I'll start off by saying that I am totally biased when it comes to cushion cut diamonds. They are my absolute favorite diamond shape and I shall not apologize for my love. The shape has actually been around since the early 1800s and is now one of the most popular diamond shapes, so it’s safe to say these little gems are doing something ‘right’. Diamond Pun!
What I love the most about cushion diamonds is their versatility. Unlike many of the other fancy cuts we’ve covered, cushions are no one-trick-ponies. There is actually more than one type of cushion cut diamond, so there’s lots of variety to be found depending on your individual taste.
Let’s start with the antique cushion cuts (also known as old mine cuts or old mine brilliants). I’m not a huge fan of them, as I personally find them a little too clunky and awkward looking. It is also hard to find these antique cushion cut diamonds with buckets of sparkle, although they do give off lovely flashes of light. They definitely have a less ‘refined’ look, however I know some people who absolutely love that retro vibe. All I will say is that be sure to take a very close look at the polish and symmetry grade on the report before you take the plunge on one of these stones, often times they are only ‘good’ or even ‘fair’.
Then we have the modern cushion cuts, and just to make things even more complicated there are two types of modern cushions cut; the regular/standard cushion brilliant cut, and the modified brilliant cut. More types of cushion cut diamonds, confusing I know
There is long held confusion regarding how to tell the difference between these two types of modern cushion, and what ‘look’ you get from each cut. Some argue that regular cushion cut gives you a certain look, while the modified brilliant gives you another. This is simply not the case, and the looks are actually interchangeable within these cuts styles!
But the difference is miniscule between them. In fact, it’s really only down to the size of the facets on the two different cuts that holds them apart. With this in mind, my advice to you is not to get bogged down with all of this confusing terminology and instead focus on what sort of ‘look’ you want your diamond to have. Take a look at these to see what I mean.
The diamond on the left has what is known as the ‘crushed ice’ look. This look resembles that of a radiant cut diamond, in that is has little identifiable patterning. Instead it has a beautifully chaotic vibe, almost like shattered glass. These types of cushions give off the most amazing flashes of light, and are real show-stoppers.
The only piece of advice with these is to try and go higher on color grade if you can, because they tend to hold the color more than other cushion cut diamonds. ‘H’ color or above will give you a nice white stone in your engagement ring. When it comes to clarity go down to ‘SI1’ (or even an eye clean SI2’ if you can find one) given the forgiving nature of this look.
The stone on the right has what is known as the ‘chunky’ look. You can see clearly that there is a definitive pattern going on inside that stone, and because of this you get a much more organized and sharper look. This look is going to knock your socks off with brilliance and fire, so prepare to be impressed my friend.
These types of cushions actually behave very similarly to round brilliant diamonds, in that they hide color and inclusions very well. For this reason, I say go as low as ‘I’ or even ‘J-K’ if you like a tiny bit of warmth, and as low as SI2 if you find an eye clean one.
You will need to see the stone in order to gauge if it’s going to be right for you.
Furthermore, it is very difficult to get a general standard for ideal dimensions and proportions. It is widely accepted within the industry that a cushion is best judged by the eye, rather than searching for a stone fitting a set criteria. That said, many gemologists would suggest sticking within the ranges of 55% to 65% for the table, and 61% to 68% for the depth.