The Diamond Pro

Radiant Cut vs. Cushion Cut: Key Differences To Be Aware Of

By Michael Fried
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Can’t decide between a radiant cut and cushion cut diamond? At first glance, these two diamond shapes can look quite similar. However, there are several key differences between them that can often make one shape a better choice than the other.

We’ve listed these differences — as well as key features the radiant and cushion cuts have in common — below.

Radiant vs. Cushion Cut Design

Like many other diamond shapes, radiant cut and cushion cut diamonds can look quite similar when they’re first viewed. They both have similarly large tables, rectangle-like outlines and a facet pattern that produces a high degree of brilliance.

However, there’s one key difference in design and cut that becomes apparent when you look at the radiant and cushion cuts more closely.

This is the difference in corner between these two different diamond shapes.

Radiant cut diamonds have beveled corners that are typically cut at a 45° angle. This gives the radiant cut a more geometric, angular shape. You can see these corners in this radiant cut diamond, which is pictured below with a diagram showing its shape and dimensions:

radiant cut diagram

Meanwhile, cushion cut diamonds have rounded, curved corners, giving it a shape that’s part rectangle and part circle. You can see these curved, smooth corners in the image below of this cushion cut diamond:

cushion cut diagram

By looking at the shape of a diamond’s corners, you’ll be able to tell if it’s a cushion cut or radiant cut diamond.

Although this doesn’t apply to every diamond, there’s often some difference in the length to width ratio of radiant cut and cushion cut diamonds.

Radiant cut diamonds come in a large variety of different length to width ratios, ranging from square to quite strongly rectangular. The cushion cut, on the other hand, usually has a length to width ratio in the 1.0-1.09 range, leading to a more square-like diamond shape. There are som elongated cushions out there, but it’s not a wide selection.

Which Cut Has the Most Brilliance?

As we’ve covered in our guide to the 4Cs, a variety of factors contribute to a diamond’s brilliance and fire.

Of these, the biggest is the quality of a diamond’s cut. Simply put, a diamond with a high cut quality will look more brilliant than a diamond with a fair or poor cut quality.

However, some diamond shapes are known for offering more brilliance than others.

In general, the radiant cut is known for offering better brilliance than the cushion cut. This is because the radiant cut has a large table and numerous facets, allowing it to take in and reflect a large amount of light to create a bright, beautiful sparkle.

The cushion cut is also very good at reflecting light and creating a bright, impressive brilliance. However, the cushion cut is better known for its fire (the ability to produce colored light reflections) than it is for its brilliance.

Which Cut is More Affordable?

Radiant cut and cushion cut diamonds both offer excellent value for money. This is because both cuts retain a large amount of the rough diamond that’s mined, cut and polished into the final product.

In our guide to the most affordable diamond shapes, we found that prices for radiant cut and cushion cut diamonds were very similar, with a 1 carat, J color, excellent cut diamond in either shape available for between $2,050 and $2,479.

Conclusion

The radiant cut and cushion cut are both excellent diamond shapes that offer a good combination of beauty, brilliance and timeless style. Because both cuts retain a large amount of the original rough diamond, they also both offer fantastic value for money, particularly when compared to the round brilliant cut.

If you need help deciding between a radiant or cushion cut, or just want to talk to our experts about buying a diamond, feel free to contact us. We can help you find the best diamond and engagement ring setting for your tastes and budget.

About the author
Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, PeopleMoney, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more. See more
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