Aside from the proposal itself, ring shopping is one of the most exciting elements of the engagement process. And with so many gorgeous stone shapes to choose from it can be difficult to decide on just one.
To help you narrow down your search, we’ve created a quick guide comparing two of the most beloved square-shaped stones on today’s diamond engagement ring market, the cushion cut and the princess cut. Each has its own allure, but which one is the right choice for you? Keep reading to find out.
What Is a Diamond Cut?
“Diamond cut” is a term used to refer to the way that the facets of a diamond are arranged during the cutting process. A high-quality cut can enhance a stone’s brilliance and sparkle through symmetry, proportion and polish. Similarly, poor cut quality can negatively impact a diamond’s brilliance and beauty, decreasing the stone’s overall value.
What Is a Cushion Cut Diamond?
Cushion cut diamonds are beloved for their distinct rounded square shape. An evolved variation of the old mine cut, early versions of the cushion cut date back to the 1700s when Venetian polisher Vincent Peruzzi invented the shape. Peruzzi is to thank for this stone’s captivating sparkle as he is the one who amped up the number of facets from 17 in a round rose cut to 33 in a rounded square old mine cut. After some further adjustments, the modern cushion cut diamond now has 58 facets in addition to an expanded table and reduced crown height, making this stone an ideal choice for those seeking ultimate sparkle and fire.
Cushion cut gemstones are unique and highly sought after. Aside from the radiant cut diamond, this shape is one of the only diamond cuts to feature elements of geometric lines and roundness. The softness that we see in this shape is the reason that it’s called a “cushion” since it somewhat resembles the softness of a pillow.
There are a few factors to consider if you plan to buy a cushion cut engagement ring. Firstly, you’ll want to determine if you prefer a classic cushion cut or a modified cushion cut. Do you prefer a square style or something more elongated? The choice will come down to personal preference. Next, pay close attention to the symmetry of your potential stone. Because of its geometric nature, cushion cuts can appear “off-shape” if your stone lacks good symmetry. Ideally, the sides and corners of the diamond should mirror each other.
What is a Princess Cut Diamond?
Accounting for roughly 15% of diamond sales, princess cut diamonds are the second most popular choice for diamond engagement rings. Stones in this style feature strong lines and four beveled sides. They’re also seriously chic.
Early versions of the princess cut diamond were first seen in the French cut and the quadrillion cut. It wasn’t until 1980 that Betazel Ambar and Israel Itzkowitz created the version of the cut that we know and love today. Featuring anywhere from 57 to 76 facets, there are some variations on the way a princess cut’s pavilion and crown are cut. These subtle differences can have a big impact on brilliance, scintillation(sparkle) and light dispersion. Additionally, while princess cut stones typically appear to be a perfect square, they’re actually slightly rectangular. The coveted ratio for a princess cut diamond is between 1.00-1.05 which is why you can barely tell the stone is truly rectangular in shape.
Interestingly, princess cut engagement rings offer a higher level of scintillation than their angular counterparts. Emerald cut diamonds and Asscher cut diamonds often lack fire due to their geometric nature which produces flashes of light instead of sparkle. Princess cut diamonds, however, offer an impressive amount of fire that is almost comparable to a cushion or round brilliant cut diamond. All this is to say, that of all of the square cuts, princess cuts have the most brilliance.
A princess cut diamond engagement ring is fit for a fairy tale, however, these stones need to be treated with special care. Due to their angular sharp corners, gemstones in this style are prone to chipping and snagging if not protected. To prevent this, consider a prong or bezel engagement ring setting. It’s also important to pay attention to the thickness of your ring’s girdle as this will also keep your stone safe from wear and tear.
Which Looks Bigger: Princess or Cushion?
Now that you know a little more about each of these popular diamond shapes, you might be asking which cut looks bigger, princess or cushion?
If you’re looking for that ultimate wow-factor a princess cut engagement ring is your best bet. The sharp edges of this angular style create the illusion of a larger diamond minus the price tag of a larger carat stone.
Alternatively, cushion cut stones can sometimes make a diamond appear smaller than it actually is. When on their own, cushion cut diamonds give off an effect that some people compare to the look of crushed ice. That’s why many couples who love stones in this style choose a halo engagement ring setting that incorporates several smaller accent stones that encircle the cushion cut center stone.
Is Cushion Cut More Expensive Than Princess Cut?
If budget is at top of mind, fret not. Ring styles featuring cushion or princess cut stones are drastically cheaper than those that incorporate a round cut diamond. You can expect to pay anywhere between 20 to 25% more for a round cut diamond than you would for other diamond shapes.
That being said, cushion cut stones are slightly less expensive than princess cut stones. This is because there is less waste produced during the cutting process when crafting a cushion cut diamond. Another deciding factor is demand. Aside from the reigning round brilliant cut, princess cut diamonds are the second most common shape used in diamond jewelry. The popularity of princess cut diamonds makes them slightly more expensive than cushion cut diamonds of a comparable carat weight and quality.
Best Engagement Ring Settings
No matter the shape you choose, both cushion and princess cut stones sparkle in these captivating engagement ring settings.
Whether you like white gold, rose gold or yellow gold, every metal type and diamond shape comes to life in a glamorous halo setting. Create the illusion of a larger-than-life center stone with this design featuring several halo accent stones to amp up the sparkle.
Three Stone Setting
The romantic three stone setting gives off vintage vibes as two sparkling side stones frame a dazzling center stone. Often said to resemble a couple’s past, present and future, this engagement ring design is perfect for the romantic in your life.
The simplistic yet stunning solitaire engagement ring setting is proof that sometimes less is more. Consisting of a sleek metal band that draws the eye to your center stone of choice, rings in this style are minimalist and never go out of fashion.
Is Princess Cut or Cushion Cut Better?
As with any diamond shape, which style is better comes down to personal preference. Whether you love the antique feel of a cushion cut or enjoy the geometric patterns of a princess cut both stones are majestic in their own right.