Cushion Cut Diamond Engagement Ring: Top 10 Purchasing Tips
kim kardashian cushion cut diamond engagement ring

Best tips to purchase a cushion cut diamond engagement ring. When Kim Kardashian flashed her 2013 cushion cut diamond engagement ring, everyone was in awe. The 15-carat ring is a true work of art. And there is a fascinating history and technique behind the making of such an extravagant piece of jewelry.

kim kardashian diamond cushion cut engagement ring

Image via Steven Stone 

The cushion cut diamond is a stunning and timeless shape that has been around for centuries. Cushion cut diamond engagement rings are the epitome of luxury because they offer brilliance and sparkle, and make an unforgettable statement.

Let's dig into the history of this luxurious diamond cut and what makes a perfect cushion cut diamond engagement ring. 

The Evolution from the Old Mine Cut to the Cushion Cut

The history of cushion cut diamonds is a long one, spanning over two centuries and changing drastically over that time. It goes all the way back to the 1700s when Brazil and India were the two main diamond suppliers. Diamonds sourced from these countries had an "old mine cut."

Later, all diamonds with this cut were known by this name irrespective of their sources. The original old mine cut features a square shape with rounded corners and 58 facets. The cut was highly popular from the early eighteenth to the early twentieth century. 

sketch of an antique cushion (old mine) cut diamond

Image by Diamondgalaxy via ShutterStock

The old mine cut diamonds used to look bright and brilliant even in dim lights, which was the primary reason for their soaring popularity. Utilizing the same but improved technique, the modern cushion cut style was born. 

With modern cutting tools and upgraded faceting methods, the new cutting style brings more sparkle and fire to diamonds. Compared to the older method, this style adopts techniques such as a larger table facet and lower crown. 

Some famous gemstones with this cut include the Tiffany yellow diamond, Logan sapphire and the Hope diamond. The most iconic engagement ring styles are in Tiffany's Legacy Collection

the hope diamond

Image via newyorkloan.com 

Nowadays, cushion cut diamond engagement rings are common because their beauty is timeless and classic. They're also great for side stones in wedding sets because they allow more of the sparkle to show through than other shapes, and you can still get a large look without sacrificing quality.

The Fascinating Shape Variations of Cushion Cuts

The cushion cut diamond engagement ring has grown in popularity because it's more affordable than other cuts like marquise or pear shapes, and yet still looks beautiful when set into jewelry.

pear shape diamond ring

Image via Graff

When it comes to the specific cut for this style, the world is your oyster. It's so versatile that there is no standard cut. There is a world of overwhelming possibilities, but jewelers still stick to a couple of popular variations:

The Old Mine Cut or Antique Cushion

This is the earliest form of cushion cut and among the most coveted in antique jewelry. All rough stones were shaped by hand to ensure high quality. The result was a deep diamond with geometric facetsThe word "cushion" refers to the shape of the faceting style, which is designed to maximize light return by keeping a high crown and deep pavilion.

The Brilliant Cushion

brilliant cushion cut diamond engagement ring

Image via Graff

The brilliant cut was created to add more sparkle, allowing for optimal fire and brilliance. It's a premium cut that features bigger but fewer facets, which maximize the light return. The most popular shape for a brilliant cushion diamond is elongated. However, some people like the square shape too. 

 

The Modified Cushion Cut

Featuring an extra facet row, this is the most popular cut style in modern times. It has two types:

Crushed Ice

crushed ice cushion cut moissanite engagement ring

Image by Foreverforlove via Etsy

Featuring shortened star facets, diamonds with this cut are highly popular. Resembling the appearance of pounded ice, these stones are bottom-heavy. Despite having the same carat size, they look slightly smaller than a hybrid or brilliant cushion diamond.  

Hybrid

diamond hybrid cut engagement ring

Image via Miadonna

This is a new addition to the world of cushion cut diamond engagement ring. It's called hybrid because of mixing the facet patterns of brilliant cushion and crushed ice styles. The mixed-style facets are ingeniously incorporated into four-star facets. Just like a brilliant cushion cut diamond, these hybrid stones appear bigger than their caret size. 

The Right Length to Width Ratio: Elongated vs Square

Is there any difference between an elongated and a square cushion cut diamond engagement ring? Yes, they are both beautiful, but each one has its own unique characteristics that set it apart from the other type. 

Let's start with the most obvious difference: shape. Elongated diamonds have a regular cushion cut in a rectangular framework. Square ones form a pillow-like design with rounded angles. 

popular diamond shapes

Image by Diamondgalaxy via ShutterStock

A cushion cut diamond with a perfect square shape will have a 1:1 ratio of L/W. This ratio will be between 1:2 and 1:1.5 for elongated diamonds. 

How do you make the decision between an elongated and a square cut diamond ring? It's all about personal preference! The best way to decide is to try both on and see which one looks better.

The price of for an elongated and square cushion cut diamond engagement ring will be the same if the cut, clarity, color and carat are all the same. 

The Best Cushion Cut Diamond Color: What Matters Most

cushion cut halo diamond engagement ring

Image via Tiffany

Cushion cut diamond engagement rings are gorgeous with lots of sparkle and shine, which makes them both elegant and fun. But the beauty and price depend on the color along with the clarity and cut. Which color grade should you pick?

D, E and F Grades

A diamond in this grade is almost colorless, so it looks good with any shade of ring color. Whether you have a yellow, white or rose gold ring, diamonds of these grades will shine the brightest. However, they will be the most expensive of all grades. 

tiffany novo cushion diamond cut engagement ring

Image via Tiffany

G, H, I, and J Grades

For cushion cut diamonds, go for color grades H or higher, which are almost colorless. These grades may have a yellow tint but these are almost unnoticeable. 

There is a significant price jump from one grade to another. H grades offer a balance between quality and price. Its color palette goes well with a white gold ring and matches even better with rose or yellow gold rings. 

twisting cushion halo diamond engagement ring

Image via Blue Nile 

For a lower budget, go for the I or J color grade. These diamonds still have a white enough look to match well with most ring shades. If your ring is yellow or rose gold, a J or even K (faint yellow) color grade will look quite good.

However, don't go beyond the H grade if the budget allows. Lower-grade diamonds have a poor light returning capacity, making them look like they have a black cavity in the middle. 

The Best Clarity for Cushion Cut Diamond Engagement Rings 

icon cushion cut diamond engagement ring

Image via Graff

Diamond clarity is one of the main factors that determine the price. How to determine the clarity? Look for inclusions, fractures and blemishes. 

Diamonds with imperfections are still real diamonds but fall into a lower grade. Many people are not aware that diamonds have natural blemishes that can be seen with the naked eye.

These blemishes may include dark spots, black crystals or clouds, which are all seen in the diamond’s surface or cut. These naturally occurring blemishes are formed when impurities are trapped within the diamond during its formation under high pressure and temperature.

cushion cut diamond engagement rings

Image by Diamondgalaxy via ShutterStock

Inclusions are natural imperfections within a diamond that may appear as tiny dark spots or lines inside the stone. Fractures are deep cracks running through most or all of a diamond's interior structure. Diamonds with fewer imperfections are of a higher grade and therefore more expensive.

Diamond clarity is a grading system to indicate the number of inclusions present inside a diamond. There are 11 grades of clarity: 

  • Flawless (F) 
  • Internally Flawless (IF) 
  • Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2)
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2)
  • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) 
  • Included (I1, I2, and I3).

The Slightly Included clarity is the best option if you are looking for a balance between budget and quality. Under 10x magnification, these blemishes will only be noticeable to expert eyes. Going for a higher clarity grade will cost significantly more money.

Blemishes, whether minor or noticeable, indicate a diamond's authenticity. A mint diamond is incredibly rare and highly expensive. A flawless diamond is probably fake, like a cubic zirconia that features no imperfections. 

The Pros and Cons of Cushion Cut Diamond Engagement Rings

The cushion cut diamond features a beautiful and timeless shape that has been around for centuries. It's the perfect balance of classic and contemporary, with just enough edge to make it glamorous.

diamond cushion cut engagement ring

Image by Simplybridall via Etsy

Pros of Cushion Cut Diamonds

Versatile 

The cushion cut is one of the most versatile cuts available as it can be set into almost any style ring or piece of jewelry with ease. Available in both square and rectangular shapes, it has modified cut versions to suit different tastes.

Cheaper than round diamonds  

Cushion cut diamonds are much cheaper than round ones. If you are on a budget, a cushion cut ring would be a better option than the diamond alternatives, like moissanite. Of course, a moissanite ring will still be half the price but a diamond is better in all aspects.

Unique look

cushion cut diamond double halo engagement ring with pink diamonds

Image via Tiffany 

Such diamonds are versatile, allowing you to pair them with different settings and designs. It's also easy to reset a cushion cut ring whether you are a fan of the halo design or want to add more gemstones. 

Longer and leaner 

Because the light reflects off the sides, cushion cut diamonds tend to appear longer and leaner from a face-up view. This, in turn, elongates your finger nicely. 

Excellent at retaining colors  

This cut is great for colored diamonds since it does an excellent job of retaining color and clarity. The larger facets are best for highlighting colors. 

Brilliant sparkle

halo diamond engagement ring for 1 50 carat cushion cut

Image via Shane Co

Cushion cut diamonds are known for their extraordinary brilliance and fire. This means that they capture a great deal of light in the stone, which creates an amazing sparkle when you wear your ring.

Making for a beautiful engagement ring 

The cushion cut may not be the number one choice for an engagement diamond now, but it used to be! Many of our grandparents and great-grandparents had their hearts set on a cushion shaped diamond. If you fancy something unique, a mix of vintage and modern styles, a cushion cut should be your go-to choice. 

Cons of Cushion Cut Diamonds 

More visible imperfections

One of the biggest cons is that it will show more flaws than other cuts. This happens because of its open table and broader faceting design. To avoid this, make sure to get one with excellent clarity if your budget allows. 

Retain colors

While it's mostly a good thing, there are downsides of color retention. Even some higher-grade cushion cut diamonds show some yellow tints. 

The elongated shape is rare

Cushion cut diamonds are available in elongated and square shapes. While the second type is readily available, a top-grade elongated one is rather hard to find.

 

FAQs about Cushion Cut Diamonds

How do I choose a cushion cut diamond?

The 4 main things you should consider are the clarity, the color, the cut and the size of the diamond. Consider how clear the diamond is and whether it has tints of other colors. Some low-quality stones may have too many blemishes and dark spots. Also, the cut has to be perfect to capture the maximum brilliance. 

Is a cushion cut diamond good?

Yes. A top-grade cushion cut stone can provide the best possible brilliance, scintillation and fire. Although the quality of diamond jewelry depends on several things, a well-cut diamond always comes with a high price tag. 

How much does a 2 carat cushion cut diamond ring cost?

The average cost of a 2 carat cushion cut diamond ring could range from $9,000 to $20,000, depending on your preferred style and where you buy it. The actual price is often dependent on the quality of the 4Cs - cut, color, clarity and carat weight.

Which diamond shape sparkles the most?

Round brilliant diamonds are the most sparkly of all shapes due to how their facets are cut. This particular style features 58 facets, ensuring the highest brilliance. The brilliant cushion is also sparkly but falls short of its round counterpart because of having larger, fewer facets.

Are cushion cut diamonds trendy?

With a rich history going back over 200 years, cushion cut diamonds are still going strong in terms of popularity. There have been some brief moments of ebbing demands but the style has always bounced back. In modern days, cushion cut diamond engagement rings are winning the hearts of many jewelry enthusiasts around the world.

Is a cushion cut diamond more expensive?

The most expensive diamonds are the round cut ones. It's because the loss percentage is higher when cutting a rough stone into a round shape. Cushion cut variations tend to be at least 25% less expensive than the round stones. 

What is the best color for a cushion cut diamond?

The best color for a cushion cut diamond is the colorless variety. However, these top-grade diamonds come with top prices, so you should stick to the grade H or G. These variations come with a yellow tint. 

What is a good ratio for a cushion cut diamond?

Square cushion diamonds are widely popular and readily available. The ideal ratio for this type is 1:1, but you may also end up with a slightly disproportionate stone such as 1:1.1. On the other hand, the rarer elongated diamonds are available in various ratios - mostly between 1:2 and 1:1.5.

Which diamond cut is most expensive?

Diamond cutters are experts in the craft of cutting diamonds, and one of their most important considerations is how much light the diamond will reflect. The most expensive diamond cut is the round brilliant cut, which captures and reflects the most amount of light for both brilliance and fire. This makes this cut perfect for a center stone in an engagement ring.