shine in engagement rings, pendants, earrings, and any jewelry piece where you want a statement sparkle. 

This cut can be done in a square or elongated (rectangular) shape. Square-like cushions (1:1 ratio) offer a classic feel, while elongated versions (1:1.1 or higher) lend a modern touch. As for depth and table, aim for a depth between 60% and 68% and a table size below 65% for optimal brilliance and fire. The cushion also has three main styles of diamond faceting. 

  • Brilliant Cushion Cut Diamonds: in this cut the facets in the diamond’s pavilion originate in its center then extend outward toward the edge. These cuts have a distinct star-like appearance with an unmistakable sheen. They have larger facets than other cuts and look like a blend of a round-cut brilliant diamond with a cushion shape.
  • Crushed Iced Cushion Cut Diamonds: have a unique characteristic, their center looks like shattered glass. The facets on the bottom of the stone are smaller than the ones you’ll find on most cushion cut diamonds, and when arranged together, these facets bounce light off one another, giving crushed ice cushion cuts their special effect.
  • Modified Cushion Cut Diamonds: in this cut variation, the facets still originate in the pavilion, but they stop short of reaching the edge. Instead, a new row of facets appears at this outer edge, right below the girdle, resulting in a glittering flower shape, rather than a star shape like the brilliant cushion cut produces. 

Whether you’re drawn to their vintage elegance or contemporary sparkle, cushion-cut diamonds offer a unique and captivating option.  Cushion cut diamonds truly look amazing in all types of settings. A cushion cut diamond can also be a surprising centerpiece to a modern take on a three-stone ring. We would love to show you different cushion cuts under various lighting conditions to truly appreciate their brilliance and fire.

Diamonds are more than just a sparkly accessory, they’re an expression of your personality and style. You can be certain that whatever diamond you choose will have a unique and stunning appearance that you’ll be admiring for decades to come. Give us a call at 303-385-8449 or click here to schedule an appointment.