Cushion cut diamond halo engagement rings are rapidly becoming a very popular choice for women looking for a design of engagement ring that is modern and distinctive, yet also has enduring classical sophistication.
This timeless diamond shape features large facets that allow more light to flow through the diamond so maximizing sparkle and brilliance and making this shape one of the most brilliant of all cuts. Combined with rounded corners that create the soft and romantic feel, the cushion cut is especially popular when combined with a halo setting which adds even more shine to the diamond.
What is a cushion halo engagement ring?
A cushion halo engagement ring is best described as a combination of a centrepiece cushion cut diamond encircled within a collection of pavé diamonds.
The cushion cut is an antique but not antiquated style of diamond and is said to be a hybrid between the traditional ‘old mine cut’ and a ‘modern oval cut’. The ‘old mine cut’ was a square or rectangular diamond with rounded edges. The ‘oval cut’ is a modern fancy diamond which is a “modified brilliant”, meaning the shape is created from a brilliant round diamond to highlight its appearance. Combine the appearance of these two and you have what is today’s cushion cut diamond, also referred to as ‘Pillow Cut’.
The shape of the modern cushion cut diamond is similar to that of a rounded square or rectangle, almost an oval, but giving the impression of curved sides and either rounded or pointed corners. It typically has an open culet (the bottom of the diamond) and a rectangular to square shape, with rounded corners and 64 facets which are cut in order to give the diamond added depth. This has the effect of giving the diamond less brilliance, but often more fire and a classic look which is much more impressive than the original old mine cut. However, the natural drawbacks to the cushion cut have been somewhat compensated for by modern techniques, increasing brilliance to a degree with a larger table, better cutting angles and shrinking or opening the culet. The cut also highlights the stone’s clarity, making exquisite stones look even more exquisite. These modern stones are usually known as “cushion brilliant” diamonds because the faceting is similar to that of brilliant cut round stones, extending from the centre out toward the girdle, rather than in “steps”.
In recent times as cushion cut diamond halo engagement rings became more popular jewellers have slowly introduced new, modified versions of the cushion cut to give a slightly different look. One very modern twist on the cushion halo engagement ring is that the facets are often cut into different and interesting shapes, both for a unique look and to highlight reflection or shine. Facets which are Portuguese cut (a fancy cut which puts an extra row of facets on the diamond’s crown to increase brilliance) also known as “modified cushion brilliant”, checkerboard cut (showing a full series of diamond-shaped facets on the face or crown to increase surface sparkle) or concave (three-dimensional pavilion facets to better refract and reflect light in unusual patterns) are some you may find when looking for a cushion halo engagement ring which will truly stand out.
History of the Cushion cut diamond halo engagement ring
Although the cushion cut halo diamond engagement ring may be seen as modern and new, the origin of this brilliant and beautiful cut of diamond traces back to the 1700s when it was first popularised.
The modern day cushion cut diamond is reminiscent of an early brilliant cut now called ‘old mine cut’ which was the most common cut until the late 19th century. The old mine cut produced a diamond cut of square shape with a high crown (top), small table, deep pavilion (bottom), and a large culet. The mine cut was named after the Brazilian diamond mines, which became known as the ‘old mines’ after diamonds were also discovered in South Africa. It was one of the original shapes into which diamonds were crafted during the 18th century when diamond cutting was a slow and difficult process and limited by the technology and tools of the time. In those days it was important to retain as much weight from the rough diamond in order to save time and money therefore, the old mine cut was favourable to work within these cutting limitations.
Although similar in shape, the mine cut had 58 facets, while the modern cushion cut typically has 64 facets. With an old mine cut, the diamond’s crown is higher and pavilion deeper than today’s standards and the light patterns from the brilliant facets are distinctly different from modern-cut diamonds.
Many believe the modern day cushion cut was also inspired by other cuts outside of the mine cut, such as the table, Peruzzi, and candlelight cuts so called as they featured large facets that were designed to enable the diamond to sparkle in candlelight in the days before electricity.
How does a halo setting enhance a cushion cut diamond?
Many purchasers of diamond engagement rings with a cushion cut prefer to opt for a cushion diamond halo engagement ring. The halo is a collection of round pavé or micro-pavé diamonds that encircles the centre diamond.
Halos are seen on a large number of diamond engagement rings but they are particularly well-suited to enhancing cushion cut diamonds. The elevation of the large diamond, surrounded by a number of smaller pave diamonds in the setting, makes the centre diamond stand out even more by appearing larger while showing more brilliance and sparkle, which is of course always welcome for these diamonds. Cushion halo diamond engagement rings now tend to make up the majority of cushion cut rings that you will see offered by jewellers.
What to look for when buying a cushion halo diamond engagement ring
There are some important “rules” specific to cushion cut halo diamond engagement rings due to the way the diamonds are cut and the way in which they display.
When it comes to the size of a diamond it is certainly true that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. However, larger carat cushion cut halo diamond engagement rings are a better choice as they are more able to overcome the inherent difficulties that the cushion cut has in displaying brilliance equal in comparison to other diamond cuts.
A facet of cushion cut diamonds is that they do not tend to retain and display colour as well as many other cuts. Therefore it is best to choose H colour or higher unless you have opted for a yellow gold setting, when slightly lower colours will work. If you are buying a large stone, always opt for F-G colour if at all possible.
With a solitaire cushion cut diamond clarity is particularly important as there are no other stones to draw attention away from the large stone. However, for a cushion cut halo diamond ring this is less of a deciding factor as the pave will detract somewhat from the centre diamond, but the best advice is still to opt for highest clarity of diamond within your budget and if there are any inclusions in your chosen diamond, try to make sure they’re near the very edges of the stone.
When choosing a cushion halo diamond ring the cut is not as crucial as the size factor. The perfect cut of a cushion cut diamond is also very much in the eye of the beholder. The “classic” cut has a length to width ratio of 1.00. However, many women feel a rectangular shape is ideal for their cushion cut halo diamond engagement ring, with the most common choice being somewhere between 1.10 and 1.20. It is recommended that the table and depth should each be under 70%, and of course the polish and symmetry should be excellent, very good or good. One other note: the girdle shouldn’t really be a consideration, since most
In terms of pricing, the good news is that cushion cut halo diamond engagement rings tend to be less expensive than a comparable round brilliant cut.
Famous Cushion-Cut Diamonds
Given it long history it is no wonder that many of the world’s most famous (and largest) diamonds have the distinctive cushion cut. These include the Hope Diamond which weighs in at a stunning 45.52 carats and the Regent diamond which is a magnificent 140.5 carats.
In 2012, Christie’s Geneva auctioned one of the world’s most important diamonds which was an internally flawless cushion brilliant cut diamond called the Archduke Joseph named after one of its illustrious owners the Archduke Joseph August, a Hungarian prince of the Habsburg dynasty. It sold for $21.5 million, in excess of $280,000 per carat, which set a record for colourless diamonds at that time.
With the ever increasing popularity of Cushion cut diamond halo engagement rings many celebrities have been seen wearing cushion cut diamond rings including Kim Kardashian who owns a stunning 15 carat cushion cut diamond, Kelly Rowland who wears a cushion cut diamond pavé halo and Jessica Biel’s vintage style cushion cut diamond halo engagement ring which is set in blackened platinum.
The benefits of choosing a cushion cut halo engagement ring
Due to the sleek style and symmetrical lines of a cushion cut halo diamond engagement ring, this shape looks perfect for a bride-to-be that prefers a modern yet classic style that is soft and romantic. Cushion cut halo diamonds will shine and sparkle as the many facets that make up the cushion cut diamond allow more light to flow through the stone, making this shape one of the most brilliant of all cuts. In addition this extra light that streams into the diamond will do wonders to hide tiny imperfections in the stone.