The Cushion Cut Diamond

By Frank

Highly experienced diamond polisher who loves to share his knowledge with you. Continues to stun his colleagues with interesting - or simply bizarre - facts about diamonds and gems.

May 3, 2018

Ever since the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, we receive a lot of questions about the main stone in Meghan’s ring. It’s a stunning cushion cut diamond. This is is a square diamond shape with rounded corners and 61 facets. The shape looks a bit like a pillow, hence the name. This cut reflects the light in a chunkier way than for example a brilliant. This is what we call ‘the crushed ice effect’. The subtle crushed ice sparkle was very popular around the 1920s. That’s also why cushion-shaped diamonds can be fully appreciated in a vintage setting. Even today, the vintage setting is the most beloved ring style for cushion cut diamonds.

cushion cut diamond with loupe

History

The development of this cut dates way back. This shape is almost 200 years old. The name, however, is quite modern. In the past, they called this shape the ‘mine cut’, a square diamond with rounded corners. The mine cut thanked its name to the Brazilian diamond mines. The older cushions have 57 or 58 facets – 33 crown facets and 25 pavilions. The shape we know today has an extra row of facets and often counts 61 facets. However, the number of facets for this cut is not set in stone. Therefore, a polisher can change the shape a bit and hide inclusions more efficiently. This makes the cushion cut one of the most brilliant cuts of all square and rectangular shaped stones.

Differences with other diamond cuts

The cushion is a beloved but not one of the most well-known diamond cuts. Therefore, people often mistake it for other diamond cuts. In particular with the Asscher cut and the Radiant cut.

The cushion compared to the Asscher cut

Because of its square shape with rounded corners, people easily confuse a cushion cut with an Asscher cut diamond. However, the cushion belongs to the group ‘brilliant cuts’ and the Asscher to the group ‘step cuts’. Diamond shapes that belong to the brilliant group have a number of variations. They can differ in the number, shape, and arrangements of the facets. Step cuts, however, have linear shaped facets that are parallel to the girdle (the stone’s widest part). Another example of a step cut diamond, besides the Asscher cut, is the Emerald cut.

cushion and asscher cut diamond with loupe
The cushion cut (right) is often mistaken with the Asscher cut (left)

The cushion compared to the radiant cut

Another shape the bespoke cut often gets mixed up with is the radiant cut. Although the radiant also belongs to the brilliant cut group, it differs a bit from the cushion cut. The radiant cut has a rectangular outline and rectangular (straight) corners, whereas the corners of a cushion shape are rounded.

Modern day use

A cushion cut diamond ring is often bought as an engagement ring or a fashion piece. Because of its classic and timeless style, it’s usually placed in a vintage setting that suits this cut. The last couple of years, cushion cuts are up and up. One of the reasons for this increasing popularity is Meghan Markle’s engagement ring that contains a gorgeous large cushion cut. Check out this ring, in this video. If you are looking for a stunning cushion cut diamond ring, you can see a brief selection of our collection online or contact a diamond consultant.

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