Similar in shape to the untrained eye, if you’re looking for a rectangular diamond to act as your forever adornment, a radiant or simulated emerald cut diamond ring may be the right choice for you. Although these shapes share some traits, there are a few key differences that set them apart. Below, you’ll learn everything that you need to know when choosing between these dramatic stones. Read on to discover the differences between radiant cut vs emerald cut.
What Is a Radiant Cut Diamond
Designed by Henry Grossbard in 1977, the radiant cut diamond is a stylish square shape that was created to combine the all of the finest features of the round brilliant cut and the emerald cut.
Radiant cut diamonds are just that, radiant. So much so that this sparkly stunner was the first square cut diamond to feature a complete brilliant-cut facet pattern on both the pavilion and crown. What makes this so special you ask? Thanks to 70 kite shaped facets that radiate from the center of the stone, a radiant cut diamond features a vibrant sparkle that shimmers and shines when it catches the light. Many believe that the only stone that surpasses the radiant cut in brilliance is the round brilliant cut.
Due to their elongated shape, radiant cut diamonds appear larger than most other diamonds of the same carat weight. In addition, the radiant cut is much more durable than other stone shapes such as the princess cut due to its beveled corners which are less likely to chip with daily wear and tear.
However, as with any diamond shape, this style stone comes with a few cons. First, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) does not assess the quality of radiant cut diamonds. This means that if you want to know where your stone ranks in regards to quality you’ll need to work with a diamond expert. Secondly, radiant cut diamonds are susceptible to something referred to as the bow tie effect. The bow tie effect occurs when a dark area runs left to right across the center of a stone and is a common defect in many fancy shapes such as an oval cut diamond, pear shape diamond or a marquise cut diamond.
What Is an Emerald Cut Diamond
Reminiscent of the streamlined style of 1920s art deco architecture, emerald cut diamonds are recognizable for their elongated, rectangular shape and chiseled step cut features. A diamond in this style is recognizable by its linear facets that run parallel down the stone and for its large sparkling surface table that reflects both colorful and white light.
Similar to a radiant cut diamond, judging the quality of an emerald cut diamond can be difficult as the GIA grades the symmetry and polish of such fancy shapes but does not have an industry wide standard for cut quality.
As mentioned above, every diamond shape has its pros and cons, here is what you need to know about emerald cuts. First, the pros. Emerald cut diamonds can be purchased for a lower price per carat than most diamond shapes. Stones in this style are also relatively easy to find both online and in brick and mortar shops. People like the emerald cut for its elegant appearance and a stone in this style is sure to wow. Now for the cons. Due to the glassy nature of this shape, stone inclusions are easier to spot with the naked eye. To avoid this you will want to shop for an emerald cut diamond of a higher clarity grade. Secondly, due to their design and facet pattern, emerald cut diamonds aren’t famous for their brilliance and can sometimes appear less bright and sparkly than other cuts available.
Length to Width Ratio
How proportional a diamond is with its intended shape is determined by its length to width ratio. This number can be found by simply dividing the stone’s length by its width.
Radiant Cut Diamond: The Diamond Pro described the length to width ratio for radiant cut diamonds as the following, “The ratio you choose for your radiant diamond is entirely dependent on what you find to be the most aesthetically pleasing. A common range for radiant length to width ratios is 1.00 - 1.35, with the lower end indicating a more square shape. Length to width ratios can go up to 2.0 for a more rectangular shape.”
Emerald Cut Diamond: The Diamond Pro described the length to width ratio for emerald cut diamonds as the following, “A classic rectangular emerald cut diamond ranges from 1.30 to 1.60, while most people choose a ratio close to 1.50. Review a handful of emerald cut diamonds to determine which length to width ratio you prefer. Consider also how the diamond will look in your desired setting.”
Diamond clarity is measured according to the GIA’s Diamond Clarity Scale and is represented by the absence of blemishes and inclusions in a stone. Many inclusions cannot be seen with the naked eye but they will impact the value of your stone.
Radiant Cut Diamond:Thanks to their intense brilliance, inclusions in a low clarity radiant cut diamond can be tricky to spot. Stick to a stone with either an SI1 or SI2 clarity grade for an eye-clean gem with no noticeable inclusions to the naked eye. If you’re trying to work within a certain budget you can consider an I1 diamond to save some extra cash. On the flipside, if you’re looking for a stone that’s two carats or larger, you’ll want to consider upping the clarity to VS2 since larger diamonds are more likely to show inclusions.
Emerald Cut Diamond: Unlike radiant cut diamonds, diamonds with step cut features don’t hide imperfections so you’ll have to pay special attention to clarity when searching for your center stone. For an eye-clean emerald cut diamond that won’t break the bank, aim for a stone with a VS2 clarity grade. However, the larger you go the more visible the imperfections of a VS2 stone can become so keep this in mind when shopping for an emerald cut diamond that’s three carats or larger.
Engagement Ring Settings
A lot of thought goes into choosing your dream engagement ring, including which engagement ring setting best suits your selected diamond shape. From full out glam to simplistic and refined, some settings will fit your radiant or emerald cut stone better than others.
Radiant Cut Diamond: Already larger in appearance than the popular princess cut diamond and round brilliant cut diamond, a halo engagement ring setting will take your radiant cut diamond to the next level. Other popular styles for radiant cuts include bezel-set solitaire engagement rings and three stone settings where the center stone is framed by a baguette cut diamond on either side.
Emerald Cut Diamond: When it comes to diamond engagement ring settings, emerald cuts pair nicely with more understated styles such as a sleek solitaire band or a simple pave setting. Or if you want just a little more bling, look for stylish three stone emerald cut diamond settings for some extra shine. Emerald cut diamonds are a lot more understated when looking at emerald cut vs princess cut.
The question on everyone’s mind, how much do emerald and radiant cut diamonds cost?
Radiant Cut Diamond: Because the cutting process for a radiant cut diamond uses much of the original rough diamond, stones in this style can be sold at a lower price.
Emerald Cut Diamond: A good choice for those looking for a larger stone without breaking the bank, an emerald cut diamond will typically appear larger and cost less than other diamonds of the same carat weight.
Now that you know the differences and benefits of each diamond cut, you can make a more informed decision when looking for a ring. If one of these cuts piques your interest more than the other, browse our collections of simulated emerald cut and radiant cut diamond rings today!
*Here at Diamond Nexus, we strive to provide valuable information while being clear and honest about our products. The Nexus Diamond™ alternative is a patented lab created diamond simulate that, among all simulants, most closely imitates the look, weight and wear of a diamond, with two exceptions - it is absolutely perfect in every way, and it costs significantly less. Price points and environmental facts expressed in this blog were taken from popular online retailers and may vary. Learn more about the environmental impact of mining by visiting our blog.