Every diamond cut tells a unique story in the realm of engagement rings. Among the many options, the cushion cut and the princess cut diamonds emerge as feisty contenders, each boasting a distinct allure. More and more couples are looking at the diamond “fancy shapes” when picking their center stone to be set in their engagement ring. Round diamonds have always taken top billing when it comes to engagement rings, but the fancy cuts are on the rise!
We are comparing and contrasting these two fabulous fancy cuts, helping you make an informed choice that resonates with your style, personality, and love story. As you will see, these shapes are also lovely set in other pieces. Earrings, pendants, bracelets, as well as rings all feature cushion cuts and princess cuts well!
Illustrated above, the cushion-cut exhibits gentle, rounded corners, whereas the princess-cut showcases sharp edges, resulting in a pristine square form. Both shapes fall under the category of “fancy shapes” and typically boast 57-58 facets (facets being the flat surfaces on a diamond).
Each of these shapes are modern versions of antique cuts – the cushion-cut draws from the antique old mine cut, while the princess cut is a contemporary interpretation of the antique French-cut diamond. The present-day princess-cut diamond, developed in the 1980s, presents a more modern aesthetic attributed to its sleek lines. On the other hand, the current cushion-cut continues to emanate a softer vintage allure.
Cushion Cut Diamond
The market offers different types of cushion cut styles, ranging from vintage to contemporary, including specialized branded cuts optimized for exceptional light performance. Antique cushion cut diamonds stand out for their steeper crowns, smaller tables, and larger culets. These cuts exhibit a range of facet arrangements categorized as “Cushion Brilliant” or “Modified Cushion Brilliant” in lab reports.
Many cushion cut diamonds will be cut for heavier weight, at the expense of beauty. This is because many grading laboratories, including GIA, do not assess the optical performance of cushion cut diamonds or other fancy shapes. With no standards enforced, manufacturers tend to plan for the highest yield possible, resulting in cushion cut diamonds of great depth, concealing weight in the body. Creating a higher carat weight equals higher ticket prices for sales.
A couple of labs have begun noting optical performance in fancy diamond shapes. AGS and GCAL are among the labs that are marking this distinction.
Cushion diamonds have two cut styles: traditional with large facets for bold flashes of light and “crushed ice” featuring less distinct facets but a beautiful, glittery sparkle. Both styles are as versatile as round diamonds and complement almost any setting.
For a square cushion cut diamond, an optimal ratio falls within the range of 1.0 – 1.09.
If a subtly elongated rectangle cushion diamond is preferred, ratios of 1.15-1.25 are suitable.
The 70/70 Rule
The 70-70 rule serves as a guide when searching for cushion cut diamonds, suggesting a table percentage under 70% alongside a total depth percentage under 70%. This guideline prevents overpayment for excessive weight in the diamond’s midsection and ensures a sufficiently small table for effective dispersion.
Cushion cut diamonds have two different cut styles: traditional with large facets for bold flashes of light and “crushed ice” featuring less distinct facets but a beautiful, glittery sparkle. Both styles are as versatile as round diamonds and complement almost any setting.
In Depth Cushion Cut Information
Princess Cut Diamond
Princess cut diamonds are characterized by their square shape adorned with distinctive pointed corners. Ranking as the second most favored cut, following the round brilliant, princess cut diamonds have seamlessly secured their place as the preferred choice for countless diamond enthusiasts. The intricate arrangement of facets within this cut grants it a captivating interplay of sparkle, brilliance, and depth, resulting in an appealing aesthetic. From carat weight to color grade and clarity, princess cut diamonds offer versatility that caters to various budgets.
As with cushion cuts, many princess cut diamonds will be cut for heavier weight. This extra weight can come at the expense of beauty.
Many grading laboratories, including GIA, do not assess the optical performance of fancy shaped diamonds.
Without enforceable guidelines, manufacturers tend to plan for the highest yield possible, resulting in princess cut diamonds of great depth, concealing weight in the body. The increase in ticket price incentivizes the weight prioritization.
As noted above, Some of the labs have begun noting optical performance in fancy diamond shapes. AGS and GCAL are among the labs that are marking this distinction.
Potential Structural Concerns
If you are seeking a princess cut diamond, it’s important to note that its durability can be a factor due to it’s pointed corners.
Often a princess cut diamond ring is set with prongs that serve to safeguard these corners effectively. In certain cases, craftsmen introduce slight flat facets known as “chamfers” to the corners, offering an extra layer of protection against potential chipping. As such, the expertise of the setter becomes paramount when evaluating a princess cut diamond ring. With skilled setting, a princess cut diamond proves to be robust enough for everyday wear, ensuring lasting beauty.
For a nicely square princess cut diamond a ratio of 1.0 – 1.05 is optimal.
To ensure the durability of a princess cut diamond, it’s essential to employ protective measures such as prongs or a bezel setting, regardless of the setting style chosen.
In terms of visual perception, a princess cut diamond might appear smaller when viewed from the top compared to round diamonds of equivalent weight. This is due to the distinct design of princess cuts, which necessitates a greater depth to achieve desirable light performance.
Size assessment can be somewhat misleading because princess cut diamonds are measured from side to side, rather than from point to point. Generally, a well-proportioned 1-carat princess cut diamond will measure approximately 5.5mm from side to side, while a similarly well-cut 1-carat round brilliant diamond typically has a diameter of around 6.4mm. Another perspective is that for a princess cut diamond to appear visually similar in size to a 6.5mm round brilliant diamond, it should be approximately 5.75mm in both length and width.
In-Depth Princess Cut Diamond Information
Comparing The Cuts
Pros and Cons
Princess Cut Faceting Patterns
Cushion Cut vs. Princess Cut Diamond
Which is more durable?
The rounded corners of the cushion cut mean that it is less apt to chip than a princess cut diamond.
Which looks bigger?
Due to their deeper cut and weight distribution beneath the girdle, cushion-cut diamonds often exhibit a smaller appearance compared to other fancy shapes of the same carat weight, notably in contrast to the princess-cut diamond.
Which has more available varieties?
Cushion cuts have more varieties available.
Cushion-cut diamonds offer a range of length-to-width ratios, which significantly impact their visual characteristics. These ratios determine whether the diamond appears square or rectangular in shape. The modern trend leans towards elongated cushion-cut diamonds, characterized by a more rectangular outline compared to the traditional square shape. To achieve this elongated look, opt for a length-to-width ratio of 1.15 or greater.
Which has the most fire?
Which creates the most sparkle?
Cushion cuts have the most rainbow hued fire. When a cushion is expertly cut it can have more fire than other fancy cuts.
Princess cuts have more sparkle, as cushions were meant to come to life under candle light. Princess cuts are a modern cut and created to sparkle in more lighting atmospheres.
Which appears larger?
When considering cushion-cut diamonds, it’s important to note that their deeper cut, which retains a significant portion of their weight under the girdle, often leads to a comparatively smaller appearance compared to other fancy diamond shapes of equivalent carat weight. This effect is particularly noticeable when compared to the popular princess-cut diamonds.
Which is more timeless?
The cushion cut is a more timeless style, as the princess cut is modern cut. The softer lines of the cushion are are more akin to diamonds throughout history.
No matter which diamond shape you choose, we want to help you be informed. Picking a diamond that will bring you smiles for years to come is the goal. Did you know? The elite brands offered by our vetted vendors like Whiteflash A CUT ABOVE®, Astor by Blue Nile™, and JamesAllen.com True Hearts™ are collections of diamonds with superior cut quality. We are happy to assist in your diamond and jewelry buying journey! Whichever you pick, we want to see it in the Show Me the Bling! community.