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January 28th 2022

The Cushion Cut Diamond Guide

By Devin Jones

Cushion Cut Diamonds

Cushion cut diamonds are one of the most popular and unique of all the diamond shapes. The unique design of the cushion cut diamond, with its square or rectangular dimensions complemented by rounded corners, falls somewhere between the curvaceous oval cut and the more linear radiant or emerald cut.

Cushion cut diamonds feature a variety of cutting styles defined largely by the facets on the bottom of the diamond. While there are a variety of other cut types including Cut-Cornered or Round-Cornered, Rectangular or Square, Brilliant or Modified Brilliant cushion cut diamonds (not to mention Old Mine Brilliant), modified brilliant cushions dominate the market. 97% of cushion cut diamonds available in the market today are categorized as modified cushion cut diamonds according to their GIA certificates. 

Even within cushion modified brilliant there are two distinct types of diamonds. Cushion cut diamonds with a more brilliant cut pattern tend to give off a “crushed ice” look while those with larger, more defined facets are referred to as hybrid or chunky cushion cut diamonds.

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Cushion Cut Diamond Popularity

Cushion cut diamonds are the 3rd most popular shape for diamond shoppers. According to our internal data, 9% of StoneAlgo users selected a cushion cut diamond. The only more popular shapes were round cut diamonds (56%) and oval cut diamonds (16%).

the most popular diamond shapes

Cushion cut diamonds are the third most popular shape for diamond shoppers.

Cushion cut diamonds have roughly the same surface area to carat weight ratio as round diamonds. This means that cushion cut and round cut diamonds of the same carat weight will look to be about the same size visually as well. Other diamond shapes, such as princess cut diamonds, tend to look much smaller than their carat weight in terms of their surface area. Oval cut diamonds on the other hand, maximize surface area relative to carat weight and appear larger when viewed from above.

visual_carat_for_all_shapes.webp

Cushion, round, and emerald cut diamonds have nearly the same surface area to carat weight ratios (their dots are overlapping between the yellow oval cut and light blue princess cut dots).

Pros & Cons of Cushion Cut Diamonds

Pros

Cons

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Ideal Proportions for Cushion Cut Diamonds

There are no hard-set rules on cushion cut diamond proportions like there are for round cut diamonds, at least not at the GIA. For this reason, the GIA and AGS do not assign a cut grade to cushion cut diamonds. If you see a cut grade listed on a jewelers website, that grade is an opinion of the jeweler and not an agency assigned grade.

While there are no defined cut grades, we are able to discern the ideal proportions for a cushion cut diamond by studying the available diamonds in the market. This assumes that diamond cutters optimize their cutting for the appearance of the diamond. This is sometimes not the case, such as when cutters optimize for carat weight over cut quality.

One aspect of cut quality that you should not compromise on is cushion cut diamond symmetry. Symmetry measures how similar one half of a diamond looks to its other half. We recommend choosing only excellent symmetry cushion cut diamonds.

Cushion Cut Length to Width Ratio (LTW Ratio)

Cushion cut diamonds come in a variety of shapes, but there is a distinct separation between square cut cushions (LTW 1.00 – 1.1) and rectangular cushion cut diamonds (LTW over 1.10).

You may see language describing cushion cut diamonds with length to width ratios of 1.20 or greater as elongated cushion cut diamonds. All of these dimensions are a matter of preference and an opportunity to personalize the look of your diamond to suit your taste.

ideal popular cushion cut diamond length to width ratios

Cushion Cut Depth Percentage

The ideal cushion cut depth percentage is 68% based on the diamonds available in our diamond database. Most cushion cut diamond depth percentages tend to fall between 66% and 70%.

popular cushion cut diamond depth percentages

Cushion Cut Table Percentage

The ideal cushion cut table percentage is a tie between 60% and 61%. Most cushion cut diamond table percentages fall between 57% and 65%.

popular cushion cut diamond table percentages

Cushion Cut Diamond Prices

Cushion cut diamonds cost about 30% less than round cut diamonds and are priced similarly to most other fancy shapes. Here are cushion cut diamond prices as of July 2022. Diamond price per carat is calculated by dividing price by the number of carats.

Carat Weight Diamond Price Price Per Carat
0.5 $1,695 $3,390
1 $3,847 $3,847
2 $20,306 $10,153
3 $68,816 $22,939

For details on the current prices of cushion cut diamonds, please use our diamond prices tool.

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Cushion Cut Diamond Color Grades

The most popular color grade for cushion cut diamonds is F color but there is interestingly almost no difference in demand for D – H color cushion cut diamonds. As you can see in the char below, the demand for every color grade from D – H is between 15% - 17%, which is unique to cushion cut diamonds. Typically our internal data shows a peak around G or H color for other diamond shapes.

popular cushion cut diamond color grades

What is worth noting here is the significant drop off from H to I color grade. This shows customers are steering away from lower color grades diamonds that might appear yellow. As we mentioned earlier, cushion cut diamonds do not hide color as well as round cut diamonds.

H color is the best color grade for cushion cut diamonds since it balanced price and aesthetics. However, if you are considering a higher carat weight (anything over 2.5 carats) we would recommend considering a better color grade.

Cushion Cut Diamond Clarity Grades

The most popular clarity grade for cushion cut diamonds is VS1 clarity (27%) followed closely by VS2 clarity (25%). Cushion cut diamonds do not hide inclusions particularly well due to their large table. For this reason, we believe the best clarity grade for cushion cut diamonds is a VS2 clarity as it maximizes appearance relative to price for most diamond buyers. For larger diamonds we recommend considering VS1 clarity cushion cut diamonds since any inclusions will become even more noticeable as the table expands in width.

popular cushion cut diamond clarity grades

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