Your choice of diamond shape has a major impact on your engagement ring’s style, shimmer, and price. So, it goes without saying that picking out your diamond shape is a big decision. Two of the most popular diamond shapes of the moment are round cut and cushion cut diamonds, two elegant and classic shapes that look quite similar at first glance. However, these shapes have some important differences that can affect which is right for you. Wondering whether you should pick a round cut diamond or a cushion cut diamond? Read on to learn everything you need to know about these two diamond shapes. Below, we’ll go over the defining characteristics of round cut and cushion cut diamonds, and see how these shapes stack up in terms of style, scintillation, and price.
The Characteristics of Round Cut Diamonds
Round is the most popular of all the diamond shapes. This diamond shape, which looks like a perfect circle when viewed above, is loved for its timeless style and its high brilliance. The round brilliant cut diamond features 57-58 perfectly placed facets, which give this diamond shape its incredible brilliance.
The Characteristics of Cushion Cut Diamonds
Like round cut diamonds, cushion cut diamonds are named for their shape. When viewed from above, a cushion cut diamond looks like a square or a rectangle with rounded corners, just like a cushion. Cushion cut diamonds are actually a modern version of an antique diamond shape, the old mine cut. Cushion cut diamonds have the same shape as the old mine cut, yet feature a modern faceting pattern, which makes them more brilliant than the old mine cut. Because cushion cut diamonds are a variation of an antique diamond shape and because cushion cut diamonds were very popular in the 1920s, the cushion cut is considered a vintage-style shape.
Some diamond shapes don’t have much variety within the shape apart from variations in carat weight and quality. Round brilliant cut diamonds, for example, will always be perfectly round and will always feature their signature brilliant diamond cut. However, the cushion cut diamond is fairly variant, since it can feature different proportions and different faceting patterns. Cushion cut diamonds can range from having a 1:1 length to width ratio, giving them a square shape, to being quite elongated with a rectangular shape. Then, they can feature several different facet patterns. Most commonly, you’ll find cushion cut diamonds with one of two faceting patterns: a standard cut or a modified brilliant cut. Cushion cut diamonds with a standard cut have a “chunkier” look due to their larger facets. Then, cushion diamonds with a modified brilliant cut have what’s known as a “crushed ice” look, as the modified brilliant cut features an extra row of facets.
A Note on Why Cushion Cut Diamonds are Called “Fancy Shaped”
You may see cushion cut diamonds described as “fancy shaped diamonds” of “fancy shape diamonds.” If you aren’t familiar with this term, know that “fancy shaped diamond” is simply a gemologist and jeweler term for any diamond that isn’t round. This isn’t a term that describes the quality of a diamond shape and it doesn’t mean anything when it comes to diamond color grade, diamond cut grade, diamond clarity grade, or diamond carat weight, either. This is simply a category that includes many different diamond shapes used in diamond jewelry, including cushion cut diamonds, oval cut diamonds, princess cut diamonds, asscher cut diamonds, heart shaped diamonds, marquise cut diamonds, pear shaped diamonds, emerald cut diamonds, radiant cut diamonds, and any other diamond shape that is not round.
Round Cut vs. Cushion Cut Diamonds: Comparison
Now that you understand the defining characteristics of these two diamond shapes, let’s see how they compare in three categories: style, scintillation, and price.
Round brilliant cut diamonds and cushion cut diamonds are quite different when it comes to style. Round cut diamonds are highly classic. They’re an excellent option for those who have a traditional sense of style. Then, cushion cut diamonds have a vintage style and, due to their softly curving shape, they’re also considered rather romantic. Cushion cut diamonds are a lovely option for those with an eye for all-things-vintage or for anyone who is drawn to their romantic appeal.
Scintillation is a term for the white and colored light reflected by a diamond. And round cut and cushion cut diamonds have distinctly different types of scintillation. Both round diamonds and cushion cut diamonds have excellent brilliance (the white light reflected by a diamond) and fire (the colored light reflected by a diamond) when they are well cut. But round cut diamonds have the most brilliance of any diamond shape, so they are more brilliant than cushion cut diamonds. Then, on the other side of the coin, cushion cut diamonds have the most fire of any diamond shape, so they have more fire than round diamonds. Whether you prefer the high brilliance of a round cut diamond vs. the high fire of a cushion cut diamond for your diamond ring all comes down to personal preference.
Round is the most expensive diamond shape, so round cut diamonds are more expensive than cushion cut diamonds. Wondering how these shapes compare in price? On average, a cushion cut diamond will cost 25% to 50% less than a round cut diamond with the same carat weight and qualities. The price of cushion cut diamonds can vary widely within that 25% to 50% range depending on their current popularity. However, cushion cut diamonds are always more affordable than round cut diamonds.
While cushion cut diamonds are less expensive on average than round cut diamonds, we don’t recommend choosing your diamond shape based solely on its price. If you know in your heart that you want a round cut diamond for your center stone, you should follow your heart. After all, your engagement ring is something you’ll wear for a lifetime, so you want to make sure it’s something you’ll adore. However, if you find round cut and cushion cut diamonds equally appealing, the lower price of cushion cut diamonds is not a bad reason to opt for a cushion cut center diamond. And if your heart is set on a cushion cut diamond, consider its lower price point a lovely bonus.
Final Thoughts on Round Cut vs. Cushion Cut Diamonds
We hope this guide has been helpful as you search for the perfect diamond for your engagement ring. If you have any questions about round cut diamonds or cushion cut diamonds, please feel free to reach out. If you need a bit more engagement ring inspiration as you decide between these two diamond shapes, browse our beautiful selection of round cut diamond engagement rings and cushion cut engagement rings.