Radiant Cut Diamond Guide

Looking for a rectangular shape, possibly elongated, but don’t feel like getting a step cut ? The perhaps the radiant cut is just what you’re looking for. Check out this guide on radiant cut diamond, what they’re best at, and what you need to look for.

What is a radiant cut diamond ?

Radiant cut diamonds are a brilliant cut style applied to a rectangular shape, and these diamonds are usually elongated rectangles but you may also find them as squares. Radiant cuts have clipped corners, beveled corners on the crown, a brilliant style facets on the pavilion.

This diamond cut style is among the newest, first made in 1977 by Henry Grossbard. The radiant combines the traditional appeal and charm of a brilliant cut with the modern feel of a rectangular shape. It has gained a lot of traction since then, as many diamonds shapes and styles have come up but they didn’t become mainstream. Here are a few pointes on what a radiant cut usually looks like, and what you can expect form it.

Get a good length to width ratio

Radiant cut diamonds are rectangular diamonds but they are most often elongated shapes. Now, this is a very personal decision and each person sees something different as beautiful. Most people opt for the elongated radiant, since it creates the illusion of long, slender, elegant fingers due to the diamond’s shape, but it also sparkles much more than an emerald cut with the same proportions.

Squared radiant diagram and actual squared radiant diamond

So the most sought-after length to width ratio is 1.30, which is very similar to the ideal one for an emerald cut. There are plenty of squared radiants as well, and those are a 1.1 ratio. Radiants that are just a little over 1.1  but aren’t exactly 1.25 may look a bit off, unless you set them east-west or add some side stones to create a look.

Always check symmetry and polish in any diamond

Radiant cut diamonds do not get a cut grade, only round brilliants do, but you should still check their symmetry and polish. Symmetry is how well both halves of the diamonds match each other, checks for lopsided areas, facets that are misaligned, and similar issues. All of these contribute to a good or poor light performance in your diamond, so be sure to get a diamond with the highest symmetry rating (usually noted as Excellent).

Radiant cut diamond ring, set in 14k gold. See it on Amazon

The same goes for polish, but this is a little different in that it looks at how well each facet is polished to become a smooth, gleaming surface which will allow in as much light and reflect all of it through the diamond.

Poorly cut elongated radiants might show a bowtie

Like other elongated brilliant cuts, the radiant may show a bowtie. That is an area in the pavilion where the diamond’s facets are aligned a bit poorly, but only due to the limitations that a brilliant cut style brings. The result is a darker band in the middle of the diamond, roughly in the shape of a bowtie. Sometimes the area is very dark, sometimes it’s just dull, sometimes it still manages to sparkle. It’s important to check the radiant cut in person, to see how light interacts with it at every angle but especially when face-up (as it will likely be worn).

Radiants tend to have a crushed ice effect

The flipside of all elongated brilliants with a bowtie, regardless of shapes, is the crushed ice effect. It’s almost like the diamond is making up for the dull area in the middle by focusing extra sparkle towards the ends. The facets appear smaller, so the sparkles towards the ends appear smaller, like crushed ice instead of chunks of ice.

Do radiant cut diamonds sparkle ?

Yes, radiant cut diamonds sparkle and they have smaller flashes of light, due to some crushed ice towards the tips of the diamond. The sparkle is not tiny but it is smaller than what you’d see in a round brilliant cut.

Read also: Asscher Cut Diamond Guide

What is the best color and clarity for a radiant cut ?

Color and clarity are a bit less important in a radiant cut, since this cut by its nature will help you mask a lower grade and most issues. Radiant cut diamonds tend to hide most imperfections, so clarity can go as low as VS2, or even an eye clean SI1 if you can find one without inclusions right under the table. For SI1 look for inclusions more towards the pavilion and culet, the facets will disperse them from there.

As for color, radiants can go as low as an H and still look white, but anything lower than that and you will start to see a bit of warmth where the crushed ice is. For example an I will start to look a bit warm but passable, while a J will be noticeable when set in white metal. So color is a bit personal, and we’d personally stop at an H but if you’re fine with warmer colors you could try an I. As long as it’s very well cut it should still look good.

What’s the best setting for a radiant diamond ?

Radiant diamonds are great as solitaires, especially those set in prongs. A personal favorite of ours is the double prong, since we think it works beautifully with the wider truncated shoulders of a radiant. If you’re looking to add any side stones small tapered baguettes or trapezoids are a great option.

Do radiant cut diamonds cost more ?

Radiant diamonds are actually among the more affordable diamonds, they don’t cost more than most diamonds. For reference a radiant with H color and VS2 clarity sells for an average of $4,200 per carat.  Meanwhile an emerald cut with the same specs sells for $4,700 per carat and a round brilliant for about $8,000.

So radiant cuts are in fact quite affordable, assuming you’re looking to get a solitaire setting and have the radiant be the main attraction. Any other stones on the ring (side stones or pave band) will raise the total cost.