Radiant Cut Diamond Buying Guide (Maximizing Sparkle)

As a matter of fact, the radiant cut diamond can be very bright and lusterous. That's why they call it a radiant cut. However, it is also popular because it's a blend of different shapes and styles. On the one hand a radiant diamond can be rectangular or square shape like the emerald cut. At the same time, it sparkles like a cushion, princess, or modern round brilliant cut diamond.

Radiant Cut Diamond Buying Guide

Under those circumstances, the radiant cut is perfect for people who like something different. After all, it's basically a blend of characteristics from other popular diamond shapes.

Although that may be true, you'll still have to decide whether you prefer a square or rectangular radiant. Even though the majority of them are not perfectly square or all that rectangular. As a matter of fact, it might be more accurate to say that they're kind of squarish or slightly rectangular.

For example, this radiant cut diamond from Blue Nile has a length to width ratio of 1.31:1.00. In that case, the outline of the diamond looks more rectangular than square. However, the shape of the diamond does not really look like a perfect rectangle. In fact, a perfect rectangle has a length to width ratio closer to 1.50:1.00.

What is a Radiant Cut?

Radiant cut diamonds are a mix of step-cut and brilliant-cut facet configurations. In the first place, the (top) crown feature some step-cut facets like an emerald shape. Secondly, the (bottom) pavilion section has facets that create brilliance similar to the princess and round brilliant.

Example of facet structure for rectangular brilliant.

The facet diagram on the left is one version of the radiant configuration. However, there are many different designs for this popular diamond shape. As a result of mixing the facet styles, this shape tends to hide inclusions better than Asscher or emerald cut diamonds.

In terms of the overall shape, a radiant cut diamond will be square or rectangular in shape with cut corners. The original design was patented by Henry Grossbard in the late 1970s. However, the patent is no longer in force and many other companies produce this shape. That may explain why there is no consistency to be found.

Shopping for Radiant Cut Diamond Rings:

Obviously, there is a lot to consider when you're shopping for radiant cut diamond rings. In the first place, there are the obvious factors, such as:

Then there are less obvious factors that most people fail to account for when buying a fancy shape diamond. In the first place, there is no consistency to be found in the classification for radiant cut dimaonds. That means that every one of them is different and no two are the same.

Rectangular Brilliant GIA Proportions Diagram

In other words, there are a myriad of facet patterns and the outline is always different. Then there are the characteristics that nobody seems to want to talk about. Like the proportions, the degree of optical precision, and the light performance those factors combine to create.

As a matter of fact, the GIA Laboratory doesn't even provide enough details to determine the proportions. In other words, the proportions diagram on the left shows only the total depth and table diameter measurements. In that case, you're basically in the dark because there's no way to determine the balance of brilliance and dispersion.

Under those cicrumstances, we're going to make a rather bold suggestion. In the event that you're looking for a radiant cut diamond engagement ring, just let us do the legwork. The most compelling evidence for why this is a good idea appears below. As a matter of fact, we're sure you'll reach the same conclusion.

Radiant Cut Diamond Length to Width Ratio:

As a matter of fact, the length to width ratio of a diamond enables us to visualize the shape. In order to calculate the length to width ratio, simply divide the length by the width. The radiant cut shown above measures 7.59 x 5.78 x 3.75 mm. In that case, you divide 7.59 / 5.78 = 1.31314879 and round it off to 1.31:1.00.

As a matter of fact, most radiants will have a length to width ratio between 1.00-1.35 to 1.00. Obviously, a perfectly square radiant will have a length to width ratio of one to one (1.00:1.00). While a picture perfect rectangle shape will be closer to 1.50:1.00. Although that may be true, the outline of this diamond shape is not set in stone.

Scalloped Pavé setting from Blue Nile

Under those circumstances, it helps to be flexible when shopping for radiant diamond rings. In the first place, you're really going to limit your options if you insist on a specific length to width ratio. Especially since I'm going to recommend a very narrow range of proportions in a moment.

Secondly, it's nearly impossible to find a perfecly square or rectangular radiant. In that case, you might drive yourself crazy if you don't have a lot of time and patience. On the other hand, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it's your ring. So, if you've got the time and the patience, we'll look for whatever radiant shape you prefer.

Speaking of ring styles and preferences, how do you like this scalloped pavé setting from Blue Nile? It's quite popular with our clients and looks simply stunning.

Where to Buy Radiant Cut Diamond Rings:

There are lots of stores to choose from in the event that you're shopping for a radiant diamond ring. However, that doesn't mean that all of them are a good all around choice. As a matter of fact, there are several factors to consider when buying an engagement ring.

In the first place, the company needs to be reputable and provide good customer service. Secondly, you want to know that they're going to be there for you if there is an unforseen issue. For example, what if your girlfriend doesn't like the ring? Is your local jewelry store going to take it back or exchange it for another?

On the one hand, your local jeweler might take it back or give you credit towards another ring. Of course, they might not and I've seen a lot of guys get stuck with rings that they no longer need. I'm not trying to be a bummer, but I am a realist and I like to have a contingency plan.

In that case, I recommend that you work with vendors who offer a reasonable inspection and return period. For example, Blue Nile offers 30-day hassle free returns and so does James Allen and Ritani.*

Under those circumstances, you can buy the ring, and still have time to plan the perfect proposal. For instance, maybe your girlfriend will like this French Halo setting from Ritani and maybe she won't. Either way, your bases are covered.

Best Places to Buy Radiant Cut Diamonds:

In the event that you're looking for a lab-grown diamond, then James Allen and Ritani are your best bet. However, be sure to read our article on the differences between natural and lab-grown diamonds.

Obviously, the French Halo setting by Ritani on the right is a very popular setting. As a matter of fact, you can find pictures of it all over Instagram. After all, women love this ring style because the halo setting makes the center stone look bigger.

2-carat radiant cut diamond halo setting

How to Choose a Radiant Cut Diamond:

Obviously, we want to help you find the most spectacular looking radiant diamond possible. With that in mind, this is the point where we normally start talking about proportions. After all, the pavilion angle of the diamond is going to dictate the volume of light return. While the crown angle determines the balance of brilliance and dispersion.

Scalloped Pavé setting from Blue Nile

However, it's not likely that you're going to predict the light performance of a radiant with any degree of accuracy. Because there is no consistency of facet structure or the outline of this diamond shape. In that case, the only alternative is to evaluate the light performance using Advanced ASET.

Although that may be true, the majority of diamond dealers are not going to want to provide you with those images. In the first place, it's because they know that radiant cut diamonds leak a lot of light. Under those circumstances, it's like providing you with the insight that is going to talk you out of buying their stone.

In that case, it's much better to simply say: "Doesn't this radiant cut diamond look stunning in this scalloped pavé setting from Blue Nile?" Which is exactly how most engagement rings are sold.

Radiant Cut Diamond Proportions Chart:

As a matter of fact, we don't really think that it's possible to buy a radiant cut diamond by the numbers. In other words, the inconsistent nature of the facet structure and shape make it virtually impossible. However, we also know that you're still going to try and do it.

With that in mind, we're providing you with the following radiant cut diamond proportions chart. On the condition that you understand that this is like sending you off in search of the holy grail. Of course, we're going to prove that in just a moment. However, first, we're going to show you this emerald cut diamond proportions chart. And then, we're going to tell you that it also works for radiant diamonds (because it does).

Radiant Cut Diamond Proportions Chart

The Quest for the Holy Grail:

Obviously, it's one thing to know what to look for and something else entirely to try and find it. Although that may be true, we're perfectly willing to give it the old college try. In other words, we'll give it a shot because it will only take us a minute to search.

After all, our trade status gives us access to the multiple listing service that dealers use to trade diamonds globally. In that case, we can run a search with just a few clicks of our mouse:

How to Search for Diamonds Wholesale.

Obviously, we can't show you everything for proprietary reasons. However, you can see the search criteria that we use when looking for radiant diamonds.

The Search Criteria:
  • Shape: Radiant.
  • Size: 1.00 to 10 carats.
  • Clarity: VS-2 to Flawless.
  • Fluorescence: Negligible to Strong Blue.
  • Total Depth: 60 - 65%.
  • Table Diameter: 60 - 65%.
  • Grading Report: AGS or GIA.
  • Polish: AGS Ideal or GIA Excellent.
  • Symmetry: AGS Ideal or GIA Excellent.
  • Media: Clarity Photograph.

As a matter of fact, we found one diamond and it's the radiant pictured at the top of this page. If we remove the clarity photograph from the criteria, then there are five options to choose from. But, how are you supposed to know what it's going to look like without a photograph?

Cross-referencing the Details:
James Allen Diamond Reviews

Under the circumstances, the only option is to try and cross-reference the details in hopes of finding some pictures. As a matter of fact, I was able to find one of the diamonds by lab report number. In that case, there is video for this 1.60 carat, E-color, VS-1 clarity, Radiant cut diamond from James Allen.

And that's good because the GIA does not provide all the details on the lab report. That is to say that the GIA does not provide crown or pavilion measurements for fancy shape diamonds. Given that you need those measurements to estimate the light return, that's kind of a problem.

In that event, the only thing we can do is look at the diamond from a side profile in the video. That means that we can try to visually estimate the crown height. 

Obviously, that's not as accurate as having the actual measurement. However, there isn't much else that we can do about that. After all, we're not going to change how the GIA Laboratory does things. In this case, the crown height looks a little shallower than we prefer. That means the diamond will probably exhibit more brilliance, but also a little less dispersion.

GIA Excellent vs Very Good Cut:

Although we don't like to do it, the next step is to open up the range for polish and symmetry. In other words, we might consider diamonds with only very good polish and symmetry. However, we don't like to do that because of the differences between GIA Excellent and Very Good Cut. Be that as it may, there are only five options with a photograph available today.

James Allen Radiant Diamond Reviews

This 1.01 carat, E-color, VS-1 clarity, Radiant cut diamond from James Allen has very good symmetry. Of course, we prefer that the symmetry grade be excellent. However, it helps to be flexible about the characteristics when shopping for fancy shape diamonds. Otherwise, you might not very much variety in terms of options.

As a matter of fact, if you look at this diamond from a side profile, you'll see that it has a little more crown height. In that case, it's probably going to exhibit a better balance of brilliance and dispersion.

Be that as it may, you also have to consider whether or not you like the outline. In other words, do you like the overall shape of this radiant diamond? Or might you prefer one that is a little more rectangular? Consequently, this isn't a trick question and there is not a right or wrong answer. It's simply a matter of personal taste.

Another "Very Good" Option:

James Allen Diamond Reviews.

This 1.02 carat, E-color, VVS-2 clarity, Radiant diamond from James Allen is another very good option. Obviously, we can't say that it's excellent because the symmetry is only very good. Once again, the total depth and table diameter measurements are within the right range. However, we don't know the crown height because the GIA doesn't provide that measurement.

In that case, you have to look at the diamond from the side profile in the video. From our perspective, the crown height looks a little shallower than we prefer. Under those circumstances, this diamond is likely to exhibit a little more brilliance. However, there might be a little less dispersion and fire.

Although this may be true, you also need to take the overall shape of the diamond into account. In other words, you have to decide whether you like this shape or not.

Obviously, these are the best of the five radiant cut diamonds with the right total depth and table measurement. At least as far as the options that also have a clarity photograph. Needless to say, shopping for radiant diamonds by the numbers is not as easy as it sounds.

Simply Radiant Sparkle Factor:

Ritani French Halo Setting with Radiant Cut

The sparkle factor of most radiant cut diamonds is different than other fancy shapes. From our perspective, they look a lot like crushed ice. As a matter of fact, it's not a look that we're really fond of. However, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and not everybody is going to like the same thing.

Although that may be true, this French Halo setting by Ritani seems to be something that people agree on. After all, it's one of the most popular setting styles for radiant diamond engagement rings. Be sure to ask us for a Ritani coupon code if you're ordering this ring.

Radiant Diamond Ring-spiration:

Blue Nile Radiant Cut Engagement Ring

Another setting that is popular with our clients is this pavé setting from Blue Nile. As a matter of fact, this is a good opportunity for you to compare setting styles. Because the Ritani ring above is a halo setting and this one is not.

In that case, you can see how the halo setting above makes the diamond look bigger. But, you can also see how the halo also changes the look of the diamond entirely. As a matter of fact, some people like halo settings and other people do not.

Once again, your preference for different setting styles is simply a matter of taste. With that in mind, you might prefer a traditional solitaire radiant diamond ring. Or, you might prefer something more elaborate like a pavé or halo setting. Obviously, the key is knowing what you like (or she likes) and what you don't.

Popular Settings for Radiant Diamond Rings:

Popular Alloys for Radiant Diamond Rings:

Of course, the most popular designs for radiant diamond rings are available in the following alloys:

  • 14k yellow gold / 14k white gold / 14k rose gold.
  • 18k yellow gold / 18k white gold / 18k rose gold.
  • Platinum.

As a matter of fact, I personally prefer 18k white gold to platinum. Because it has a tendency to look whiter and brighter. Whereas platinum tends to patina into a dull grey color with time. However, you might prefer platinum because of that very characteristic. Under those circumstances, it's helpful to see some rings that are older and become familiar with how they wear.

On that note, you might have heard that platinum is more durable than gold. Although that may be true, it's also a bit of a half-truth. In fact, platinum tends to hold up better to being rubbed against an abrasive surface. For example, it might hold up better to being dragged across a sheet of paper. In other words, platinum might be a good choice for a teacher who grades a lot of papers.

However, platinum tends to be more brittle than gold. In that case, a platinum prong might shear off upon impact. However, a white gold prong is more likely to bend with the impact and remain intact. In either case, you're going to need to take your ring in for repair if you strike it hard enough for that to happen.

Finding The One Isn't Easy:

With that in mind, we want to invite you to take advantage of our free Diamond Concierge Service. Just click on that link to begin and tell us what you're looking for.

For example, I'm looking for a 2 carat radiant cut diamond ring for $30K. You can also tell us about any preferences that you have for clarity, color, and blue fluorescence. And then, we'll do all the searching for you and find the best options available. That means that your time will be freed up to work on whatever you do best. How does that sound?

* Make sure to read the terms and conditions so that you understand the return policies of each vendor. As a matter of fact, each vendor will have their own terms and conditions. Under those circumstances, be sure to conduct your own due diligence before ordering.

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