As with any diamond shape, the overall quality and value of a cushion-cut diamond is determined by four factors: cut, clarity, color, and carat.
Cut — The shape of a diamond refers to its physical appearance, while the cut refers to how well the diamond’s features interact with light. Because cushion-cut diamonds are a “fancy” cut, they are not graded. However, the diamond cut is still important when it comes to cushion-cut rings; you can choose whether you would prefer an “antique” cushion-cut diamond with defined facets inside or a “crushed-ice” cushion-cut diamond with disorganized sparkles inside.
Clarity — Cushion-cut diamonds do not need to be scrutinized for clarity, which refers to the number of inclusions and blemishes in a stone. Each diamond will have a different amount of these flaws, ranging from SI2 (having the largest amount) to VVS1 (having the least). Because of the shape and cut of cushion diamonds, they will hide most inclusions—especially if you choose the crushed-ice facet style as opposed to the antique style.
Color — When you’re examining diamond choices, ‘color’ actually refers to the absence of color. Diamond color is graded on an alphabetical scale, from D down to Z (with D being a colorless diamond and Z being noticeably yellow). Clean Origin only offers diamonds ranging in color from J to D. More than most diamond shapes, cushion-cut diamonds retain their color. If you decide to go with a cushion-cut engagement ring, a white gold or platinum band would be the best if you are choosing a diamond color lower than ‘H’.
Carat — Cushion-cut diamonds can look slightly larger than their actual carat weight, due to their larger facet sizes. They can be made to look even larger by adding a halo to surround the center stone. If a halo doesn’t add enough oomph to your small diamond, a lab-grown diamond will save you 20-30% on the price, allowing you to increase carat size without breaking the bank.