Reader Tracy wrote to us asking:
I am helping my future son-in-law select a cushion cut diamond in the 2.0 carat range. The preference is to find more of a square shape cushion cut than rectangle and the largest looking stone, or the most bang for the buck. He’d like to spend no more than $15K on the stone, but may have a little wiggle room. I located the stone below on Blue Nile and am wondering if it’s a good find or if you can suggest something else that is of equal or better quality. Obviously we want a near colorless and visually beautiful stone.
In terms of the cushion cut stone you recommended from Blue Nile, it wouldn’t necessarily be my first choice. Not for the actual stone itself, but more of with Blue Nile as a vendor for this particular search. If you were buying a round brilliant stone with a higher clarity grade, Blue Nile would be perfectly fine. However, because cushion cuts are better to be seen in order to select a good one, the lack of real diamond images on Blue Nile makes it a bit of a guessing game. You might get something great, or you might get something average. I wouldn’t recommend buying a diamond unseen unless you are willing to pay the premium for a higher clarity grade.Update: Blue Nile now offers 360° diamond view on their signature line and other select stones. See an example here.
Also, I’m not sure if you’re aware, but cushion cuts don’t follow the same rules are round brilliants. Basically there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to picking a good cushion cuts whereas round brilliants have a (mathematical) formula that can be followed to select the best diamond on paper. Cushion cuts are all about appearance that’s why seeing it is absolutely necessary when it comes to this diamond shape.
Tip: Notice the different cut styles of cushion cuts and how the look of the stone differs
So, all of this being said, have you considered either Brian Gavin or James Allen? Brian Gavin has a hearts and arrow cushion cut that is the best in the industry (http://www.briangavindiamonds.com/diamond/brian-gavins-cushion-hearts-and-arrows/). If you’re not familiar with Brian Gavin Diamonds (BGD), they are one of the strictest online retailers when it comes to quality. You do pay a little bit of a premium but do end up with a higher performing stone (relative to other online vendors). Their cushion cut is graded AGS 0 for light performance which makes it on par with a round brilliants brightness (round brilliants being the brightest diamond shape). James Allen on the other hand is also a great online shop. Most readers end up buying here because they offer real images of the stone so it makes selecting one much easier.
So, in terms of recommendations, I took a look at BGD and there aren’t too many options at the moment. Here’s a BGD Signature cushion cut:Recommendation 1:
SOLD – Brian Gavin 1.621 Carat Cushion, G Color, VS2 Clarity.
It’s smaller than 2 carats and commands about $1,000 more (based on wire price) than the Blue Nile stone but based on the idealscope and ASET image is a strong performer.
From the rotating diamond image, you can see it’s eye clean and more square than rectangle. Keep in mind that diamonds are based on weigh so although this is under 2 carats, the size (when viewed from a birds eye perspective) is ony marginally smaller. Here’s what I mean: http://www.diamdb.com/compare/1.62ct-cushion-7.59×6.82×4.75-vs-2.12ct-cushion-7.77×7.71×5.14/. This will give you a side by side comparison of what the two stones will look like. Apart from being a bit narrower, the BGD stone is approximately the same size from a viewers perspective. Be sure to change the “actual size is set for ….” option just above the two stones to match your monitor size.
Here’s another stone from their SELECT line:Recommendation 2:
Note that the image isn’t of the actual diamond though it’s available upon request which generally means the stone is either in house or in close proximity of their office location. This is in contrast to Blue Nile’s inventory model where stones are scattered across the world. This stone is ideally where I’d like it to be in terms of color and clarity. However again, seeing the actual image is necessary to confirm it’s eye clean.
Now, in terms of James Allen’s inventory, there are usually far more choices. Do you have a preference between the “chunky” look and the “crushed ice” look? Have a look at the recommendations from a previous write up to get a better sense of the difference. https://diamondadvisor.ca/recommendation-modern-cushion-cut-9000/#more-1117
I’ve given you a lot of information and am guessing you need a bit of time to digest it. Let me know what your thoughts are and whether you are leaning towards one retail vs. another or if your search criteria has changed from this new information and we’ll look at building a final list of recommendations.
Cushion Cut – Money Saving Summary
- NEVER buy a cushion cut diamond unseen as the look of cushions vary greatly
- Consider Brian Gavin’s H&A Cushion if your budget affords it