Which is better? The cushion cut or princess cut?
You are all set to buy the perfect ring, and you have even narrowed it down to two popular shapes – the princess cut and cushion cut. The only problem is, you aren’t sure about the differences between the two and which to buy.
In this article, we will look into the similarities and differences between these 2 shapes from practical aspects like pricing and visual appearances. We will also explore the different settings that they look great in and help you make an informed decision to choose between them.
Let’s dive right in…
Here is a list of topics we will be covering:
The cushion cut diamond gets its name from its pillow-shaped outline. The sloping, soft edges of the cushion cut creates a more relaxed outline and provides an elegant appearance. It’s a superb choice for people who don’t like sharp edges.
While they are often squarish in shape, the cushion cut diamonds in the market also come in a variety of rectangular outlines. If you prefer a square cushion cut, look for a stone with length to width (l/w) ratio between 1 and 1.05. If you like a more elongated look, then look for stones with l/w ratios between 1.15 to 1.30.
Invented during the 1960s, the princess cut diamond was created to maximize the yield from a rough diamond. Being a square modified brilliant cut, the princess cut diamond has a squarish profile and 4 pointed corners.
It also possesses light performance levels that are similar to that of a round cut diamond. This gives the princess cut a modern and glamorous vibe that makes it stand out from other shapes. The princess cut diamond’s superb brilliance combined with a bold looking appearance are the key reasons for their popularity in engagement rings.
When it comes to a comparison of brilliance and sparkle, the princess cut and cushion cut diamond have very distinct scintillation patterning. Most cushion cuts in the market have a splintery/crushed ice appearance while princess cut diamonds tend to have better brightness.
In general, cushion cut diamonds tend to have better fire dispersion properties compared to princess cut diamonds due to their higher crown angles and facet patterning. That said, you should bear in mind that each fancy shape diamond is going to be different and display its own brilliance/fire based on its cut quality.
This means that a well cut princess cut diamond can display more fire than a poorly cut cushion and vice versa. To give you an idea of the visual differences between a cushion cut and princess cut diamond, I’ve made a video below that compares 2 ideal cut diamonds in a range of real-life light environments.
Did you pay attention to the amount of colored light return (fire) and brilliance exhibited by the 2 different cuts? Is there one that stands out for you or did they both have similar levels of sparkle to your eyes?
When it comes to prices, princess cut diamonds have one of the cheapest price per carat amongst all the different shapes. This is due to their better utilization of the rough diamond during the polishing process.
Likewise, cushion cut diamonds are also very affordable and are priced very similarly to princess cut diamonds. Both these shapes are 25-50% cheaper in comparison to the classic round brilliant cut diamond. When comparing a princess cut to a cushion cut, there aren’t much differences between their prices.
So, if you are shopping on a budget and want to get a larger or higher quality diamond, both cushion and princess cut diamonds are superb options to consider.
When selecting a setting for a princess cut diamond, you need to be mindful that the sharp corners of the diamond are prone to chipping. Due to this reason, you should choose a setting that covers and protects the corners of the diamond.
Princess cut diamonds look great in a variety of settings such as solitaire, pave, halo and 3-stone designs. This is due to their nice squarish geometric outline which makes them complementary to different designs.
In my opinion, if we were to compare the princess cut with the cushion cut diamond, the main differences would be the use of princess cut diamonds in 3-stone settings. Cushion cut diamonds are seldom used in 3 stone settings due to the difficulty in finding matching stones.
Vice versa, princess cut diamonds do not fare well in vintage style designs because of their modern looking appearance. If you are looking for a vintage style engagement ring, the soft edges of the cushion cut will give the ring a romantic, classic feel.
Here’s a video of a princess cut pave diamond ring I recently bought for $2000. It’s delicately crafted and offers superb value for its price point.
While cushion cut diamonds are very versatile for many different design styles, I think cushions are the best for soft halos and vintage settings. You can also help enhance the brilliance of the center stone by choosing prong based settings as they allow more light to enter the diamond.
Halo settings are also a cost-effective way to enhance the visual size of the center diamond and add extra sparkle to the ring.
This is a beautifully crafted halo cushion cut diamond ring I bought recently from James Allen.
Personally speaking, I love halo settings as they can accentuate the outline of the cushion diamond. Another benefit of a halo setting is that they provide an additional layer of defense against accidental impacts.
To summarize, both diamond shapes have their unique qualities and differ in their appearances. We’ve also looked at how they are priced and the types of ring designs that they go well with. I hope this article has provided you with information to get you started on your searching and purchasing.
So, which is the better diamond shape to buy? I’ve personally bought diamond rings with both types of shapes and I like them for different reasons.
The princess cut diamond ring offers a contemporary look and sparkle that is very different from a cushion cut diamond ring. On the other hand, the pointed edges make it less suitable for people with an active lifestyle and require more care when wearing.
At the end of the day, it really depends on your personal preferences and style. Both the princess cut and cushion cut are fantastic options for people who want something unique yet affordable.
And while you are doing all of this shopping, don’t forget to set your limits before you start. Everyone loves a diamond, but you will love it a lot more if it is within your price range. Decide beforehand how much you will spend and stick with the budget. You’ll be glad you did.
Now I want to hear from you. When it comes to the princess cut vs the cushion cut diamond, which shape do you prefer? Let me know by leaving a comment below! If you have any questions or need help with a diamond selection, feel free to get in touch as well.