Ultimate Guide to Cushion Cut Halo Engagement Rings

cushion cut diamond ring purchase halo white gold

My wife wearing a half carat cushion cut halo ring I bought recently.

When it comes to a diamond engagement ring, there are a lot of diamond shapes and styles available to choose from. But one thing that never changes (and probably never will) is that everyone wants to buy a beautiful, brilliant diamond ring.

For people who want the extra sparkle and are looking to create a visual impact, you will love cushion engagement rings with a halo setting. In fact, these settings are so popular that people are choosing them even if they aren’t buying a cushion cut diamond.

But what is a cushion cut halo diamond ring and what are the things you should look out for when making a selection?

Whether you are a first-time novice or a seasoned veteran shopping for your perfect diamond ring, we have some great tips and information for you in this article. Read on!

What is a Cushion Cut Halo Diamond Ring And How Does It Look Like?

how does a cushion cut diamond looks like

A GIA certified cushion cut diamond with curved edges. Click image to view video.

First of all, a cushion cut diamond is something like a hybrid between a square princess cut and a round cut diamond. Cushion cut diamonds tend to have squarish outlines but have a softer looking appearance due to its rounded edges. For this reason, it is often called the pillow cut diamond because of its outline.

Next, a halo ring is basically a setting design that encircles the outline of the center stone with small-sized diamonds. This “halo” of diamonds adds another dimension of sparkle and creates the illusion of a larger looking ring.

In the market, the 2 most common shapes of halo used are round and cushion. Check out the images below to help you visualize how they look like in real life.

round halo cut diamond engagement ring comparison

Round cut halo diamond ring

half carat cushion cut diamond ring appearance

Cushion cut halo diamond ring


As the name suggests, a round halo gives the ring setting a roundish appearance while a cushion halo gives the ring setting a more squarish appearance. Also, it’s pretty common to see round cut diamonds being set in cushion shape halo rings.

How Much Does a Cushion Cut Halo Ring Cost?

Well, this is really an open-ended question because the price of a cushion cut halo ring would largely depend on the specifications of the diamond as well as the cost of the setting.

Obviously, a larger carat size diamond would cost a lot more than a smaller size diamond and likewise for clarity/color ratings. A well made cushion cut halo ring setting would cost roughly $1000 and depending on the diamond you choose, the total price would differ significantly.

To give you an idea of what prices would be like for popular carat sizes, check out the following comparison of previously purchased rings. Basically, the main driver of a diamond ring would be the carat size and material quality of the center stone.

price of cushion cut halo diamond engagement rings

As you can see, cushion cut halo engagement rings can be very affordable and you don’t need a large budget to get something that looks great. Of course, you could also go all the way to the other end of the spectrum to get something extravagant if you have more disposable money to spend.

Guidelines to Choosing a Beautiful Cushion Cut Diamond

The key to choosing a diamond that looks brilliant and full of life is to place your emphasis on cut quality. On top of that, a cushion cut diamond with better light performance will exhibit sparkle and brilliance that can help mask color tints and inclusions.

To learn how to pick out a well cut cushion diamond, I’ve dedicated an entire segment of Beyond4Cs.com to show you how. In terms of other guidelines of the 4Cs like color and clarity, I recommend the following for practical reasons.

Cut: As good as possible
Color: G or better
Clarity: SI1 or better

Note that these are general guidelines to get an eyeclean and white looking diamond. If you are buying a larger sized diamond above 1.5ct, you may need to go higher in clarity and color ratings. Vice versa, if you are buying a smaller sized diamond, going down to an H or I color would still give you a white looking diamond.

Also, your subjective preferences would take precedence here. If you have an acute eye for detecting color, you may even need to go up as high as an E to get a white looking diamond. Or if you are choosing a stone for a vintage style halo design, it is perfectly OK to buy a K color diamond!

Lastly, since we are choosing a diamond for a cushion cut halo ring design, you may want to consider matching the color of the center stone to the color of the melee diamonds.

For example, if a setting uses G-H color melee stones, I would recommend choosing a center stone that is within 2 color grades of the melees. In this particular case, a cushion cut center diamond between F to I color would match the setting well.

Blue Nile and James Allen are 2 vendors that I highly recommend when it comes to buying a cushion cut diamond. Their HD videos, large inventory of GIA diamonds and risk-free sales policies allow you to shop with confidence.

How I Bought a Breathtaking Cushion Cut Halo Ring

the ring i bought for a small budget

I bought this cushion shaped halo diamond ring for my wife.

Ever since I started Beyond4cs.com, I’ve bought a number of rings and loose diamonds from many different vendors. In fact, I use the same exact process that I teach on Beyond4cs.com to assess a diamond and make educated shopping decisions.

This particular cushion halo ring was bought from James Allen and they are one of my favorite vendors to work with because of the data they provide. Using James Allen’s video listings and scope images provided, I could easily cherry pick a diamond with superior light performance.

For this particular ring, I picked a half carat E VS1 cushion cut diamond from their TrueHearts collection and you can view the details of the stone below.

half carat cushion ideal cut diamond purchase

After deciding on the diamond, I selected a pave and halo setting design to boost the overall bling factor of the ring. The choice of metal used for the ring was 14k white gold and again, this is done for practical reasons to keep costs low and having a durable ring.

14k pave halo and shank diamond ring setting

The total cost of this cushion halo ring is less than $3,000 but the final product that was received sure looks a lot more expensive than that. Because the halo created the effect of a larger looking diamond, I could save money on the center stone by choosing a relatively small carat size.

I’ve also recorded 2 videos to showcase the light performance of the cushion cut diamond to give you an idea of what a well cut stone would look like in real life in different environments.

 

 

The other video below examines the craftsmanship of the ring and the things I look out for when reviewing how well it is made. Basically, I examine things like the consistency of the shanks, how well matched the melees are and mounted, overall symmetry and finishing of the ring.

 

 

5 Design Ideas for Cushion Cut Halo Engagement Rings

Most halo diamond rings make use of smaller stones (melees) and they are a very cost-effective method to achieve a larger looking ring without the massive cost of buying a large carat size diamond.

Besides offering more sparkle, halos also act as an additional buffer for security and prevent the center stone from accidental damage. Below, I’ve rounded up 5 of my favorite cushion cut engagement rings with halo designs.

Feel free to click on the images to get full details of the rings you are interested in…

1 carat cushion cut halo diamond engagement ring in platinum under 5000

This ring setting offers the nostalgic outline of a cushion shape halo and combines it with a pave shank that is lined with diamonds. And if you have been paying attention, this is a very similar ring design to the one I bought recently.


one carat vintage style cushion cut halo ring in 18k white gold 4000

An art deco inspired ring design with an octagonal halo surrounding a cushion cut diamond. This classic looking ring features milgrain edge detailing and micro-pave shanks that give it a glittery appearance.


double halo cushion cut diamond ring with pave shanks

A majestic looking cushion halo engagement ring featuring double rows of melee diamonds that gives it the wow factor. If you are looking for a ring that packs a punch in visual impact, this is it.


milgrain halo cushion cut with sidestones made of baguettes

This unique looking cushion cut halo diamond engagement ring is a fusion between modern and vintage styles. With a halo comprising of 38 round cut diamonds and 6 neatly arranged baguette cut diamonds on the flanks, it is a ring that will make heads turn.


rose gold twisted ring with 4 prong halo cushion shape center

This cushion halo ring literally puts a playful twist into its contemporary design. With a streamlined and meticulously crafted pave shank, this design is ideal for people who want to stand out of the crowd while being subtle.

Overview And Where to Buy Cushion Halo Engagement Rings

getting ready to propose in the park

Hopefully, you found this article useful and you now know what a cushion cut halo engagement ring is and more importantly, how to choose a great looking one. I’ve also shown you how I bought a ring for my wife and the things that I personally look out for.

Lastly, I want to wrap up this article by showing you where the best places to buy a cushion cut halo diamond ring are and why. These are vendors that I personally bought from and received my stamp of approval for their reliability.

They also offer an intuitive shopping experience and risk-free sales policies to give you complete peace of mind.

Blue Nile – You will find a large selection of GIA certified loose cushion cut diamond rings ranging from small to large carat sizes. Regardless of your budget, you will be able to find something nice and choose from a variety of great looking ring designs.

James Allen – One of my favorite vendors because of their transparency in selling diamonds and helping consumers make educated buying decisions. James Allen’s video technology allows you to scrutinize the smallest diamond details and helps you perform better analysis.

With that, I wish you all the best as you search for the ring of your dreams. If you have any questions or need help with a selection, feel free to reach out via email or drop a comment below!

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13 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Amanda-
    January 13, 2019 at 9:25 am

    Hi Paul, My name is Amanda. I found your webpage and I think it is such a helpful source for individuals going through the diamond purchasing experience. I am torn between 4 diamonds. One is a cushion and the other three are round. I love cushions but I worry that it may be too small (i heard you want a 2.0 cushion for it to be compared to a 1.5 round).

    I was wondering If you had any professional advice on these diamonds. I want the one with the best brilliance but no flaws to the eye.

    1.718 G VSI Black by Brian Gavin Cushion Cut:
    https://www.briangavindiamonds.com/1.718-g-vs1-cushion-diamond-ags-c-104102553013

    1.356 D VSI Black by Brian Gavin Round:
    https://www.briangavindiamonds.com/1.356-D-VS1-Round-Diamond-BKAGS-104089113008

    1.540 F VSI Black by Brian Gavin Round:
    https://www.briangavindiamonds.com/1.540-f-vs1-round-diamond-bkags-104103148033

    1.528 E VS2 Signature Round:
    https://www.briangavindiamonds.com/1.528-E-VS2-Round-Diamond-AGS-104078700015

    Thank you so much for your advice! I truly appreciate it!

  2. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    January 13, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    All 4 diamonds are well cut and you did well to pick them out. In fact, they are all eyeclean as well. Depending on how they are cut, cushion diamonds can look smaller or larger (if elongated) compared to round brilliant diamonds. If you are looking for a diamond with the best light optics and brilliance, stick with rounds instead of cushion cuts. It’s the nature of the cutting style that rounds generally have better light return compared to cushions. You can read more about the differences here.

    Personally, I would gravitate towards these diamonds:

    https://www.briangavindiamonds.com/1.540-f-vs1-round-diamond-bkags-104103148033

    https://www.briangavindiamonds.com/1.528-E-VS2-Round-Diamond-AGS-104078700015

    Both of these would be my top picks with a strong preference for the 1.528ct diamond just because I place a higher priority on color.

  3. Avatar
    Amanda-
    January 22, 2019 at 4:34 am

    Hi Paul, I lost the 1.540 “F” VS1 round diamond I was looking at on BrianGavin.com. I am concerned about how many and how large the feathers are in the 1.528 E VS2 Round to proceed with a purchase. I work with my hands a lot so I worry that it may break. I spoke to Brian Gavin’s customer service and they stated that a new supply will be delivered in a month. I am ok waiting. In the meantime, I read about the site Whiteflash on your website. My question is, do you recommend whiteflash? Is one better than the other. I want the the best cut diamond so I was wondering which out of the two companies have the better edge?

    I was looking at whitefish.com and I am impressed with their diamond options and the competitive pricing they offer. But my greatest desire is to obtain the best cut, brightest diamond. I do not mind paying more for a better cut diamond but I was wondering which company you recommend.

    Here is the white flash:

    https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-4042792.htm

    vs brian gavin:

    https://www.briangavindiamonds.com/1.528-E-VS2-Round-Diamond-AGS-104078700015

    which company do you think would have a better cut, brightness and prettier hearts and arrows.

    amanda

  4. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    January 23, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    There are no durability issues with the feathers on the pavilion side. They are protected by the ring mounting once it is set. Even if they aren’t and are exposed, that’s not a problem as well in a VS diamond.

    IF a force is big enough to chip or crack the diamond, the diamond ring would be the least of my worries. You would probably be in the hospital with significant hand injuries at that point in time. Diamonds undergo extremely high pressure and forces during the polishing process. If the diamond survived that, it’s going to be able to withstand daily wear and small knocks.

    Next, both diamonds are on par. It is as good as cut quality can get for both these options.

    White Flash and Brian Gavin have the most consistent and highest cut quality diamonds. Both retailers specialize in super ideal cut diamonds. White Flash is a tad less expensive because Brian Gavin has a brand premium.

    Brian Gavin started White Flash before he ventured out to start his own company. That’s why both companies have top notch standards. Brian is a tad more expensive because of his price premiums but that difference is insignificant.

    But in the grand scheme of things, I would say the differences in price aren’t that big and it shouldn’t be the main factor in the purchase. For JA, it is possible to find well cut diamonds but it is going to take extra work in filtering out. At the end of the day, I would let your choice of setting decide on whom to work with.

  5. Avatar
    Amanda-
    January 24, 2019 at 1:23 am

    Thank you Paul, I have questions about Brian Gavin. Are you able to see the hearts and arrows (I call it a star) in the center of his diamonds in person? From the cell phone images that his staff has sent me I could see this center star.

    White flash told me you are unable to see the star shape (hearts and arrows) unless it’s under a special scope. Is this true? I feel when I see real life images of Brian Gavin’s diamonds you can see the center heard s and arrows under normal lighting. Would I not be able to see this center star with Whiteflash diamonds?

    I’ve also read that whiteflash is inferior in quality to Brian Gavin.

    Several people have mentioned that whiteflash does not cut their diamonds as precisely as Brian Gavin. Some people have even mentioned that whiteflash’s hearts and arrows are cut poorly. Is this true? Have you heard this before?

  6. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    January 24, 2019 at 4:58 am

    In order to see the arrows patterning and contrast of black arrows in a diamond, you will need a specific set of lighting conditions. The easiest way is to take a black object (i.e. a handphone) and place it above the diamond when taking a picture or in front of your head when you are viewing the diamond. This will help the diamond pick up the black color and allow it to show up as the contrast patterning (the “center star”) you are talking about.

    It’s easy to see who is bullshitting you and who isn’t. There’s a lot of misinformation about diamonds and the things you read about White Flash. I fundamentally disagree if we are comparing A cut above and Black series. Most people without an indepth understanding of cut mechanics would not know better.

    The key is to look at the tangible proof and not blindly believe what people say (that includes me).

    Read this article: https://beyond4cs.com/hearts-and-arrows/ and use the reference charts there to check what you see at both White Flash and Brian Gavin.

  7. Avatar
    amanda zylinski-
    January 26, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    Thank you Paul, I read your article and it was very helpful. I do not have a great eye for finding flaws but I am sure the diamond is perfect, especially the hearts and arrows symmetry.

    I think this should be my last email of advice and knowledge-seeking since we are close to making a diamond purchase. I am torn between these two diamonds and I was wondering which one would have better brilliance and sparkle based on the reports/ASET images. Do you have a favorite of these two? The 1.653 ct ‘F’ VS1 has a large cloud in the center and a few feathers. I’m not sure if the cloud in the center of this diamond would be visible. The 1.653 ct is larger than the 1.538 ct ‘F’ VVSI which only has pinpoint inclusions. I was wondering which diamond do you personally favor? Which one is more brilliant?

    They are listed here:

    1.538 ct F VVS1 H&A Round
    https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-4042792.htm

    1.653 ct F VS1 H&A Round
    https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-4042802.htm

    As always I truly am thankful for your advice and expertise.

  8. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    January 28, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    For a VVS1 clarity diamond, inclusions are never ever an issue for durability or being eye visible. Inclusions are listed in the grading report in the order of severity. The grade making inclusions are PINPOINTs for this diamond and I can confirm that they are eyeclean and never visible to the naked eyes. Even if you louped the diamond under 10X, I doubt a beginner like you would ever see them. Even a trained professional would have a hard time doing so.

    The clouds and grain centers are minute and insignificant. That’s why they are listed under the comments section. It is there for the sake of completeness. If they were any worse than the pinpoints, it would be listed and drawn into the clarity plot. They aren’t and that should tell you a lot about how insignificant they are.

    Both are on par in light performance and brilliance. If I am being completely anal, then this diamond https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-4042792.htm has better cut precision (hearts patterning).

    If budget is a concern, go for the other VS1 diamond. I will stress again that both options are perfectly fine and they will look very identical to each other.

  9. Avatar
    Matt-
    February 10, 2019 at 2:04 am

    What do you think of Brian Gavin’s hearts and arrows cushion cut diamonds? They are really pricey compared to the ones on Blue Nile. I know Brian Gavin markets them as being superior and patented design but is it worth it? A similar halo cushion engagement ring would cost 20% less elsewhere.

  10. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    February 12, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    There is a multitude of options for where to buy an engagement ring. Blue Nile is one of the best vendors online to buy fancy shaped diamonds. Brian Gavin is more of a specialized vendor the deals in super ideal cut diamonds and I do like them a lot. I’ve seen their cushion H&A diamonds are they are fantastic in appearance. The sparkle and brilliance are out of this world. The claims they make are backed up with science and tangible data. But the thing about their patented cut is that it looks different from the generic cushion diamonds in the market. And which type you like is really up to personal preferences. In terms of setting, their halo cushion cut engagement ring designs are custom made in house with stringent quality control. That’s something I had seen and can vouch for. You may want to read the full review I wrote here.

  11. Avatar
    Simon J.-
    April 13, 2020 at 5:54 am

    Awesome post. I’ve been looking into cushion cut with halo engagement rings because my girlfriend has strongly hinted that she wants something like this. Your ring is beautiful and I want to thank you for sharing your knowledge with normal people like us.

  12. Avatar
    Sheryl-
    April 30, 2020 at 10:05 am

    What are the differences between a cushion cut halo diamond engagement ring in platinum versus another made in 18k white gold? Price wise, platinum is more expensive but what are the benefits of buying that?

  13. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    April 30, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    In terms of appearance, both will look identical. Platinum is heavier than white gold and it is suitable for people with skin allergies. I personally buy jewelry in 14k white gold because I think it is practical. There’s really no right or wrong and this is largely up to what you prefer and like to wear.

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