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closeup of oval cut ring on hand

Anyone who has scanned a list of trending stone shapes knows that both oval and cushion make the cut. But as with most ring-related choices, there is more to the decision than a simple preference for curved corners. Here are some ways to differentiate oval cut rings and cushion cut rings and determine which shape might be a more suitable choice for you. 

The Obvious Difference

Let’s get the most dramatic difference out of the way first. A cushion cut stone will be square or rectangular in shape, but with the corners cut or rounded to craft that cushion-like appearance. An oval cut is... well, it’s an oval. The elongation of an oval cut means it will likely look larger, while a cushion cut is designed to turn up the sparkle. 

The Shared History

Along with sharing an affinity for being gentle on the corners and easy on the eyes, oval and cushion cuts possess a similar heritage beneath their contemporary surge in popularity. Both represent modern twists on venerable stone traditions that date back hundreds of years.

The oval profile of the Koh-I-Noor diamond, for example, once held pride of place as the largest diamond in the world. Its origins are shrouded in legend, but it has sheared a path through the history books from the Raja of Gwalior’s 13th century treasury to its resting spot with the other British Crown Jewels today. The modern oval cut originated in the 1950s with the inspired design of Lazare Kaplan.

man placing a cushion cut engagement ring on a woman's finger

Not to be outdone, but the list of antique cushion cut gems includes the famous Hope Diamond, which has retired to the National Museum of Natural History after centuries of high society excitement. When the cushion cut was known as the Old Mine Cut, it achieved the peak radiance of its era, which is why it was so widespread in the 1800s. Modern advances in technology gave the Old Mine Cut an even bigger glow up, which is why these beauties are currently known as “cushion brilliant cut diamonds.” 

The Finer Points

If you are looking for your own individual twist on a timeless classic, an oval might be the way to go. Unique oval engagement rings shrug off standard cut parameters in favor of endless variation, though the best ratios tend to be between 1:3:1 and 1:5:1. Their elongated shape means that they stretch the available material without sacrificing elegance. That makes them an especially affordable option. But it also allows oval cut diamonds to adapt to all sorts of vertical and horizontal settings and flatter a wide variety of fingers. This versatility has endeared the oval to glamorous icons like Blake Lively, Lady Gaga and Princess Kate.

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gold oval cut engagement ring and wedding band set

However, while oval cut stones might take home the prize for graceful resourcefulness, cushion cut engagement rings comfortably occupy the throne when it comes to concentrated shine. An oval cut stone often disperses its sparkle as it accommodatingly stretches to fit your needs. A cushion cut stone can achieve a fuller effect than the oval cut, resting on the finger like a dazzling pillow. This degree of concentration means that it is less prone to color saturation and it works well as a centerpiece of halo rings. Celebrity admirers include Kim Kardashian West and Meghan Markle.

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When ancient travelers used the night sky for navigation, they used the shapes of constellations to find their bearings. Similarly, when we see someone gazing at our shiny engagement rings like they are setting a course for their future, we’ve found that organizing by shape can sometimes help them find their guiding star. 

Learn All About The Different Types of Engagement Rings Here