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Cushion Diamonds


One of the most romantic and historic diamond cuts, growing in popularity because of its soft look and rarity, is the 19th century era Cushion Cut diamond.

This traditional diamond is named for both a style of cutting and the shape of the gem. It is sometimes referred to as a “pillow cut” for its plump top that looks like an overstuffed chair cushion. Also, this stone is called a “candlelight diamond” because of the sparkle it gives under candlelight. In the 1800’s, an octagonal cut was the most popular style, because it was easily the natural line of cut. The invention of the Cushion Cut provided a unique alternative. Since it is not a standard style, the cutter is not compelled to follow a strict, mathematically determined facet cutting code and this opens the gem up for more personalised interpretation.

As a variation on the oval or octagonal cut, the Cushion features approximately 60 large facets, a facet count of 20 less than most other cuts. Larger but fewer facets result in a finished stone that emphasises clarity, an open bottom, and finished rounded corners. Also, another selling point of this diamond is that the end product always produces a range of interesting final shapes, from rectangular, square, and to other more geometric results. A prized highlight of this cut is the depth, due to the jeweller's inclusion of a cutlet, which allows it to stand out more. Also, because this diamond was crafted for view under candlelight, it maintains a brilliance that gives a better degree of returning light, resulting in a sparkle with which later produced cuts only achieve under electric light.

Diamond clarity is a crucial quality in a Cushion Cut diamond, because gems like this, cut with fewer facets, will have flaws and colour differences that are more apparent than those faults found in other cuts. Also, vintage Cushion Cuts tend to be less symmetrical than modern versions of the style, because of improved lapidary technology. The unpredictable symmetry is a reason why many prefer to wear these highly stylised and one-of-a-kind diamonds. One the world’s most renowned and infamous diamonds, the Hope Diamond, is a Cushion Cut.

A diamond cutter must choose a rough stone very similar in shape to one used for Oval Cut shapes, because a slight elongation sacrifices too much carat weight to be made into a Round Brilliant. As in all cutting decisions, the cutter must be governed by a mix of minimal carat weight loss and ready marketability. A measure of artistic expression must also enter into the mix, otherwise there wouldn’t be a temptation or desire to present this “newly revived” variation from the norm.

As a diamond that very few possess, the attraction lies in the artistic expression that the cutter employs in its creation. Cushion Cut diamonds make understated individual expressions, as they are quality stones that appeal to very distinct personal taste.