Cushion Cut Diamond Guide – The Old King Back in Vogue

There’s something comfortably peculiar about cushion cut diamonds. It’s a kind of mystery that attracts a curious shopper. Resembling a pillow, hence the name, the cushion cut is the satisfying in-between of curved and edgy shapes as it’s not as striking as marquise and not as basic as round.

Cushion Cut Diamonds

The former king of shapes is reclaiming the throne, and it’s fairly easy to fall in love with its pillow outline. But is it also a winner in the sparkle department? What’s the best cushion type for you? And can you own an excellent one without breaking the bank? Let’s find out!

Cushion Cut Diamonds Throughout History

Cushion Cut Diamonds History

The classic shape wasn’t always popular. Cushion cuts have been around for almost 200 years, and their peak was during the first 100 years when they were deemed as the de facto diamond shape. You’ll see the cut worn by royals and in line with the most prominent gemstones in history.

But from being the supreme diamond shape, cushion cut diamonds went out of style in the last century. Thanks to the cycle of fashion, they’re recently brought back to the spotlight by top celebrities.

Celebrity Cushion Cut Diamonds

Kim Kardashian Cushion Cut Diamond

Today, cushion cut diamonds are among the favorite cuts. Kaley Cuoco sported a 2.3-carat cushion from Ryan Sweeting, while Naya Rivera was proposed to by Big Sean with a 4.5-carat diamond.

Kanye West proposed to Kim Kardashian with a 15-carat ring. And with the queen of selfies flaunting the cut, it cemented the status of cushion cut diamonds as a vintage shape making a hip comeback.

Types of Cushion Cut Diamonds

Types of Cushion Cut Diamonds

Known for its 58 facets and curved corners, cushion cut diamonds are not as brilliant as round cuts, but they possess great fire. In contrast to cushion’s tender name, it hosts a variety of facet patterns that need deeper understanding.

They’re known as standard cushions, modified cushions, chunky, crushed-ice, old mine cut, square cushions, and rectangular cushions. Even with these puzzling names, cushion cut diamonds remain the most popular, next to round and princess cuts!

Antique Cushion vs. Modern Cushion

        • Old Mine Cut

          Old Mine Cut

        • Modern Cushion Cut

          Modern Cushion Cut


Traditional cushion cut diamonds, also known as old mine cuts, have smaller tables, steeper crowns, and bigger culets. This vintage cushion cutting style appeals to buyers because of its classic look.

Modern Cushion Cut diamonds, on the other hand, have large tables, small culets or no culets, and better cut angles for greater brilliance. The refined cut was somewhat based on the Tolkowsky Cut.

Modern Cushion – Two Categories (Cushion Brilliant vs. Cushion Modified Brilliant)


Two Categories of Modern Cushion Cut Diamonds

As you can see in the examples above, the difference of the Cushion Modified Brilliant is that it has an extra row of facets just below the girdle. The reason for this modification is to add more sparkle, but at the same time, it also saves more carat weight as less cutting is required.

Modern Cushion – Two Types of Looks (Chunky vs. Crushed-Ice)

There’s also two types of fire display that can be seen in modern-day cushion cut diamonds. The big misconception is that the Cushion Brilliant has a chunky look, and the Cushion Modified Brilliant has a crushed-ice look. But it’s important to note that the two categories aren’t related to the two looks whatsoever!

          • Crushed Ice 1.01 CARAT H VS1 CUSHION CUT DIAMOND

            CRUSHED-ICE Cut – 1.01 Carat H-VS1 Cushion Cut

          • Modern Cushion Cut

            CHUNKY Cut – 1.01 CARAT H-VVS2 Cushion Modified Cut

Chunky cushions bear larger facets that produce a broader light flash. If you view from the table, you’d see a distinct facet pattern likened to a round cut diamond. Though it’s considered modern, it is sometimes referred to as an “antique” cushion because it resembles the Old Mine Cut which also has visible facets like rounds.

Then there’s the “Crushed-Ice” look which has no defined facet patterning. It simply looks like broken glass or crushed-ice likened to a radiant cut.

Best Cut Proportions for Maximum Brilliance

Even though cushion cut diamonds don’t have a cut grade from GIA and AGS (the two most trusted labs), there are specific proportions that you may use as a guide so you can assure you’ll get a brilliant cushion cut diamond. You may refer to these parameters below:


Your Diamond Teacher Recommended Proportions

Most Affordable Proportions

Table % 58% – 63% 57% – 65%
Depth % 58% – 68% 57% – 68%
Girdle Very Thin – Slightly Thick Very Thin – Slightly Thick
Culet None Very Small
Polish/Symmetry Excellent – Very Good Excellent – Very Good

Length to Width Ratio

Cushion cut diamonds don’t have a one-size-fits-all. There’s actually a variety of shapes that you can choose from depending on your personal preference. The most popular length to width ratio is 1.00 to 1.05, and it displays a squarish form. But if you like the rectangular shape, 1.10-1.20 will look great.

Cushion Cut Diamonds Length to Width Ratio

The Color Grade That Will Appear White and Save You Money

Cushion Cut Diamonds Color

While round cuts are the best at masking color, on the other end of the spectrum are cushion cut diamonds together with radiants. However, this doesn’t mean that you should initially seek for the highest color grade. Any grade beyond H will appear white to the naked eye. And the difference in color can only be substantially seen through a diamond loupe or when viewed from the side.

So, it’s safe to say that an H color will still give you that icy-white look without spending a fortune. Although if you have the budget, you may opt for the highest grades. Unless, of course, you’re a fan of warmer tones and yellow gold, then the lower color grades will suit you best.

Carat Size

Your Diamond Teacher Recommended Proportions

Most Affordable Proportions

.50 or less G – H I
.51 – 1 F – G H
1 – 2 D – G H
2 or more D – G H
Fluorescence None Faint – Medium

The Lowest Clarity Grade with Eye Clean Diamonds

Cushion Cut Diamonds Clarity

Since cushion cut diamonds have two looks, clarity is conditional. The crushed-ice cushion will better hide inclusions so you can go for as low as SI2. If you’re going for the chunky look, you can still find eye clean diamonds in the SI1 grade. As always, you can find these gems if you take time searching!

Carat Size

Your Diamond Teacher Recommended Proportions

Most Affordable Proportions

.50 or less SI2 SI2
.51 – 1 VS2 – SI1 SI2
1 – 2 VS2 SI1
2 or more VS1 – VS2 SI1 – SI2

Of course, you may only choose between these looks through high-quality imagery. A diamond certificate won’t tell you whether the stone you’re looking at has a broken glass look. Only real photos and videos will show you its optical features.

That said, I would recommend searching diamonds at James Allen. Not only did they pioneer the diamond display technology, their approach also appeals to both the younger generation and diamond enthusiasts! Check out these James Allen Cushion Cut Diamonds in HD:


        • James Allen Cushion Cut Diamonds

          1.00 Carat Cushion Cut Solitaire Engagement Ring in 14k White Gold

        • Modern Cushion Cut

          0.91 Carat Cushion Cut Pave Engagement Ring in 14k Rose Gold

The Bottomline

Cushion Cut Diamonds Engagement Ring

Trends come and go, and fashion hypes resurface all the time. And when one hit comes back, it usually lasts just for a while. Cushion Cut Diamonds prove that its return to the spotlight isn’t just another fad. Its classic charm reminds us of its centuries-old renaissance, but matched with its modern brilliance, it is here to stay, for good.

Should you have any question, feel free to write down below. Or email me! I’d be happy to enlighten you more. 🙂