Guide To Radiant Cut Diamonds

Radiant cut diamonds are popular for engagement rings. Radiant cut diamonds have an angular outline similar to an emerald cut but with more facets. It's a diamond with a timeless look. This article will review what you need to know about radiant cut diamonds and what to look for when buying them.

What is a Radiant Cut Diamond? 

Radiant cut diamonds are described by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) as “Cut Cornered Rectangular Modified Brilliant” diamonds. In “English”, this means that they have a square shape with cropped corners. This diamond cut is a nice bridge between a cushion and princess cut. Also worth mentioning is that the radiant cut is a very forgiving cut. It will not magnify inclusions, imperfections, or color tints in the diamond. Instead it actually hides small flaws. 

History of the Radiant Cut 

The radiant cut dates back to 1977, when it was first invented by Henry Grossbard, a master cutter from New York City who wanted to create something new and unique. To date, it has become one of the most sought diamond shapes because of its unique combination of brilliance and fire. It differs from other cuts because it has more facets than traditional round or princess cuts, which gives it more sparkle and brightness than its counterparts.

Radiant Cut Diamond Features

Radiant cut diamonds possess a square or rectangular shape with a unique, eye-catching look that stands out against other diamond shapes.

The main characteristic that sets these diamonds apart from others is their faceting pattern which consists of 58-70 facets designed to maximize brilliance and fire while creating a uniquely beautiful shape with trimmed, beveled corners that add another layer of elegance to its design aesthetic.

Pros and Cons of a Radiant Cut Diamond


  • Radiant cut diamonds have a unique, eye-catching look that is different from other diamond shapes.
  • They are sometimes less expensive than other diamond shapes
  • Radiant cut diamonds often appear larger than other diamonds of the same carat weight.


  • The larger, open facets of radiant cut diamonds can make it easier to spot flaws in the diamond.
  • The rectangular shape and sharp corners of this diamond's cut can make them more prone to chipping and damage (but less so than a princess cut).

Keep reading to learn how to mitigate these negative aspects to find a beautiful, high-quality radiant cut diamond.

Characteristics To Look For In A Radiant Cut Diamond

Diamond Shape

An ideal radiant cut diamond has trimmed, truncated, or cropped corners and parallel sides. Because of this, the risks of the diamond breaking, chipping, or being caught on something are significantly reduced.

Generally speaking, you should avoid stones with uneven corners – either too wide or too narrow. For a radiant cut diamond shape that is perfectly square, look for a length-to-width ratio of 1.0. If you prefer more of a rectangular shape, look for length-to-width ratios between 1.35-1.45.

Any ratio 1.05 or less will appear square to the naked eye. Always choose stones with at least 'Very Good' symmetry since asymmetrical facets will seriously impair the look and brilliance of a radiant cut quality.

Diamond Cut

The table ratio (width of table facet divided by diamond width) for an excellent radiant cut diamond is around 54 percent and above. They are generally cut to have an average of 58-70 brilliant facets. A radiant cut diamond's total depth ratio (depth divided by diamond width) should be around 57 percent and above, but it depends on how it looks from a visual perspective, not solely percentages. For the most part, you should look for a diamond with a centered culet (the sharp point at the bottom of the diamond).

Also, avoid stones that have 'extremely thin' or 'extremely thick' girdle thickness. Radiant cut diamonds form an extensive pavilion (the underside of the diamond). This further contributes to their striking fire and flash.

Best Diamond Color & Diamond Clarity Grade

Evaluating color grades and clarity in radiant diamonds can be subjective. For a good quality radiant cut diamond on a modest budget, look for a stone with a color range of I and above and a clarity range of SI2 or above. Note that GIA grades diamonds on a color scale of D (colorless) through Z (light color). Their clarity scale is FL (internally flawless) through I3 (visible inclusions). 

Suppose you're setting a diamond in a yellow gold engagement ring setting. In that case, you can get away with a slightly lower color grade. The yellow of the metal will reflect in the diamond in even the most colorless stone. Since even a H/I may still show white, you can save money on the purchase price and get away with this slightly lower color grade.

Radiant Cut Diamond Engagement Ring Settings

An ideal setting for a radiant cut diamond is a four-prong or six-prong setting. This will allow the diamond to be shown off to its best advantage, unique shape, and brilliant sparkle. You can also consider a bezel setting or a halo setting. These settings will add extra sparkle and brilliance to your ring.

Platinum and white gold are good choices for a radiant cut diamond setting, as the white metal color enhance a colorless diamond's quality. Yellow gold can also be used, giving the diamond a warmer, more classic look. Finally, consider the shape of the band. A curved band will help to soften the diamond's angular shape, while a straight band will emphasize the diamond's linear shape.

Things To Consider When Setting A Radiant Cut Diamond

Radiant Cut Halo Ring - Vanessa Nicole Jewels

TIP 1: Setting The Diamonds SUPER close together will maximize the overall sparkle on the ring. 

Take a look at the image below to see how close I set these diamonds. By using a microscope and hand-selecting each diamond to color match, this will ensure even coloring, and incredible sparkle factor on a custom ring:

Check out how CLOSE these diamonds are set together on this custom ring

TIP 2: Planning to get a HALO ring? Watch the video below.  

Part of what makes a halo ring spectacular is when the center diamond is set close to the halo to ensure seamless sparkle..  If the diamond is raised high off of the halo, there can be a dark air gap. which your eye will automatically focus on. Watch the video below to learn more about this:

An elongated radiant cut diamond on this custom ring

TIP 3: Radiant cut diamonds have the advantage of appearing larger due to their elongated shape.  Radiant cuts come in various ratios, so you can determine if you prefer more body to the diamond, or if you prefer it to be more elongated like the one in the video below:

Other Considerations When Choosing a Radiant Cut Diamond:

When selecting a radiant cut diamond, several essential factors need consideration, including a quality grade (clarity grade/color grade/cut grade, etc.), professional guidance on finding a suitable stone, ring setting options available that will enhance its beauty; all while keeping financial preferences in mind.

Radiant Cut Halo Ring - Two Tone Engagement Ring - Vanessa Nicole Jewels

Two-tone diamond radiant cut ring

Buying A Radiant Cut Diamond

Try to look for radiant cut rings through jewelers who can provide certificates from reputable laboratories. Reputable laboratories include GIA, AGS, and IGI. The rings should come with an appraisal and a certificate of authentication for estate or vintage radiant cut diamond rings. Don't worry if this seems confusing. Choose to get your ring with Vanessa Nicole and she will ensure that your diamond choices align within the ideal standards for a GORGEOUS radiant diamond.

Need Help Finding An Engagement Ring?

Let Vanessa Nicole be your guide. Vanessa Nicole Jewels creates stunning, custom-made wedding bands and engagement rings for couples around the globe. Every ring we make is truly one of a kind, designed exclusively for each client. Contact Vanessa today to learn more about your options, or learn more by reading our diamond education article.

Curious How A Custom Engagement Ring Is Made? Watch as I make one…


Are Radiant Cut Diamonds More Expensive?

No, radiant cut diamonds are generally less expensive than other popular diamond shapes, such as round, oval, and cushion cuts, but it really depends on how well it's cut. The cost of a diamond is determined by its 4Cs - cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. Radiant cut diamonds are often cut to maximize carat weight "face-up", so they may appear more expensive than other diamonds because they face up larger. 

Why are radiant cut diamonds less expensive?

Radiant cut diamonds tend to be less expensive in terms of overall "visual value" on her finger with respect to the carat size.  If a diamond is cut like an iceberg where the weight is below what's seen from the top, you're paying for weight rather than "visual value."

Radiant Vs. Emerald Cut Diamonds

Radiant diamonds have more facets than emerald cut stones. An Emerald cut is a clean, classic design. The facets of an emerald cut are deeper, reflecting more light and sparkle. 

The main difference between Radiant Cuts & Emerald Cuts is the faceting style, which is explained in the video below:

Is Radiant or Oval Cut Diamond Better?

This is a matter of personal preference. Radiant cut diamonds tend to appear more modern than an oval cut diamond  due to the linear angles. Whereas a high-quality oval cut diamond is very popular on the market right now so it tends to be more expensive. Ultimately, the best choice will depend on your budget and style preference.

Radiant vs. Cushion Cut Diamonds

Cushion cut diamonds require someone to visually examine how well it's cut because often the weight is carried like an iceberg below the surface. Radiant cut diamonds are more likely cut to maximize carat weight, which means you get to see a larger surface area of sparkle from the top view.

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