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The Magic and Mystique of Perfect Cushion Cut Diamonds

Posted by Winona Richardson, G.G. on

It was a just another Tuesday; another session of looking at parcels of diamonds for engagement rings – some to buy, some to pass.

Most of the diamonds brought in that day hadn’t been to GIA for grading. This one was no exception. All that was scribbled on the corner of the parcel was “Cush – 2.05 ct”. A cushion cut diamond. A moderately popular cut at the time, but nothing I’d have considered particularly exciting. Nothing on the parcel suggested it would be any different from any other cushion I’d seen in the past– a square stone with rounded corners and a center that was somewhat lacking in brilliance.

I held my loupe and briskly opened the paper.

In that moment, Tuesday was no longer “just another day”.

It was the day I encountered the most exceptionally beautiful diamond I had ever seen. It was the day I discovered the true Cushion Brilliant.

Forgoing my usual tweezers, I clasped the diamond between my fingers. It was a marvel: the perfectly rounded, slightly off-square shape with a luscious pillow-like crown. Each of the wide, beautifully polished facets shaped and meticulously positioned to form a finely crafted dome of geometric perfection.

The brilliance! Broad flashes of light escaped from every angle as it rocked in my palm. The cool and colorless crown shimmered with life. I imagined a diamond engagement ring of exceptional beauty.

If you could capture the light of the heavens in your hand – if you could harness and temper the dazzle of distant starlight here on earth – it would glow like this diamond.

I whispered ever so softly under my breath:

“Where have you been all my life?”

The Original Brilliant Cut Diamond– Perfected

Modern modified cushion brilliants bear little resemblance to the original cushion cut – the earliest examples of which date back to the 17th century. This beautiful cut is extremely rare and little understood by most industry professionals. Many jewelers and gemologists go their entire careers without encountering such a stone – the nuanced qualities of which cannot be conveyed by the “four c’s” of a GIA report.

Today, rather than fashioning this cut with precise and elegant contours for a “crisp” and defined faceting structure, the end goal is more that of a outline shape and a cushion cut diamond that retains more weight from the rough material. The trade off comes at a very high price in beauty: a heavy stone with poor light return.

Technological advances in diamond cutting have revolutionized the methods to deliver consistency and quantity in the most popular diamond shapes but the ability to envision and fashion an artisanal diamond is a rarefied skill. Only in the hands of an experienced and gifted “brillianteer” – a specialist diamond cutter with a refined understanding of light performance and precision faceting - will the aesthetic of antiquity’s cushion diamond be perfected for the modern age.

Unique Engagement rings for Elusive Beauties

Cushion diamonds are best displayed in elegant, handmade settings – crafted to the specific contours of the individual gem. Fine delicate diamond halos, bold solitaire styles with slender claw prongs, and custom made baskets with meticulously selected side stones; a perfect cushion cut engagement ring is the essence of fine jewelry design.

At Soho Gem, our team of GIA certified Graduate Gemologists and bespoke diamond experts have the knowledge, experience, and professional relationships to find the most beautiful diamonds in the world – and the talented jewelry artists to craft the custom made engagement ring of your heart’s desire.  

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