cushion modified brilliant cutThe cushion cut, also known as the pillow cut, is probably one of the most traditional shapes that is still popular at present times. Cushions typically have 58 facets and have highly distinguishable curved corners which gives them a pillow-like appearance.

Throughout the history of the diamond industry, we had seen constantly changing trends and cutting styles that had continuously evolved. Interestingly, just like fashion trends which seem to take up cyclic patterns, we see the same scenario happening with diamond cuts. 

Did you know that cushion cut diamonds actually went “out-of-fashion” in the last century? It was only in recent times where vintage cuts came back in vogue. From old European cuts to old miner cuts, these long forgotten retro designs are finding their way back into the mainstream market of the 21st century.

With its centuries of history, the cushion cut is ubiquitous when you take a look their prominent occurrences in the various royal family jewels. Also, if you take a look at a list of the most renowned or the largest cut gemstones, you will see that the cushion cut is surprisingly well represented.

Cushion Shaped Diamonds in the Modern Market

old miner cushion diamond

Old Miner Cuts – Vintage

cushion modified brilliant

Modern Cushion Cut – Present Day


Due to their recent popularity amongst celebrities, cushion cuts have slowly regained much of their long-lost popularity and are re-living its past renaissance. Antique cushions are popular with customers because of their romantic and classic shape appeal. Steeper crowns, smaller tables, and larger culets are all characteristic features of the vintage cushion cutting style.

On the other hand, modern day cushion cutting styles typically have small or no culets at all and take on an appearance that is closely associated with the round brilliant cut. Instead of broad chunky facets patterning seen in older cutting styles, modern cushion cuts usually portray an outlook that is made of smaller individual facets.

 

 

Recommended Proportions for Cushion Cut Diamonds

Excellent Very Good Good Fair/Poor
Table % 58% – 63% 57% – 65% 55% – 67% Outside Ranges
Depth % 58% – 66% 57% – 68% 55% – 70% Outside Ranges
Polish/Symmetry Excellent – Very Good Good Outside Ranges
Length to Width 1.00 – 1.05 1.06 – 1.20 1.21 – 1.35 Outside Ranges
Girdle Thickness V. Thin – Slightly Thick V. Thin – Thick Outside Ranges
Culet Size None Very Small Small Outside Ranges

* Note: The proportions table is meant as a general guideline for people who are buying blind. If you can see the diamond in person or via videos, that will always takes precedence instead of trying to judge a fancy cut based on numbers. I also highly recommend that you use an ASET scope to check for optical performance and use this knowledge to help you make better decisions.

Browse through more than 3,500+ cushion cut diamonds online with 360° videos at JamesAllen.com.

Length to Width Ratios for Cushion Cuts

Cushion brilliant cuts can exist in a variety of shapes ranging from squarish to rectangular shapes. This is largely a matter of personal preference and also dependent on the type of ring setting to be used. The most popular l/w ratios for a cushion cut lie between 1.00 to 1.05 where the diamond takes on a squarish looking appearance.

cushion cut diamond length to width ratios

Buying cushions can be a tricky affair due to the lack of cut information that you can obtain from the grading report. You see, when it comes to fancy cuts, 2 diamonds with the same depth/table proportions can look totally different from each other. Also, there is no guarantee you will get a great looking stone even if the “statistics” on a grading report look promising.

To overcome this problem and select the most brilliant stone for your budget, there are certain methods you can undertake when you go shopping. I will explain this in more details on the following page…

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17 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Noah Chamberlain-
    January 8, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    What’s the difference between radiant vs cushion diamonds? They both look similar to me.

  2. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    January 10, 2015 at 7:45 am

    This page answers your question: https://beyond4cs.com/faq/radiant-vs-cushion-cut/

  3. Avatar
    Phillip-
    August 22, 2015 at 2:02 am

    Thanks for the time you’ve taken in putting this website together Paul – I really think it’s the most informative, unbiased and helpful website on the internet for anyone looking to buy a diamond. Thanks again, Phil

  4. Avatar
    Julian Engen-
    August 31, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    I’m looking for an antique cushion cut loose diamond. Do you have any information or guides published on those specific cushion designs? One eBay vendor has a listing that includes a video to the stone but it is graded by EGL International and from what I researched so far, the lab doesn’t seem reputable. Would you be able to look at the listing and offer advice on it?

    J.E.

  5. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    August 31, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    The antique/vintage cutting style you are referring to is called Old Miner Cut (OMC) and it is sometimes called the candlelight diamond. I actually wrote a fairly recent guide on these stones here: https://beyond4cs.com/shapes/cushion/old-mine-cut/

    EGL International is not a gemological laboratory I would recommend. They are pretty notorious for lax grading standards. This is to the extent that the largest trading network, Rapaport, had banned all EGL listings from their database. If there are specific stones that you need a second opinion on, feel free to drop me a private email.

  6. Avatar
    Nathaniel M Harry-
    June 16, 2016 at 2:58 am

    Thank you for your hard work on this site. Thanks to your input on ASET imaging and it’s importance for fancy cut stones (such as the cushion I intend on buying) you saved me from a potentially expensive mistake.

  7. Avatar
    Kyle-
    June 26, 2016 at 1:49 am

    https://www.jamesallen.com/mobile/loose-diamonds/cushion-cut/1.21-carat-e-color-vvs1-clarity-sku-757487
    I have been looking for a cushion cut diamond of fairly high quality. I’m trying to target the 1.2-1.6 size range and a price tag of around 10k. What should that get me in terms of quality? And does this strike you as a good example of one? What might be your suggestion of similar stones?

    Thanks!

  8. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    June 26, 2016 at 7:31 am

    This is a well cut crushed ice cushion diamond.

  9. Avatar
    Kyle-
    June 27, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    What is a crushed ice diamond?

  10. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    June 28, 2016 at 1:31 am

    It refers to the scintillation patterning of the cushion diamond. This should help: https://beyond4cs.com/shapes/cushion/broad-flash-or-pinfire/

  11. Avatar
    Matthew-
    July 20, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    https://www.jamesallen.com/mobile/loose-diamonds/cushion-cut/1.71-carat-f-color-vs1-clarity-sku-1045032

    There is a small inclusion in the table, but this looks like a beautiful diamond for the price and the dimensions fall within the very good/excellent range. Is this one a good value?

  12. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    July 21, 2016 at 3:13 am

    The inclusion is not an issue. I can assure you that the diamond is eyeclean. Use this to test: https://beyond4cs.com/clarity/resize-technique/

  13. Avatar
    Paul R-
    July 23, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    Thank you for this guide. It is extremely helpful. It is definitely not easy picking the right diamond. What is your opinion on the brilliance of these three diamonds from James Allen? I am trying to decide whether I should request the ASET or wait for more diamonds.

    https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/cushion-cut/1.51-carat-h-color-vvs2-clarity-sku-1836466

    https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/cushion-cut/1.51-carat-g-color-vs2-clarity-sku-1817313

    https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/cushion-cut/1.51-carat-h-color-vs2-clarity-sku-1860361

  14. Avatar
    ai-
    May 3, 2019 at 7:37 am

    Hi Paul, thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge, it has been helpful, but I have even more questions..

    I am going through the painful process of shopping for a fancy cut stone, specifically elongated cushion brilliant cut. I currently purchased a lab created stone “blind” from BrilliantEarth and I am not fully satisfied (fortunately I have about 30 days to return/exchange). This blind purchase has put me in a bit of a panic, which lead me to do more research and I realized I do not like the cushion modified cut which creates the very tiny random appearing facets. I prefer the “chunkier” cushion brilliant which it’s larger facets.

    You’ve recommended specific retailers on your site for natural cushion cut stones, but do you have any recommendations shopping for a lab-created stones?

    thanks!

  15. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    May 3, 2019 at 7:54 am

    With lab created diamonds, Brilliant Earth is still the best place to shop and they hold the largest inventory of stones for you to cherry pick from. Fundamentally, there’s nothing wrong with Brilliant Earth. It’s the way that you shop that needs to be changed. When buying fancy shape diamonds like cushion cuts, you need to SEE videos and you can filter out those WITH video listings at Brilliant Earth instead of shopping for one based on a grading report.

    James Allen is another vendor that offers video listings that enable you to view how the cushion cut looks like before you buy. Go here and you will find that it’s much easier to shop in this manner with certainty.

  16. Avatar
    Ai-
    May 3, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    Thank you for your response. I just now noticed your review on BE, helpful.

    The stones I wish to look at from BE do not have any video images, I have made a request for both video and ASETs, but that is pending.

    I do have an upcoming appointment in their La showroom to view another stone and plan on bringing a 10x loop and an ASET scope to see the stones for myself.

    The C’s are important to me but I am willing to sacrifice some C’s to get the size (approx 9mm X 8mm) as long as the stone is “eye clean” and “fiery” all while staying in my budget of 15k.

    Current stone: 2.59 IF, E color, excellent polish/symmetry, table 66%, depth 60.4%, medium-slightly thick girdle.

    I admit I am shopping “blind” using only IGI certification, but I hope with my 50 min appointment I will be able to evaluate the stones and deicide if I like the stones enough to commit to a purchase. Do you have any other advice for this in person approach?

  17. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    May 4, 2019 at 2:01 pm

    If you are going in with an ASET tool and seeing the diamonds in person, then it would be fine. Here’s a reference chart for you to refer to: https://beyond4cs.com/grading/aset-reference-charts/

    Just make sure you compare the diamonds in different lighting environment instead of the “default” spotlight environment. Get them to close the spotlight and turn up a fluorescent lighting to view the diamonds. Also, consider bringing the diamonds beside the windows to look at them under daylight.

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