A cushion cut diamond is a square or rectangular shape with rounded corners that resemble a pillow (hence its name). The cushion cut is normally comprised of 58 facets with a typical ratio of 1.00 to 1.05 for square shapes through to 1.10 or greater for more rectangular shapes. Although it’s not as brilliant as round brilliants, cushion cuts have large facets allowing for a greater separation of white light into spectral colors.
A cushion cut diamond is often described as a cross between the old mine cut and the more modern oval shape. As techniques and cutting styles have evolved over the years, many variations of the cushion cut have been developed (like the Cushion Modified Brilliant which can have an extra row of facets on the pavilion that alter the look of the diamond).
Modified brilliants can have either what is called the “sparkling water” or “crushed ice” effect, giving them more scintillation. Various other subtle alterations have also been introduced, such as adding symmetrical kite- or half-moon-shaped facets both to the pavilion and also below the girdle.
The cushion, pillow or candlelight cut was originally developed back in the 19th century and has undergone a number of transformations and developments since. The cushion cut has especially benefited from the invention of cleaving as this process has helped to maximise the cushion cut’s light dispersion making it far more dynamic and brilliant.