What is a Cushion Cut Diamond? Everything You Need to Know

A cushion cut diamond, also called an old mine cut diamond is among the oldest kinds of diamond cut. Dating back to the 18th and 19th Century diamond mines, the cushion cut features exceptional fire with softer angles and large facets. The unique characteristics of a cushion diamond are indicative of their original style of procurement in the mines. 

Learn about what gives a cushion diamond its characteristic features, and what it means about the ideal cushion diamond carat. Find out about the history behind old mine diamonds, and why they are called that. And, see how cushion cuts differ from other popular diamond cuts for engagement rings and more. 

Everything You Need to Know About the Cushion Cut Diamond – 2021

If you are looking for an authentic antique-style engagement ring, a cushion cut diamond features the characteristics indicative of classic opulence and glamour. One of the things that give the cushion cut this classic aesthetic is the diamond's large facets – especially as compared to contemporary choices, like the princess cut. In fact, for nearly a century of its history, the cushion cut diamond was the only diamond cut that existed. 

These classic diamond shapes are square with soft, round edges. Cushion cuts often result in a diamond that features more optical imperfections, which are to be expected. Such distinguishing features are what give these diamonds their antique beauty and timeless charm.

Why is it Called an Old Mine Diamond Cut?

The cushion cut is a modern iteration of the original name for this diamond – the old mine cut. The name refers to the location from which the diamond was mined, which also served as the location where it was cut. In the 18th and 19th Centuries, a diamond that was mined from the earth would often be cut right there on the spot.

Cutters often lacked any mechanized equipment, since mining at the time was extremely labor-intensive and miners had to haul equipment to the site on foot. So, the old mine cut is indicative of the most effective and efficient kind of diamond cut to perform by hand on-site. For that reason, the old mine or cushion cut most resembles a Mazarin diamond cut, first introduced as far back as the 12th or 13th century.

Characteristics of a Cushion or Mine Cut Diamond

The original name, “old mine cut” eventually fell out of use by jewelers. Instead, these classic 58-facet diamonds have come to be referred to as cushion cut diamonds because of their soft and elegant characteristics. But, the most recognizable characteristic of a cushion cut is the larger-than-usual culet. 

Optically Smaller Table and Large Culet 

When viewed in comparison to a more contemporary diamond cut, the cushion looks to have an optically smaller table. This is because of how the cut enhances the culet. Viewed through the diamond table, the culet also appears larger than many other diamonds. 

The large culet gives the cushion cut its distinctive antique look and also enhances the visual pattern within the diamond when seen from above. The enlarged culet is partially responsible for another characteristic that cushion diamonds are known for: enhanced fire. 

High Fire Means More Color

The fire of a cushion diamond is striking and pronounced – more than that of a round brilliant diamond. But, the cushion diamond features a more subtle brilliance, because of the large culet. Today, many jewelers and consumers come to prefer the classic style and fire of the cushion diamond over the higher brilliance of others.

Higher Crown, Short Half-facets, and Deeper Pavilion

When viewed from the side, a cushion cut diamond has a higher crown than most contemporary cuts. In turn, the high crown gives way below the girdle to a very deep pavilion. Similar to the cushion, the Old European cut features longer half facets, but the cushions' shorter half facets are a result of the larger culet. 

When it comes to the standards by which cushion cuts are held, it is generally less stringent than that of other styles. A cushion cut often has variances, imperfections, and eccentricities – all of which add to their individual and unique appeal. Talk to an Impress Jewelers associate to see an available cushion cut diamond hand-selected by a professional jeweler, or create your custom engagement ring in the online store.