Cushion Cut vs. Princess Cut vs. Round Diamond

When it comes to choosing an engagement ring, one of the things that often take the center stage is the shape of the diamond.

While round diamonds are usually the most popular choice, more and more couples are now turning to other fancy shapes to make their rings stand out. Among the most common non-round shapes today are cushion diamonds and princess diamonds.

In this post, we compare the cushion cut vs princess cut vs round diamond and the different characteristics that make each shape unique. So, let’s dive in.

What Is a Diamond Cut?

What Is a Diamond Cut
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A diamond cut simply means how well the different facets of the diamond interact with light. You could call it the shape of the diamond because how a diamond is shaped will affect its ability to reflect the light.

Achieving the appropriate diamond cut requires precise skill and artistry, as the resulting symmetry, proportions, and polish give the stone its final beauty and value.

Depending on how a diamond is cut, it can exhibit various visual effects such as brightness, fire, and scintillation.

  • Brightness is the white light that the diamond reflects both internally and externally. A diamond when held face up under light should reflect plenty of white light. If a diamond is not symmetrical, meaning, it is cut either too shallow or too deep, it will not reflect enough light, hence, it will appear dull.
  • Fire is how the white light in a diamond is scattered into the different colors of the rainbow. If the diamond does not display colored light reflection, it is said to have a low amount of fire.
  • Scintillation is the amount of shine or sparkle produced by the diamond. It is also used to describe the light and dark patterns created by the reflection of light within the diamond. Most people will prefer diamonds with more scintillation, as those with little scintillation appear relatively dull.

Different cuts exhibit different brightness, fire, and scintillation, and this influences the appearance of the diamond, which ultimately affects its price.

How Is Cushion, Princess, and Round Diamond Shaped?

How Is Cushion, Princess, and Round Diamond Shaped
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Cushion cut diamond

A cushion cut diamond is square or rectangular-shaped, with soft, rounded corners that make it look like a pillow, hence its name. Originally known as mine cut diamonds, these timeless gemstones have been around since the 19th century, adding an element of sophistication to engagement rings.

Princess cut diamond

Also known as square modified brilliant cut, a princess cut diamond is typically square-shaped, with sharp edges. When turned upside down, this diamond resembles a pyramid, with its four pointed corners maximizing its sparkle. It is the second most popular cut after round diamonds.

Round diamond

As the name suggests, a round diamond is circular in shape and displays fifty eight beautiful facets. The round shape enables the stone to maximize and catch light from every angle, which is why it is also known as a round brilliant cut. This is the most popular diamond cut and can be worn on any occasion.

The Difference Between Cushion, Princess, and Round Diamonds

The Difference Between Cushion, Princess, and Round Diamonds
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Cushion and princess cuts have many characteristics that set them apart from round diamonds. We have looked at some of them below.


Before buying your diamond, it is important that you check its clarity grade. All diamonds are given a clarity grade depending on the number of flaws on the stone.

Round diamonds hide inclusions and blemishes better than cushion and princess diamonds, all thanks to their enhanced light reflection and refraction abilities. This means you could easily save money by going for a round diamond that has a lower clarity grade because the flaws will not be as visible as with a cushion or princess diamond of the same clarity grade.

However, it is important to note that imperfections in cushion and princess cuts will mostly be visible around the edges of the diamond. A prong setting can help cover these imperfections and make the diamond look flawless.


Since round cuts have fewer flaws and tend to reflect light better than cushion and princess, they are also the brightest. If you are looking for a diamond that shines the brightest, a round shape will be your best bet.

However, cushion and princess diamonds also come with a brilliant cut in addition to the traditional radiant cut. The brilliant cut has more sparkle than a radiant cut and would be a great alternative for someone looking for a bright non-round diamond. If you prefer a cushion or princess cut, make sure to go for the one with the most brilliance.


There are many things that come into play when determining the price of diamonds. However, you will likely find that cushion and princess diamonds are more pocket-friendly than their round counterparts.

One reason this is so is that when creating these fancy shapes, jewelers typically use almost 70% of the raw diamond, meaning, only a small amount of the raw diamond goes to waste.

Shaping round diamonds, on the other hand, requires more cutting of the rough diamond, which means a huge chunk of the raw stone is wasted.

If you are looking for the most affordable diamond, consider the cushion or princess cut. For something even more cost-effective, go for cuts that are more rectangular. Jewelers don’t lose as much raw diamond with rectangular shapes as they do with squares, and thus, rectangular cuts will tend to be slightly cheaper.

Nonetheless, you will want to make sure that price is not the only aspect you are looking at when shopping for an engagement ring. It will still be important to pick a shape and quality that means something to the wearer. You want to choose a ring that the person will love, so how it looks really matters!


Ideally, diamonds should be as clear as possible to ensure the most sparkle. However, because colorless diamonds come with a significantly high price tag, most people go for those whose color grade is slightly lower.

Round diamonds reflect more light, and this allows them to hide hints of color more effectively than cushion and princess diamonds. As such, you can find that a round diamond with a relatively low color grade looks more brilliant than a cushion or princess cut of a higher color and brilliance grade.

Since cushion and princess cuts show more color, it is important to ensure that you are not picking something that is too low on the color scale. The diamond color scale ranges from D to Z and the closer you get to the Z, the thicker the color of the stone gets and the poorer its quality gets.

You don’t have to pick the cushion or princess cut that is on the top of the color scale but do not go as low on the chart as you would with round diamonds.

Should You Choose a Cushion, Princess, or Round Cut Diamond?

Short answer – choose something that fits your lifestyle. All three cuts are beautiful but, of course, a certain cut may have some advantages or disadvantages over the other, and this is something you should put into consideration when making your purchase.

Cushion and princes settings, for instance, are more pocket-friendly, but their shape can be really a factor to think about particularly if you work in a field that requires you to use your hands a lot.

You see, something like a princess diamond will come with sharp corners that can sometimes snag on your hair or clothing. This can be disappointing if it keeps on happening, especially because it can result in scratches and scrapes over time.

If you are looking for a fancy-shaped diamond but are worried about your clothes getting ripped, consider a cushion cut instead. This one has softer and more rounded edges and is less likely to snag on your hair or clothes.

If you want a diamond with the most sparkle, go for a round cut. But this may also mean that you will have to dig your pockets a little deeper. Cushion and princess cuts may not be the brightest, but they certainly are a cost-effective option.

Ultimately, deciding whether to choose a cushion, princess, or round cut diamond will solely depend on your style, budget, and what you are willing to compromise in terms of the stone’s clarity, brilliance, and color.

Go for a cushion or princess diamond if you like a square or rectangular-shaped ring. Those with a higher clarity and color grade have a beautiful sparkle and will be more affordable than round cuts of the same quality.

If you are into brilliant circular cuts, go for a round diamond. It is a gorgeous shape that never gets old. Its delightful sparkle and high value make it a worthwhile buy for something as special as an engagement ring.

Do you prefer the traditional round diamonds or you are more into the fancier cushion and princess cuts? Are there any other shapes you like? Tell us in the comments.

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