A plain rough stone is superbly cut into beautiful multi-faceted stones, resulting in a variety of diamond shapes. Each diamond shape has been given a unique style that has influenced the overall appearance of a diamond engagement ring in one way or another. To this day, the most popular diamond shape remains the round cut because of its perfect symmetry and superior sparkling ability. However, more and more couples are now focusing on the beauty and elegance of fancy diamond shapes. The cushion cut diamond and princess cut diamond are two of the hottest diamond cuts of the moment, thanks to their firm and soft nature that offers a modern and chic look.
Both cushion cut and princess cut diamonds are square diamonds that are very similar in appearance but fundamentally different in nature. So, cushion cut vs. princess cut, what is the difference? What is the best way to choose between a cushion cut and a princess cut diamond?
What is a Cushion Cut Diamond?
A cushion cut diamond is a diamond that combines square cutting techniques with rounded corners. Unlike the angular princess cut diamond, the cushion cut diamond has rounded and softened edges, resembling a pillow, hence the name.
In fact, the classic cushion cut has been around for almost 200 years, dating back to the 1700s when it was known as the old mine cut, but it was the most popular diamond shape in the early 20th century. The old mine cut was essentially the same as today's cushion cut, a square cut with rounded corners and 58 facets, but the old mine cut was mostly cut by hand with the help of machinery. As diamond cutting techniques, tools and knowledge advanced, so did the quality and style of diamond cuts. The old mine cut pattern was combined with the round brilliant cut process to create the cushion cut diamond, which is more in line with modern aesthetics. One of the only modern diamond cuts with round elements and geometric lines, the cushion cut diamond is both vintage and contemporary in style, a perfect blend of the old and new worlds.
Modern cushion cut diamonds typically feature three different types of pavilion patterns. One type has four kite shaped facets between the girdle, pavilion and the culet. The second type has eight kite shaped facets. The third is what GIA calls a modified cushion cut, which has an additional row of facets on the pavilion. This modified cushion cut produces a beautiful "crushed ice" effect that gives the diamond a more intense and distinctive fire.
The classic cushion-cut diamond is square, with an optimal length ratio between 1.00 and 1.03. However, they are also often found in slightly rectangular shapes. For slightly rectangular cushion cuts, a ratio of 1.15-1.20 is optimal. And a ratio of 1.30 will give an elegant elongated effect.
What is a Princess Cut Diamond?
A princess cut diamond is a square cut diamond with well-defined geometric lines. Seen from above, this fancy cut diamond is square or rectangular in shape with an "X" geometry, and from the side it resembles an inverted pyramid with four beveled sides.
The princess cut, also known as the square modified brilliant cut, traces its name back to the 1960s. There is a square cut known as the profile cut, which has the same 58 facets as the modern princess cut diamond, but are flatter. Over the next decade, the square cut underwent various variations, including the barion cut and the quadrillion cut, both of which were the predecessors of the modern princess cut. In the 1980s, Betazel Ambar, Ygal Perlman and Israel Itzkowitz innovated the modern princess cut by incorporating more modern and feminine elements.
The modern princess cut diamond can contain 57-76 facets to showcase the brilliance and fire of the stone. These facets are typically set in two, three or four V-shaped patterns spread across the pavilion and crown or girdle. Two adjacent V-shaped facets help the diamond produce greater sparkle and conceal inclusions, but as the number of V-shaped facets increases, the diamond becomes more capable of reflecting light. When a princess cut diamond has four v-pattern facets, it produces fire and brilliance close to that of a round cut diamond (round cut diamonds are the most sparkling of all fancy cut diamonds).
To the naked eye, a princess cut diamond is a perfect square, so its optimal length-to-width ratio is usually between 1.00 and 1.05. At a ratio of 1.06-1.12, you will notice that the princess cut diamond is slightly rectangular in shape. The perfect square shape allows the princess cut diamond to have a rough retention rate of 60% and higher, which means less material loss and lower prices. Because of this, the princess cut diamond is the ideal combination of distinctive shape, sparkling appearance and relative price value, making it the most popular diamond shape after the round brilliant.
What is the Difference Between Cushion Cut and Princess Cut?
Cushion cut vs princess but: brilliance and fire
Both the modified cushion cut and the princess cut offer incredible sparkle and fire. However, due to their numerous small v-shaped facets, princess cut diamonds tend to look brighter and shinier than cushion cut diamonds. Cushion cut diamonds, on the other hand, tend to look smaller than princess square cut diamonds due to the smaller table and the depth of the diamond.
Cushion cut vs princess cut: ring style
Although both princess cut and cushion cut diamonds are square, when you look closely, you will notice the difference in style between them. The sharp lines of the princess cut diamond are a prime choice for those who are after a modern style. Although cushion cut diamonds also have a modern style, their beauty reminds us of the classic old mine cut, which gives the cushion cut a vintage feel that is appropriate for an Art Deco style diamond engagement ring.
Cushion cut vs princess cut: ring settings
In setting practice, princess cut diamonds are often paired with bezel settings, channel settings, V-prong settings and classic prong settings, while the classic four-prong setting is used to allow more light to pass through the diamond due to the slightly less brightness of the cushion cut diamonds.
Cushion cut vs princess cut: price
Both princess cut and cushion cut diamonds waste less material during the cutting process, making them both affordable options compared to round brilliant cut diamonds. However, princess cut diamonds are more affordable than cushion cut diamonds. Because the rough diamond is already octahedral in shape, all that is needed to create the initial rough pyramid shape of a princess square cut is to cut a slice down the middle, which means less material is wasted on a princess cut diamond! On average, the price of a 1 carat princess square cut diamond is 10% less than a 1 carat round brilliant cut diamond.
Cushion cut diamonds are square diamonds with soft and rounded edges that give a vintage, yet romantic look. Princess cut diamonds, on the other hand, offer a more modern and geometric look. For which diamond cut is better for you, it all depends on your preference and budget. If you prefer a bold and statement princess cut diamond engagement rings, check out our popular princess cut engagement rings.