What Is a Cushion Cut Diamond?
Did you know that perhaps the world’s most famous diamond, the Hope diamond, is a cushion-cut diamond? Straight up. If you want to see the stunning blue diamond yourself, you can head on down to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and take a peep.
The cushion-cut diamond is one of the latest trends for diamond rings and diamond jewelry. Meghan Markle’s cushion-cut engagement ring perhaps started the trend, and many celebrities this year have also chosen this special cut. The cushion-cut diamond is known for its antique look, which has a rich history and lavish appearance.
That said, there’s more to diamond cut shapes than meets the eye. The different diamond shapes have their own histories, skill levels for cutting them, and properties that can affect the overall appearance of diamond jewelry.
Some people are calling the cushion cut “the new old classic.” Do you agree, or beg to differ? To help you decide, we’ve put together a guide on the popularity, appearance, history, diamond buying tips, and style guide for cushion cut-shaped diamonds.
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Cushion Cut Diamond Definition
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What is a cushion cut diamond? The definition of a cushion cut diamond (or “old mine cut” diamond) is a diamond cut in the shape of a square with rounded corners. This shape resembles a pillow, hence the name.
Cushion-cut diamonds have a luxurious appearance that’s also modern. They can add a personalized touch to any engagement ring, making it look unique. It also has a look that’s pretty antique, making it great for vintage ring styles. This is because the cushion-cut diamond was popular before the 20th century, when other diamond shapes, in particular the round-cut diamond, became more popular.
The origins of cushion cut diamonds make them one of the oldest diamond cuts—the cushion cut was invented back in the 1700s. At this time, most of the world’s diamonds came from Brazil, after the diamond minds in India began to decline.
There are three types of cushion-cut diamonds: the old mine cut, the cushion modified cut, and the cushion brilliant cut.
Old Mine Cut
The cushion-cut we know of today is actually a modern variation of an ancient diamond cut, which was called the “Old Mine Cut.” Brazilian diamond cutters preferred the Old Mine Cut because they could use it on rough diamonds in their mines without losing too much of the diamond’s precious carats.
Besides the Hope diamond, there’s another world-famous cushion-cut diamond out there. The Regent Diamond, or “Pitt Diamond”, is a legendary 410-carat diamond from India. It features the Old Miner style of cushion cut and dates back to 1701. Many famous people have worn the Regent diamond, including Marie Antoinette.
Cushion Modified Cut
The most popular modern cushion-cut diamond is called the “cushion modified.” It features an extra row of cut facets, which make it look like crushed ice. This cut is really popular because it can make diamond flaws look more pleasant. Inclusions “on the rocks,” you could say.
The Old Mine cut had 58 facets, while the modern cushion has 64 facets. This makes the modified cushion more sparkly than the Old Mine Cut cushion.
Cushion Brilliant Cut
Another modern cushion-cut diamond, the cushion brilliant is hard to find. It features larger and fewer facets than the cushion modified, which provides a greater degree of brilliance and sparkle. The shape is slightly elongated compared to the other cushion cuts.
Being a lot rarer than the cushion-modified cut, the cushion brilliant cut is often more expensive. It requires extra skill to cut this shape. It may be difficult to find this type of cushion-cut diamond since it’s not particularly popular, either.
The fancy colored yellow Allnatt Diamond (pictured), which features a cushion cut, is another famous diamond that’s one of the most expensive diamonds in the world.
What Does a Cushion-Cut Diamond Look Like?
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Besides looking like a sparkly pillow, the cushion-cut diamond’s appearance can fall into two categories: “crushed ice” cushion cuts and “chunky” cushion cuts.
Cracked ice vs. chunky cushion cut diamond difference:
- “Crushed ice” (radiant) cushion-cut diamonds are recognizable by lacking defined facets when gazing at their table. Instead of facets, you will see the appearance of broken glass/crushed ice that sparkles in the light. This is similar to a radiant cut diamond, as well as marquise cuts, and pear-cut diamonds.
- “Chunky” (brilliant) cushion-cut diamonds are recognizable by their clearly defined pattern of facets, which you can see when looking down into the face of the diamond, into its table. The facets are more symmetrical than the crushed-ice cushions. These are also called “antique” cushion cuts, despite being newer than the Old Miner Cut cushion shape.
The most popular type of cushion-cut style is the crushed-ice cushion diamond. The “chunky” cushions have a cut similar to round diamonds.
Round Cut vs. Cushion Cut Diamonds
Cushion cut-diamonds are often described as as “fancy shaped diamonds.” This is a gemologist’s term for pretty much any diamond shape that isn’t round.
Both round-cut diamonds and cushion-cut diamonds can come in a radiant cut. This is what gives cushion-cut diamonds the “cracked ice” look. Radiant cuts provide the “crushed ice” look and brilliant cuts provide the clean-cut appearance of “chunky” cushions and round diamonds.
The 58 facets of a cushion-cut diamond are larger, which makes them slightly less sparkly than round-cut diamonds. Larger facets show inclusions more easily—inclusions will be more noticeable in “chunky” or brilliant-cut cushion diamonds than “crushed ice” or radiant-cut cushion diamonds.
In terms of style differences, brilliant-cut diamonds and cushion-cut diamonds are significantly different. Round cut diamonds are the most popular diamond shape—they’re not considered unique in their cut alone. If you want the most traditional diamond ring you can possibly get, round-cut diamonds are the best choice for you.
Cushion-cut diamonds are known for their vintage style. Their shape features intriguing lines and elegantly soft curves around the edges. This makes them look quite romantic—they’re a good diamond shape for a meaningful engagement ring. For those who love vintage styles, or if you’re looking for engagement ring styles that combine antique and modern design, cushion cuts are a good choice.
The brilliance, or scintillation, of a diamond, is affected by its cut. The brilliance of cushion-cut diamonds is distinct from round-cut diamonds. Both diamonds have stunning brilliance, but round-cut diamonds are without a doubt the sparkliest shape for a diamond.
Here the different types of diamond cut grades and how they affect the scintillation and fire in a diamond.
- Shallow Cut: When a diamond is shallow, the light is lost out the sides and the diamond loses its captivating brilliance.
- Deep Cut: When a diamond is cut deep, the light escapes out the bottom and the diamond appears dark.
- Ideal Cut: The ideal cut allows the light to travel freely through the diamond and exit in a rainbow of sparkles.
When cushion-cut diamonds have an ideal cut (all of our diamonds here at ItsHot.com feature an ideal cut), they can display exceptional brilliance as well, and the most fire out of any shape. So if you like the color display in a diamond’s luster, cushion-cut diamonds are a good choice.
Cushion-cut diamonds are one of the cheaper diamond shapes. Round cut diamonds are the most expensive diamond shape overall. Cushion-cut diamonds are about 25% cheaper than round diamonds.
For example, here is how cushion-cut diamond price compares to round-cut diamond price:
- 2.01-carat cushion-cut diamond (Color: F, Clarity: SI2): $11,939
- 2.01-carat round-cut diamond (Color: F, Clarity: SI2): $14,209
Both loose diamonds have the same carat weight, color, and clarity grades. However, the cushion-cut diamond is a couple of thousand dollars cheaper than the round-cut diamond.
In general, these are the most expensive diamond shapes per carat:
- Round Brilliant
In general, these are the cheapest diamond shapes per carat:
As the Brazilian miners discovered back in the 1700s—you lose a higher percentage of the rough diamond when cutting a round shape vs cushion shape diamond.
Cushion-Cut Diamond Popularity
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The cushion-cut has become much more popular over the last few years, due to its elegant design and unique appearance. The round-cut diamond still remains the most popular diamond cut due to that shape having the most brilliance.
It’s likely that the popularity of cushion-cut diamonds is rising due to the new trends for antique diamond jewelry, unique engagement ring styles, and more affordable engagement rings. The cushion-cut diamond is one of the favorite diamond cuts for celebrity engagement rings.
Basketball player Kevin love proposed to Kate Bock with a unique antique engagement ring featuring an old European cushion-cut diamond of about four carats, with an estimated value of $175,000. It features smaller accent diamonds around the cushion-cut diamond center.
In 2021, Rikki Lake received a cushion-cut diamond engagement ring. Sofia Vergara, Karlie Kloss, Priyanka Chopra, Bar Refaeli, Gabrielle Union, Courtney Stodden, Kayla Itsines, and Meghan Markle (one of our famous ItsHot customers) are some examples of other celebrities with cushion-cut engagement rings.
Who Are Cushion Cut Diamond Rings For?
If you’re trying to decide which diamond cut shape is for you, the cushion cut may be your ideal engagement ring diamond shape if you like the elegance of vintage jewelry styles, and unique design elements that are really in style right now.
Furthermore, if you have an appreciation for gemstone history, or you’re fond of the Renaissance, the cushion cut may be for you. Cushion-cut diamonds might be a great engagement ring idea if you have Brazilian ancestry, Indian, or French, due to its historical connections.
The cushion-cut diamond might just be the new old classic, as they say. It’s a lavish-looking diamond that captures the imagination of the beholder. A medley of ancient history and modern fashion, the cushion-cut diamond is truly unique and special.
The Best Cushion Cut Diamond Ring Styles
Here at ItsHot, our cushion-cut diamonds are carefully chosen and cut to perfection for maximum luxury. Part of the beauty of a cushion cut is the versatility of the diamond; it deserves a setting that’s equally beautiful. We pair our cushion diamonds with unique settings made out of real 10K, 14K, and 18K solid gold (available in rose gold, white gold, and yellow gold), as well as platinum.
Cushion-cut diamonds are good for retro and vintage settings, for gorgeous antique diamond engagement rings. You can also opt for a more modern engagement ring with the classic cushion cut diamond in cushion-cut halo setting engagement rings. The canary yellow cushion diamonds add an extra sense of old-world vibes, making these rings truly unique.
Browse our selection of cushion-cut diamond rings for unique anniversary rings, diamond wedding bands, engagement rings, statement rings, and more. With unbeatable prices, a 1-year warranty, and 30-day money-back guarantee returns, it’s hard to find a better place to buy cushion-cut diamond rings.
Founder of ItsHot.com
Denis Stepansky is a founder of ItsHot, a diamond jewelry and watches store based in NYC. He has been in the jewelry business for about 20 years and owns such high-end jewelry brands as Luccello and Luxurman. As a jewelry expert, he has citations on well-known magazines and newspapers like Insider and Daily Mail.
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