Cushion Cut Diamonds 101

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Cushion Cut Diamonds 101


The cushion cut diamond combines the old mine faceted diamond pattern with a modern round brilliant cut, resulting in a soft rectangular or square shape with rounded edges, giving it a pillow-like appearance. This cut has a classic, timeless style and is known for its high level of brilliance and fire, making it reflect white and colored light well. It is also durable due to its rounded edges

yellow gold cushion cut diamond stud earrings with halos


The cushion cut diamond has a long history, dating back to the earliest diamond cutting styles. It is one of the oldest diamond shapes and cutting styles, with origins dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The modern cushion cut diamond is reminiscent of an early brilliant cut called the "old mine cut," which was the most common cut until the late 19th century. The old mine cut was named after the diamond mines in Brazil, which became known as the "old mines" after diamonds were discovered in South Africa. 

The defining characteristics of an old mine cut diamond are a squarish shape with a high crown (top), small table, deep pavilion (bottom), and a large culet. Historically, diamond cutting was a slow and difficult process and diamond cutters were limited by the technology available at the time. Retaining as much weight from the rough diamond as possible was important to save time and money. The old mine cut was most conducive to accommodate these cutting limitations. With an old mine cut, the diamond’s crown (top) is higher and pavilion (bottom) deeper than today’s standards. Moreover, the light patterns from the brilliant facets are distinctly different from modern-cut diamonds.

Modern day cushion brilliant cut diamonds are square or squarish-rectangular shapes with curved sides and either rounded or pointed corners.  Typically, this cut will have four or eight mains, which are kite-shaped facets between the girdle and the culet. Sometimes the cut is modified to include extra facets on the crown or pavilion, in which case the cut is called “modified cushion cut brilliant.”


Considering Length to Width Ratio

Cushion cut diamonds come in both square and rectangular shapes, with an array of length-to-width ratios that change the overall appearance of the diamond. Some people prefer the square shape while some prefer elongated. There is no right or wrong shape, it is simply preference.

The length-to-width ratio for cushion cut diamonds is an important factor to consider when choosing a diamond. Most prefer a cushion cut diamond that is either square (a length to width ratio of 1.00 - 1.05) or rectangular (1.2 and up). Cushion cuts with a square ratio cover a larger surface area on the finger from right to left, which makes the diamond appear larger overall. Elongated cushions, on the other hand, elongate the finger.  

square cushion cut diamond

Square Cushion Cut Diamond

elongated cushion cut diamond

Elongated Cushion Cut Diamond


Considering Cushion Cut Diamond Quality

Turn to the 4C's of diamond quality when shopping for a cushion cut diamond.


  • Cushion Cut Diamond Cut:

Modern cushion cut diamonds are distinguished by their square or squarish-rectangular shape. They’re known for their curved sides that are usually rounded or have ever so slightly pointed corners. Although most popular in their more square form where the length to width ratio is between 1.00 to 1.05, the more traditional appearance is closer to a 1.10 ratio with some more rare cushion cuts reaching ratios of 1.20 to 1.30, taking on an elongated rectangular shape.
  •  Cushion Cut Diamond Clarity: 

Clarity in cushion cut diamonds is dependent on personal preference. In terms of clarity, avoid a diamond that has visible inclusions in the center of the stone. 

GIA ranks diamond clarity on the following scale:

    • IF – Internally Flawless
    • VVS1 – Very Very Small Inclusions
    • VVS2 – Very Very Small Inclusions
    • VS1 – Very Small Inclusions
    • VS2 – Very Small Inclusions
    • SI1 – Small Inclusions
    • SI2 – Small Inclusions
    • I1 – Inclusions
    • I2 – Inclusions 
  • Cushion Cut Diamond Color: 

Cushion cut diamonds will show more color than just about any other diamond shape. This is one of the main reasons why so many colored diamonds are cut into a cushion to maximize the appearance of color. If you’re pairing a cushion cut diamond with white gold or platinum, stick to a color grade of G or better. A G color diamond will appear white and cost less than a higher color grade. If you're looking to save some money and are opting for a yellow or rose gold ring setting, a cushion cut diamond will still look colorless all the way down to I color. Since the metal will reflect some of its color in the diamond anyway, the slight warmth in an I color diamond will still look white against colored metal.

  • Cushion Cut Diamond Carat Weight: 

Cushion cut diamonds are a very popular cut and are widely available in various carat weights. There’s also going to be quite a variety based on proportions and length to width ratio. The more elongated cushion cut diamonds are produced far less often than the square-shaped stones. For that reason, the elongated cushion cut will be harder to find in high quality.

The elongated cushion cut diamond will also appear larger in carat size than the square cushion versions. This is a result of the larger surface area of the stone due to its proportions. One important thing to remember about cushion cuts is that two stones of similar or even the same carat weight may look quite different in visual size.

Unlike other diamond cuts, the cushion cut has several variations. Depending on how the cutter decides proportions for each individual stone means each cushion cut diamond’s final appearance can vary greatly in dimension, shape, and size. 


Cushion cut diamonds are a stunning center stone option for any engagement ring style, from solitaire engagement rings to halo engagement rings with pave diamond detailing.

white gold solitaire cushion cut diamond


Known for their simplicity, solitaires are accent-less bands that are available in all of your favorite gold such as white, yellow, and rose gold. This setting will draw attention to a cushion cut and can create the illusion of a larger carat weight. It's designed to sit low on the finger and draw in light for a brilliant sparkle.
(Click here to view the ring pictured above)
rose gold diamond engagement ring


For the person who likes to stand out from the crowd, a halo setting rivals the twinkle of the night sky with a center diamond surrounded by elegant accent diamonds. Pair this with the sought after cushion cut diamond and you have a ring that is trending.
(Click here to view the ring pictured above.)
white gold pave cushion cut diamond engagement ring


A pavé setting will make your ring stand out more, without taking away from the cushion cut diamond as a centerpiece. The round accent diamonds add some flair to the ring, at the same time amplifying the fire of the center stone.
(Click here to view the ring pictured above.)
platinum triple row diamond engagement ring


For the bride who wants to make a statement, we've got you. This ring includes three distinct rows of diamonds featured on the band in addition to more sparkle surrounding the cushion-cut stone.
(Click here to view the ring pictured above.)
yellow gold vintage inspired cushion cut diamond engagement ring


This glimmering engagement ring features a cushion cut center stone set in a diamond halo and diamonds along the tapering shoulders. The yellow gold engraved band is lined with milgrain for an extra touch of detail.


This cut is a popular choice for far more than cushion cut diamond engagement rings. You can find the stunning stones on everything from necklaces to earrings to bracelets. No matter what you choose, cushion cut diamonds are an excellent way to feature your unique, yet classy style! Stop by Devon's Diamonds & Decor in Boca Raton to talk to us about custom designing a beautiful piece of jewelry that features a cushion cut diamond.

white gold cushion cut diamond halo pendant

Curious about what other diamond shapes there are?

Check out our Diamond Shapes 101 blog post!

devons diamonds and decor