Cushion vs Cushion Modified Brilliant: Key Differences

Sharif Khan
Sharif Khan
Last Updated    EST 

The difference between the brilliant and the modified cushion has baffled numerous diamond enthusiasts and gem collectors. Cushion cut diamonds are lauded for their beautifully designed, timeless vintage look. The cut's popularity rapidly declined at the start of the 21st century. Still, the recent vintage and antique craze has propelled the diamond cut, one of the most popular engagement ring stones. 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, giving the facets a more triangular shape.

As its name suggests, cushion cut diamonds have a pillow-like shape with 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 appeal 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.

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Cushion Cut Style Differences

The most common cut is modified cushion, which accounts for a whopping 98 percent of the cushion cuts made. The stone exhibits crushed ice look with 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 leak large amounts of light and reflect light in a chaotic needle-like pattern that dulls the stone's sparkle and brilliance.

Cushion Modified Brilliant Cut Diamonds

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

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’s brilliant, precise cut, larger-than-average face-up size, and superb brilliance make the stone well worth its exorbitant price.

Cushion Brilliant Cut Diamond

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 edges' roundness or square shape, a quality 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 in even the best circumstances.

Cushion Clarity

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 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, such a flaw will not affect its appearance. Therefore, personal style will determine how eye-clean you would like the cushion cut. Generally, clarity grades greater than SI2 will perfectly hide inclusions in cushion cuts.

Since clarity depends on sparkle and brilliance, the cushion brilliant cut wins in having better clarity. The star-like patterned stone hides imperfections better due to its superior sparkle and brilliance, which distracts 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.

Cushion Color

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 must settle for a diamond of color grade G or higher to attain a similar look.

Cushion Carat

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 use a larger percentage of the stone. And although most of the weight is hidden underneath 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 the numerous pavilion facets minimize its effect on brilliance and sparkle.

Setting for Cushions

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 four 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 surrounding 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 comeback only shows that vintage stones are never really out of style.

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

Do not let the various marketing terminologies mislead or confuse you when buying a cushion cut. Familiarize yourself with your stone of choice by examining its GIA reports and 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 quality and minimizing price.

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