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Round Cut vs Cushion Cut Diamonds

It’s super easy to wander down the rabbit hole when looking at anything diamond related. I mean we have colors and cuts and clarities and carat weights and shapes to think about… which doesn’t even begin to touch on actual jewelry design! I totally understand how a person could spiral out of control when trying to make all of these very crucial decisions. So today I have for you just a simple article on round cut vs. cushion cut diamonds. I know it won’t answer all your looming questions about life, but I hope that this guide will lead you one step closer to the perfect diamond for whatever the future might hold!

Round Cut

A rough diamond next to a round faceted diamond

I would like to preface this by saying the cut of a diamond (as in the 4 C’s) is not the same as the shape of the diamond, although people like to use the terms interchangeably. The cut grade of a stone is how well it was literally cut from the rough gem to the finished gem. This is important because it affects how the diamonds will sparkle and how radiant they will ultimately be (specific angles are needed for optimal brilliance). Also, the shape of the diamond has no bearing on the cut grade of a diamond.

Our round cut, or round shaped diamonds, are easily the most popular diamond sold in the gem world. People love this classic look, creating a very strong demand for the shape. This demand is what actually makes the brilliant round cut diamond the most expensive shape on the market. High demand = higher prices.

Also unique to the round shape is how the cut grade is determined. In fact, this grading scale was developed so we had a universally consistent way to value a round diamond’s finished cut. This process involves lots of technical things, like measurements and percentages and math equations. It is a very precise procedure with very reliable results giving us the most brilliant of all diamond cuts on the market.

Pros

  • Most brilliant of all diamond cuts.
  • Always popular, always classic.
  • Readily available.
  • Versatile.
  • Great as a solitaire design.
  • Hides inclusions and blemishes better than other shapes.

Cons

  • Most expensive diamond cut.
  • Not a unique shape.
  • Often found in smaller sizes because so much diamond rough is lost during the cutting process (but large round cut diamonds do exist).

Cushion Cut

cushion.jpg

The cushion cut is a fancy shaped diamond that looks kind of like a ciabatta roll instead of a round dinner roll. This shape is essentially a square or rectangle with rounded corners, which generally looks similar to a cushion (hence the name). Today’s cushion cut diamonds are more modern in their faceting, which are the multiple flat faces cut onto a gem, than their vintage predecessor - the old mine cut.

Two old mine cut diamonds side by side

Even with this upgrade in brilliance and sparkle (from more facets), this shape will always maintain its warm, historical feel.

Establishing the cut grade is also obviously different for a fancy cut diamond since it isn’t the standard round brilliant. It is a little less technical and more of a “is it proportionate, are the shape components correct, is the finish good, etc.”. This allows for a little more freedom when a cutter works with a stone.

Pros

  • Less expensive than a round brilliant diamond.
  • No sharp corners to snag on things.
  • Enhances color - great cut for colored gemstones as well.
  • Unique shape.
  • Modern and vintage aesthetic feel simultaneously.

Cons

  • Less brilliant than a round cut.
  • Larger facets can show inclusions and blemishes easier.
  • Can appear smaller on the finger than the same carat weight of a round stone (because it is a deeper cut).
  • Shows color - which is a con if you want a colorless looking diamond. Investing in a higher color grade will be more expensive but might also be necessary for a colorless cushion cut.

round vs cushion .png

Basically, to sum up everything we have just talked about here, there is no wrong shape when it comes to diamonds! If you have narrowed it down to these two choices, the round brilliant and the cushion cut, then you have two really fantastic options (two of my personal favorites actually). So, wherever the rabbit hole takes you next, at least you now know everything about round vs. cushion cut diamonds!

Breean Mokede
Educated as an earth scientist, trained as a graduate gemologist, soul of an artist, lover of all things beautiful, and here to be your personal gemstone guru.