When looking to buy a diamond engagement ring, the shape of the stone usually takes center stage. And there’s a reason for that:
The shape of a diamond is often where the design journey begins as the entire ring structure is created to compliment the centerpiece.
Choosing the right diamond is an essential – and oh-so-exciting – part of the journey to create the perfect engagement ring.
As you know, there are plenty of diamond shapes out there, but in this article, we’ll focus on the princess cut vs. cushion cut and see how they compare to one another.
As we go on, we’ll cover some crucial characteristics of both of these gorgeous-looking diamond shapes, what their pros and cons are – and what to look out for when choosing one.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in!
How A Princess Cut Diamond Is Shaped
The so-called princess-cut diamonds are characterized by their geometric, square shape and sharp lines. This contemporary cut with strong lines boasts a pyramid shape with four beveled sides.
The princess cut diamond was invented by Israel Itzkowitz and Betazel Ambar – and relatively recently, might we add, in 1980. That said, it did have its predecessors, including the quadrillion cut and the French cut.
Today, the princess cut is a trendy and sought-after diamond shape.
The princess cut is a distinct diamond shape since it combines geometry and brilliance. Often these angular diamond shapes – such as the Asscher cut or the emerald cut – don’t showcase high scintillation levels.
The reason behind this is that step-cuts produce flashes of light instead of diamond fire.
The princess cut is pretty unique in that sense: It’s a geometric square cut, and still, it has an astonishing amount of fire, which is similar to the round brilliant or cushion cut diamond. Out of all geometric square diamond cuts, the princess cut exhibits the most brilliance.
Princess Cut Facet Patterns
To achieve the princess cut’s unique and iconic levels of brilliance, the diamond has to contain a high number of facets. Now, the number of facets the diamond has is based on the stone, but in general, princess-cut diamonds can include either 56 or 57 facets.
Let’s get a bit more technical: This diamond cut has a few variations in terms of how the crown and the pavilion are cut.
The pavilion can have sets of two, three, or four chevron-patterned facets. The gem’s brilliance increases with the increased number of these sets.
Furthermore, the light disperses differently in each facet configuration.
A two chevron-patterned facet in the princess-cut gem tends to produce more powerful flashes of sparkle. The stone appears very bright with plenty of sparkle. However, the scintillation level isn’t that high – this is perfect for people who want a “less lively” stone.
Others prefer a three chevron-patterned facet configuration in their princess-cut diamond. That is due to the facets reflecting more prominent flashes of light while maintaining a higher level of brilliance – producing a desirable balance of dispersion and sparkle.
The four chevron-patterned facet structure creates a very high scintillation level and, thus, a lot of brilliance, too. Because of the smaller facets made in this type of princess cut, the fire is very intense while the dispersion of light isn’t as defined, producing a “crushed ice effect.”
The crown of the princess-cut diamond is typically cut somewhere between two styles:
The first one is a bezel facet cut from the table’s corner to the corner of the diamond’s girdle. As for the second style, it’s the so-called French corner that showcases table facets pointing toward the corners of the stone.
Princess Cut Ratios
To the naked eye, a princess-cut diamond appears like a perfect square. That’s not entirely true, though: It’s actually slightly rectangular in most cases.
The optimal ratio for princess-cut diamonds is typically 1.00:1.05. That is where you would be able to tell if the stone is a bit rectangular-shaped.
People also desire a ratio of 1.06:1.12 of the princess-cut diamonds, and at this ratio, one can recognize the slightly more rectangular shape.
What Side Stones Best Compliment Princess-Cut Diamonds
A princess-cut diamond is a pretty modern, contemporary cut that would work well with angular cuts on its sides. We’d recommend either smaller princess-cut diamonds or baguette-shaped diamonds for side stones.
Another option would be to use tapered baguette diamonds, which allow for a narrower, more delicate band since the diamond’s width is reduced towards the outer ends.
The balance of geometry and brilliance in a princess-cut diamond would pair great with fancy shapes – such as step-cut trapezoids or step-cut bullets – ensuring that the angular lines are complemented.
What To Consider When Purchasing A Princess-Cut Diamond
When considering a princess-cut diamond, you should always consider the classic criteria of cut, carat, color, and clarity in conjunction with the ring design.
If you go for platinum or white gold, the yellow tints of a lower color grade may be noticeable in the stone. The gemstone’s clarity shouldn’t be less than SI1; this will ensure that the brilliance and fire stay magnificent.
Related Read: Platinum Vs. White Gold: Which One Is Better?
With princess-cut diamonds, you should avoid gemstones that have a table percentage that’s greater than the depth percentage.
There’s no right or wrong length-to-width ratio for a princess-cut diamond – it depends on your personal preference.
Related Read: Diamond Vs. Platinum: Comparison Guide
How A Cushion Cut Diamond Is Shaped
The gorgeous cushion diamond can be recognized by its unique rounded square shape. The cushion-cut dates back to the 18th century – but not in the form we know.
The predecessor of the cushion cut was the Old Mine cut – a shape invented by the polisher named Vincent Peruzzi: He increased the number of facets in a round rose cut to make a rounded square Old Mine cut with 33 facets.
Cutting a round diamond by hand required incredible skill – that’s why many jewelers found the rounded square shape easier to master.
Today, a modern cushion diamond has 58 facets that create intense sparkle and fire.
For around 200 years, the cushion cut diamond was the most popular diamond shape, just like today’s round brilliant cut. The cushion-cut diamond experienced a drop in popularity during the 19th century.
Worry not, though; it has experienced a massive comeback in the past century or so.
That resurgence in popularity can be credited to Marcel Tolkowsky’s work. His work in refining the cushion cut diamond provided the optimal diamond cut.
The Old Mine cut had a high crown, deep pavilion, large culet, and a small table. But Tolkowsky came up with a method that would narrow the culet almost entirely and expand the table – while reducing the crown’s height.
Thanks to Tolkowky’s research, the cushion cut now shows incredible brilliance.
The cushion cut diamond is unique, as it’s one of the only diamond shapes that carry aspects of roundness as well as geometrical lines – all in the same gem.
The cushion-cut diamond looks pretty similar to the radiant cut but with fewer angles.
It doesn’t showcase the corners that the radiant cut is famous for, though; it has a more rounded shape.
The cushion cut diamond can be defined by its soft square shape – which is the reason behind the name “cushion.” As you can probably guess, it often resembles a pillow.
Cushion Facet Patterns
Cushion-cut diamonds contain 58 facets providing the stone a unique and intense fire. The fire of a diamond, by the way, refers to the rainbow color effect of dispersed light as it hits the facets.
The structure of the cushion cut typically shows 1 or 3 different types of pavilion patterns, with 4 or 8 facets that are kite-shaped located on the bottom side of the stone.
Classic cushion cuts have 4 to 8 shaped facets in the diamond’s pavilion, creating a “hearts and arrows” pattern.
However, you can also find cushion-cut diamonds with an extra row of facets called the modified cushion cuts. This advanced cushion cut results in a beautiful “crushed ice” effect – a term used to describe incredible scintillation.
While modified cushion-cut diamonds are known to have less brilliance than the round brilliant cuts, the modified cushion cut has considerably more fire.
Cushion Cut Ratios
A cushion-cut diamond can come in several ratio variations of the main shape. It can be a shorter square, or it can resemble a rectangle, which, in this case, we would call the elongated cushion diamond.
The ratio is an important aspect to consider when buying a cushion-cut diamond, as you would like to ensure your diamond has that unique and distinct square shape – if that’s your desire, of course.
However, if the ratio is poor, your cushion-cut diamond will closely resemble a round brilliant cut or a radiant cut.
The preference of style for your cushion cut diamond is entirely subjective. As with all things, it’s simply up to you to decide if you prefer a classic cushion or an elongated cushion.
The ideal, optimal ratio for a square cushion cut would be 1.00:1.03. A ratio of 1.03:1.05 would create beautiful proportions, as well.
And what about a slightly rectangular-shaped cushion diamond?
A ratio of 1.15:1.20 is optimal – but 1.20:1.30 would still be very good and provide an elegant elongated effect.
Related Read: Antique Cushion Cut Vs Modern Cushion Cut
What Side Stones Best Compliment Cushion-Cut Diamonds
A cushion-cut diamond is a popular and versatile gemstone. Therefore, there are many ways you can design your ring with a cushion diamond.
We believe that a cushion-cut diamond as a centerpiece would pair beautifully with two round diamonds as side stones. A cushion-cut center stone would look equally gorgeous when paired with two smaller cushions or, for example, pear-shaped diamonds.
Here’s another recommendation: A cushion-cut diamond would look stunning with several fancy cut gems, like trapeze-shaped diamonds or half-moon cut diamonds.
What To Consider When Purchasing A Cushion Cut Diamond
As with all diamond shapes, cut, carat, color, and clarity are all important aspects to consider when buying a diamond. In the case of a cushion-cut diamond, there are several essential things you should think about when determining the cut.
First, choosing a classic or a modified cushion-cut is entirely subjective – and the same applies to deciding if you desire a square or an elongated cushion-cut diamond.
The decision depends on your personal taste and style.
Speaking of things you should look out for, symmetry is essential in cushion-cut diamonds. If the symmetry is excellent, the diamond will be perfectly balanced rather than odd-shaped – and, in turn, more beautiful.
On that note, the diamond’s sides and the corners should mirror each other to make a balanced curve.
One more factor to consider is the girdle’s thickness. The stone’s girdle mustn’t be too thin – because that could leave the stone vulnerable to damage.
See Also: Which Diamond Cut Holds Its Value?
Princess Cut Vs. Cushion Cut – Which One Should You Get?
Princess cut vs. cushion cut – which one do you think is better? Both of these are amazing and would look stunning in an engagement ring. But let’s cover some basic information one more time:
Princess-cut diamonds are a stylish choice for a center stone of a ring. This type of cut has become a very fashionable and popular choice as the sharp, angular lines feel elegant and fresh.
The shape of a princess cut feels alternative yet timeless. It provides incredible scintillation, and it’s also an economical choice since it’s less expensive than a round brilliant cut diamond per carat weight.
On the other hand, a cushion-cut diamond is a beautiful, traditional, and classic option that reminds us of a time gone by: The cushion-cut diamond has a vintage feel and looks terrific in a ring with an Art Deco style.
The cushion cut is also a pretty popular choice, and it possesses excellent fire and scintillation. So, if you’re a fan of the crushed ice effect in diamonds, a cushion-cut gem will maximize this look.
In addition, the cushion cut is a rather versatile design, so there are many ways to pick a stone that’s unique to you and your partner. Also, cushion cuts are a budget-friendly choice: It’s 15-20% less expensive than a round brilliant cut per carat weight. Which one will you choose?
Related Read: Which Diamond Cut Sparkles The Most?