Guide to Radiant Cut Diamonds

Kate Miller-Wilson
Certified Radiant-Cut Diamond Solitaire from Zales
Certified Radiant-Cut Diamond Solitaire from Zales

If you're looking for an alternative to the popular princess cut, a radiant-cut diamond makes a lovely and classic choice. Whether mounted in a solitaire engagement ring or set in a wedding band, a radiant cut has exceptional sparkle and fire. Before you buy this shape of diamond, make sure you understand the basics of how this cut is graded and where to shop for the best selection.

Buyer's Guide to Radiant-Cut Diamonds

Princess, round, emerald, Asscher, and radiant cut diagrams, respectively

A radiant cut is a hybrid shape that is generally square or rectangular, with slightly cropped corners. Most radiant-cut diamonds have between 53 and 70 facets, which greatly contribute to their eye-catching sparkle. The extra fire makes this octagonal diamond popular for engagement and wedding jewelry.

Benefits of radiants

The radiant cut offers many benefits over other diamond shapes. If you're wondering if this cut is for you, consider the following:

  • Because of its increased brilliance, a well-cut radiant can appear to have a better diamond color than a stone with a simpler cut.
  • Extra facets can help conceal diamond flaws and inclusions for overall better clarity.
  • Properly proportioned, radiant cuts maximize the diamond carats by using more of the gem in visible ways, rather than obscuring useless weight beneath the surface of the stone.
  • Because they don't have the delicate corners of the princess cut, radiant-cut diamonds are more durable and may be more suitable for an active lifestyle.

Radiant Cut Quality

For maximum brilliance and a kaleidoscope of diamond fire, a precise cut is crucial for a radiant diamond shape. The cut's precision creates the heavy reflection and refraction within the stone and eliminates many dark areas or obvious shadows. An improperly cut diamond will have lower value and a less brilliant appearance, dampening the effect of its unusual shape.

According to Lumera Diamonds, the best radiant cuts will have a "table" or flat top surface that takes up more than 61% of the diamond's visible width. The diamond's depth, or the height of the diamond when viewed from the side, will be 61% or more of its width. The "culet," or the sharp bottom end that points toward your finger, shouldn't be clipped or faceted. All these factors contribute to a radiant-cut diamond's quality.

Most consumers assume that a proper radiant cut must be square with an equal length-to-width ratio, but in fact many stunning radiant cuts are rectangular. The shape and quality of the uncut diamond will determine the final dimensions of the radiant cut.

Pricing of Radiant-Cut Diamonds

Like any diamond, the radiant cut is priced based on the four Cs of diamond quality. According to Blue Nile, the radiant cut is one of the least expensive diamond shapes on the market in terms of per-carat cost, although it is significantly more expensive than the emerald cut.

It's important to note that because a radiant cut can hide inclusions and enhance diamond color, you may find that you can place clarity and color at a lower priority than cut and carat. This can allow you to purchase a larger radiant cut diamond.

Best Settings for the Radiant Cut

This diamond shape lends itself to a wide range of ring styles. It looks lovely as a solitaire, as well as in a three-stone ring. You'll also see radiant cuts in wedding bands.

It's best not to use a bezel setting with this cut, since the surrounding metal can dampen the famous fire and limit light reflection. You'll definitely need a minimum of four prongs, typically placed at the clipped corners of the diamond, to securely hold the stone in place.

Shopping for Loose Radiant-Cut Diamonds

Shopping for a radiant-cut diamond is like looking for any other shape; the same diamond basics apply. However, because the cut quality is so important with this diamond shape, many couples prefer to purchase the gem loose and then have it set in the ring of your choice. Many stores carry a good selection of radiant cuts over one carat in size, but the selection of smaller diamonds may be limited. This means that you may need to shop around to find the carat weight you have in mind.

If you're shopping locally, you can contact The Original Radiant Cut Diamond and have a diamond shipped to a local dealer for your consideration.

You can also find loose radiant cuts online:

  • Excel Diamonds - Here, you'll find an amazing selection of radiant cuts, which you can sort by cut quality, color, clarity, carat weight, and price.
  • James Allen - This store also has a great, searchable selection of radiants, and you can view magnified images of the specific diamonds you're considering.
  • Brilliance - If you're looking for a giant selection of radiant diamonds in all carat sizes, this is the place to shop. You can sort by the four Cs, as well as price.

Shopping for Rings with Radiant-Cut Diamonds

You can also buy your radiant-cut diamond pre-set in a ring. If you choose to do this, always make sure you examine the diamond certificate to find out about the gem's cut quality and other factors. It's important to note that on diamond certificates, radiant cuts are usually referred to by their technical specifications relative to standard cuts; the phrase "cut corner square modified brilliant" is actually a radiant cut.

You'll find pre-set options in your local jewelry store, as well as online.

Engagement Rings

A radiant cut can add a unique twist to a classic diamond solitaire engagement ring, or it can be accented with other radiant cuts or round gems for a coordinated design. These options provide a range of the styles available:

  • Certified Radiant-Cut Diamond Solitaire - This gorgeously simple ring from Brilliant Earth features a 2-carat radiant-cut colorless diamond set on a 18k white gold, split-shank band. It retails for about $5,000.
  • Three-Stone Radiant-Cut Diamond Ring - This beautiful three-stone ring from Zales boasts a radiant-cut diamond center flanked by two smaller radiant cut diamonds, each surrounded by a halo of round diamonds. This one-carat total weight ring is set in 14k white gold, and retails for about $2,400.
  • White Gold Radiant-Cut Diamond Ring - Sold by Amazon, this exceptional ring features a radiant-cut diamond surrounded by a frame of smaller, pave-set round diamonds. More round diamonds accent the 14k white gold shank, giving the ring a total weight of 1.4 carats. This ring retails for about $3,600.

Wedding Rings

Although radiant-cut diamonds are most often used in engagement rings, you can also find some wedding bands that feature this shape. Consider one of the following options:

  • Radiant-cut eternity band from Blue River Diamonds
    Radiant-cut diamond eternity ring from Blue River Diamonds
    Radiant-Cut Diamond Eternity Ring - This stunning band from Blue Nile features five carats of matched radiant-cut diamonds set in a shining platinum band. It retails for $12,500.
  • Radiant-Cut Five-Stone Wedding Band - Set in platinum, five radiant-cut diamonds sparkle atop this wedding band from Blue Nile. The total diamond weight is one carats, and this ring retails for about $4,600.

Sparkle and Distinction

A radiant-cut diamond is a gorgeous hybrid diamond cut that maximizes brilliance while retaining a unique square or rectangular shape. By understanding the unique properties of this diamond shape, couples can find beautiful radiants to celebrate their engagement or other special occasion with sparkle and distinction.

Guide to Radiant Cut Diamonds