Looking for the perfect place to buy cushion diamonds online?
You're in the right place! In this Learning Jewelry guide I'll answer common questions like:
- What Should You Look For When Buying Cushion Diamonds Online?
- How Do You Know You're Getting A Good Deal?
- What Are The Red Flags To Watch Out For When Buying?
#1 Buying Cushion Diamonds at James Allen
Cushion cut diamonds make up a large chunk of the loose diamond inventory at James Allen. James Allen separates them in their own filters. The ideal cut category will fit the best parameters for a cushion cut's light performance.
They carry over 5000 cushion cut diamonds minimum 1 carat, H color, and SI clarity.
Outside of these grades, you have even more options. There's a mix of cushion cut styles to choose from, including modified brilliant, brilliant, crushed ice, and chunky. Unfortunately, there's not a way to filter out the styles, so you'll have to do some digging.
Thankfully, they've got a great 360˚ viewer to be able to see which styles you like. I love that you can control it and rotate it yourself. I find this feature the best way to identify blemishes and diamond inclusions you might not want in your cushion brilliant.
Make sure you're choosing a cushion brilliant diamond that has a GIA certificate, not an IGI. If they don't have a GIA or AGS certification, they're basically worthless as trade ins or diamond buybacks. You can get them certified by either place, but it'll cost you.
I recommend browsing James Allen's catalog of ring settings. They offer around 250 ring settings and some of them can be further modified using a new feature they implemented in June 2021, the Ring Studio.
The ring settings that can be modified further will have a rainbow ring emblem in the upper left corner. You can also go directly to the Ring Studio from the menu bar. It may let you change things like giving a yellow gold ring a rose gold prong basket, or adding pave diamonds down the side of a classic solitaire setting.
I think James Allen is the best option for everybody's budget. If you're looking for budget diamonds, they'll have some of the lowest prices for best quality. If money's not an issue, they'll also have selections for higher end cushion cut diamonds.
My favorite thing about James Allen is the free lifetime warranty you get with all jewelry bought from them. It'll cover the routine maintenance your cushion cut engagement ring will need over the years.
- Large selection of cushions
- Free sizing within a year
- Free lifetime repair warranty
- Clear 360˚ view
- watch out for IGI diamonds
#2 Buying Cushion Diamonds at Clean Origin
Clean Origin's a great option for those who are looking for cheaper diamond. They only sell lab grown diamonds. Experts say lab diamonds are estimated to be a 20% cheaper than a mined diamond of the same grades. When compared to a mined diamond from a big in-store retailer, they can be over 50% cheaper.
Lab diamonds are real diamonds, not fake diamonds. They were grown in a lab instead of the ground. They don't resell well, but they're cost efficient. You can also get more carat weight for less than a mined diamond.
Read also: What are fake diamonds?
Their cushion diamond inventory is going to smaller than most, with less than 400 cushion cut diamonds with our proposed diamond grades. They have two types of 360˚viewers.
One is the Diamond Scan, which doesn't help you much trying to see inclusions. It does let you view more of the style of the cushion, including a flat or pointed culet.
The other 360˚ viewer is much better with lots of features to help you see the diamond in every way possible. There's no way to sort the viewers out, so you'll have to be patient.
All customers that purchase a diamond engagement ring from Clean Origin will have a 100 day worry-free guarantee. That's the longest I've seen from any retailer.
The warranty is great, but I can't overlook the lack of a repair warranty. I bet if they implemented that, they'd get more recommendations.
- More sustainable
- Least expensive
- 100 day return policy
- Unique Settings
- No warranty
- No smaller diamonds
#3 Buying Cushion DIamonds at Blue Nile
Blue Nile is an excellent place to buy a cushion cut diamond from. They've got a glowing reputation as the world's first online diamond retailer and a loyal customer base.
They carry a large selection of high quality cushion cut diamonds.
Even though cushion cut diamonds have no official cut grades, Blue Nile separates theirs into three categories: Good, Very Good, and Astor Ideal.
All of Blue Nile's diamonds are GIA certified, so you can make sure you're getting the exact diamond grades you're paying for. The best cushion diamonds will be in the Very Good or Astor Ideal.
Astor Ideal diamonds are Blue Nile's branded diamonds and they come a little more expensive than their Very Good cushion cut diamonds.
The Astor Ideal cushion cut diamonds have a GemEx report, which measures the light performance of that specific diamond. A GemEx report isn't essential like a grading report or certification. If light performance is important to you, it's a great thing to have. I have my own GemEx report as well.
But if that doesn't appeal to you, a Very Good diamond will do just fine. It's less money and you don't need the GemEx report. I'd skip on the Astor Ideals to begin with.
They carry about 4300 loose cushion shape diamonds, but not all of them have 360˚ video. You can filter the ones that don't out, leaving us with about 3500, which is still more than enough so no big deal.
Blue Nile tends to be more expensive than James Allen, but their reputation keeps them afloat. They were the first online diamond retailer, and many have shopped with them since then.
You get a manufacturer's warranty at Blue Nile, but that won't help with routine needs like rhodium plating white gold or retipping prongs, which I wish they would improve on.
- Wide selection of cushions
- Excellent customer reputation
- All diamonds GIA certified
- Clear 360˚ view
- No repair warranty offered
- More expensive
- Doesn't have 360˚ on all diamonds
#4 Buying Cushion Diamonds Brilliant Earth
Brilliant Earth doesn't have the biggest selection of cushion diamonds, but there are some distinct difference between this online retailer store and the others on our list.
Everyone can agree that diamond origin and conflict free diamonds are a huge concern among buyers in the industry. Though only 2% of gem quality diamonds are conflict, but that doesn't stop the mistrust.
Brilliant Earth sought to change that by applying blockchain technology to show you the entire trail of some of their diamonds. Not all of their cushion cut diamonds have this technology, but about 200/1000 of them do. They also carry just over 1000 lab diamond cushions.
Out of all of the retailers on this board, Brilliant Earth has the best ring settings. The downside is they tend to be more expensive than others. If you like classic settings, you might be overpaying here. But if you want something you don't see in everybody else's inventory, these are your guys.
I really like that you can see how the ring you built looks against any skin tones. Many people choose their metal color based on skin tone. Not only does it add diversity, but functionality too.
Aside from their conflict free diamonds, Brilliant Earth supports a number of charities and ethical organizations. This includes both as a company and in their inventory. Many of their collections support causes and organizations.
If you're a big fan of white gold, you'll like that they offer a warranty to cover rhodium plating and other maintenance. Unlike some of the other picks, theirs isn't a lifetime-and it costs you. It's a 3 year plan based on the price of the item.
Still, some online retailers like Blue Nile only offer a manufacturer's warranty.
- Not many choices in diamond fine jewelry
- Does not cover loss of stones in settings
Cushion Diamond FAQ
Is It Cheaper To Buy Cushion Cut Diamonds Online?
While the price of a cushion cut diamond will depend on a variety of factors like retailer, brand, value, and other diamond details, it will usually be cheaper buying online rather in a store.
Private jewelers diamond pricing can vary and they may not have many options for you to see in person. Big jewelry retailers like Kay or Zales will have a lot of cushion diamonds, but most of them have halo settings or are under 1 carat.
You get a much better value for your diamond by shopping online. Any of our recommended retailers will have better prices than Kay or Zales, and better quality diamonds.
Part of the reason is because it costs a lot more to run a physical store than it does an online store. Kay has to pay vendors and buy their stock ahead of the sale, so they only buy popular shapes. Thankfully cushion cuts fall into that category. But most cushions 1 carat and over will be very few and probably branded.
Read also: What You Need To Know About 1 Carat DIamonds
On average, you can save over 30% by purchasing cushion diamonds online instead of at a mega retailer.
Are Cushion Cut Diamonds More Expensive?
Cushion shaped diamonds are one of the most affordable diamond shapes out there. They're also one of the most popular shapes bought by customers.
When compared to a round cut diamond, cushion cuts are definitely the more affordable diamond shape, whether they're rectangular cushions or square cushions. On average, choosing a cushion cut diamond over a round brilliant of the same diamond grades can save you 25%.
Not only that, but it'll look bigger than a round cut of the same carat weight because of the large table of the cut. Cushion cut diamonds also retain more diamond rough than other shapes, which is a big factor in its affordable pricing.
As carat weight increases for cushions, the price will continue to skyrocket. This is especially true for elongated cushion cut diamonds since they are rare to find in average carat weights.
Here's where the price of a 1 carat cushion cut stone fits in with other shapes:
What Should You Look For When Buying Cushion Cut Diamonds?
If you plan on buying a cushion cut diamond, you must pay attention the cut of the stone. Diamond cut is the foundation of every diamond and has a direct effect on its brilliance and durability. Make sure you're looking for a diamond with the best proportions for that shape.
With cushions, you really want to focus on the length-to-width ratio. To do this, you've got to decide if you want a rectangular or square cushion.
For square cushion diamonds, you want a 1:1 length to width ratio. It can be difficult to find an exact 1:1 so most of them go up to 1.05.
Rectangular cushion cut diamonds (also called modified cushions) should have a L/W ratio of 1:15-1:20, but these are much harder to find in great cut quality.
Clarity and Color
Cushion cuts are brilliant cut diamonds, but they're one of the few shapes where the cutting styles doesn't help the clarity. The standard cushion cut diamond has larger facets and a big table where dark inclusions will be more apparent. But that doesn't mean you need a VVS1 or VVS2 clarity diamond.
You can also minimize this by choosing a cushion with a crushed ice look instead of chunky. I recommend going with a minimum clarity grade of VS2 for cushion cut diamonds. If you've got some time on your hands and a good viewer, you might even be able to find an eye-clean cushion with SI1 clarity.
Because cushions do have a large surface area, they're going to yellow tint a bit more than you might see in a round diamond. Fortunately, the brilliance of a cushion cut can detract from that. Just make sure you think about your ring in relevance to its setting.
Diamonds with a warmer clarity grades like JKL appear whiter in yellow gold settings, but more yellow in white gold settings. For color grades, I recommend an H minimum. Personally, I'd look for a G but an H will do you just fine.
The unfortunate reality of the jewelry industry is that there aren't any cutting corners when buying high quality jewelry. It's hard to find a 1 carat ideal cut diamond with a D color grade and VS2 clarity grade for under $1000, In that case, you will most definitely save money.
Read also: Why You Should Skip Super Ideal-Cut Diamonds
If you do find a ring priced like that or similar, it's most likely a scam. I'd say almost definitely, but stranger things have happened.
Red Flags When Buying Cushion Cut Diamonds
You'll come across a lot of different names for cushion diamonds but they are faceting styles that change the overall aesthetic of the cushion diamond.
The cushion cut is a cross between the round cut and princess cut diamond. Traditional cushions are a take on the Old Mine Cut, an antique cushion style that is more difficult to find today.
Modern cushion cuts today are often called modified cushions. Modern cushions have an extra set of facet patterns in the pavilion of the diamond. Modified cushions at James Allen fall into rectangular or elongated cushions.
There's no difference in performance quality between a standard and modified cushion, just as there are no differences between a crushed ice and chunky cushion look.
All of these styles are personal preference. Just make sure you're picking the one you like via a 360˚ viewer and not just buying blindly where you can see the diamond. Grading reports don't show facet patterns, so you'll need to check it out first.
Keep in mind that rectangular cushions cuts are almost always crushed ice looking, similar to radiant cut diamonds.
You already know that we recommend only buying cushion diamonds with GIA certification or AGS certification. Let's dive into that for a second.
Certified diamonds are more expensive than non-certified diamonds. They are commonly referred to as grading reports. Not all grading reports are created equal. Some labs have looser guidelines than the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the American Gem Society.
These two labs are equal in quality. The AGS cut grades are AGS Ideal 0 and the GIA grades are Excellent Cut. The two names are equal quality.
In retailer stores locally, you'll find less diamonds certified by these labs and more by labs like IGI, GSI, or they might call it "certified in-house". These are going to be cheaper than either of the certified diamonds from the labs above.
The reason why these labs are cheaper is because they don't have as high of standards and it's cheaper for retailer to get them certified in bulk. That's also why you'll find GIA certified diamond engagement rings from Kay more expensive than you'd find online at one of our retailers.
It will also have much worse diamond grades.
How To Get The Best Deal When Buying Cushion Cut Diamonds Online?
So what's the bottom line?
Cushion cut diamonds are one of the best diamond shapes to choose for an engagement ring center stone.
- Choose a retailer with a clear 360˚ viewer to make sure there's no obvious inclusions
- Only buy GIA or AGS certified natural diamonds. For lab diamonds, buy GIA, IGI, or GCAL
- Choose a retailer with a good return policy and easy process
- Length to width ratio is of big importance
- Know the difference between chunky and crushed ice looks
- Look for high polish