Todd, I have been through the diamond search before and got lucky my first time around with a local jeweler and got an AGS Ideal, H color, VVS2 clarity, round brilliant for $6800 I definitely prefer AGS to GIA from my experience not being an expert but man what a sparkle! I’m currently looking for a cushion cut diamond with the most sparkle for 7K. Ritani and Brilliant Earth both caught my eye but after reading your Brilliant Earth diamond review, I am more confident with Ritani. Thoughts and advice appreciated. — E. Morse
One of the factors which contribute to the sparkle factor of a cushion cut diamond is the facet structure, which as you can see from the image featured above, can vary dramatically from stone to stone… When I conducted a search for cushion cut diamonds from Ritani, I found that they are offering cushion cut diamonds with three basic facet structures, which all share the same design for the crown facets (upper half of the diamond) but which feature three distinctly different facet designs in the pavilion region (lower half of the diamond).
Each facet design is going to divide the light up into different sizes, and reflect the light back in different patterns, some will exhibit broader flashes of light, while others will deliver smaller sparkle which is more like the pin-fire effect exhibited by light reflecting off of a disco ball, and look like crushed ice or crisp and clear… and while there isn’t an option which is right or wrong, it is likely that you probably have a preference for how the cushion cut diamond which you purchase is going to look.
If you prefer a more traditional looking cushion brilliant cut diamond, which is going to exhibit larger flashes of light and which is less likely to give off that crushed ice appearance, then I’d recommend something with the facet structure of this 1.30 carat, H-color, VVS-2 clarity, cushion modified brilliant cut diamond from Ritani, because the facets located on the pavilion of this diamond are on the larger side, thus it is going to create larger virtual facets, which tend to produce sparkle which is bolder and brighter. This diamond has an overall cut grade of GIA Excellent, with a total depth of 71.1% and a table diameter of 59% with a slightly thick to thick, faceted girdle and no culet. Unfortunately, the GIA does not provide crown or pavilion height measurements for fancy cut diamonds, which leaves us at a bit of a disadvantage in terms of estimating the light return of diamonds like this.
The interesting thing is that the GIA Laboratory could easily provide the crown height and pavilion depth measurements for cushion modified brilliant cut diamonds, and other fancy shape diamonds, because the computerized proportions analysis which they run to determine the total depth, table diameter, girdle thickness, and culet size, does also measure the crown and pavilion.
Without the crown and pavilion measurements, it is virtually impossible to get a feel for whether the diamond is likely to exhibit more brilliance, more dispersion, or a virtual balance of both types of sparkle. In addition, it is impossible to determine the profile of the diamond, note that beneath the side profile of the diamond provided on the GIA diamond grading report, that the GIA indicates that the “profile is not to actual proportions” which seems kind of absurd since the diamond profiles provided on diamond grading reports issued by the American Gem Society Laboratory (AGSL) are to scale, and also provide the crown and pavilion measurements.
One thing that you want to take into account when selecting cushion cut diamonds online, is the length to width ratio, which is determined by dividing the length of the diamond by the width and then comparing it to one to determine the ratio. A perfectly square cushion cut diamond would have a length to width ratio of 1.00:1.00
So this diamond measures 6.40 x 5.79 x 4.12 millimeters according to the GIA, so divide 6.40 by 5.79 and you end up with a length to width ratio of 1.10:1.00 so you know that it is not perfectly square, but it’s pretty close.
Another thing to note is that I tend to limit my search for cushion cut diamonds which have a total depth between 59 – 64% with a table diameter between 54 – 62% and thereabouts, with a girdle edge between thin to medium, medium to slightly thick, or slightly thick to thick, but I tend to avoid those with very thick to extremely thick girdle edges, because it seems to me like they create these kinds of strange windows into the side of the diamond when they are cut that deep, plus they can be difficult to keep tight in prongs.
So this 1.30 carat, H-color, VVS-2 clarity, cushion modified brilliant cut diamond from Ritani is cut a bit deep at 71.1% but the table diameter of 59% is within my preferred range… it still might be a beautiful diamond however, keep in mind that everybody has a different preference for how a diamond should look, and this is where it pays to take advantage of the Free Virtual Gemologist service from Ritani, or request the diamond to be shipped to a store near you where you can view it without obligation to determine whether you like it. You can arrange either of these services, by clicking on the link provided above, then clicking on the button labeled “Choose This Diamond” which appears to the right of the picture of the diamond, and then clicking on “Request Free Analysis”.
This 1.36 carat, I-color, VVS-2 clarity, cushion modified brilliant cut diamond from Ritani has the same facet structure as the diamond which I just reviewed, thus you know that it is most likely to exhibit broader flashes of light because the pavilion structure of the diamond features larger facets.
The diamond is graded by the GIA with an overall cut grade of GIA Excellent and has a total depth of 69.4% and a table diameter of 62% with a medium to thick, faceted girdle and no culet, thus it is within my preferred range of selection criteria.
The diamond measures 6.08 x 6.01 x 4.17 mm, so it has a length to width ratio of 1.01:1.00 which is pretty square, thus it is a perfect choice for something like the French Halo setting from Ritani, which several of my clients have ordered and loved! They describe it as being very light and delicate, which makes sense since the band is only 2.0 mm wide.
This 1.51 carat, I-color, VS-1 clarity, cushion modified brilliant cut diamond from Ritani, has a different facet structure on the pavilion, but the facets are still larger and thus the size of the virtual facets and resulting sparkle should also be larger.
The diamond has a length to width ratio of 1.18:1.00 and is graded by the GIA with an overall cut grade of GIA Excellent and has a total depth of 69.2% with a table diameter of 55% with a thick to very thick, faceted girdle and no culet.
So the table diameter is within my preferred range, but the total depth is just a little deeper than I prefer and so is the girdle edge, but this is pretty typical of cushion cut diamonds because the majority of them are cut from diamond rough which is irregular in shape, thus the profile of each one is dictated by the structure of the diamond rough and proportions are rarely taken into account by the cutters.
This 1.35 carat, I-color, VS-1 clarity, cushion modified brilliant cut diamond from Ritani is graded by the GIA with an overall cut grade of GIA Excellent and has a length to width ratio of 1.07:1.00 so it’s pretty square.
The diamond has a total depth of 70.4% which is slightly steeper than I prefer, and a table diameter of 58% which is well within my preferred range, with a thick to very thick, faceted girdle and no culet.
Here again, the larger pavilion facets should produce a higher number of virtual facets and larger flashes of light.
Well then this 1.20 carat, G-color, VS-1 clarity, cushion cut diamond from Ritani is one which you should consider, because that is the look which the cutter has created by splitting the facets apart into smaller pieces, which will produce smaller virtual facets, and smaller flashes of light which our eyes are likely to interpret as more brilliance than dispersion, giving the diamond a look similar to a disco ball.
The diamond is graded by the GIA with an overall cut grade of GIA Excellent and has a length to width ratio of 1.10:1.00 with a total depth of 70.2% and a table diameter of 62% and a medium to thick, faceted girdle and no culet. So the table diameter is right on the edge of my preferred range, while the total depth of the diamond is just a little bit steeper than I prefer, and the girdle edge is perfect.
This 1.30 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, cushion cut diamond from Ritani features the same facet design as the diamond reviewed above, thus it is likely to exhibit more brilliance than dispersion, and kind of a crushed ice/disco ball type of effect. It is graded by the GIA with an overall cut grade of GIA Excellent, with a length to width ratio of 1.06:1.00 and a total depth of 66% and a 58% table diameter with a slightly thick to thick, faceted girdle and no culet. This is pretty darn close to being within my preferred range of selection criteria.
I definitely recommend setting a virtual gemologist appointment with Ritani for this diamond if it is of interest because some of the inclusions consist of twinning wisps, which is twisting of the crystal planes within the diamond. As such they are not necessarily good or bad, but I tend to avoid diamonds with twinning wisps if there are a large number of dark crystals trapped within the striations because they can give the diamond a cloudy appearance, while they tend to look perfectly fine if the crystals are more translucent.
Any time one of my clients mentions that they are interested in a cushion cut diamond, I have to admit that my first inclination is to direct them towards a Brian Gavin Signature Cushion cut diamond, because I think they are the most spectacular looking cushion cut diamond that I’ve ever seen!
One of the reasons why Brian Gavin Signature Cushion cut diamonds are so beautiful, is because they are symmetrical in shape and facet structure, and they are cut to AGS Ideal-0 proportions… thus they exhibit the highest volume of light return and a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion. This is possible because Brian Gavin uses the same symmetrical diamond rough required to produce round brilliant ideal cut diamonds, to produce every one of his signature cushion cut diamonds. The only downside to using the diamond rough which is usually reserved for making round brilliant cut diamonds, is that the diamond rough costs more than the irregular diamond rough which is generally used to produce cushion cut diamonds.
Needless to say I conducted a search for Brian Gavin Signature Cushion cut diamonds and located a few options which I feel are worthy of consideration, like this 1.011 carat, H-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature Cushion cut diamond, which as you can see by the copy of the diamond grading report which appears to the left, has an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0 on the Platinum Light Performance grading platform, which uses the Angular Spectrum Evaluation Tool to measure the diamonds for brightness and other factors of visual performance.
The first thing that I want to point out is that this diamond is cut within my preferred range of proportions, with a total depth of 60.4% and a table diameter of 56.9% and a crown angle of 34.0 degrees which is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.7 degrees with a thin to slightly thick, faceted girdle and a pointed culet.
By chance did you happen to catch the fact that I was able to indicate the crown and pavilion angle measurements for this diamond? That’s because the American Gem Society Laboratory (AGSL) issues a more complete diamond grading report than the GIA for fancy shape diamonds, well actually for diamonds in general since the GIA doesn’t have access to their proprietary Angular Spectrum Evaluation Technology… which is the multi-colored image of the diamond that appears on the lab report above, and which tells me that this diamond is nice and bright!
It is important to note that Brian Gavin Signature Cushion cut diamonds are measured differently than traditional cushion brilliant cut diamonds, thus I don’t recommend using the standard formula to determine the length to width ratio because it will just screw you up.
The diagram pictured above demonstrates how Brian Gavin Signature Cushion cut diamonds are measured, the first measurement of the 1.011 carat, H-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature Cushion cut diamond referenced previously is 6.77 mm which represents the longest tip-to-tip measurement that represents the outside diameter of the diamond. The second measurement is 5.68 mm which represents the inner diameter of the diamond, which is taken by measuring the shortest distance across the diamond from side-to-side.
The reason why Brian Gavin Signature Cushion cut diamonds have to be measured this way, is because they are essentially square in shape, but the rounded corners have an effect upon the diameter of the diamond, and thus they cannot be measured strictly across the diamond.
Another option that you might want to consider is this 1.025 carat, I-color, VS-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature Cushion cut diamond, which is cut to the same level of precision as the 1.011 carat and is still within tolerance of your desired price range. One thing that I really like about Brian’s production of cushion cut diamonds is that they rival the look of the Brian Gavin Signature round ideal cut diamonds, in that they exhibit a high volume of light return and a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion… and since the facets of the diamond were not split apart into a bunch of tiny facets, the diamonds exhibit a high number of virtual facets, which are larger in size, and thus the flashes of light are broad, bold and beautiful!
Todd Gray is a professional diamond buyer with 30+ years of trade experience. He loves to teach people how to buy diamonds that exhibit incredible light performance! In addition to writing for Nice Ice, Todd "ghost writes" blogs and educational content for other diamond sites. When Todd isn't chained to a desk, or consulting for the trade, he enjoys Freediving! (that's like scuba diving, but without air tanks)
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