Timeless symbols of love and commitment — as well as fashion — radiant cut engagement rings come in many styles, each with their own personality. Yet, at the literal center of each of these rings is a diamond shape so special it makes up only 2% of the diamond market. Radiant cut diamonds boast more facets than other diamond shapes, making them one of the most intensely brilliant. A perfect blend of sparkle and sophistication, if you will, yet still full of mystery. One of the newest shapes on the market, perhaps you've thought of purchasing a radiant diamond but you're not sure if it's right for you. From their inception to what makes them stand out from the crowd, in this comprehensive guide we'll tackle all of your radiant cut diamond questions. Here's what to look for, and how to find the perfect radiant cut engagement ring for your love story.
A radiant diamond should be well cut, with even proportions to look its best, making diamond cut important to your purchasing decision.
A radiant diamond shape works in many engagement ring settings, so choose the one that works best for your individual style and fashion.
A radiant diamond is an affordable diamond, especially when compared to round, but if you're looking for more savings, try a lab grown radiant diamond.
What is a radiant cut diamond?
A square or rectangular shaped diamond with straight sides, clipped corners, and brilliant facets, a radiant cut diamond is sort of a crossover between a princess and an emerald cut diamond. Radiant cut diamonds have a whopping 70 facets, while a typical round diamond has only 57 or 58, and these extra facets give radiant cut diamonds their signature sparkle. Pro tip: You won't see "radiant cut" on a diamond grading report. They are referred to by gemological laboratories as “cut-cornered rectangular or square modified brilliant”.
An Elongated Radiant Cut diamond
The history of the radiant cut diamonds
While natural diamonds are billions of years old, the cutting of them into what we recognize today is much newer, and the radiant diamond is the youngest of the bunch. This fancy shape (which refers to any shape other than round brilliant cut) was originally created in the late 1970's by Henry Grossbard, with the intention of combining the shape and sophistication of an emerald cut with the sparkle of a round brilliant cut diamond.
The radiant diamond, rather than being a step cut (like an emerald or Asscher) or a brilliant cut (like a round or princess) is a "mixed cut" diamond, and has step-cut facets on its crown (the top) and brilliant facets on its pavilion (the bottom) for the best of both worlds.
The cropped corners of a radiant diamond give it a unique aesthetic and add to its durability. Whereas a princess cut diamond has pointed corners, the beveled corners of radiant cuts help to reduce the risk of chipping during setting or daily wear. And unlike cushion cuts, which have curved sides and rounded corners, radiant cuts offer straight sides for those whose individual style is towards a more geometric look.
Are radiant cut diamonds popular today?
Round brilliant cut diamonds make up more than 60% of engagement rings, making them by far the most popular diamond shape on the market. Thanks to their sparkle and versatility, radiant cut diamonds have grown in popularity, yet still make up only about 2% of the total market. This can be both a pro and a con when it comes to shopping for a radiant cut diamond ring. Because radiant cut diamonds are less popular than other shapes, there are less of them cut, and therefore it may be more difficult to find one that suits your preferences and budget. However, if you do find the perfect radiant cut diamond for you, you can rest assured you’ll have a look that is all your own.
What to look for in a radiant diamond
Radiant cut diamonds possess exceptional brilliance, but only if they are well cut. The same holds true for any diamond shape, making diamond cut quality the most important of the 4Cs (cut, color, clarity, carat weight). A well cut diamond will showcase maximum sparkle, can make a diamond appear larger than its weight, and help hide inclusions, while a poorly cut diamond can appear small, dull, and lifeless.
Radiant cuts, like all fancy shapes, do not have industry standard cut grades like the round brilliant cut, however when evaluating diamond cut, there are a few things to keep an eye out for. The radiant diamond's clipped corners should always appear even, and the stone should have excellent polish and symmetry, which will be listed on the diamond grading report.
A cut above: Radiant cut diamond proportions
When it comes to selecting an ideal radiant cut diamond, there are really two main camps — square or rectangular shapes — to choose from. This is when it's important to understand length-to-width ratio. Radiant cut diamonds can have ratios ranging from 1.00 to 1.4 and up. A diamond that is perfectly square will have a 1.00 length-to-width ratio, while the higher the ratio, the more elongated and rectangular the diamond will be. A square radiant cut diamond will look quite a bit like a princess cut diamond, especially in smaller sizes, as prongs typically cover the corners of each shape. But which proportion you choose really comes down to personal preference. Do you like square, even diamond shapes? Or do you prefer longer, rectangular diamonds that give you more finger coverage?
Most of what you will find on the market for a radiant diamond will fall in the 1.20-1.35 ratio range, as this is a nice middle of the road option. Not square, not too elongated, but just right. If you want something that is super long and skinny, then go higher and look for a radiant diamond with a length-to-width ratio of 1.4 or above. This will kind of give you a long sparkly baguette appearance. And if you want square, then look for anything 1.05 ratio or less, as these will all appear square to the naked eye.
How does a radiant cut compare to a cushion cut?
Radiant diamonds and cushion cut diamonds are often compared for their similarities. Both are mixed cuts that feature a variety of faceting patterns and can offer what is referred to as a "crushed ice" look, achieved by added reflections within the pavilion facets of the diamond, and a bit less black and white contrast than a standard cut stone. They also both offer both square or rectangular shape proportions to choose from.
Beyond that, the two shapes are quite different. Radiant cut diamonds have strong, straight, even sides and straight, clipped corners, like a stretched out octagon. Cushion cuts, on the other hand, have rounded corners and curved sides like their pillowy namesake. While both diamonds tend to be cut deeper than other diamond shapes, radiants are a typically just a hair shallower, which can make them appear larger than a comparable weight cushion cut.
Is a radiant cut larger than a princess cut?
Different diamond cuts carry their weight differently, usually depending on their elongated shapes or how deep they are cut. Compared to most other shapes, radiant cut diamonds are cut with more depth, carrying their weight in the pavilion to turn up the sparkle through the whole diamond. This pavilion weight means they do face up a bit smaller than other shapes, however radiant cuts can look a tad larger than princess cuts of the same carat weight, especially if they are an elongated radiant cut diamond, which can trick the eye with its stretched proportions. And because a princess cut has weight in its sharp corners, which are hidden under prongs, while the radiant has beveled corners, a radiant diamond will look a bit bolder from the top.
Is a radiant cut better than an emerald cut?
Radiant cut diamonds and emerald cut diamonds face up pretty similarly when it comes to size, however radiant diamonds have smaller facets and much more sparkle, whereas the elongated, larger facets of emerald cuts look more like a hall of mirrors. Because the two shapes have similar outlines, this is really about the aesthetic you prefer. Do you like more rainbow flash and sophistication or more bright white sparkle? Emerald shape diamonds are understated in comparison.
Rainbow bright: How to choose the right radiant diamond color
Because radiant cuts have more depth than other shapes, body color can actually show up a bit more. Now, this may not be what you're looking for, but it doesn't always have to be a bad thing. If you want a super-white diamond, then you'll probably want to stick with a radiant diamond with a color grade of G or higher. Lower than G and you may start to see some color in the stone with your naked eye. But if you're on a tight budget or simply want a warmer diamond, shop in the H-I color range. You can also set your diamond in yellow gold or rose gold to show of its warmth.
A radiant cut diamond's ability to hold color is also one of the reasons you'll find many fancy color diamonds in radiant shapes. The radiant's facet pattern, depth, and proportions are ideal for showing off a diamond's body color, so if a rough diamond is green, pink, yellow, or brown, cutting it in a radiant shape can yield a very beautiful stone. Certainly not a reason to write off the radiant cut and all of its potential!
Radiant diamond clarity: Finding an eye-clean diamond
The facet pattern of a radiant diamond helps with more than just maximizing brilliance. In fact, all those brilliant little mirrors can help disguise diamond inclusions, so you don't have to pay for a higher clarity grade stone. An SI clarity grade is typically eye-clean for radiant cuts, just look closely to ensure that it doesn't have large dark inclusions under the table facet (that big one at the top), as these will be the most obvious. Many minor inclusions will be easily hidden in a radiant cut and not visible to the naked eye. Unless having a very high clarity grade is on your diamond shopping priority list, a radiant diamond in a lower clarity grade can present some very affordable options, which means you can spend that budget on a larger diamond, or a higher color grade stone.
Are radiant cut diamonds expensive?
Lucky for you, radiants are one of the most affordable shapes on the market! The radiant diamond makes excellent use of the natural octahedral form of rough diamond crystals, meaning there is less material lost in the diamond cutting process, and more carat weight saved for the actual finished diamond. Less waste equals more savings.
Less overall demand also contributes to a radiant cut diamond's affordable price tag. Get the most bang for your buck by choosing a mid-range color, eye-clean radiant diamond with excellent polish and symmetry. And aim for a depth percentage under 68%, which will mean there's more face-up spread to the diamond instead of hidden weight in its pavilion.
What about a lab created radiant diamond?
Shopping lab grown diamonds can be a great way to save money. Today, lab created diamonds are available in all the same shapes as natural diamonds. And yes, lab created diamonds are the same optical, chemical, and physical properties of natural diamonds. They are all carbon that has been heated and pressurized.
One has just happened deep in the Earth over billions of years, while the other has been created through a replica process in a high-tech laboratory. Lab grown diamonds cost significantly less than natural stones, and still display diamond's beauty in the same ways. For example, a lab created 1 carat round brilliant diamond can cost you about half of a comparable-quality natural diamond of the same weight.
A 7 carat Radiant Cut diamond in our Signature Pavé engagement ring
Finding the one: Your perfect radiant cut engagement ring
When it comes to selecting an engagement ring for your radiant diamond, you're in luck — there are styles to suit everyone. But of course, you want to best show off that sparker, so let's talk a bit about what might be most flattering for this unique diamond cut.
Simple but stunning
Fixed upon a barely-there band, an elongated radiant diamond makes a sure statement in the easiest-wearing solitaire we've ever made. Setting a radiant diamond in a modern solitaire engagement ring lets it nearly float on your hand, light flowing in from all angles, with no distractions. This is similar to the way round cut diamonds have been set for ages - resting high on the hand in a simple, prong-set solitaire so they can really showcase their brilliance.
GOODSTONE Thin & Simple Solitaire engagement ring with a 3 carat Radiant cut diamond
A modern take
The contemporary half-bezel solitaire, perfect for a bride who wants something classic with a unique twist is another great option. It firmly secures your radiant diamond between two walls of metal, yet still allows light to pass through beautifully. If you want to really change it up, go with the east-west half bezel solitaire, which turns the diamond on its side so that its elongated shape sits horizontally on your finger instead of parallel. And for a style that's perhaps most secure and perfect for those with extra-active hands, a full bezel radiant diamond solitaire: which surrounds your entire diamond in the metal of your choice, casting a perfect shadow on all sides, and gleaming from every angle.
Two GOODSTONE Half Bezel Solitaires with Radiant cut diamonds
If you want more light return, go for more diamonds
Solitaires aren't for everyone, so let's talk upping the ante with a sexy three-stone engagement ring that's all edge. This style flanks your radiant diamond with two perfectly-matched shield cut diamonds. It creates a lot more sparkle and spread across your finger, while keeping the focus on the center diamond for all to appreciate. If you're choosing a smaller center stone, this can also give you more look for your money. And the same holds true of a halo engagement ring, which surrounds your radiant diamond with a row of sparkling micro-pavé diamonds for a luminous effect that adds extra dimension and visual size to your center stone.
A Three Stone Engagement ring with Shield sides and a 6 carat Radiant Cut diamond
A Three Stone Engagement ring with Shield sides and a 4 carat Radiant Cut diamond
Buying a radiant diamond wedding band doesn't have to be complicated
For those looking to echo the intense sparkle of their radiant diamond engagement ring in a matching band, or if you want a band that really stands out on its own, keep it simple with a petite shared prong radiant diamond band. This one lines just the top of the ring in sparkle, keeping the metal minimal so all you see is light.
Or you find more unique styles like our petite reversible diamond eternity band, which features radiant diamonds on one half and oval cut diamonds on the other, giving you two looks in one. Who doesn't love that?
A Radiant cut Diamond Wedding band
Two of GOODSTONE's Radiant cut Diamond Wedding bands
Shop radiant cut engagement rings
Now that you're fully equipped with all the radiant diamond knowledge one could need, it's time to dive in. Explore our collection of radiant cut diamond engagement rings to find the style that best suits you. Or contact our team to begin designing a bespoke engagement ring today.
Penumbra Bezel Set Engagement ring with a Radiant cut
OurNorth South Half Bezel Solitaire with a 3 carat Radiant cut
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