A brilliant diamond rife with tradition and historical charm, the cushion-cut diamond offers exceptional beauty and sparkle. Designed to resemble the cushion of a chair, this unique cut has been found in fine jewellery styles for nearly 200 years – and was once the most popular diamond shape.
Today, the cushion-cut diamond is experiencing a renaissance. It’s softer than a princess-cut and bolder than a round-cut, and people around the world are re-embracing the beauty, brilliance and elegance of the cushion-cut diamond.
What is a Cushion-Cut Diamond?
The cushion-cut diamond is made up of between 58 (traditional) and 64 (modern) facets, respectively. The cushion-cut diamond boasts fantastic scintillation or flashes of visible light. This translates to a distinctive sparkle.
Although they are generally not as brilliant as round-cut diamonds, cushion-cut diamonds do have larger facets that allow for greater dispersion in which white light is separated into spectral colours.
Originally cut with the intention of reflecting the flickering flames of candlelight, people love the cushion-cut for its capability of dispersing natural light and reflecting spectral colours back in a captivating rainbow of colours. For this reason, it was originally known as the “Candlelight-Cut Diamond,” though that style is now considered an "antique cut."
Throughout the long history of the cushion-cut diamond, cutting techniques have evolved greatly. As such, several variations of the cushion-cut exist, including:
- Standard Cushion Brilliant-Cut:
This cut features faceting arrangements that are very similar to Round Brilliant-cut diamonds, leading to higher brilliance
- Modified Cushion Brilliant-Cut:
This cut is a variation of the standard cushion-cut with an added row of facets that lie below the girdle. This style has a wonderful sparkle and tends toward a more “crushed ice” diamond look. Modified Cushion Brilliant-Cut diamonds tend to be less expensive than their standard counterparts.
- Crushed Ice Cushion-Cut:
When viewed from above, this style does not have an easily discernible facet pattern. This diamond style is often referred to as having a “broken glass” look. When exposed to light, the Crushed Ice Cushion-Cut gives off a unique sparkle similar to a radiant-cut diamond.
- Chunky Cushion-Cut:
When viewed from the top, this diamond cut features a clearly defined facet pattern. These appear similar to round brilliant diamonds and are sometimes referred to as "Antique Cushion-Cuts."
Cushion-cut diamonds have a distinctive look and are especially prized by those who appreciate fine jewellery with a vintage flair.
History of the Cushion-Cut Diamond
First created nearly two centuries ago, the cushion-cut diamond has strong roots in history and tradition. This classic cut is highly prized by antique collectors and those who gravitate toward glamorous vintage pieces.
Some of the most well-known diamonds in modern history, including the Hope Diamond and the Regent Diamond, are cushion-cut beauties. Buyers who are attracted to a classic vintage look for their jewellery should look no further than the cushion-cut diamond, which looks exquisite in any setting.
The cushion-cut has undergone several generations of development and transformation. Development toward the modern cushion-cut was fast-tracked in 1919 when Marcel Tolkowsky published his work “Diamond Design: A Study of the Reflection and Refraction of Light in Diamond."
In more recent practices, cushion diamond cutting has evolved to include the following practices: shrinking of the culet, enlargement of the table, and improving cut angles for added brilliance. These modern refinements have contributed to a resurgence in this dynamic diamond cut’s popularity.
Grading System of Peoples Cushion-Cut Diamonds
At Peoples, we rely on trusted experts from different gemological laboratories to grade our precious stones.
To determine a diamond’s grade, these labs inspect each diamond under closely controlled lighting and viewing conditions. Trained grading professionals use highly calibrated measurement devices to capture important data for use in determining the cushion-cut diamond’s quality. These experts will then grade our cushion-cut diamonds on the following determinations:
The weight of the diamond is measured using the carat system. Our experts use specialized scales to ensure an accurate weight measurement – the weights are measured to the hundred-thousandths of a carat. With the carat system, one metric carat is equal to 0.2 gram. That's why expert measurements and calibrated tools matter so much when it comes to determining diamond quality.
Cushion-cut diamond clarity refers to the appearance of the stone, and it notes any blemishes or inclusions. Our diamond experts grade cushion-cut diamond clarity as one of six grades – Flawless, Internally Flawless, Very Very Small Inclusions, Very Small Inclusions, Small Inclusions, or Imperfect.
When looking at diamonds, much of the decision process may seem subjective. Many blemishes may only be visible to a professional with highly specialized equipment. When evaluating the clarity of a diamond, one of the most important factors is whether or not the diamond appears to be clear to the human eye. Some buyers may prefer to know that their princess diamond is certified as flawless while others may not mind minor blemishes invisible to the naked eye.
If your partner prefers a more flawless appearance for their diamond jewellery, you’ll want to choose a Flawless or Internally Flawless diamond. If small imperfections do not stand out to your partner, then a Very Small Inclusions or Small Inclusions grade may be preferred.
The industry standard for grading cushion-cut diamond colour is a system that begins with a D grade (colourless) and continues with increasing levels of colour to a Z grade.
Diamonds are compared to master stones with known colour grades. Our experts utilize master stone sets that are chosen based on rigorous standards and tested prior to use.
To the naked eye, diamond colour is closely tied to the size of the cushion-cut diamond and the setting. Small differences in diamond colour are difficult to see for the human eye, but they may account for a large difference in the price of the diamond. Additionally, the setting colour and material chosen for the cushion-cut diamond can make an immense difference in the colour of the diamond. For instance, a cushion-cut diamond with a hint of yellow colour will look best in a yellow gold setting. A diamond should always look colourless against its setting, so keep in mind what the setting will look like when shopping for diamond colour.
Cushion-cut diamonds tend to retain their natural colour better than other diamond cuts, making them a popular choice of cut for coloured diamonds in jewellery.
The proportions of a cushion-cut diamond determine how brilliantly the diamond will shine. Grading a diamond’s cut is determined by examining its angles, facets and polish. Overall, the goal of attaining a good cut of diamond is to create a diamond that has the correct proportions to allow the maximum amount of light to travel through it. This will give the diamond a brilliant sparkle that your partner will love.
As we noted previously, many variations of the cushion-cut exist -- each with unique cut features. The cushion-cut can range from having large, clearly defined facets to having a “crushed ice” look with no clearly discernible facet pattern.
Personal preference will play an important role when deciding between these variations, as each variety will give off a unique type of sparkle.
Finally, each cushion-cut diamond is given one of the following grades for cut: Ideal, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Medium, Fair, or Poor. A high-quality diamond cut will feature proportions that allow optimal light reflection through the crown and table, giving off a beautiful, brilliant sparkle.
Cushion-Cut Diamonds: Conclusion
Cushion-cut diamonds have seen ebbs and flow in popularity for almost 200 years. These classically beautiful diamonds have an antique feel with a modern performance backed by generations of development. Many buyers are attracted to the vintage charm of this diamond cut.
Although cushion-cuts diamonds are generally not as brilliant as round-cuts, some variations of the cushion-cut give off an incomparable sparkle and scintillation. With the many variations of cushion-cut diamonds, the shape offers options for every taste: from large and chunky facets to a “crushed ice” look with no discernible facets. The process of creating a cushion-cut diamond maximizes its light-dispersing capabilities, making it a beautifully dynamic diamond and an excellent choice in jewellery.
Looking for an engagement ring that offers a glam vintage feel with modern precision? Shop an amazing selection of cushion-cut diamond engagement rings at Peoples Jewellers today.