Want to propose with a timeless yet less traditional engagement ring? Radiant cut and emerald cut diamonds are both a beautiful choice.
While just 2.8% of people wear an emerald-cut diamond engagement ring, and only 1.4% wear a radiant cut, these jewels are proving particularly popular in 2023.
Available in either square or rectangular styles, radiant and emerald cuts may appear similar at first glance. After all, they both have clean, straight lines and bevelled corners.
That said, it’s important to understand the distinct qualities of radiant vs emerald cut diamonds when exploring which one best suits your soon bride-to-be.
We’re here to guide you in the right direction. At Simon Curwood Jewellers, our dedicated experts have been helping clients to compare various diamond cuts for decades.
Below, we explain the core differences between a radiant cut and emerald cut diamond so that you can choose the perfect centre stone for your engagement ring.
What is an emerald cut diamond?
An emerald cut diamond features stepped facets that lie in parallel lines down the length of a rectangular stone, guiding your eye towards its centre. Whereas other diamond cuts strive to enhance sparkle, the emerald cut’s long, stepped facets emphasise clarity and colour.
Initially known as a ‘multi-faceted table cut’, this gorgeous style originated during the Art Deco era. In the 1920s, it was the preferred style for emerald gems, and its name soon changed. The cut took its shape as it shines today in the 1940s, with the emergence of more advanced diamond-cutting tools.
Ever since, emerald cut diamonds have been favoured for their sleek, elegant and minimalist aesthetic.
What is a radiant cut diamond?
A radiant cut diamond combines the angular shape of an emerald cut with the fabulous scintillation of a round brilliant cut. Radiant cut diamonds are usually square or rectangular, with 70 facets adorning the stone’s crown and pavilion.
This relatively new cut was developed by Henry Grossbard in 1977 and is now one of the most popular engagement ring choices in Australia, thanks to its exceptional sparkle. Thanks to its many facets, this cut reflects light extremely well for a truly dazzling brilliance.
Please note that, as Grossbard patented the term ‘radiant cut’, the diamond’s certificate may refer to it as a ‘rectangular brilliant’ or ‘‘cut-cornered square’.
Radiant vs emerald cut diamonds: What is the difference?
Emerald cut diamonds have been a stunning choice for engagement rings and other fine jewellery for over a hundred years. However, radiant cut diamonds are quickly becoming as popular amongst those who favour rectangular-shaped stones.
Not sure which diamond cut to select?
Read on to discover the key distinctions between a radiant vs emerald cut diamond.
The number and style of facets are the most fundamental difference between radiant cut vs emerald cut diamonds.
Whereas an emerald cut features 50 to 58 step-cut facets depending on the diamond’s dimensions, a radiant cut showcases 70 triangular-shaped facets that fan out from the centre of the stone to boost its brilliance.
2. Scintillation (sparkle)
Radiant and emerald cut diamonds catch the light in their own lovely ways.
As emerald cuts have fewer facets, they reflect less light than a radiant cut counterpart. Rest assured, the parallel step-cut still stands out, creating a fantastic “hall of mirrors” sparkle in the right light.
Conversely, radiant cut diamonds were designed for maximum sparkle, with the abundance of facets making for an intense fire and brilliance.
The key takeaway?
If you love the wow-factor dazzle of a round brilliant cut diamond, then you would most likely rather a radiant cut. In comparison, emerald cuts offer a more subtle glimmer - with striking flashes of sparkle in the right light.
Clarity is an important consideration when choosing your diamond. The greater a stone’s clarity, the fewer internal flaws (also known as inclusions) it has.
Radiant cuts conceal natural inclusions very well thanks to their additional facets and brilliance, which can make a diamond with a lower clarity grade seem perfect.
On the contrary, emerald cuts benefit from a higher clarity grade, as the long facets mean inclusions may be more visible. Due to its large open table, you can see through the diamond and observe any imperfections within.
As an emerald cut has a relatively reduced colour concentration, you may consider opting for a lower colour grade to prioritise a higher clarity.
4. Ideal dimensions
A diamond’s ratio refers to its shape. The nearer the number to 1.00, the more square the stone.
Emerald cut diamonds tend to have a length-to-width ratio of 1.30 to 1.60, with an ‘optimal’ proportion of 1.40. In contrast, radiant cut diamonds usually have a ratio between 1.00 and 1.35, with the ‘optimal’ proportion being 1.25.
Essentially, this means that the width of the diamond would ideally be 40% or 25% its length, depending on its cut.
However, these ideal dimensions are merely a guideline. The best proportions for your ring are a matter of personal preference.
5. Carat weight and apparent size
Emerald and radiant cut diamonds generally appear larger in size than round brilliant cut diamonds with the same number of carats.
In the case of emerald cuts, the top surface of the stone is genuinely larger than that of an equal-weight round brilliant diamond.
Meanwhile, radiant cuts actually have a smaller face-up measurement than round brilliant cuts of a similar weight - yet they will still look larger thanks to their exceptional brilliance.
But in terms of radiant vs emerald cut, which one looks larger? With similar overall shapes, these cuts will appear equal in size if they share the same measurements.
On average, radiant cut diamonds tend to be more expensive than emerald cut diamonds, due to the degree of skill required to create such a sparkly style.
That being said, the cost of each individual diamond will vary according to a range of additional factors, including carat, colour and clarity.
At Simon Curwood Jewellers, we are happy to assist you with any questions you may have regarding the price of your diamond - and how to strike the right balance between the ‘four Cs’ for your budget.
Is a radiant or emerald cut diamond right for you?
If you are searching for a diamond with an angular shape, both radiant and emerald cuts are exquisite choices. When weighing up radiant vs emerald cut diamonds, it all comes down to your personal preference.
A radiant diamond is wonderful for those who adore a modern look with the sophistication of an emerald cut and the glamorous glistening of a round brilliant cut.
On the other hand, if you love a clean and classic aesthetic with an elegant glint of sparkle, then an emerald cut diamond engagement ring may be the perfect choice.
Purchase the perfect radiant or emerald cut diamond ring
Discover breathtaking emerald cut engagement rings online and instore with Simon Curwood Jewellers. We also offer a stunning collection of radiant cut diamond rings, including this pink zirconia radiant halo ring and this purple zirconia radiant halo ring.
Alternatively, create your own custom emerald cut or radiant cut diamond engagement ring with our online ring builder.
Made with exceptional craftsmanship by our jewellery ateliers in Australia, all of our diamond rings are designed to last a lifetime.