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By Reviewed By Andreas Zabczyk

History of the Cushion Cut

There is a high demand for cushion-cut gemstones, indicating the increasing popularity of this unique shape that falls between a rectangle and an oval. While some may view the cushion cut as a modern style, it is actually a classic and antique cutting technique that has experienced a resurgence in popularity.

Cushion-Cut Peridot Gemstone
Cushion-Cut Peridot Gemstone

Cushion cuts were incredibly popular from most of the nineteenth century until the early twentieth century. The basis for the cushion cut is the so-called old mine cut, which was a square cut with rounded corners, deep with a high crown, small table and large facets. The old mine cut had 33 crown facets and 25 pavilion facets.

The modern cushion cut is a combination of the old mine cut and a modern oval cut, with 64 facets compared to the old mine cut's 58. It features an open culet at the bottom of the gemstone and a rectangular to square shape with rounded corners. The facet plan is designed to provide depth to the gemstone, giving it a romantic and classic look that emphasizes the gem's luster, rather than focusing on maximizing the luster like today's brilliant cuts.

Cushion or Antique Cut Gemstones at GemSelect
Cushion cut imperial topaz gemsFine natural spinel at GemSelectCushion concave cut fluorite from GemSelectRuby cushion cabochon gemstonesLoose amethyst gems from GemSelectNatural green sapphire gemsFine tanzanite from GemSelectCushion cut spessartite garnet

While in the nineteenth century most gems were cut as cushions, this standard was superseded in the early twentieth century by new modern cuts. The cushion cut is sometimes called the antique cushion cut in recognition of its historical roots. Modern cushion cuts are often given different faceting treatments and you will see cushion cuts with interesting checkerboard, Portuguese cut or even concave facets.

Cushion Cut Diamond Ring from Tiffany
Cushion-Cut Diamond in Tiffany White Gold Ring

Many of the most famous gemstones in the world are cushion cuts, including the blue Hope Diamond (45.52 ct), the Regent Diamond (140.5 cts) and the yellow Tiffany Diamond (128.54 cts). The largest cut blue sapphire in the world, the 423 ct Logan Sapphire in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, is a cushion cut. In 2003 Tiffany introduced the cushion-cut Legacy Collection as one of their five iconic engagement ring styles.

Though cushion cuts are once again in vogue, they can be quite difficult to find. At any given time, only about 5% of our extensive inventory will be cushion cuts. So despite its important place in the history of gemstones, the cushion cut still counts as unusual in today's market.

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