If you’re looking for a diamond with truly outstanding sparkle, look no further than a radiant cut diamond. The name of the cut says it all, and makes total sense since it was designed to combine the very best features of the round brilliant and the emerald cut. The brilliance, fire, and durability of a radiant cut diamond is hard to match. With enough versatility to make a stunning vintage-inspired or a standout classic and timeless solitaire engagement ring, the more you know about a radiant cut diamond, the more it may become a favorite cut.
The Guide to Radiant Cut Diamonds
History of Radiant Cut Diamonds
The radiant cut diamond is very new to the diamond cut scene. After working for thirty years as a master diamond cutter, Henry Grossbard wanted to create a diamond cut that would showcase the full potential of a diamond’s brilliance. His idea was to feature the long, elegant shape of an emerald cut combined with the many glorious and fiery facets of the round brilliant cut.
In 1977, Grossbard began working on his vision and perfected his creation in 1981. This hybrid style of diamond cutting would set a new standard on cutting possibilities for square and rectangular diamonds. With its 70 facets, the radiant cut diamond is more brilliant than any other angular diamond cuts. While it doesn’t exceed the sparkle of the round brilliant cut, it does come extremely close.
When to Go Radiant: Pros & Cons
Choosing a diamond cut comes down to personal preference, but every one comes with some beneficial and not so beneficial characteristics that may help to make your choice. We’ve brought together the pros and cons of the radiant cut diamond to consider:
- - More durable than other square and rectangular cuts because it has beveled corners making it far less likely to chip.
- - The most brilliance, fire, and sparkle of any diamond cut after the round brilliant cut.
- - One of the most affordable shapes because it’s not in high demand and the cut style preserves much of the rough diamond, so very little goes to waste.
- - Perfect for those who love the clean, geometric look of the emerald cut but want some extra sparkle.
- The cut style creates a lot of depth to the diamond, so they carry most of their weight underneath the stone. This can lessen the diamond’s brilliance, so you’ll need to increase in size for that extra shine.
- They make up about 2% of diamond sales, so finding a good quality stone that appeals to you may take additional time and effort.
- GIA and other grading agencies don’t give cut quality grades to radiant cut diamonds, so you’ll want to take extra care in evaluating each diamond you consider.
- It is very easy for a radiant cut to not look symmetrical because of the glass-shard like look of the facets – if the facets and keel line (vertical middle of the diamond’s pavilion facets) aren’t precise, the diamond will look off.
Guess the Size of These Radiant Cut Diamonds
Evaluating a Radiant Cut Diamond: the 4Cs
The cut of a diamond is vital to any diamond’s beauty, and this is especially true for the radiant cut diamond. The quality of the cut can have a noticeable impact on the appearance of the radiant cut diamond by dulling sparkle and creating a watery or icy appearance in the facets.
Shape appeal is incredibly important for radiant cut diamonds because it assesses one of their best qualities. Their truncated corners and variety of shapes from square to elongated rectangles make them very appealing to a wide set of preferences. However, overly truncated corners and poor symmetry will make the diamond appear off-shape.
The length-to-width ratio for radiant cut diamonds is entirely up to preference, meaning there’s not a better quality or more valuable ratio. Most people prefer between 1.15-1.35 for an elongated rectangle look or under 1.05 for square radiants. And as with oval cut diamonds, beware the bowtie effect – a dark band appearing across the center of the stone. Well-cut radiants will exhibit good sparkle throughout the stone, so be sure to look at it from several angles.
The differences in color for radiant cut diamonds are slightly easier to detect than in round brilliants, but this is the case for all fancy-shaped diamonds. For radiant cut diamonds, the depth of their cut contributes to the more visible color.
Most of the radiant cut diamond’s weight is held in their pavilions (the bottom portion). This helps produce that intense sparkle from fantastic light return. But that, combined with their shallow corners, produces more visible body color than other diamond shapes.
One of the best things about a radiant cut diamond is their intense brilliance and light return. This feature of the cutting style helps to mask inclusions and imperfections even in lower clarity grades. A whopping 70 facets that are placed to resemble tiny shards of sharp glass means that imperfections can be completely lost in the array of flashes.
The one aspect about clarity that you’ll want to check for are large or dark inclusions under the table facet. Any inclusions located here can very likely be seen with the naked eye. And for diamonds two carats and above, you may want to consider VS2 clarity as well. Larger diamonds will show inclusions more readily, so you may need to adjust for a higher clarity grade to ensure that it’s eye clean.
The same as with all other diamond cuts, a radiant cut diamond is priced by carat weight. But similar to other fancy-shaped diamonds, in a weight to weight comparison, a radiant cut diamond will appear larger than the most popular round brilliant cut diamond. This is a great feature that allows for much more flexibility in how you determine desired carat weight.
And since radiant cut diamonds are cut in a way that preserves much of their rough, larger carat weight and size diamonds are just as likely to be found as smaller ones. Just remember that much of the weight is centralized to the bottom instead of at the surface.
Choosing an Ideal Radiant Cut Diamond
When choosing a radiant cut diamond, there will be many factors that are completely up to personal preference, like ratio and color, but narrowing table ranges and depth percentages will help put you on the right path to a quality stone. In general, the best cut stones will have a table range of 61-69% and a depth range of 61-67%, however we always encourage clients to trust their eye when evaluating a stone rather than rely too much on strict ranges, as they are not always reliable.
The intense brilliance of a radiant cut diamond means that inclusions and imperfections in a lower clarity grade diamond will be tough to spot. Eye clean diamonds exist in the SI1-SI2 range, and there may even be some in the I1 category. The unique cracked ice appearance created from the faceting style means perceived flaws are well hidden and there are better features to spend your budget on.
For color, you have flexibility with the grade that you choose. While color is easier to perceive, an H grade will appear colorless to the naked eye. However, the important aspect to consider is how you plan on setting your stone. To make sure that your diamond appears white in relation to the setting, an H or better is recommended for white gold or platinum, while lower grades of I-J will still look colorless in yellow or rose gold.
Radiant vs. Cushion Cut
Radiant Cut Diamond Prices
Radiant cut diamonds are one of the more affordable diamond cuts for very good reason. In the cutting process, a larger percentage of the original diamond rough is retained so very little goes to waste. That means that per carat, they will be 10-30% less expensive than the most popular round brilliant cut diamond.
Also contributing to the affordability is that radiant cut diamonds have a lower demand. They make up about 2% of diamond sales, so while that may make them harder to find in the quality and feature preferences you’d like, they won’t be incredibly expensive when you do find them, even though there are fewer out there.
Designing a Ring with a Radiant Cut Diamond
The cracked ice appearance of a radiant cut diamond can be absolutely stunning in any kind of setting and in any style ring. To design something you’ll love, it’s best to start with the type of metal and what key features appeal the most – like a halo, three-stone, or bevel setting.
For our Beatrice-Ann, we showcase a classic halo ring set with a lovely radiant cut diamond at its center. Surrounded with a halo, the sparkle is undeniable. Adding to the timeless appeal, we set the stone in a classic cathedral setting and added diamond accent stones down the shank.
Our Florina ditches the halo for a minimal, thin band with double claw prongs. Demanding attention at the center of the ring is a breathtaking, prong-set radiant cut diamond that seems to float on a 1.3mm width band.
Pulling out all the stops for one of our bestselling rings in our Lauren, we sourced an elongated radiant cut diamond and set it in a vintage-inspired thin pavé band.
The charm and beauty of a radiant cut diamond are undeniable and even more breathtaking to behold in person. Specifically designed to capture the best of two different diamond cut worlds, it’s no surprise that the radiant cut is gaining momentum to become a new favorite in its very short history.