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Ask a Diamond Pro: Looking For Square Radiant With Sparkle

By Mike Fried,

There are many diamond shapes out there with some more popular than others. Classic shapes like the round brilliant cut or oval cut are usually the most requested ones. 

Some people, however, like to have something more unique on their finger and they opt for shapes like the radiant cut diamond. 

One of those people was a reader of ours who was after a 0.50-1ct radiant cut for a custom-made setting. 

Radiant cut diamond ring
A radiant cut diamond ring

Here’s the reader’s original email:

I am looking at having a custom engagement ring and wedding band made but am still chewing on the best center diamond for the engagement ring. The diamond style of choice is radiant but as you have so aptly pointed out on your website, there is no ”official” grading system that is consistent for all diamond shapes.

My main trouble right now is related to the optimum table/depth percentages for a radiant diamond. I am fairly comfortable with the other baseline characteristics (VS1 or better, H or better, VG cut or better, 0.5-1 carat) that I have been looking at.

I realize that light performance related to how light moves around the diamond is very key to how it looks hence the table/depth question.

Additionally, the center diamond will be mounted down into a setting with surrounding diamonds similar to the Tiffany Novo or Ben Bridge #10811669 setting. The primary difference between what I am looking to have made and the examples is that the center diamond will not stick up as far since I don’t want it getting caught and the ring damaged (my girlfriend is a teacher).

My budget right now is the 2-2.5k range for the center diamond (The settings custom-made with the jewelers I have talked to are averaging 1.5k).

Any advice about the table/depth, etc is greatly appreciated. If you have additional concerns regarding the light performance with the center diamond being more captive than usual, please feel free to let me know.

Thank you

It’s true that GIA doesn’t give specific cut grades to radiant cut diamonds (to be more specific, GIA only gives cut grades to round cut diamonds). That makes finding a good diamond slightly more difficult. 

Another potential issue here is that the reader wants a clarity grade of VS1 or better. That on its own isn’t a big problem (he is going to end up with a perfectly clean diamond), but it’s rather necessary to aim that high. The higher the clarity grade, the higher the price. And if you have a limited budget, it’s better to use it towards things you can actually see, like the diamond’s cut and carat weight.

How To Pick a Radiant Cut Diamond

Radiant cut diamonds have the gorgeous geometrical shape of emerald cuts but the brilliance of a round cut diamond. After the round cut, a radiant is the most brilliant diamond out there. It’s a perfect shape for people who want great brilliance in a unique shape. 

Unlike princess cut diamonds, radiant cuts can be either square or rectangular. It just depends on your or your partner’s taste. In this case, the reader wanted a square diamond which means that the length:width ratio should be between 1.00 and 1.04.

Square and rectangular radiant cut diamonds compared
Radiant cut diamonds with different L:W ratios: left – 1.04, right – 1.28

Radiant cuts have so many looks to them which makes it really hard to pick one without seeing at least a picture of it. That’s why we always recommend finding an online vendor that offers high-quality images/videos, such as James Allen or Blue Nile

Characteristics Of a Radiant Cut Diamond

As for the cut itself, if you stay below 72% of the depth, you should be alright. And as long as you keep the table percentage below 70%, you’re on a good path to a stunning diamond. 

Next, you should pay attention to diamond color and clarity. Since radiants show their true color easier than rounds, you should be more careful here. G/H color is the best balance between brightness without any yellow tints and price. And in case you opt for a yellow gold setting, you can afford to stop the color grade down to “I”.

Good diamond clarity is crucial with every shape. However, radiant cut diamonds are pretty good at hiding inclusions, so you can usually find an SI or VS clarity diamond without noticeable imperfections. 

Radiant cut diamond basic information

Radiant Cut Diamonds for $2,000

The reader’s budget for the center diamond alone was around $2k-$2.5k. That’s enough money to find a beautiful diamond around 1ct. But because there aren’t that many square radiant diamonds, the options were somewhat limited. But not impossible. After a lot of searching, he ended up with a beautiful G VS1 diamond similar to this 0.83ct diamond from James Allen.


Radiant cuts are gorgeous diamonds that give an engagement ring a unique spin. If you follow the basic rules we talk about in our guide to radiant cut diamonds, you shouldn’t have a problem finding one that has lots of brilliance and minimal inclusions. 

And if you find any issues or have any questions along the way, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our experts. We’re here to help you with anything diamond and engagement ring related. 

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What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
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