Recommendation for Modern Cushion Cut with $9,000 budget:
Reader Larry wrote to us asking:
I was hoping to get another opinion on a cushion cut I found on James Allen, as well as help finding any other cushions that catch your eye. I’m going to get ASET imaging on it, but would like to submit a couple more diamonds for comparison. I’m looking for cushion cuts, with a budget around $9000. My search parameters were 1.4-1.6 carats, H-G color, SI2-VS2, but if you find any cushions that you feel are a great value, I’d definitely take a look. I’m probably going to have it in a white gold solitaire or pave setting.
Based on the your two selections (below), I would rule out the James Allen 320964 as the table is too large. As a general rule of thumb, it’s recommended that the table be smaller than the total depth percentage. Values under 70% for both table and depth generally yield better results. In regards to your first selection (James Allen 355695), this is a nice looking, eye clean, chunky cushion cut. The H color and SI1 clarity are also in the sweet spot to help get the most for your budget. When you get the ASET / IdealScope image, feel free to share and I’ll add to this post.
In terms of color, because you have selected a white gold setting, I would keep with an H color grade or better. Cushion and radiant cut diamonds hold their color stronger than any other diamond shape. Its for this reason you tend to see a larger presence of cushions and radiants in the fancy color diamond market. In contrast, round brilliants mask their color very well and thus the proportion of rounds on the fancy color market are much smaller in comparison.
I did a search for 1.4+ carat cushions on James Allen based on your budget and a limited number of results came up. At this carat range, selection is always limited as cutters aim to make the 1.5 carat jump in order to command the premium. For this reason, I also put together a few recommendations based on a small carat weight.
Here’s are my recommendations (in order):
Recommendation JA1: $9,210
http://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/cushion-cut/1.50-carat-h-color-vs2-clarity-sku-357768 [crushed ice look]
Note: little above budget, small table inclusion to be verified eye clean with JA gemologist
Recommendation JA2: $8,030
http://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/cushion-cut/1.40-carat-g-color-si1-clarity-sku-355075 [crushed ice look]
Note: small table inclusion to be verified eye clean with JA gemologist
Recommendation JA3: $8,950
http://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/cushion-cut/1.30-carat-g-color-vs2-clarity-sku-247608 [chunky look]
Note: smaller, a little outside the sweet spot being G color and VS2 but nice chunky cushion)
Recommendation JA4: 7,820
http://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/cushion-cut/1.31-carat-g-color-vs2-clarity-sku-320588 [crushed ice look]
Recommendation JA5: 7,010
http://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/cushion-cut/1.20-carat-g-color-vs2-clarity-sku-184276 [crushed ice look]
Note: smaller, a little outside the sweet spot being G color and VS2
You’ll notice that the the recommendations from James Allen I’ve noted whether the stone is a “Crushed Ice Cushion” or a “Chunky” cushion. These 2 types of modern cushions is personal preference. Chunky cushions have larger facets which results in broader flashes of fire. In contrast, crushed ice cushions have smaller facets which results in “pinfire” or smaller bursts of fire.
Cushion Cuts with Superior Light Performance at BGD
Although a shopper would be able to purchase a seemingly larger diamond on James Allen, I encourage you to consider Brian Gavin Signature Cushion Cut diamond. The reason why is that BGD Signature Cushion cuts are “Graded AGS 0 (Ideal) for Light Performance, this Brian Gavin diamond boasts a brightness comparable to a round brilliant”. If you’re familiar with Round Brilliants, you may be aware that only a very small percent of the rounds on the market can boost this property. The same is true of AGS 0 Cushions though to a much greater extent making them very rare. BGD Cusions will come at a premium over James Allen stones but you’ll be purchasing a cushion with superior light performance.
Here’s the recommendations from a cushion search at BGD in order:
Recommendation BGD1: $8,635 (6.80 x 5.64 x 4.10)
Recommendation BGD2: $8,721 (7.04 x 5.92 x 4.27)
Note: Medium Blue
Recommendation BGD3: $7,999 (6.87 x 5.66 x 4.16)
Take note that BGD2 is a medium blue. This will often provide a whiter, cooler color which appeals to some. BGD3 has an incomplete H&A pattern (I question whether this is the actual stone or the photography). I also noted the size of each diamond. The difference between my first set of JA recommendations and the BGD recommendations from a table view is roughly 1mm.
I hope these recommendations yield some good ASETs and help in your search! All the best!