A 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.
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.