Cushion Cut Diamonds | Ideal Proportions & L/W Ratios Guide

Sharif Khan
Sharif Khan
Last Updated    EST 
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This 200-year-old diamond pillow-shaped cut was the most popular diamond for the first century of its existence, becoming de facto in the early 20th century. Cushion cut diamonds collate the square cut with round corners. It is a classic cut and meets the standards of individuals who like the combination of square and round-shaped diamonds.

Marcel Tolkowsky invented the Cushion Brilliant Cut diamonds during the 1920s when he researched different diamond cuts. Over time, the shape underwent conspicuous changes, such as a smaller culet, a larger table, and an improvement in brilliance. These refinements attracted many buyers because they gave the diamonds an antique yet modern look.

Key Points to Know in this Guide

  • While it is strictly a matter of personal preference, the hybrid cushion is more popular than the brilliant cushion, modified cushion, and hybrid cushion.
  • Buy a cushion cut with a depth of 61-67%, table 60-68%, and l/w ratio of 1-1.03 for square or 1.16-1.22 for rectangular.
  • Avoid strong blue fluorescence in colorless diamonds. Make sure the stone is GIA graded. 

In terms of prioritizing the 4Cs, when buying a high-quality investment grade diamond, consider a stone like this: Example 1, D-E, VS1+ range. When maximizing the carat weight without compromising the quality, consider a stone like this: Example 2, F-G/VS2+ range. When slightly compromising color and clarity to maximize carat weight, consider a diamond like this: Example 3, H-I/SI2+ range. Finally, when compromising on one C to maximize the other 3Cs, compromise on color, maximize the carat weight, cut, and clarity, and consider a stone like this: Example 4, L-K/VS+ range.

cushion cut diamond depth and table %

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Cushion Cut Diamond Highlights

Cushion cut diamonds have been around for a couple of centuries. However, this beautiful shape is increasingly becoming more popular because of innovation in cutting methods.
Shape Types
There are three types of cushion cut diamonds: cushion brilliant (traditional ones), cushion modified (with crushed iced faceting), and a hybrid of the two (combining the brilliance of both and a popular option). See more below.
A 58-68% table and 57%- 69% depth are preferred. See the chart below for more precise proportions.
L/W Ratio
As for the length-width ratio, we recommend a ratio of 1-1.05 for a square and 1.15-1.30 for a rectangular cushion cut, depending on how elongated you want your stone to look. See details below.
Flawless to VS1 are top clarity grades, and VS2 is a sweet spot. SI1 and SI2 are also often eye-clean in under 1-carat cushion cut diamonds. See more below.
D-E colors are top grades, F-G offers exceptional value, and H-I are great budget options.
Avoid it in colorless diamonds in up to G color. In H/I colors, it is not a major concern and can even be a plus factor.
Best Places
Here are our top best places to buy diamonds. As an alternative, check our lab-created diamonds guide.

Buy only GIA graded diamonds (AGS merged GIA, but if you find a cushion cut diamond with an older AGS grading report, buy it). Review the section below on how to read a grading report carefully for additional insights.
SettingsHere is a a list of our top picks for cushion cut engagemet rings.

Ideal Cushion Cut Proportions

The chart below can serve as a general guideline for evaluating the proportions of a cushion cut diamond.

Tools like this 40X Magnified 3D 360 Degree Video Technology can help assess how cushion cut diamonds differ from cushion modified brilliant cut diamonds. It can also help you determine the length-to-width ratios to see your desired optimal balance. Play with their search filter to better understand your ideal preference.

Depth %

Poor/Far: <55 or >73.1 / 54-56 or 71-73

Good: 56-58 / 70-71.1

Very Good: 58-61/67.3-69.9

Excellent: 61.1-67

Table %

Poor/Fair:<54 or >73.1/ 54-56 or 71-73

Good: 56-57.2/71.3

Very Good: 58-60.1/68.2-70.4

Excellent: 61-67.9


Poor/Fair: Very Large/Large

Good: Slightly large

Very Good: Medium/Very Small

Excellent: None


Poor/Fair: Ex. Thin – Ex. Thick

Good: Very thin - thick

Very Good: Very thin - slightly thick

Excellent: Thin - slightly thick

Cushion diamond cuts are often sold in a square shape with a length-to-width ratio 1.00. However, these luminous diamonds also come in rectangular shapes. Hence, when looking for a popular cut, buy a slightly rectangular cushion diamond. The length-to-width ratio of this choice should be 1.10-1.21.

The chart below should help buyers evaluate the length-to-width aspect of cushion cut diamonds:


Poor/Far: >1.09 / 1.06-1.09

Good: 1.04-1.06

Very Good: 1.00-1.04

Excellent: 1.00-1.03



Good: 1.09-1.16 / 1.22-1.31

Very Good: 1.09-1.16 / 1.22-1.31

Excellent: 1.16-1.22

Cushion Brilliant, Modified & Hybrid

Cushion brilliant diamonds exhibit faceting patterns similar to those of round brilliant cut diamonds. The pavilion facets of a cushion brilliant cut radiate outward from the diamond's center towards the girdle, forming a star-like pattern. In contrast to the "crushed ice" appearance in cushion modifieds, cushion brilliants feature larger facets, presenting a visual resemblance to round cut diamonds while boasting a coveted pillow-like or cushion shape, contributing to their desirability and popularity.

The modified cushion cut diamond is an alternative to the original cut. It comes with modern variations to keep up with the style and demand of buyers. A modified cushion diamond has a facet pattern in the form of a "crushed ice" or "needle." It contains an extra row of facets below the girdle, which the facets on the pavilion do not reach. Moreover, it possesses a sparkle analogous to sparkling water.

One benefit of this shape is that diamond cutters save more carat weight than traditional cushion brilliant cut diamonds, making it a more economical diamond. The demand for modified cushion cut diamonds is low, affecting their price. When you look through the table of a modified cushion cut diamond, you will not be able to find faceting in it, unlike the standard cushion cut diamonds. Therefore, there is a significant difference in the look of the classic cushion cut and the modified one. The latter will have radiant/crushed iced sparkle, contrary to the standard.

A hybrid cushion cut introduced recently lets cutters achieve the roundish brilliance of the standard cushion count while saving on the carat weight by using the cutting technique of the modified cushion cut. This cut contains four pavilion facets extending from the center towards the girdle, similar to standard cushion brilliant cuts, though with the addition of modified facets.

Color in Cushion Cut Diamonds

The color of cushion cut diamonds is an important factor. Since it is a brilliant cut with many facets, buyers may compromise slightly on color without losing the stone's brilliance.

While colorless diamonds are always recommended and should be the second priority after the cut, buyers may also consider G, H, or I colors. G is as good as colorless, H is a sweet spot for people with budget constraints, whereas I has a slight, barely noticeable tint.

For detailed information on the color of cushion cut diamond, use the table below:

< 0.50 Carat

Poor/Far: >M/ L-M

Good: I-K

Very Good: G-H

Excellent: D-G

0.51 – 1.0 Carat

Poor/Fair: J-K / >L

Good: I

Very Good: H

Excellent: D-G

1.0 – 2.0 Carat

Poor/Fair: H-I / >I

Good: H

Very Good: D-G

Excellent: D-F

>2.0 Carat

Poor/Fair: H-I / >I

Good: H

Very Good: G-F

Excellent: D-E

Clarity in Cushion Cut Diamonds

Each buyer has unique standards for clarity and color. Some want a flawless diamond with no flaws, while others are perfectly comfortable with slight inclusions if they are not easily noticeable.

GIA's clarity grades are extremely helpful in evaluating the clarity grade of a diamond and choosing a cushion cut diamond that will meet your standards.

The chart below serves as a general guide for evaluating clarity in cushion cut diamonds based on their carat weight:

< 0.50 Carat

Poor/Fair: I2 / >I2

Good: I1

Very Good: VS2-S12

Excellent: FL-VS1

0.51 – 1.0 Carat

Poor/Fair: I2 / >I2

Good: SI2

Very Good: SI1

Excellent: FL-VS2

1.0 – 2.0 Carat

Poor/Fair: SI2-I1 / >I1

Good: SI1-SI2

Very Good: WS2-VS2

Excellent: FL-VS1

>2.0 Carat

Poor/Fair: >SI2

Good: SI1-SI2

Very Good: VS1-VS2

Excellent: FL-WS2

Reading Cushion Grading Report

In addition to the well-known 4Cs, it is imperative for buyers to be familiar with the following key aspects of a cushion cut diamond grading report or certificate, as highlighted in the image below.

cushion cut GIA certificate

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Measurements: These are significant as they provide the buyer with information about the surface size of the diamond (indicating its apparent size in millimeters). They also offer the length-to-width ratio, calculated by dividing the length by the width (in the given example, it is 6.72/6.52=1.02).

Fluorescence: This should be considered the fifth C. In this specific case, considering the color is F, avoiding fluorescence is the optimal choice. However, faint and medium blue fluorescence is not as concerning as strong blue fluorescence.

Comments: This section will present factors related to clarity and also highlight whether a diamond has undergone clarity enhancement, using methods like laser drilling or color enhancement, among others. Additionally, pay attention to comments such as "clarity grade based on clouds," which is a concerning indicator for clarity grades of VS2 and below. The laser inscription of the report number on the girdle is positioned above the comments section (an optional service for added verification).

Proportions: This chart is crucial for assessing the diamond's cut. Specifically, focus on the table percentage (excellent at 66% in the example), depth percentage (excellent at 66.9%), girdle (graded as slightly thick to very thick - good), and culet (graded as none - excellent).

Clarity Characteristics: This section indicates the types of inclusions and their respective locations. It helps buyers avoid diamonds with visible inclusions at the center. These details are also useful for correlating the report with the diamond, as these inclusions serve as the diamond's unique birthmarks.

4Cs Balance in Cushion Cut Diamonds

Over the last decade, our clients have considered the following four scenarios when deciding what option is best for them in a given range while buying a diamond and how to prioritize 4Cs of a diamond.

Scenario One: Going for the highest quality in each carat range – Quality is preferred over carat weight. Investment grade diamonds

Under this option, buyers go for the highest quality diamonds. Since such diamonds are rare and probably within 1% of all the mined diamonds, they are considered investment-grade diamonds. These would be Flawless to VS1 clarity, D-F color, Excellent Cut, GIA/AGS graded diamonds with no fluorescence, and weighing at least 1 carat.

Scenario Two: Prioritizing a balanced approach and getting the best of all 4Cs - Both quality and size are prioritized in this range

In this option, the shopper aims to maximize both size and quality. We still consider diamonds in this range to be investment-grade since they are high in demand. Besides, most buyers can afford them instead of the highest quality diamonds. The range that would qualify under this range would be SI1 clarity, H color, excellent to very good cut with excellent proportions, and up to medium blue fluorescence. Shoppers still prefer either GIA or AGS-graded diamonds in this range.

Scenario Three: Compromising on all other 3Cs to maximize the carat weight – Quality is still a priority.

Under this option, the buyer aims for a large, nice-looking, and preferably eye-clean diamond within their budget. They would go as low as SI2 clarity, up to J color, very good to excellent cut, and up to strong blue fluorescence. If you intend to go for this scenario, buy GIA-graded diamonds. We have seen other labs, including AGS, play games in lower clarity grades, especially when it comes to clarity.

Scenario Four: Giving up on one C entirely to maximize on the other 3Cs because of a low budget

Under this scenario, the buyer decides to give up on one C to get a big stone that is very strong in the other 3Cs. We recommend giving up on the color in this option and maximizing clarity and cut.

While significant inclusions do affect the brilliance of a diamond, a slight yellow hue or tint does not affect its fire, scintillation, and brilliance as much. Some shoppers also prefer warmer colors, such as the J to M range. If you go for this option, IGI or HRD-graded diamonds are also recommended, as these labs do not have any significant incentives to misgrade diamonds in this color range.

Cushion Budget Choices

Excellent Choice

  • At least 1.1 Carats in Weight
  • Very Good to Excellent Polish and Symmetry
  • G or above in color
  • SI1 or above in clarity
  • No Fluorescence
  • Length/width ratios: 1.0 -1.05 for square or 1.12-1.30 for rectangular shape

Very Good Choice

  • At least 1 Carat in Weight
  • Good to Excellent Polish and Symmetry
  • H or above in Color
  • SI1 or above in Clarity
  • None, faint or medium blue fluorescence
  • Length/width ratios: 1.0 -1.05 for square or 1.12-1.30 for rectangular shape

Good Choice

  • At least 0.90 Carats in Weight
  • Good to Very Good Polish and Symmetry
  • I or above in Color
  • SI2 or above in Clarity
  • None, faint or medium blue fluorescence
  • Length/width ratios: 1.0 -1.05 for square or 1.12-1.30 for rectangular shape

Cushion Price Scenarios

The following are some options offered to buyers as samples to give them a sense of what they might be able to afford within their budget.

Please note that GIA does not assign cut grades for fancy cut stones; paying attention to the diamond depth, table, and length-to-width ratio is important.

The price estimates below are for a cushion cut diamond with a depth of 61-68% (excellent range), a table of 61-69% (excellent range), and 1-1.05 for length-to-width ratio for square stone or 1.16-1.22 for a rectangular cushion cut. Additionally, the stone must have none to very small culet and thin to slightly thick or very thin to slightly thick girdle, which is in the excellent range.

Option 1: $12,000

Cushion Modified Brilliant

GIA Graded

1.5 Carat or Above

VS1 Clarity or above (excellent clarity grade)

F Color or above (colorless)

No Fluorescence

Very Good to Excellent Polish

Very Good to Excellent Symmetry

Option 2: $20,000

Cushion Modified Brilliant

GIA Graded

2 Carat or Above

VS1 Clarity or above (excellent clarity grade)

F Color or above (colorless)

No Fluorescence

Very Good to Excellent Polish

Very Good to Excellent Symmetry

Option 3: $32,000

Cushion Modified Brilliant

GIA Graded

2.5 Carat or Above

VS1 Clarity or above (excellent clarity grade)

F Color or above (colorless)

No Fluorescence

Excellent Polish

Excellent Symmetry

Option 4: $50,000

Cushion Modified Brilliant

GIA Graded

3 Carat or Above

VS1 Clarity or above (excellent clarity grade)

F Color or above (colorless)

No Fluorescence

Very Good to Excellent Polish

Very Good to Excellent Symmetry

Option 5: $70,000

Cushion Modified Brilliant

GIA Graded

3.5 Carat or Above

VS1 Clarity or above (excellent clarity grade)

F Color or above (colorless)

No Fluorescence

Very Good to Excellent Polish

Very Good to Excellent Symmetry

Cushion Cut FAQs

Are cushion cut diamonds popular?

After round and oval cut diamonds, cushion cut diamonds are among the top sellers. They have beautiful facets and a unique look; thus, you cannot go wrong with them. However, if you are unsure about its shape or brilliance, we recommend visiting a store and comparing them with round shaped or other diamonds.

Which is the most popular among cushion brilliant, modified, and hybrid?

By looking at the supply side of the diamond industry, we notice that several diamond dealers are increasingly cutting rough diamonds into the hybrid cushion cut. It is likely popular because it combines the best of cushion brilliant and modified cushions. It also sparkles more and has an elegant look, so they are high in demand, hence more supply.

Why are cushion cut diamonds cheaper than round cut diamonds?

They are not necessarily cheaper than round-cut diamonds. It is essential to understand that it takes a bigger rough cut diamond to cut a 1-carat round diamond than a 1-carat cushion cut diamond. The average diameter of a 1 carat round diamond is about 6.4mm, while it is 5.4mm for square cushion cut diamonds.

Why are rectangular cushion cut diamonds more expensive than square cushion cut diamonds?

Again, if you pay attention, the overall spread of a rectangular cushion cut diamond is larger than that of a square cushion cut diamond. This means a diamond dealer has sacrificed a bigger rough diamond to cut a 1-carat rectangular cushion cut diamond than he would for a square cut.

Should I set a cushion-cut diamond into a halo setting or plain solitaire?

First, it depends on your taste. Second, if the stone is small (since cushion-cut diamonds are generally small in overall spread), it is better to set them in halo settings. Doing so will allow the stone to be surrounded by other diamonds, giving it a more extensive look.