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Cushion Cut Engagement Rings and Little-Known Secrets of The Cushion Cut

Updated on July 18, 2011

Have you already decided to purchase a cushion cut engagement ring?

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Cushion Cut Engagement Rings Rock!

Are you still in two minds trying to decide which gemstone shape should take the centre stage in your engagement ring? With over 12 years in the jewellery/gemstone trade the decision you are about to make could determine whether you or your significant other fall’s in true love with the engagement ring or be dazzled by the centre stones fire or brilliance on a sunny day, only to fall out of love with your chosen shape on a dull day.

Remember the “fire” we are talking about is the magnificent rainbow like display caused by refraction of light. You want the stone to come to life in a flash, sparkling back at you when you move the cushion cut engagement ring. Your cushion cut diamond must also be alive with the reflection of white light commonly called - brilliance!

My motive to publishing this article on cushion cut engagement rings is a matching pair of the finest deep blue Santa Maria Africana aquamarines I owned and later sold. I initially acquired the rough as a single piece that my cutter split to create a 7ct matching pair, faceted in my favourite cushion shape! What is written is really my own opinion so I may be completely wrong...

***Warning*** - My review will be biased as I just love the cushion cut. Nothing can be said to change my mind. Don’t even read any further. Cushion cut engagement rings rock! Go and purchase one right now!

What is a Cushion Cut?

Trying to leave the technicalities behind a cushion cut shaped gemstone is square or squarish-rectangular shaped with a rounded finish on the corners. It also has 58 or so facets (brilliant - style) on the pavilion. This shape will look similar to the shape of a puffy cushion on your sofa or your pillow.

Some say the cushion cut is used to show the clarity of a particular gemstone but I have used the cushion cut on many gemstones I have worked with from the rough to actually hide inclusions and flaws. This is not a practice to mislead but its to get the best out of the rough stone you have. The table which is the top must be the cleanest part of the stone as you look straight into it’s heart.

An experienced cutter will place any imperfection out of sight and keep the table clean. If you are looking for a almost flawless cushion cut diamond be sure to take a peek under those fiery facets. I also like the cushion shape when cutting a stone from the rough as it does help me to gain a better weight yield. More weight in a gemstone should mean more money when sold.

Is the Cushion Shape a New Design?

While many new designs are been created for faceters to shape gemstones the cushion cut does have a bit of history. From way before my time (1830) diamonds were mainly cut as cushions. You may come across the term “Old Mine Cut” as you research more on this brilliant shape. The “Old Mine Cuts” grace the auction houses more than jewellery shops today as they had far steeper facets on both the crown and pavilion. The older cushion cut diamonds had an unusually thinner girdle, therefore a bigger culet (under the stone table) so this meant than older cushion cuts are prone to chip easier. Not good!

The facets on the culet on the modern cushion cut are basically taken from the round brilliant shape diamond and gives the stone much more brilliancy or fire. This is why I say they can hide any imperfections if placed correctly.

Cushion Cut Engagement Rings in Today’s World

Newer cushion cuts usually carry smaller culets as jewellers have realised shoppers prefer the fire in their cushion thanks to Tolkowsky’s (he pioneered this round brilliant cut) round brilliant facets. Not forgetting technologies input as stones today can be fashioned faster, easier and in many weird and wonderful ways. New technology allows faceters to cut stones in any shape with far better proportions, symmetry and final polish. The internet has many pictures of cushion cut engagement rings for you to get a decent visual of your potential engagement ring.

Cushion cut gemstones can be found in various shapes ranging from square right through to rectangular shapes (degree of rectangularity could vary). This is important to remember when you purchase your cushion cut engagement ring. You need to buy the cushion shape that has the best ratios for you. You may not get what you asked for if you do not view the exact stone you are purchasing. One cushion shape engagement ring does not fit all!

The recent rise in demand for cushion cut diamonds (and other gemstones) was mainly triggered by celebrities strutting their stuff while showing off their “finger bling”. Just one example is the media capturing Britney Spears’s 4 carat cushion cut engagement ring. I’ll tell you something for free - a 2 carat cushion cut engagement ring would satisfy any lady reading this article. There has been a number of other celebrity “cushion cut diamond engagement ring” sightings that has resulted in a dramatic increase in demand for my favourite gemstone shape. I had one before Britney Spears.

Facets - Cushion Cut Engagement Rings

What Mistakes in The Cushion Cut Should I Look Out For?

1. Wrong Number of Facets on Your Cushion Cut:

This is a difficult one to explain but your aim is to purchase a cushion cut diamond that is cut for beauty and not just weight. The cushion cut you would find in a jewellery shop should have 58 brilliant-style facets. This number of facets seems to be preferred as it’s the most effective to reflect the light.

Having said this this is not set in stone and you may find a stone with less facets that appeal to you more. Asking your jeweller for the specifications of the stone should reveal how many facets your particular piece has. In this case more is not necessarily good. Increasing the number of facets does not mean you will produce a finer quality cushion cut diamond engagement ring.

2. Too Much Naughty Weight:

Again, too much is not always good. A cut gemstone carrying more weight than it should will definitely reduce its aesthetic appeal. The shady cutters and manufacturers in the jewellery trade will leave a thick girdle on a given cut gemstone so they can retain more weight thus earning more per carat. This is because larger stones fetch a higher price per carat. The more weight a cutter leaves on the stone also means the more he gets paid if he is paid on a “per carat” basis. What I have done to avoid this practice with cutters I have worked with is I will pre-form the rough gemstone myself and then hand the pre-formed rough (blank) stone to a cutter who will then finish the piece off by adding the correct number of cushion cut facets (if that’s the shape I chose) and finally polish the stone.

3. Watch Those “Sky Scrapers”:

Another place for a cutter to leave un-necessary weight in a cushion cut diamond is on the pavilion (under the table of the stone). If you had the stone on its own and not set you could tell if it’s a “skyscraper” by turning the stone upside down to see the angle of the pavilion. Too much stone (sky scraper) will produce an unattractive piece. If the pavilion is too flat again you will generally loose the colour as you look into the stones table. Unfortunately I know for a fact there are many cushion cut engagement rings with “sky scraper” centre stones. I hope this article will help you to avoid them.

Cushion Cut Engagement Rings Video

Tips in Selecting a Cushion Cut Diamond Engagement Ring

The diamond has been the unequalled symbol  of love and romance coupled with the ring symbolising commitment, constancy and fidelity. If you were a Roman you would believe your fourth finger was a direct route to the heart. Even taking that into consideration purchasing your engagement ring should be part of a grander decision that will go beyond myth and legend itself.

Without getting soppy the fact that you have decided to take this course of commitment  calls for commendation, especially in a orld were marriage is increasingly frowned upon. I hope that these little pointers will help you in your quest to find the finest piece amongst all the cushion cut diamond engagement rings online or at your local jeweller.

Step 1: Always Set Your Budget First:

I am assuming you have now decided to go for a cushion cut diamond engagement ring.
I tell all my potential customers to set their budget first as cushion cut engagement rings can range from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands. The more you have to spend I believe the more you need to evaluate the detail. Once you have the budget “firmly set” you will save yourself and your chosen supplier a lot of headache. Setting the budget will allow you to now work backwards by selecting a diamond (or other gemstone) that’s within your budget. You then decide on the choice of metal, followed by the design elements. Customers always land up extremely confused and frustrated if they have not set the correct budget from day one. 

Step 2: Time to Apply all The Cushion Cut Diamond Research You Did?

This step involves you taking a much closer look at the centre stone itself. This is were you apply the 4C’s, which is Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat, blah blah blah. You now need to get to know the cushion cut diamond a little better and be sure you are happy with your final stone choice. Viewing a number of different cushion cut diamonds is always best, while you apply the process of elimination. Just find the right balance and don’t get too fussed with the detail here as you may never see the differences in the slight variations of color and clarity  grades, leave this part to the geeks, you have a wedding to prepare.

Step 4: Choose The Setting and Design to Hold Your Cushion Cut Diamond Beauty

This is essentially the overall ring design part. The stone setting & shank is basically all the metal part, the “ring” without the centre stone. Will your setting just hold a single cushion cut diamond or will the design allow for any accent stones (smaller supporting stones). . Be sure the design is practical as its something you “will” be wearing for ever and ever!    

Step 5: Does it Fit Well?

I have heard of many horror stories with ring sizing’s. The most simple element sometimes turns out to be a disaster, so be warned. My most recent story is of a husband who poked around his significant others jewellery box like a gem thief in action to ensure he orders the correct size. What did he choose as a ring size sample? One of her toe rings!! Amazingly they finally did get married after the ring was re-sized. I hope they are living happily ever after! If you do make a hash of the sizing the process of re-sizing is straight forward (should be).

Step 6: Any Paperwork?

Before you purchase the engagement ring be sure to enquire about the paperwork.
Is it a Fair Trade Gem? Is it a Blood Diamond? Does it have a GIA Certificate? Will it come with an  Appraisal? (valuation certificate). The more you spend the more important the above becomes. The last thing you want to do is spend thousands on a  cushion cut diamond engagement ring but when cleaning your ring a year down the line a shady jeweller decides to swap your fine cushion cut diamond with an inferior stone or a cubic zirconia. This is no fairy tale, it happens.

Your paperwork will always help you to identify the stones set in your engagement ring and will keep it identifiable from all the other cushion cut engagement rings in this world.  A certificate from the Gemological Institute of America  (GIA) will contain all the precise details of your cushion cut diamond, but remember its not the same thing as the appraisal. The appraisal (valuation certificate) will provide you with the monetary value of the cushion cut diamond.

Step 7:  Enjoy Looking into the heart of your cushion cut diamond engagement ring.

I believe the demand for cushion cut engagement rings will continue to increase. If you have not yet decided on the shape of your centre stone after reading this blame my writing and not the cushion shape.

If you have any questions or queries please feel free to make a comment and I could forward you my personal email.

If you have read this far thanks a million!

Comments on Cushion Cut Engagement Rings

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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I love this write-up. Its very informative. I am debating a round and cushion because I was told that a cushion cut looks much smaller than a round cut. ie a 4 carot cushion is equivalent to the looks of a 3 carrot round. Is this true? How do I receive a response to this comment. I don't want my email address published across the web.

    • jewellerypal profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago


      Please go easy on me for my opinion but I have always seen the cushion shape regardless of stone type to be the main centre stone in a ring setting. Example: 2ct cushion cut Ceylon blue sapphire "centre stone" is key. Then surround it with some round brilliants if you wish.

      A round brilliant with two cushions on the side is not for me. Having said that - "one man's meat is another man's poison".

      I would like to see an example image of this piece if you have one. I have never seen such a design in my circles.

      Are you looking to make a purchase but have not yet decided if you should go for a white diamond cushion or a Ceylon blue sapphire cushion? What exactly is your dilemma?



    • jewellerypal profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago


      If you get technical the round brilliant does bring the best out of a diamond. A faceter will also aim to save as much weight as possible from the rough, so rough diamonds tend to be cut as rounds because the rough crystals are shaped well to just create round brilliants, saving weight while making more cash at the same time.

      Having said that we are allowed to have a shape that we prefer. If the faceter does his job right then he should get the best out of any rough diamond.

      I just met a gentleman who wants me to design his better half’s engagement ring. The thing is she wants nothing but a heart shaped diamond set in a 3 claw setting. Yes a heart shaped diamond engagement ring. Very unusual request. She wants nothing else but this. I say good on her! It will be a stunner once complete. She also knows what everybody says about the round brilliant - she wants a heart.

      If it’s not too late to offer some advice what is your boyfriend purchasing?

      Thanks Alvin

    • profile image

      Lisa Tran 

      8 years ago

      Thank you for taking the time out to write this up... Everyone I know say the round brilliant is the best but I think the cushion cut is for me.

      I would love for you to give me feedback on the diamond my boyfriend is purchasing.


    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      8 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      What do you think about a round with two cushions on the side?

      Any thoughts on the white diamond in cushion cut versus the colored - the ceylon blue sapphire in cushion cut is my favorite.

      I am very biased.

      Thanks for sharing your expertise.

      I learned allot from your Hub! I love the mine cut diamonds - no wonder I like the cushion cut.


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