By Dirk Rendel
The emerald cut, sometimes referred to as a step cut, is an incredibly fascinating shape that is layered almost like a wedding cake. Imagine a staircase and you get the right idea. The steps become smaller and higher as you get to the middle of the stone and, as you can imagine, it provides a unique and beautiful shimmer that can’t be recreated with other cuts.
With so much complexity, as well as with so much open space, you have to be careful when choosing an emerald cut diamond. Any flaws will be quite a bit more visible with this wide stone, and too much yellow will definitely come out as well, more so than other cuts. But what the emerald cut lacks in clarity, it more than makes up for in value. A prudent and wise shopper can get an absolutely gorgeous showstopper of a diamond just by shopping smart. A round brilliant costs more than an emerald cut with the same cut grade and clarity, meaning that you can have an emerald cut with the same level of quality as a round but with far more personality and a much more unique appearance.
Also, you can get a larger stone for less money with the emerald cut, so it isn’t out of the question that your stone may be shinier than your friend’s round brilliant. Or you could save the money and get a presentable stone and then really splurge on the setting. For the record, you’ll need a prong setting so keep that in mind when you peruse.
The cushion cut, like the marquise, is a classic, elegant style of diamond that hearkens back to an antiquated age. In this case, the end of the Victorian Era. This shape evokes the deep cuts of the Old Mine Cut, a very popular diamond style near the turn of the 20th century. Some people call it a pillow cut because it was used to reflect candlelight in the days before electricity. That is, of course, if you could afford these sparkly wonders. Let’s just say most of the people Charles Dickens wrote about in those days weren’t lighting their hovels by diamond light. Either way, the cushion cut is typically rectangular or square but with rounded corners.
The culet, or bottom of the diamond, is open, and the facets are rather large. This means that you’ll want to get as high a grade as you can possibly afford. We’re talking at least a “good” cut grade and a color of L or better. You may not be able to afford something in this range and, when you factor in the fact that most cushion cuts can’t be found in a half carat or lower, you might be even more hard pressed. What’s more, the cushion cut is harder to find than other shapes because it simply doesn’t sell as well as some of the more well known cuts.
Still, the cushion cut went through a bit of a drop in popularity and for years it was extremely hard to even find one of these babies, since diamond cutters were more focused on round brilliants and ovals. But the cushion cut has been on the rise in popularity, possibly due to its unique appearance when compared to the more traditionally popular stones.