What is the Difference Between Cushion vs Cushion Modified Brilliant

What is the Difference Between Cushion vs Cushion Modified Brilliant

What is the Difference Between Cushion vs Cushion Modified Brilliant

Posted by Sharif Khan on 7th Sep 2019

Cushion Brilliant and Cushion Modified Brilliant - What is the Difference?

The difference between the cushion brilliant and the cushion modified has baffled numerous diamond enthusiasts as well as gem collectors.  Cushion cut diamonds are lauded for their beautifully designed timeless vintage look. At the start of the 21 st century, the popularity of the cut was rapidly declining, but the recent vintage and antique craze has propelled the  diamond cut to be the 4th most popular engagement ring stone. The diamond was initially cut using step facets which elongated its facets, giving it a reflected staircase appearance. The cut has since changed to a perpendicular style that gives the facets a more triangular shape.

James Allen

As its name suggests, cushion cut diamonds have a pillow-like shape with their beveled edges and rounded corners. Such qualities make it appear smaller when viewed from the top. However, its sparkling brilliance, excellent fire, ability to hide inclusions and reduced price tag are what appeals most to collectors and buyers alike.

To align with modern style requirements, the cushion cut diamond has undergone some changes- hence the variation cushion brilliant and cushion modified.

Let’s break down the nitty-gritty differences between the two.


The most common cut is the cushion modified as it accounts for a whopping 98 percent of the cushion cuts made. The stone exhibits a crushed ice look in which there is no discernable pattern to its facet. Observers are often left feeling as if they are looking at pieces of broken glass or crushed ice- hence the name. The facets at the center appear to blend into each other. The numerous facets not only leak large amounts of light, but they also reflect light in a chaotic needle-like pattern that dulls the stone's sparkle and brilliance.

Cushion Modified Brilliant Difference

Watch Super HD Videos of Cushion and Cushion Modified Brilliant Cut Diamonds Here.

Its counterpart, the cushion brilliant, is modeled after the  round brilliant. It has several pavilion facets such that when viewed from the top, a crisp, clear pattern can easily be identified. The facets extend from the center of the stone to the girdle forming a star-like pattern. Such diamonds are hard to find in the market, and the ones available usually cost a pretty penny. Nevertheless, the cushion brilliant’s precise cut as well as larger than average face-up size, and superb brilliance makes the stone well worth its exorbitant price.

Cushion Brilliant Cut

When it comes to evaluating the cut of a cushion diamond, it is vital that one does not solely rely on the GIA reports. Nothing on the certificate will tell you whether the cushion cut diamond has a crushed ice or star-like look. The report will also not indicate the roundness or square shape of the edges, a quality that is subject to personal preference. Purchasing cushion cut diamonds with excellent cut without a physical inspection of the stone or its accompanying clear, magnified photos has been likened to separating crushed ice from broken glass- a difficult task at even the best of circumstances.


Diamond clarity refers to the ability of a stone to hide imperfections, and when it comes to cushion cut diamonds determining this quality can be somewhat tricky. Inclusions can occur at any part of the diamond, but if the imperfection is at the edges and the preferred setting completely covers them, then such a flaw will not affect its appearance. Therefore, personal style will determine how eye-clean you would like the cushion cut to be. Generally, clarity grades of greater than SI2 will perfectly hide inclusions in cushion cuts.

Since clarity depends on sparkle as well as brilliance, the cushion brilliant cut takes the win in having better clarity. The star-like patterned stone tends to hide imperfections better due to their superior sparkle and brilliance, which distract the eye. In contrast, the lower brilliance of the cushion modified magnifies its inclusions resulting in a cushion modified cut of a higher clarity grade appearing less eye clean than a cushion brilliant of a lower clarity grade.

Check out Super Ideal Cut VVS Clarity Cushion Cut Diamonds Here.


One of the greatest appeals of the cushion diamond shape is its ability to retain color. That’s why the market is flooded with gems and stones whose cut mimic the cushion cut's shape. The cushion cut variation that has perfected the art of exhibiting color to a tee is the cushion brilliant. A quality that allows one to experiment with colorless stones of lower color grades such as I and mount them on clear metals to achieve the extravagant face up colorless appearance of a diamond of a higher color grade. For a cushion modified, one will have to settle for a  diamond of color grade G or higher to attain a similar look.


The price range for a cushion modified is slightly lower than that of the other cushion cut variation because its cut focuses on maximizing carat weight. The result is that manufacturers end up using a larger percentage of the stone. And although most of the weight is hidden underneath in the pavilion side, it still dulls the brilliance and sparkle of the stone.

The cushion brilliant cut aims to maximize light performance such that a large portion of the rough diamond may be discarded. Since cutters will not be saving on carat weight and the variation is in higher demand- the stones fetch a higher price. The weight is also hidden, just like in the cushion modified, but its effect on brilliance and sparkle is minimized by the numerous pavilion facets.


When it comes to suitable engagement ring settings, cushion cut diamonds are compatible with a wide range of choices. The absence of vulnerable edges in the stone eliminates the need for more protective styles. Whether you prefer a vintage or modern setting, the cushion cut variations are bound to enchant.

Take advantage of the superb sparkle in cushion brilliants by mounting the stone on a 4 prong setting to allow more light to reflect on its surface. The brilliance of the cushion modified cut can also be improved by opting for a halo setting. The tiny stones that surround the diamond will offer better sparkle and help detract the eye from its imperfections.

The options for a setting are subject to personal preference, so if you want a more antique look go for vintage style designs.

Finally Verdict

The cushion cut diamond has been around since the candlelit era, and its recent come back only shows that vintage stones are never really out of style.

It is quite clear that the variation cushion brilliant and cushion modified come down to technicalities that are subject to personal preferences and style. Even the crushed ice appearance associated with cushion modified stones is not always present. In fact, the naming difference resulted from the need to assess the faceting pattern separately and has minimum bearing on the appearance of the stone.

So when you are buying a cushion cut, don’t let the various marketing terminologies mislead or confuse you. Familiarize yourself with your stone of choice by examining its GIA reports, high-resolution images, and physically inspect the diamond to ensure it is eye clean.

Remember it’s all about finding a stone that meets your idea of a perfect diamond while at the same time maximizing on quality and minimizing on price. After all, it is your bank account you’re cashing out from- you may as well buy what you like.

Good luck!