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Fancy Shape Series--Cushion Cut

Nov 10, 1998 1:30 PM  
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The cushion cut is a generic name for the Old Mine Cut developed before the turn of the century; these days the name “cushion” is often used for colored stones cut in this shape.

A cushion cut is a square or squarish-rectangular cut with rounded corners and 58 brilliant-style facets that resembles a pillow shape, hence the name. Cushion-cut diamonds are being newly cut today to look like they are old. Most of the new cuts are coming out of India.

A hundred years ago, when cushion cuts were first developed, diamonds were not cleaved into two pieces of rough, as they are today; they were ground down as a single stone and the resulting polished was lumpy and thick. Cushion cuts have very thin girdles and bigger culets than today’s full-cut diamonds.

Designers are requesting cushion cuts with big culets, but, in general, the smaller the culet, the better the stone.

Older cushion cuts return light in blocky patterns; newly cut ones return light in needlelike patterns.

Markets and Marketing

Cushion cuts are popular in matching pairs. They are especially being used in larger-carat earrings. California designers are seeking them out for earrings, pendants and rings. Cushion cuts first became popular again about three years ago, and interest in them has increased dramatically in the past 18 months.

Pricing and Supply

Cushion cuts offer a lot of weight at a moderate price. Cushion cut diamonds sell for about 30 percent less than full-cuts of the same weight.

Clean, white, G-H color cushions sell for from $795 a carat to $1,500 to $1,600 a carat, depending on quality. Two-carat and up stones sell in the $2,000 to $2,700 per carat range.

The most popular sizes are .75- to 1.5-carats. The availability of 2-carats and up is a problem because of the high demand for larger stones, both by estate and antique dealers for replacement or repair and by manufacturers.

What Should Buyers Look For?

Look for good clarity and color. Because cushion cuts have very thin girdles, girdles on older ones are often chipped.

Look for cushion cuts that are symmetrical — off-shape ones are difficult to use. Look for a medium culet that is not too heavy, unless you have a special reason to use this cut with a big culet.

Pick a mounting that’s appropriate for the softer reflections and refractions of a cushion cut. Old Mine Cuts were traditionally set in yellow gold or silver with a patina or oxidation; therefore they look better set in matte metals rather than highly polished ones.


Manak Jewels

(415) 255-4768 • Fax (415) 255-0654

Richard F. Buonomo/Sima G. Ltd.

(212) 768-1010 • Fax (212) 768-0159

Kathleen Kielkopf Kielkopf/The Registry Ltd.

(800) 328-1179

D. Atlas & Co.

(800) 441-1312 • (215) 922-1926

Fax (215) 922-4725
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