There are a number of common diamond shapes apart from the traditional round brilliant cut, and cushion cut diamonds are one of these. Cushion cut diamonds have been around longer than most shapes, but it’s still subject to the same grading criteria as all other shapes. At the same time, the unique features of cushion cut diamonds mean that there are specific things you’ll need to take into consideration when buying one.
What are cushion cut diamonds?
Cushion cut diamonds have actually been around for nearly three hundred years, making it one of the oldest diamond shapes still in common use. The name “cushion cut” refers to the rounded, cushion-like shape that these diamonds have.
They are also called “pillow cut” diamonds in some circles. Cushion cut diamonds feature rounded corners and very large facets, which accentuate the natural brilliance and clarity of the diamond.
The cushion cut is a precursor to the round brilliant cut, which is the most popular diamond shape today. The technology and techniques needed to create a perfectly round cut were not in existence in the 18th century, and the cushion cut represented the best method for cutting a diamond in order to maximize its brilliance and overall appearance. Cushion cuts are rounded squares or rectangles, with length to width ratios usually falling within the range of 1.0 to 1.3.
It’s important to be aware that the “cut” in “cushion cut” does not have the same meaning as the cut rating that appears on a diamond certificate. The cushion cut is just a particular diamond shape, while the cut rating reflects the actual quality of the cut.
What makes cushion cut diamonds special?
As one of the oldest diamond shapes, a high-quality cushion cut will have an appropriately “vintage” appearance. In previous decades, the supply of cushion cut diamonds had dwindled to the extent that they were virtually impossible to acquire outside of special auctions and estate sales. However, cushion cuts have recently experienced a resurgence in popularity. They still aren’t nearly as common as round brilliants, and probably never will be, but the vintage appeal of the cushion cut has earned it a place in the hearts of diamond enthusiasts.
Cushion cuts are, by nature, not as brilliant as most modern cuts. For this reason, they most likely won’t appeal as much to buyers who are looking for diamonds that have that spectacular fire and sparkle. At the same time, high-quality cushion cuts are valued by collectors for their unique attributes, and this is reflected in their prices. People who are looking to buy diamonds for investment purposes should definitely consider cushion cuts for this reason.
What should I look for in cushion cut diamonds?
There are certain factors that are particularly important with respect to the appearance and value of cushion cut diamonds. The relative lack of brilliance that characterizes cushion cuts means that it’s generally recommended to stay away from diamonds that have a cut grade lower than “Good.” Anything with a lower cut grade will have a very dull appearance.
The clarity grade may also be worth considering. Some cushion cuts with a clarity rating below VS2 can have a murky appearance. However, in some cases, SI1-2-rated cushion cut diamonds can still look reasonably clear to the naked eye. In these cases, naturally, it’s a good idea to have a good look at the diamond as well as the certificate in order to determine whether clarity is an issue or not, and to decide whether cushion cut diamonds are the right choice for you.