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Antique Cushion Cut Vs. Modern Cushion Cut

Antique Cushion Cut Vs. Modern Cushion Cut

When it comes to choosing a diamond for your ring, the cushion cut offers the perfect blend of the old and new world. However, there are some misconceptions associated with this diamond shape.

In this article, we’ll discuss antique cushion cut vs. modern cushion cut. Our goal? 

Shedding some light on this gorgeous-looking diamond shape and informing you what to look for when purchasing a cushion cut diamond.

So, without further ado, let’s learn more about cushion cut diamonds!

What Is A Cushion Cut Diamond

A cushion-cut gem is a blend of a more modern, round brilliant cut with a classic Old Mine cut. This type of diamond cut usually has a soft square or rectangular shape – complete with curved edges.

Simply put, the cushion cut combines rounded corners and a square shape, giving the diamond appearance of a pillow – this is where the name “cushion” comes from, by the way.

Cushion-cut diamonds are usually purchased for engagement rings, but they are often used in some fashion jewelry pieces, too.

The cost of cushion cut diamonds is usually significantly lower than round brilliant cut diamonds. However, the prices may vary due to the increase of the cushion cut’s popularity. We’ve all seen it: 

The more popular and in-demand a product is, the more room there is for the prices to go up – and with diamonds, they can go up significantly.

Cushion-Cut Diamonds: Pros & Cons

As with any other diamond shape, a cushion-cut diamond comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. Learn if this diamond shape is right for you by going over the pros and cons outlined below:


  • High level of fire and brilliance
  • Unique shape for a more personalized ring
  • Pretty durable due to rounded edges
  • Combines classic fashion with modern flair
  • Less expensive per carat than a round brilliant cut diamond
  • Rising in popularity


  • Retains color more than other diamond shapes
  • Open table leads to imperfections being more easily noticeable
  • Referred to by several different terms, which can lead to confusion (classic cushion, modified cushion, chunky cushion)

GIA Certifications For Cushion-Cut Diamonds

Just like with other diamonds and gemstones, it’s essential to review any cushion cut diamond’s certification before you decide to make a purchase. 

In general, you’ll want to opt for diamonds certified by the GIA; it’s the most reliable gemological lab in the world. GIA certification provides an external, reputable appraisal of the stones you are looking to buy.

Factors such as carat, cut, color, clarity – and much more – are assessed for each diamond, all of which are part of the diamond’s certificate.

Read Also:

How To Choose A Cushion-Cut Diamond

Are you looking for a cushion-cut diamond? Below, we’ve covered the critical aspect to look for when purchasing or comparing cushion-cut diamonds.

Cushion-Cut Diamonds: Color

Sadly, cushion cuts are one of the worst diamond shapes when it comes to keeping color.

Cushion and radiant cuts are the two most common shapes in the fancy color diamond industry. For this reason, we highly recommend sticking with H or a better color grade when purchasing a cushion-cut diamond – unless it’s going to be set in rose or yellow gold

In that case, you should go for J or K color grade.

H color is also an excellent value choice – and it’s one of the more popular options thanks to its balance in cost compared to the nature of the diamond color.

You’ll notice a jump in price between each grade of color, with H falling somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.

Even though H color diamonds aren’t entirely colorless, they’re “near-colorless,” meaning they only have a slight yellow tint that’s hardly noticeable. Almost nobody will detect this difference, especially if the stone is mounted in a rose or yellow gold ring setting.

Cushion-Cut Diamond: Clarity

Generally, when it comes to clarity of cushions, we’d recommend you stick to SI2 or SI1 clarity grades for the best value.

However, since cushion-cut diamonds have a large, open table, finding a lovely eye-clean SI2 clarity grade diamond might be challenging. It means that you’ll most likely have to compromise and end up paying extra for a better clarity stone.

Read More: Which Diamond Cut Holds Its Value?

Cushion-Cut Diamond: Cut Parameters

Here’s an overview of the cut parameters: 

  • Depth: Under 70%
  • Table: under 70%
  • Polish and symmetry: Good, Very Good, or Excellent
  • Lenght-to-width ratio: Whatever you prefer

As you can see, the parameters for cushion-cut diamonds are very loose. It’s essential to keep in mind that you can’t determine a diamond’s cut quality by its numbers alone with cushion cut gems.

The best way we can aid you with choosing a cushion-cut diamond is by making some informed recommendations.

The length-to-width ratio refers to the proportionate length and width of the stone and also is a good determining factor of how the diamond will look when viewed face-up.

Polish, as you can guess, refers to how fine diamond’s facets have been polished. Generally, this has a minimal effect on the look and price of the stone.

Symmetry is another essential factor in the diamond certificate. It refers to how the diamond cutter has laid out symmetrical diamond facets.

Both polish and symmetry should have a minimum grade of Very Good.

In addition, when you begin to evaluate the carat of a cushion-cut diamond, you’ll find that there can be significant differences in the price due to the emphasis on the carat weight.

The carat weight of a diamond is the measurement of how much the stone weighs. The prices increase with carat weight because a bigger diamond is usually more sought-after, especially for engagement rings.

The Misunderstood Cushion Cut

After round brilliants and princess cuts, the shape you’re most likely to hear about lately is the cushion cut – and there are two primary reasons for this.

Related Read: Princess Cut Vs. Cushion Cut

First, cushion-cut diamonds are simply more popular than ever before. These gems manage to look understated and elegant while still bringing a high level of brilliance – similar to a round brilliant cut diamond.

Second and almost as important is that cushion cut diamonds are confusing cuts. 

There are several terms specific to cushions that need to be understood. These include classic cushions, modified cushions, broken glass chunky cushions, “crushed ice,” Old Mine cut, square cushions, and rectangular cushions. 

It’s a long list – and not many are aware of what these cuts look like or their advantages.

Antique Cushion Vs. Modern Cushion

Antique cushion cuts – also known as Old Mine cuts – feature smaller tables, bigger culets, and steeper crowns. This vintage cutting style appeals to consumers because of its timeless and classic look.

On the other hand, modern cushions have large tables, small culets, and better cut angles for improved brilliance. 

Furthermore, modern cushion cut diamonds can be classified into two categories – standard or modified.

Learn More: Diamond Culet: Does It Affect Diamond Value?

Standard Cushion Vs. Modified Cushion

The differences between standard cushion cuts and modified cushion cuts are relatively minute and technical in nature – and their impact on the diamond’s appearance is pretty minimal.

The only real differentiating factor is history. 

The standard cushion-cut diamonds are products of the cutting technique that has been around for longer. At the same time, modified cushion cuts are essentially a modern, updated version of the original cushion cut.

The Truth About Cushion-Cut Diamonds

People will often tell you that you need to go for a “standard cushion cut” diamond if you want a “chunky” cushion and that you need to go for a modified cushion cut diamond if you wish to get a “crushed ice” cushion.

That couldn’t be further from the truth, though. 

The truth about cushion cut diamonds is that this rarely makes any noticeable difference in the stone’s appearance – whether it’s a standard or modern cushion cut.

“Chunky” Vs. “Crushed-Ice”

Just as there are two categories of cut classifications of cushion-cut diamonds, there are also two categories of “appearance” that cushion-cut diamonds can display.

However, before we discuss these two categories, it’s worth mentioning again that there is no correlation between the two types of “looks” and two groups of cut configurations.

Chunky Cushion-Cut Diamonds

Chunky cushion cuts have clearly defined facet patterns when viewed down into the table of a face-up positioned stone.

These tend to mimic the way in which round brilliants present themselves and are often referred to as “antique cushion cuts.”

However, this is technically not true because the cushion brilliant-cut is somewhat modern. The Old Mine cut is the actual antique antecedent to today’s modern cushion cut. 

Although, it’s clear this appearance is referred to as “antique” cushion cut due to Old Miner cuts always presenting themselves in this way.

Crushed-Ice Cushion-Cut Diamonds

Crushed-ice cushion cuts are those that don’t have discernible faceting when you view them through their table. All you’re able to see is what appears like broken glass or crushed ice – a disorganized space of sparkles.

Interestingly enough, this is usually what a radiant-cut diamond looks like – and you can also find this effect in the corners of pear-shaped diamonds and marquise-shaped diamonds.

How To Tell The Difference?

If you’d like to tell the difference between these two appearances – the easiest way to do so is by observing the two diamond shapes that most epitomize each appearance: 

Radiant cut for “crushed ice” and round brilliant cut for the “chunky” cushion diamonds.

Cushion-Cut Diamonds For Engagement Rings

Cushion-cut diamonds are popular as center stones in vintage-style halo rings. You also have cushion-cut solitaire engagement rings that showcase a single precious stone without additional gemstones. 

Both of these styles are popular, appealing to personal tastes. 

Read Also: Diamond & Solitaire: What Is A Solitaire Diamond?

Cushion-Cut Vs. Round Brilliant Cut

Still wondering if you should opt for a cushion-cut diamond or a round brilliant cut diamond? Here are several things to keep in mind:

  • Cushion cut diamonds are square with slightly rounded corners: A cushion cut and round brilliant cut diamond appear to feature a similar circular shape when viewed from a distance. However, when you look at them up close, you can notice the square shape and rounded edges of a cushion cut.
  • Cushion-cut diamonds are less expensive per carat weight: Of all diamond shapes, round brilliant cut diamonds have the highest price per carat weight. 
  • Round brilliant-cut diamonds offer more brilliance: While round diamond cuts show unparalleled brilliance, cushion cuts still exhibit a significant amount of brilliance.
  • Round brilliant-cut diamonds are more popular: Around 60% of all diamonds sold in today’s market are round brilliants. While this can be a positive thing for some, others prefer a less popular diamond design – something that stands out from the crowd.
  • Cushion-cut diamonds are unique: The slightly rounded edges of cushion-cut gems provide classic and timeless charm with a modern flair. Although cushion cuts are rising in popularity, they remain a unique choice.

Cushion-Cut Vs. Radiant Cut

While cushion cut diamonds and radiant cut diamonds appear similar, they’re two pretty distinct shapes. 

Here are a few points to take into consideration when comparing the two:

Beveled corners make these shapes durable. Both cushions and radiants have trimmed edges for increased durability and stability. 

Cushion cut diamonds showcase rounded corners, whereas radiant cut diamonds have distinct edges.

Radiant cuts provide more brilliance. 

The larger table and countless facets of radiant-cut diamonds tend to offer more brilliance than cushion cuts. Still, cushion-cut diamonds provide a lot of brilliance; don’t assume otherwise.

Another thing to note is that cushion-cut diamonds are typically more square. Both radiant and cushion-cut diamonds are available in various square-shaped and rectangular compositions. 

In general, cushions have a length-to-width ratio of 1.0-1.09.

Finally, deciding between cushion and radiant is personal preference: Both cushion and radiant cuts are unique shapes – and choosing one over another is a decision based entirely on personal preference, taste, and style. 

See Also: Radiant Cut Vs. Emerald Cut

Bottom Line

When shopping for cushion-cut diamonds, bear in mind the common misunderstandings that tend to follow this gorgeous-looking diamond shape. 

A whole host of terms distinct to cushions lead to some people being confused by this cut – so it’s perfectly understandable if you weren’t quite sure what you’re dealing with here. 

You have all these options – modified cushions, classic cushions, antique cushions, and modern cushions, to name a few. But the whole antique cushion cut vs. modern cushion cut concept seems to be confusing the most.

Antique cushions, also known as Old Mine cuts, have bigger culets, smaller tables, and steeper crowns. On the other hand, modern cushions have smaller culets, larger tables – and better cut angles for increased brilliance. 

As always, the choice is yours!