Cushion cut stones: Classic shape for modern collectors

As January comes to an end I will be saying adieu to my lovely garnet. Before I explore February’s stunner – amethyst, I want to show the beauty of my birthstone one more time in a cut that is making a big comeback.

One of my own designs featuring a cushion cut garnet

Simply put a cushion cut stone resembles an over stuffed seat cushion. It is a square with soft rounded corners. In the 18oo’s it was commonly called a “pillow” cut or “candlelit” diamond. Prior to the advent of the electric bulb, diamonds were cut for optimum brilliance in candle light.

The cushion cut is not just for diamonds. I love this cut for colorful gems. It is the perfect shape for a solitaire stone ring. A four prong setting is best for the cushion. Garnet and other dark stones work beautifully as a cushion, vibrant colors are subdued a touch by the soft shape. Pale stones like Aquamarine would also showcase exquisitely.

The unique shape of this cut was very popular after it’s discovery in the 1700′s till the early 1900′s. Cutting diamonds perfectly round had yet to be invented. Progression in stone cutting techniques resulted in intricate shapes with multiple facets allowing more sparkle and fire, leaving the cushion in the dust.

Once considered old fashion, it is now making a huge comeback. Angelina Jolie and Kate Walsh chose this cut for its unique shape and subtle beauty.

It has become a sophisticated alternative to “flashier” diamonds although I don’t know how much flashier you can get than some of the world’s most famous diamonds– the Hope Diamond, the Cullinan II and the Tiffany Yellow– all of which are cushion cut.

The Yellow Tiffany Diamond
A publicity photo of Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 film ‘Breakfast At Tiffanys’

In the photo you can see the Yellow Tiffany stone set in the “Bird on the Rock” brooch designed by the famous Tiffany jeweler Jean Schlumberger. The piece is the Tiffany Yellow’s most well-known setting, and is the setting it remains in to this day.

The Hope Diamond
The world’s largest deep blue diamond is more than a billion years old.

A record breaking discovery on January 26 1905 in a South African mine yielded a breathtaking 3,106 carat diamond. The owner of the mine; Sir Thomas Cullinan had it cut into nine famous stones.

Three being the “Cullinan” cushions. The Cullinan #2 weighs in at 317.40 carats! A huge, gorgeous rock residing in the Imperial State Crown of Great Britain. The Cullinan #4 is a 63.60 carat beauty happily perched in Queen Mary’s crown. #8 is 6.80 carats [not too shabby] and is the center of a brooch worn on occasion by Queen Elizabeth.

The Cullinan II Diamond

Note the two tiny platinum loops on the edges. This is so the stone can be worn as a brooch, alone or with the Cullinan I attached. However, it usually resides in the front of the Imperial State Crown.

Remember the saying “size doesn’t matter”. Hmmm, we may all scratch our heads about that one however regardless of the size a beautiful cushion cut stone is a wonderful addition to your jewel box.

So be your own queen of the castle and consider this modern classic for an engagement ring, over sized cocktail ring or take Angelina Jolie’s cue and wear them as stud earrings.

The cushion cut style isn’t going out of fashion this time around. Once again old is new.


  • More from Kimberlin on garnet
  • Earrings similar to those worn by Kate Walsh and Angelina Jolie at
  • Modern day gorgeous cushion cut diamonds at
  • More about the Hope Diamond at the Smithsonian Online
  • More about the Tiffany Yellow Diamond at the Smithsonian OnlineSensational Color; Sensational Colour

4 Responses to “Cushion cut stones: Classic shape for modern collectors”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Kate Smith says:

    Beautiful garnet ring Kimberlin and can’t wait to see the post on my birthstone amethyst!

  2. Julie Hoylen says:

    I’ve often noticed that my engagement ring looks super sparkle-y in candlelight and in low light settings, like on an elevator or in a restaurant. Does the cut of the gem determine the amount of sparkle you see?

  3. Alex says:

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

  4. Diane says:

    Breakfast at Tiffany’s, that’s a movie that I haven’t seen for a long time, one of the biggest movie commercials :)

  • Share