I could scroll through pictures of Cushion cut halo engagement rings ALL DAY. So classic, yet so current! And it’s no wonder that brides love this look so much. This style has been around for a century – and will likely be around for many more! So, if you’re looking for a Cushion cut halo engagement ring, you’ve made a great choice. Now let’s make sure you get a great diamond, and a great deal!

 

Cushion Cut Halo Engagement Rings No. 1: The Style

What is a cushion cut halo engagement ring?

A Cushion cut halo engagement ring is a ring style that includes a large center stone surrounded by a pillow-shaped frame of small diamonds (its “halo”). Simple right? However, there’s plenty of options to choose from to make your cushion cut halo ring special. 🙂

1-to-1 Ratio or Elongated?

One of the first things to think about is whether you’d like your cushion to be more square or more elongated and rectangular. Cushion cut diamonds can be squarish, or they can be nice and long, and so can their halos! Both of these styles are great and offer flexibility for choosing a unique center stone. Women with long fingers may prefer an elongated cushion halo. Couples who prefer a more traditional look may prefer a more squared-off halo.

Example of Elongated Cushion cut halo ring vs Square cushion cut halo engagement ring

(left) Square cushion cut halo engagement ring vs Elongated cushion cut halo engagement ring (right)

Center Stone Shape

Just because the your halo is cushion shaped doesn’t mean your center stone needs to be! While some couples prefer to have a Cushion cut diamond in the center, others like to mix it up and choose Round, Oval, Princess, or even Radiant cuts surrounded by a cushion frame. All these styles are beautiful and pack a ton of pizzazz!

Different center stone shapes in cushion cut halo engagement ring

Band Style

Another consideration is the band upon which your cushion cut halo sits. Do you want it to be simple, and let the halo be the center of attention? Or, do you want to bling out the band, too? There are so many options here. It can be a single band, or a double, or even a triple! In addition, split-shank bands are always a great choice, as the branched band looks like it’s cradling the cushion!

Band styles for Cushion cut engagement rings

Plain band, wavy band, triple band

Setting Styles

How the diamonds are set in your ring is another consideration. Firstly, the center stone can be “prong-set,” with little claws holding the stone in place. Or, it can be “bezel-set,” with a dainty rim encircling the center stone. Secondly, if you choose prongs, they can be the same color as the rest of the ring or a contrasting color for a unique take. Finally, the mini diamonds that cover the halo and band can be prong-set, or they can be pavé set. “Pavé,” pronounced pah-VAY, really means paved into the ring! So, there’s a lot of room for customization.

Different bezel set and prong set cushion cut engagement rings

Center stones set in prong (left) and bezel (right) styles

Metal & Gemstone Color

Do Amore creates Cushion cut halo engagement rings in white, yellow, and rose gold, as well as platinum and palladium! That’s because all of these colors and metals look great in this style. A few of our favorite combinations are Diamond in white gold, white sapphire in rose gold, and yellow sapphire in yellow gold!

Cushion cut engagement ring in white gold, yellow gold, and rose gold

White gold (left), rose gold (middle), and yellow gold (right)

Cushion Cut Halo Engagement Rings No. 2: The History

Cushion cut diamonds were the first “modern brilliant” cuts made. In other words, they were the first diamonds cut to maximize sparkle. For this reason, people also refer to them as “mine” diamonds. Because of their significant history, some of the most famous diamonds in the world are Cushion cut. For example, famous Cushions include the Regent Diamond, three of the Cullinan Diamonds, and the Hope Diamond (which you’ll notice is also in a halo!)

Cullinan diamonds and Hope diamond

Cullinan Diamonds and Hope Diamond

Cushion Cut Halo Engagement Rings No. 3: The Center

How to Pick the Best Cushion Cut Center

Cushions can be tricky, as they’re all cut differently. Some of them look more vintage, while others look very modern! Here are your steps to create the perfect Cushion cut halo engagement ring with a Cushion center:

1. Choose Square or Elongated Cushion

Square cushions will fall between 1.00 to 1.05 length-to-width ratio. The closer to 1.00 the gem is, the more square it will look. Elongated cushions fall between 1.06 and 1.25. The bigger the number, the longer your Cushion cut will be. Both look great in a Cushion cut halo engagement ring.

Square cushion vs elongated cushion side by side

(left) Square cushion vs Elongated cushion (right)

2. Choose Traditional look or Modern “Crushed Ice” Look

Traditionally cut Cushions look antique, with big, chunky facets, and large flashes of light. Other Cushions have smaller facet patterns and show a larger amount of smaller-size sparkle (people often call this “crushed ice.”) This is a personal preference, both cuts are perfect!

Traditional cushion faceting vs crushed ice cushion diamond

(left) traditional "chunky" cushion vs crushed ice cushion (right)

3. Make Sure Your Stone Isn’t Too Deep

One trap to beware of is a Cushion’s depth. Many Cushions are upwards of (and sometimes over!) 70% deep, meaning they carry weight in their bottoms where you can’t see it. That means you’ll pay for weight you don’t get to benefit from! So, when you set your parameters, make sure to set a max of 68% in depth percentage – and look for stones with an even shallower depth. Learn more about choosing the perfect Cushion cut here!

 

4. Check for fisheyes and even contrast

Cushion cuts can show odd reflections and dark patches that take away from the beauty of the stone – stay away from them!Fisheyes” refer to circular white reflections in your stone. These are reflections of the exterior girdle (see the second stone below). Make sure your stone doesn’t have one! “Contrast” is the term for dark areas in your stone. Contrary to popular belief, some contrast is good! It’s what gives your stone a background for sparkle to pop (without it, your stone will be less lively – see the first stone below). You want it to be evenly spaced throughout your stone (third stone), not in weird patches (fourth stone!).

Quality Variations in Cushion Cuts

Not enough contrast (first); Fisheye (second); Excellent cut Cushion (third); Odd contrast (fourth)

5. The Halo Should Match the Length-to-Width Ratio of Your Stone

To ensure a high-end look, make sure that your ring’s halo echos the length-to-width ratio of your center stone. If you have an elongated Cushion, and the halo is a square, it’s going to look mismatched. Likewise, a square Cushion put into a rectangular halo will look as if a mistake has been made. So, always ensure your Cushion cut halo engagement ring matches the length of your Cushion cut center stone. At Do Amore, we make every ring from scratch to ensure your diamond fits perfectly!

How to Pick the Best Round Cut Center

Round cut diamonds are classic and stunning. Out of all the shapes, they produce the most sparkle! The most important things to consider in a Cushion cut halo engagement ring with a Round center stone are:

1. Focus on an Excellent Cut

Because Rounds were cut to return the most light, they also have the most to lose. So, focusing on the quality of your Round diamond’s cut is your #1 priority. Diamonds without an Excellent cut can look lifeless – why spend money on that?! Mathematicians have actually figured out what angles a Round diamond needs to produce excellent light return. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Table:                      55%-60%
  • Depth:                     58% to 62%
  • Pavilion Angle:     40.6 to 41.8
  • Crown Angle:        31.5 to 36.5

After you find a gem within these parameters, then compare the angles. Small table? Pick a steep crown and a shallow pavilion. Large table? Go with a shallow crown and a steep pavilion. This will give you max light return. Learn more about why cut matters so much in our 3 Big Mistakes to Avoid in a Round Engagement Ring post here!

Round cut chart

2. Maximize Your Measurements

“Carat weight” is a measurement for how heavy your diamond is – not how big it looks! In other words, you can have a 1.0ct diamond that is 6.3mm, 6.5mm, or 6.7mm in diameter. In order to get the biggest look in your Cushion cut halo engagement ring, always maximize your measurements within ideal proportions for your carat weight.

 

3. Mind the Gap

When choosing a Round cut diamond to set in your Cushion cut halo engagement ring, it can sometimes look like there’s unused space in the corners of the cushion halo. This gives an unfinished, sloppy look. In order to avoid this, ensure that your Round diamond is wide enough to span the full gap, or consider double prongs to fill the space.

Example of gap in Cushion cut engagement ring

Gap between stone (left); No gap between stone (right)

How to Pick the Best Oval Cut Center

Ovals are a beautiful alternative to an elongated Cushion in a Cushion cut halo engagement ring. Because Ovals are often brighter than Cushions, they are a good option to consider. However, there are three big considerations when choosing an Oval for a Cushion cut halo engagement ring:

1. Back Away From the Bowtie (but keep some contrast!)

Due to their elongated shape, Ovals can show dark “bowtie” shaped shadows smack dab in the center of your stone. Who wants that? So, when looking for an Oval, always look for even sparkle with no dark bowtie in the center. But, don’t get too carried away, you do want some dark areas (we call that “contrast”) – stones without contrast look pretty dead. In other words, find a good balance of light and dark spots evenly spaced throughout your stone – this will make your stone super sparkly and lively. Do Amore’s founder and CEO, Krish, proposed with an Oval! Learn more about them here.

Oval diamond without contrast vs with contrast vs with bowtie

Not enough contrast (left) vs Ideal Oval cut (middle) vs Bowtie (right)

2. Remember Shape & Gap Issues

Just like elongated Cushions and Rounds, Oval diamonds in Cushion halos can have shape and gap issues which can make the ring look poorly finished. So, your jeweler should follow the shape of your Oval when creating your halo to ensure that they look “made for each other.” That’s what we here at Do Amore do! Also, demand that there is no awkward gap between the Oval stone and the Cushion halo, which can cause distraction.

 

Want Help Choosing a Great Cushion Cut Halo Engagement Ring?

I’m here for ya! Send me an email with your ideas and questions, and I’d be happy to help you choose the perfect Cushion cut halo engagement ring within your budget. My name is Corinne, I’m Do Amore’s gemologist, and my help is free!