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Cushion cut vs Princess cut

by Julianna Church
Last updated on August 21, 2023

Stuck between choosing a cushion cut diamond vs princess cut diamond shape for your engagement ring? You aren’t the first, and you sure won’t be the last either. Many people have found themselves torn between these two popular diamond shapes.

Just as with all diamond shapes, there are pros and cons for both cushion cuts and princess cut diamonds. But it’s up to you to determine if that shape is right for your budget and lifestyle. So without further ado, let’s help you make your decision.

History of the Cushion Cut Diamond Shape

The cushion cut diamond is the third most popular diamond shape. It entered the jewelry scene as a cross between a round brilliant cut diamond and the princess cut diamond in the 1700s.

mine cut diamond ring

The cushion cut diamonds we see today aren’t what the original cushion diamonds started as. Back in the 1700s, it was referred to as the “Old Mine cut”. The mine cut name was derived from Brazilian diamond mines. When more mines opened up and started producing ideal rough diamonds for cutting mine cut shapes, those diamonds were from the “old mines”.

The old mine cut had 33 facets within the crown (top) and 25 facets in the pavilion (bottom). The modern cushion cut today has 64 facets. Named after its rounded square shape design, the cushion cut was the choice for those who wanted something more unique than a traditional round cut diamond, but without sharp corners like princess cut diamonds.

Cut Quality of Cushion Cut Diamonds

blonde model with diamond ring

The cut quality of a diamond has an impact on its durability, brilliance, and shape appeal. Round diamonds are given a cut grade on their diamond certificates by most grading labs. Some grading labs may give cushion cut diamonds an official cut grade like a round brilliant diamond, but most laboratories don’t.

Aside from choosing ideal proportions, measurements, and cushion cut ratios, there are a lot of aesthetic choices for cushion cut gemstones. Most retailers will have cushion cut diamonds in a square shape. However, some people choose elongated cushion cut diamonds. These are cut the same way as square cushion cuts but they have a rectangular shape instead.

Most cushion cut diamond inventories won’t have a way to filter out elongated cushions, nor will they separate crushed ice from chunky cushions. However, we allow you to choose your length to width ratio of your cushion diamond easily. Elongated cushion cuts will have a ratio between 1.1-1.2.

Modern Cushion cut vs Modified Brilliant Cushion Cut

A modern cushion cut diamond can have squared edges or rounded edges with rounded corners. The modern cushion cut features 8 larger kite shaped facets. A modified cushion cut or modified brilliant cushion diamond means the large facets have been modified to have more facets than the classic cushion cut you see today.

model with cushion cut diamond ring

Crushed Ice Cushion Cut vs Chunky Cushion Cut Center Stone

When you hear people talking about chunky cushions and crushed ice cushion cut diamonds, they’re talking about the style of a modified cushion cut. The facet patterns done during the cutting process produce a different aesthetic appeal.

Chunky cushion cut diamonds have wider facets. They exhibit more of a flash as the light enters the diamond shape and reflects out. Crushed ice cushion cut diamonds have more facets and exude a glittering light performance, similar to a round diamond.

Our 360˚ degree video will help you choose which style of cushion cut fits you and your ring setting choice.

Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight of a Cushion Diamond

No matter which style you’re looking at for your cushion cut diamond, all styles are considered brilliant cut diamond shapes. This means the intent of this diamond shape is to sparkle between a bunch of tiny facets.

One of the benefits of being a brilliant cut shape is that it helps to hide unwanted natural clarity imperfections found in diamonds. One of the downsides to cushion cut diamonds is that the yellow tint shows more, so a high color grade is recommended for cushion cuts.

Another detractor is that a cushion cut diamond looks smaller than other diamond shapes. But if you’re not concerned with the look of a big diamond, that shouldn’t bother you.

But here’s the good news. When you shop our ethically sourced lab created diamonds, it’s much easier to find a cushion cut diamond with higher color and clarity grades for an affordable price than if you were to purchase earth mined cushion cut diamonds.

model with diamond ring and earring

History of the Princess Cut Diamond Shape

Princess cut diamonds have existed long before the cushion diamonds. While cushion cut diamonds have been around since the 1700s, princess diamonds have been around since the 1400s. Both princess cut and cushion cut diamonds are some of the oldest diamond cuts in jewelry history.

The modern-day princess cut diamonds originate from the “Table Cut”. The table cut was the first gemstone cut. From the table cut evolved the French cut. The French cut turned into the princess cut diamonds we see today.


The table-cutting process is the oldest and simplest cutting technique. Keep in mind, gem cutters didn’t have near as much information when they first started cutting diamonds. So, the table cut was simple with four main facets.

While the table cut didn’t give people a choice on the square shape, people didn’t consider it trendy until the Art Deco jewelry period. Many were seeking diamond jewelry and diamond engagement rings with clean and geometric lines. You could say the distinct rounded square shape of the French cut would be the perfect diamond engagement ring for this jewelry era.

Princess Cut Diamond Cut Quality

Princess cuts don’t have an official cut grade on a GIA report either. They also have ideal proportions ranges to stay between. Princess cut diamond shapes should always have pointed corners, but the sides can be a square shape or round shape.

Princess cut diamonds are also brilliant cut. A princess cut diamond may have between 40-58 facets. The majority of princess cut diamonds have 57 facets. Princess cut diamonds can also be called a square modified brilliant.

One of the advantages the princess cut diamond has over a round brilliant cut and a cushion cut diamond is that it has a bigger face-up appearance.

Color, Clarity, Carat Weight of Princess Cut Diamonds

princess cut ring on a model

A princess cut diamond is considered the second most popular diamond shape, right after the round brilliant cut diamond. A princess cut diamond engagement ring is just as timeless as a classic round cut diamond. It can look stunning in both vintage and modern engagement ring settings.

A cushion cut might appear slightly larger than a round cut of the same carat weight, courtesy of its rounded square shape. The way the faceting pattern is makes it look bigger than a round, but its table is smaller. However, the princess cut diamond will appear larger than them both, even if they are the same carat weight.

Princess Cut vs Cushion Diamond Cut: The 4Cs of Diamond Quality

The 4Cs of Diamond Quality were invented by the Gemological Institute of America. It says that the quality of a diamond is based upon four pillars: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. Here’s a recap of the quality factors thus far.

Princess Cut Diamond

quiet beauty ring princess cut

Cut: No official cut grade, leaves vulnerability to chipping because of pointed corners. Make sure princess cut diamond engagement rings have prongs to protect the edges.

Color: Princess cut diamonds can show a yellow tint if chosen from faint color grades. If you’re on a budget, you can opt for a yellow gold engagement ring instead of white gold to make your diamond appear whiter.

Clarity: Dark inclusions near the corners can make the corners more vulnerable to chipping. Many princess cut diamonds of SI or I clarity will have dark inclusions toward the center.

Carat: Princess cut diamonds appear larger than cushion cut diamonds of the same carat.

Cushion Cut Diamond

claire classic ring cushion cut

Cut: Cushion Cut Diamonds have more facets than princess cuts, but they don’t have the same brilliance. They don’t have cut grades either on most diamond reports either. They don’t have as many faceting patterns as princess cuts.

Color: Cushion cut diamonds may reveal a yellow tint more than a princess cut diamond of the same color grade and carat weight. Cushions sparkle less than princess cuts, so there isn’t as much white light being reflected out of the diamond.

Clarity: Cushion cut diamonds are better at hiding clarity imperfections than princess cut engagement rings.

Carat Weight: Cushion diamond shapes look smaller than princess cut diamonds. This can make it a perfect shape if dainty or petite engagement rings are more your style!

How Do They Match Up Against Each Other?

You’ve heard both sides, the good and the bad. Now, let’s recap the pros and cons of both princess cut and cushion cut diamonds to help you make your final decision.

Cushion Cut vs Princess Cut: Price

Though princess cut diamonds are more popular, cushion cuts of similar quality are usually less expensive.

Princess Cut vs Cushion Cut: Brilliance

Both princess cuts and cushion cut engagement rings will sparkle no matter which you choose. But if you want to get technical, a well-cut princess diamond ring will have more fire than a cushion cut ring of similar quality.

Princess Diamond Cut vs Cushion Cuts: Durability

The rounded square corners of a cushion cut diamond serve as better protection for engagement rings than princess cut diamonds do.

Now that you know the differences and similarities between a princess cut and a cushion cut, you have a better idea of which one is the right for you. At Clean Origin, our team of experts is ready to help you.

Schedule a virtual appointment with one of our jewelry experts or find a showroom near you today!