Cushion cut diamonds are gorgeous and romantic. They also have a vintage feel, thanks to their popularity during the 18th century. The beauty and charm of cushion cut diamonds has made them one of the most popular diamond shapes today, though they’re still a more unique choice than the ultra-popular round brilliant diamond.
If you’re among those who appreciate the rare beauty of the cushion cut diamond, we have some tips you should know before you buy a cushion cut diamond. This list of top tips includes general tips about cushion cut diamonds and some specific tips on understanding cushion cut diamond qualities that will help you pick a cushion cut diamond you’ll love.
1. Know the Cut: What is A Cushion Cut Diamond?
Before you buy a cushion cut diamond, you should understand the definition of a cushion cut diamond. Cushion cut diamonds take their name from their shape: they look like a square with rounded corners, like a cushion does. Modern cushion cut diamonds are a blend of two other diamond shapes: they take their shape from the old mine cut, while their faceting pattern combines the old mine cut’s faceting pattern with the modern round brilliant’s cut faceting pattern.
Cushion cut diamonds are not to be confused with other squared shapes such as princess cut, asscher cut, and square radiant cuts. How do you tell the difference? Cushion cuts are the only squared shape that has curving, rounded edges. All these other shapes will be noticeably angular in a way cushion cut diamonds are not.
2. Cushion Cuts Have More Fire But Less Brilliance
A big advantage of cushion cut diamonds is their excellent fire, which is the rainbow light emitted from a diamond. They do, however, have a bit less brilliance than some other shapes, such as round brilliant diamonds, which means they don’t emit quite as much white sparkle. Cushion cut diamonds are still brilliant, just not as brilliant as some other shapes.
3. Cushion Cut Diamonds Are More Affordable
Cushion cut diamonds usually cost around 25% to 50% less than round diamonds of similar quality and carat.
4. Cushion Cut Diamonds Can Look Larger Than Round Diamonds
Some diamond shapes look larger per carat than round diamonds, due to how they’re cut and how their weight is spread over their surface area. Cushion cut diamonds are among these shapes— if they’re well cut, they usually look a bit bigger per carat than round diamonds due to their larger facets.
5. Understand Cushion Cut Diamond Ratio
Many cushion cut diamonds are completely square in proportion, so they have a 1 to 1 length-to-width ratio. However, cushion cut diamonds can have varying ratios that make them look either more square or more rectangular. For a more square-appearing cushion cut diamond, go for a ratio between 1.00 and 1.09. For a more rectangular cushion cut diamond, go for a ratio between 1.15 and 1.50.
There’s no “best” ratio for cushion cut diamonds. However, there is a most popular ratio range for cushion cut diamonds, which is 1.10 to 1.20.
6. Understand Cushion Cut Diamond Depth
The depth and table percentages of a cushion cut diamond can affect how well it reflects light. Experts generally recommend going with depth and table percentages under 70%.
7. Understand the 4Cs of Cushion Cut Diamonds
The 4Cs (carat, color, clarity, and cut) can tell you much about a diamond’s characteristics and quality. While experts generally would not recommend a best carat for a cushion cut diamond (carat is just a weight measurement, so there’s no “best” carat), they do have recommendations for the other three of the 4Cs:
Color: Choose H Color or Higher
Clarity: Choose SI1 or Better
Cut: Choose Very Good or Excellent
While you don’t have to adhere to these quality recommendations, know that most people prefer cushion cut diamonds with these qualities or better.