Cushion Cut Breakdown

A Cushion Cut Diamond is one of the most requested shapes here at the NYCWD office. With such a wide variety of different types of cushions available, one of the questions we get asked about the most is the variations of cuts. Here, we break down the two most popular cushion cut variations.

Cushion Brilliant vs. Cushion Modified Brilliant Diamonds

Originally, cushion cut diamonds were cut using step facets, where the facets are elongated and placed in rows to simulate a mirrored staircase. Marcel Tolkowsky pioneered the modern round brilliant cut diamond by cutting facets perpendicular instead of horizontal (facets that resemble triangles) and found that this produced more brilliance and fire from the stone. These angles were incorporated into the cushion cut to give it more sparkle while keeping the outline of the diamond the same. Thus the cushion brilliant diamond was born.
Cushion brilliant diamonds have very similar faceting arrangements as round brilliant cut diamonds. The facets in the pavilion of a cushion brilliant extend from the center of the diamond out toward the girdle (outer edge), resembling a star. Cushion brilliants contain larger facets and do not have a “crushed ice” look. Rather, they resemble the appearance of round cut diamonds with a pillow like or cushion shape – which makes them so desirable and popular.
Cushion modified brilliants are a variation on the original cushion brilliant shape. This type of cushion cut contains an extra row of facets just below the girdle, where the facets on the pavilion do not actually reach the girdle, resembling a flower shape. Cushion modified brilliants often have exceptional sparkle reminiscent of the “sparkling water” or “crushed ice” appearance of a well-cut radiant shape diamond. Furthermore, because there isn’t a large demand for this particular cut and cutters save more weight when cutting them from a rough diamond crystal, they are less expensive than traditional cushion brilliant cut diamonds.

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