What is a Radiant Cut Diamond?
The radiant cut is a relatively new diamond cut, having made its debut on the diamond market in the 1980s. Designed by Henry Grossbard, the radiant cut combines all the finest qualities of the round brilliant cut and the emerald cut. The result is an effervescent sparkle that can only be described as ‘radiant’.
If you’re in the market for a radiant cut diamond engagement ring, you’ve come to the right place! Our guide covers everything you need to know about this spectacular diamond cut, from the pros and cons of buying one to how to get the most bling for your buck.
Characteristics of a Radiant Cut Diamond
Radiant cut diamonds possess a silhouette that’s very similar to an emerald cut, but their facets are more similar to a round brilliant cut. This results in an intense brilliance that dazzles the eye. Put simply, radiant diamonds are an ideal choice for those who like the shape of an emerald cut but crave the sparkle of a round brilliant.
A radiant cut diamond features 70 brilliant facets along its crown and pavilion. In comparison, a round brilliant cut diamond only has 58. These extra facets are what give the radiant cut its immense fire and brilliance.
Radiant diamonds also have cropped corners like an emerald cut. This protects the stone against breakage since sharp right-angled corners (as in a princess cut diamond) are prone to chipping. This feature also means that radiant cuts can be easily paired with both round and square-shaped diamonds.
Radiant Cuts Vs Other Similar Diamond Shapes
While round diamonds are by far the most popular shape for engagement rings, there is a wide variety of other shapes to choose from. Also, bear in mind that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ diamond shape. It is merely a matter of personal preference.
Radiant Cut vs Princess Cut
Although radiant and princess cut diamonds share similarities, there are a handful of key differences between them.
For starters, radiant cuts have cropped corners. Princess cuts have pointed corners resembling a perfect square.
Next, radiant cuts are typically elongated while princess cuts are always square. Although it is possible to find square radiant cut diamonds, they tend to be few and far between.
Radiant Cut vs Cushion Cut
Besides sharing some similarities with princess cuts, radiant diamonds also have several features in common with cushion cuts. In fact, a radiant cut may seem like a compromise between a princess and a cushion cut at first glance.
This is because radiant and cushion cut diamonds both showcase cut corners for increased durability (although cushion cuts have more rounded corners resembling a pillow). In addition, both cuts feature either a square or rectangular shape with numerous facets and large open tables.
Where these two cuts differ is in the way they interact with light. While radiant cut diamonds offer a brilliance that’s hard to beat, cushion cut diamonds offer more fire. In other words, you will notice more flashes of colored light in cushion cuts than radiant cuts.
Pros and Cons of Radiant Cut Diamonds
Each diamond shape comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and radiant cut diamonds are no exception. Check out the list of pros and cons we’ve compiled below to help you decide whether a radiant diamond is right for you.
Lots of sparkle
The radiant cut possesses a brilliance that rivals the round brilliant cut. This makes it a great alternative for people who want the beautiful sparkle of a round diamond with a more unique shape.
Appears larger than other diamond shapes of the same carat weight
If you’re looking for a diamond that will turn heads without needing to invest in a really big stone, the radiant cut is your best bet. This cut is well known for having a larger perceived size than other diamonds of similar carat weight, making it a really eye-catching choice.
Interestingly, the surface area of a radiant cut diamond is a bit smaller than that of a round brilliant cut diamond of the same carat weight. But thanks to the radiant cut’s elongated shape, it tricks the eye into making it appear bigger than it actually is.
More durable than other square shapes
Radiant cut diamonds are frequently likened to square diamonds, for example, the princess cut. Despite differences in appearance (princess cuts are always square, whereas radiant cuts can have a square or rectangular shape), there are some similarities between the two.
But the radiant cut has the upper hand over the princess cut when it comes to durability. This is because the radiant cut features cut corners. Radiant cut engagement rings are, therefore, less prone to fractures and chipping.
More bling for your buck
The cutting process for a radiant diamond retains a larger percentage of the original diamond rough than the one for brilliant cut stones. This means that hardly anything goes to waste. It also means that radiant cuts are priced lower per carat than most other diamond shapes. Thus, the radiant cut is one of the most cost-effective diamond cuts. So, you’ll be able to spend more money on a stone of better quality or the setting for your engagement ring.
No GIA cut quality grades
A diamond’s cut has the biggest impact on its visual appearance, affecting how it interacts with light. Put simply, a poorly cut diamond will look dull in comparison to a well-cut diamond.
Evaluating the cut quality of round brilliant cut diamonds is easy since there are set standards regarding the ideal proportions for this particular shape. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for a radiant cut diamond. This is because there is no consensus among those in the diamond industry about what constitutes the perfect radiant cut. In other words, this is something you’ll carefully need to assess yourself.
To help you, we’ve included a few expert tips on how to check the cut quality of a radiant diamond in the following section. Of course, you can also seek a professional’s advice if you’re unsure of what to look for.
How To Choose a Radiant Cut Diamond
Like all other diamond cuts, the quality of a radiant cut diamond is determined by the 4Cs of diamond appraisal. These include the carat, color, clarity, and cut diamond grades. You can find a basic guide to these factors below to help you in choosing the perfect radiant cut engagement ring.
Radiant Cut Diamond Color
The GIA grades diamond color on a scale of D to Z. The D grade refers to completely colorless diamonds, while the Z grade refers to stones with a clearly visible yellow or brown tint.
Differences in diamond color are slightly easier to discern with the naked eye in radiant cuts than in other diamonds. For this reason, we suggest sticking to an H grade or higher for radiant cut diamonds. Despite being in the ‘near colorless’ category, an H color diamond will appear completely colorless to the naked eye.
If you opt for a diamond in a lower color grade, ensure that the diamond appears white in relation to its setting. Remember, a warm-toned metal like yellow gold will offset any hint of yellow that a stone might have, while a white metal like platinum will emphasize it.
Radiant Cut Diamond Clarity
Diamond clarity refers to how clear a diamond is. In other words, it tells you how relatively free of imperfections it is.
The GIA grades diamond clarity from Flawless/Internally Flawless (FL/IF) to Included (I). The grades in between, in descending order, are VVS1/VVS2 (Very Very Small Inclusions), VS1/VS2 (Very Small Inclusions), and SI1/SI2 (Small Inclusions). Note that there is hardly any visual difference between any of the adjacent grades, such as SI1 and SI2, when examined by the naked eye.
Radiant cuts, with their many facets and angles, frequently resemble crushed ice. This unique cracked ice appearance is especially good at hiding inclusions. This means it is possible to compromise on a radiant diamond’s clarity grade, particularly since clarity is one of the factors that often goes unnoticed by the naked eye. For the best value, we recommend a clarity grade of SI1 or SI2 for a radiant cut diamond.
Radiant Diamond Cut Quality
As mentioned earlier, cut is critical to a diamond’s beauty. It is the factor responsible for the scintillating sparkle that makes the diamond such a desirable gemstone, especially for engagement rings.
And when you consider that radiant cut diamonds are specifically cut for brilliance (i.e., for reflecting white light), it becomes clear why cut quality is the most important aspect of buying a radiant cut stone.
Here is a rough guideline of what to look for in a radiant cut diamond to ensure a well-cut stone:
- Depth: From 61-67% is Excellent
- Table: From 61-69% is Excellent
- Girdle: Very Thin – Slightly Thick
- Culet: None
In addition, be sure to examine the corners of the stone you are considering. They must be symmetrical and not too narrow or wide, otherwise they will detract from the diamond’s overall beauty.
Radiant Diamond Length-to-Width Ratio
A diamond’s length-to-width ratio describes how proportional the stone is with its intended shape (i.e., how squared or elongated it is). It is calculated by dividing the stone’s length by its width. To illustrate, if a diamond measures 4mm long by 3mm wide, its length-to-width ratio is 1.33.
Unlike the factors that influence diamond quality above, the ratio you choose for your radiant cut diamond is purely a matter of personal preference. The most common ratios for a radiant cut range between 1.00-1.35 for diamonds with a more square shape and up to 2.0 for those with a more rectangular shape.
Why Do Radiant Cut Diamonds Have a Bigger Perceived Size Than Other Diamond Cuts?
As we stated in the pros and cons section above, radiant cut diamonds tend to look larger than most of the other diamond shapes, all other aspects equal.
This is due to the radiant cut’s design. Its inventor, Henry Grossbard, wanted to create a diamond cut that maximized the natural beauty of each stone. This was contrary to other diamond cuts of the time, which tended to prioritize carat weight.
Thanks to the radiant cut’s broad surface area and shallow corners, more of the diamond is visible when set in an engagement ring. This creates the illusion of a bigger diamond with immense brilliance since more light can enter the stone.
The Bottom Line
If what you’re after is a diamond that shimmers from across the room, a radiant cut diamond could be for you. This diamond cut offers a brilliance that rivals the most popular diamond shape of all: the round brilliant.
When shopping for a radiant cut diamond, pay careful attention to the cut quality of the stone as this will determine the amount of sparkle you get. The color and clarity grade of these diamonds are less important, as is the carat weight.
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