Cushion cut diamonds are of a unique shape that has been popular for more than a hundred years. This century-old cut is just one of many that are designed to let the diamond shine and show its clarity to the maximum. The basic shape consists of edges that make the diamond look like a swollen or over-stuffed cushion, with larger facets that beautifully bring out the clarity of the stone. These diamonds get their name from their softer-looking edges, and are often called pillow-cut diamonds. There are also resemblances here to other kinds of diamond cuts like the emerald and princess cut. Though edges look Cushion Cut Diamondsmuch less severe than other cuts, all the facets are absolutely flat; the rounded effect is achieved using a series of cuts that lead into a curve around the edges. Typically, cushion cut diamonds are usually only found from the early 1800s and early 1900s, when they were also called candlelight diamonds because the particular cut looked brilliant in the light that was used before electricity. Modern examples of this cut are rare, mostly because they lack the sparkle and fire of other shapes like the traditional round cut or the Princess cut. The ones that you do see today are much more symmetrical than the antique settings because of developments in cutting methods and techniques to shape stones (also known as lapidary methods).

The Big Daddy of Them All – The Hope Diamond

Clarity is one of the crucial elements when fashioning cushion cut diamonds. Because there are fewer facets (about 35 to 40 as compared to the 57 or 58 of the round cut diamond), flaws are more clearly seen, and the right stone must be chosen to give a diamond a flawless appearance. Typically, Flawless (rated F) or Very Very Slight Inclusions (VVS 1 or VVS 2) are ideal for cushion cut diamonds. F and VVS diamonds being harder to come by, the cushion cut is all but phased out of modern diamond designs. Probably the most popular family member in this clan of cuts is the Hope Diamond, now held in the Smithsonian Institution. Through its long and often dark history from the 1600s to present times, the diamond has lost weight – from the original 112 carats to the present 45.52 carats. Appraisals of the gem are also outrageously far apart, with conservatives estimating it at around a mere $200,000 because of minor flaws and inferior brilliance while the true value considering historical richness may be in excess of $250,000,000! However, before you contact your Swiss banker to negotiate a purchase, you should know that the diamond is not for sale – at any price. You can see it though, in the Harry Winston Room at the Smithsonian, and even buy a replica in a size you like; and the best part is, you won't even have to contact your banker.

How Much Did You Say?

In a setting, cushion cut diamonds are usually selected by their length-to-width ratio, which is number arrived at by dividing the longer side by the shorter one. A ratio of 1 to 1.05 will yield a square stone while anything over 1.15 will look rectangular. Your choice will depend on the setting, and the jeweller will be the best person to recommend the design for a particular stone. While the shape is relatively rare among modern designs, you can use it as a central solitaire surrounded with accent stones that don't draw the eye away from the stone. The cost of a VVS 1 cushion cut diamond of about 0.35 carats and very good cut should be around $520 or thereabouts, while a 3.5 carat diamond of a similar quality can cost up to $78,000 and more. This comparison shows how the price of a diamond is not in linear proportion to its weight, rather geometric, the contributing factors being the rarity of the stone itself.