Tag Archives: Cushion Cut Diamonds

Guide to Diamond Cuts – Comparing Diamond Cuts

Posted on Sep 03,2014

Diamond cut can refer to two different aspects of a diamond’s physical characteristics: diamond cut grade and diamond shape. A diamond’s cut grade refers to how a diamond is cut, its proportions, polish, and symmetry whereas shape simply refers to the diamond’s physical shape (i.e. round, pear, emerald). We have discussed diamond cut grade extensively in previous posts and it has been established that the way a diamond is cut is one of the most important aspects that affects a diamond’s physical appearance. However, a diamond’s shape is just as important especially since it is one of the first things a person will notice when looking at a diamond (whether loose or set in a band).

Diamond shape is a matter of personal preference and as such, there are no fixed parameters that determine whether one shape is better than the other. One person might prefer the sparkle of a brilliant cut diamond whereas another might prefer the more subdued elegance of an emerald cut diamond.

While there is a myriad of diamond cuts available today, the most popular diamond cuts in terms of availability and demand are as follows:

Round Brilliant Cut     

The round brilliant cut is undoubtedly the most popular diamond cut today—accounting for 75% of all diamond sales. Its classic shape and ability to offer maximum fire and brilliance because of the way it is cut make it the most popular choice for many diamond buyers. It is also a very versatile shape that goes well with virtually any setting. Due to the high demand for round brilliant cuts, it is generally priced higher per carat compared to fancy cut diamonds.

Princess Cut     

The princess cut is the second most popular cut next to the round brilliant and the most popular fancy shape for diamonds. It is notable for its square shape, pointed corners, and excellent fire and brilliance. It is the closest square cut to achieve almost the same fire and brilliance as the round brilliant cut. Its shape also makes it a flexible option for many settings, although it is recommended to always set a princess cut diamond in a four-prong setting to protect its corners.

Compared to round brilliant cuts that wastes a lot of the rough stone when cut, princess cut diamonds have very little waste leading to a lower price per carat.

Emerald Cut                        

The emerald cut is adapted from the classic shape that emeralds are cut into, hence the name. It is popular for its subdued elegance, unique shape, and the hall-of-mirrors effect it creates when viewed from the surface. The emerald cut is a type of steps cut that is rectangular in shape and has cropped corners.

Since the emerald cut does not offer much fire and brilliance, inclusions and imperfections are much more visible on an emerald cut diamond compared to brilliant cuts. As such, buyers should pay extra attention to clarity when buying an emerald cut diamond especially for bigger stones.

Asscher Cut        

The Asscher cut is very similar to the emerald cut in appearance but it is square in shape instead of rectangular. While some refer to this cut as a modified emerald cut, it actually preceded the emerald cut. The Asscher cut has been in existence since 1902.

Asscher cut diamonds have larger step facets and a smaller table. It also typically has a higher crown than an emerald cut diamond. A well-cut asscher cut diamond will often deliver more brilliance than a well-cut emerald cut diamond because of its facet and table size.

Cushion Cut

Cushion cut diamonds are square in shape with rounded corners. It has been around for more than 2 centuries and used to be the shape of choice among diamond buyers. It used to be the most popular diamond shape before the round brilliant cut exceeded its demand. Due to recent cut improvements, the cushion cut is slowly regaining popularity. It is especially popular in many celebrity engagements and is typically set in a halo pave setting. While the cushion cut does not offer as much brilliance as the round brilliant cut, it typically offers more fire than other cuts.

Radiant Cut                              

Notable for its vibrancy and brightness, the radiant cut is an ideal option for those who want the fire and brilliance of a round brilliant cut but the rectangular shape of an emerald cut. The radiant cut is a brilliant cut diamond that is faceted both in the pavilion and the crown for extra fire and brilliance. While traditionally rectangular with cropped corners, some variations are squarer in shape than rectangular.


The oval shape is a modified brilliant cut. It is very similar to the round brilliant cut in terms of the amount of fire and brilliance it exhibits when viewed from the surface. While not as popular as the round brilliant, some people prefer the oval shape because they are elongated and appear bigger even with smaller carat sizes.


The heart shape is also a modified brilliant cut. It is very similar to the pear shape except it has two clefts on the top of each side to create an obvious heart shape. It is more popularly used in earrings and pendants. When used in engagement rings, it is not recommended to get anything smaller than .50 carats as it is difficult to notice the heart shape at all. For smaller heart shaped diamonds, a three-prong setting is recommended to accentuate its shape.


The pear shape is another modified brilliant cut that is noted for its similarity to the round brilliant cut on one end and the marquise cut on the other end. One of the most important characteristics that any buyer should look for when choosing a pear shape diamond is symmetry. It is important for pear shaped diamonds to have excellent symmetry because of its shape. Ideally, the point at one end of a pear shape diamond should be in line with the highest part of the rounded end to achieve a perfect pear shape.

Comparison Chart for Different Cuts       

A diamond’s shape will have an effect on its physical size regardless of carat weight. Different cuts have different sizes, which is why some people prefer shapes that make a diamond appear bigger than it actually is. Below is a side-by-side comparison of the different diamond shapes and their estimated physical size, although it is worth noting that no two diamonds are the same even with the similar carat weights:

Diamond Cut Chart

Posted in  Diamond Cuts, Types of Diamonds |   Tagged 


Cushion Cut Engagement Rings

Posted on Jun 25,2014

The demand for cushion cut engagement rings have significantly increased in the past years, making it the third most popular cut next to the round brilliant and princess cut.

The cushion cut has been around for close to two centuries, its most defining characteristics being its larger culet and the pattern it creates when it reflects light. Cut improvements applied to the cushion cut in the 1920s led to significant increase in its fire and brilliance, a larger table size, and a smaller culet. The modern cushion cut is noted for its exceptional fire due to its larger facets and its antique appeal.

Cushion cut diamonds are traditionally square with rounded corners, hence its name. Modern variants, however, may be more rectangular than square as some people prefer the rectangular variant to the traditional square cushion cut.

Due to its popularity among celebrities, public interest on cushion cut engagement rings has also increased. Cushion cut diamonds set on a halo setting is especially popular as the setting adds brilliance to the center stone and makes it appear bigger than its actual size. A cushion cut set on a halo setting combined with a pave setting is also a very popular choice for many people.

Selling Cushion Cut Engagement Rings

Due to the high demand for cushion cut engagement rings among the diamond buying public, diamond buyers including individuals, jewelers, and those that buy diamonds online are much more willing to offer better prices for cushion cut engagement rings with relatively good grading.

If you have a cushion cut engagement ring that you want to sell, you can compare offers by getting price quotes from both retail jewelers and online diamond buyers. While online diamond buyers generally offer better prices when buying diamonds, it’s still a good idea to get a price quote from a local jeweler that buys used diamond jewelry just so you have an idea of how much they are willing to offer for your cushion cut engagement ring. This will help you in negotiating price offers.

You can also get an appraisal from a local pawnshop. This is strongly recommended if your diamond does not come with a GIA certificate or any other certificate indicating the diamond’s grade. Knowing how valuable your cushion cut engagement ring is will give you an idea of how much you should get for your ring and how much you should settle for.

Buying Cushion Cut Engagement Rings

If you’re in the market for a cushion cut engagement ring, setting certain parameters when it comes to cut, carat, clarity, and color is a smart way of ensuring that you get your money’s worth. Below are some tips for choosing cushion cut engagement rings:


While there are more variations of cut when it comes to cushion cuts compared to other diamond shapes, there are some recommended guidelines so that you can get the best stone for your money.

Cushion cut diamonds don’t have as much brilliance as brilliant cuts like the round brilliant and the princess cut but they do show more fire than any other cut.

Classic cushion cuts are square shaped with a length to width ratio of 1.00 to 1.05 but shape is largely subjective, as others may prefer a more rectangular shape. Those who prefer slightly rectangular cushion cuts should look for a length to width ratio of 1.10 to 1.20. While square cushion cuts are more expensive, this should not stop you from getting the shape that the recipient wants.


Carat weight is perhaps one of the most important physical characteristics to consider when choosing an engagement ring. It’s best to ask the recipient for their personal preference, as even the best cushion cut can disappoint if it is much smaller than the preferred carat weight of the recipient. Cushion cuts that have more depth percentages are generally smaller when viewed from the table but since cushion cuts can vary significantly, it’s best to examine the physical descriptions of the stone to find out how big it will look. You can go as low as 10% smaller of your preferred carat weight and there won’t be much difference when it comes to the physical size of the diamond.


Color is also a subjective characteristic when it comes to cushion cuts but most people prefer colorless stones to those that show a bit of a yellow tinge. For stones that are .50 carats and below, a minimum of H is recommended. For bigger stones, however, especially those that are 1.00 carats and higher, D to F is recommended.


Since cushion cuts have larger facets compared to other shapes, flaws and inclusions are much more visible on cushion cuts. Despite its exceptional fire, it’s still easier to spot inclusions on a cushion cut than it is on a round brilliant or a princess cut. As such, a minimum of VS2 clarity is recommended for stones that are above .50 carats. For smaller stones, however, a minimum clarity of SI1 or even SI2 can still conceal inclusions.

Where to Buy

Blue Nile

Blue Nile has a wide selection of cushion cut diamonds ranging from the exceptional variety that makes up the signature ideal collection to more cost-efficient options. Their selection of cushion cut engagement rings are sure to suit any style, preference, and budget. You can also choose your ideal setting based on personal style and budget. We’ve preselected a few options below for your consideration:




Options from Amazon.com

Posted in  Diamond Cuts, Diamond Engagement Rings |   Tagged 


What is a Cushion Cut Diamond?

Posted on May 28,2014

Cushion Cut DiamondA cushion cut diamond, also known as pillow-cut, is a square-shaped diamond with rounded corners. Unlike other fancy cuts that are relatively newer, the cushion cut has been around for almost two centuries and before the round brilliant cut rose in popularity; the cushion cut was the cut of choice among many diamond buyers.

Today, due to its popularity especially with celebrity engagements, the cushion cut has become the third most popular diamond cut next to the round brilliant and princess cuts.

The primary appeal of a cushion cut diamond, aside from its unique shape, is its fire and brilliance. Cushion cut diamonds have larger facets, which increase their brilliance and showcases their clarity.  For more information on the 4C’s, you can take a look at our diamond grading page.



Traditionally, the cushion cut had a bigger culet but this has been decreased over the decades as a result of cut improvements. While cushion cuts are traditionally square, some may prefer more rectangular cuts but the rounded corners remain a key feature.

The ideal length to width ratio of square cushion cuts is 1.00 (a perfect square) but anything within the 1.00 to 1.05 range is still considered an ideal square.

Those who prefer slightly more rectangular cuts should look for a length to width ratio of 1.10 to 1.20. The basic range for table and depth percentages for cushion cuts is 54% to 62% and 59% to 64%, respectively.

However, since cushion cuts have more variety when it comes to its characteristics, some may prefer table and depth percentages within 58% to 67%. It is recommended that the table percentage be smaller than the depth percentage but this is also a matter of personal taste.

Since small to no culets are preferred in modern cuts, a very good cut should have a very small culet and an excellent cut should have no culet.

Loose Cushion Cut DiamondColor

Like other fancy cut diamonds, color is subjective in cushion cut diamonds. If you prefer colorless cushion cuts or as close to colorless as possible, look for diamonds within the D to G color range for stones less than .50 carats. As for stones bigger than half a carat, look for diamonds within the D to F range. Some people may prefer more color in cushion cut diamonds because it adds to its antique charm.


Since cushion cuts have larger facets that emphasize its clarity, inclusions are more obvious in cushion cuts than they are in round brilliant cuts. If you’re purchasing a diamond within the SI range clarity, make sure that the inclusions are not in the visible areas. Depending on your setting, you can conceal more obvious inclusions with accent stones such as in a halo setting. As with most cuts, diamonds that are smaller than .50 carats within the SI range are still considered “Very Good” but the bigger the diamond, the more obvious the inclusions. So if you are considering a bigger stone, you have to pay close attention to where these inclusions are located within the stone.


While solitaire cushion cuts are also relatively popular, the most popular setting for cushion cuts for consumers is the halo setting, as it makes the main stone look bigger. A halo setting also gives it a more elegant, regal charm. Some may also prefer a halo setting along with a pave band to give the ring more sparkle. When placed in a halo setting, some people may prefer the bezel set design over the prong set design, although this is also a matter of personal preference.

Posted in  Diamond Cuts, Diamond Engagement Rings, Types of Diamonds |   Tagged