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Radiant Cut vs. Princess Cut Diamonds: Which Are Best?

By Mike Fried,

Radiant cut and princess cut diamonds can both look absolutely stunning, whether set in an engagement ring or in a pair of earrings, a pendant or other diamond jewelry.

Although the round brilliant cut is the most popular diamond shape, accounting for around two thirds of all sales according to data from Blue Nile published by Rapaport, the radiant cut and princess cut are both popular alternatives.

With their square or rectangular shape and great level of brilliance, it’s common for people to view these diamond shapes as similar to one another.

Below, we’ve compared the radiant and princess cuts. Our comparison looks at everything from appearance and facet pattern to brilliance, value for money and more to help you chose the best diamond for your tastes and budget.

radiant vs. princess cut diamond
To help you with the diamond buying process we lean on our expertise and experience. The author of this article, our CEO, Mike Fried has over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. Mike started from the bottom, sorting and evaluating hundreds of thousands of diamonds to learn every facet (pun intended) of diamond quality and value. Mike followed that up by spending years buying and selling diamonds on the wholesale market as well as selling tens of millions of dollars worth of diamonds to diamond retailers.

Radiant vs. Princess Cut Design

From an aesthetic perspective, the radiant and princess cuts share several common features. They’re both angular, geometric diamonds with a square or rectangular shape. They also both have large tables.

However, this is where the similarities end and the differences in design start to begin. While the princess cut has square corners, the radiant cut has beveled corners that give it a less geometric appearance.

From a durability perspective, this is a point in the radiant cut’s favor. As we covered in our princess cut guide, the sharp corners of the princess cut are prone to chipping, especially if the diamond features inclusions close to its corners.

As the GIA explains, “diamond are not impervious to damage, since their hardness is uneven along different crystal directions.” This means that despite being extremely hard, it’s possible for the sharp, angular corners of the princess cut to become visibly damaged if they brush against another object from a harsh angle.

While the princess cut is square and generally looks its size when set in a ring, the radiant cut is usually rectangular and has a long diagonal measurement that makes it appear larger than its carat weight.

Radiant diamond with graph measurements
2.01ct Radiant diamond with graph measurements

With this said, some radiant cut diamonds do have proportions closer to a square than a rectangle, although these only account for a small portion of radiant diamonds sold.

Finally, the princess cut has a larger table than the radiant cut. This gives it a unique, impressive appearance, but can make it easier to spot inclusions in some princess cut diamonds. However, the facet pattern of the princess cut usually does a very good job of making inclusions difficult to notice.

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Which Cut Has the Most Brilliance?

Brilliance refers to a diamond’s ability to take in and reflect white light. A diamond’s brilliance depends largely on its cut quality — as the American Gem Society (AGS) explains, a well cut diamond “will have more life and sparkle than one with a lesser cut quality.”

No two diamonds are identical, meaning that other factors like cut quality can affect the brilliance of a diamond just as much as its shape.

With this in mind, a radiant cut diamond will usually reflects more light than an equally well-cut princess diamond, making it the slightly better choice if you’re looking for optimal brilliance, fire and sparkle.

However, a well-cut princess diamond can also be exceptionally brilliant, meaning that either shape is a good choice if you’re looking for a beautiful diamond that’s designed to reflect light. The radiant and princess cut both have similar numbers of facets (70 vs. 76 for the modern princess cut), making them very similar in terms of brilliance and sparkle.

Which Cut is More Durable?

This is one area in which the radiant cut is the clear winner. As we briefly mentioned above, the sharp, square corners of the princess cut can chip if the diamond brushes up against a hard surface.

As such, the radiant cut will usually be a better choice if your fiancé-to-be has an active lifestyle.

Which Cut is More Affordable?

As we covered in our guide to the most affordable diamond shapes, the princess cut is one of the most affordable diamond shapes. This is because the cutting process for a princess cut diamond uses the largest percentage of the original rough diamond, with very little going to waste.

Princess cut diamond with graph measurements
2.03ct Princess cut diamond with graph measurements

On average, we found that the princess cut is about 40% less expensive than the round brilliant cut.

However, the radiant cut also uses a large percentage of the diamond rough and, as such, offers excellent value for money. In our comparison, we found that the radiant cut is about 10% more expensive than the princess cut and 34% less expensive than an equivalent round brilliant cut diamond.


Between the radiant cut and the princess cut, neither is the “best” choice for everyone. The princess cut offers a classic, beautiful look, with a design that was developed in the mid-20th century and a great level of brilliance.

The radiant cut offers a more modern shape, a slightly larger appearance, improved durability and a modest increase in brilliance and sparkle. Both shapes offer excellent value for money, although the princess cut had a slight edge in our comparisons.

If you need help finding the right radiant or princess cut diamond, contact us. Our experts can help you find the best diamond for your personal tastes and budget.

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. They have the largest exclusive loose diamond inventory online and fantastic prices. They also have the nicest collection of lab-created diamonds online.
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free International Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
  • Best-in-class high quality imagery of all diamonds in stock
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Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well-known internet jewelry seller. They have a very large exclusive online inventory. Their high-quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. 
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
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
  • Best in class fulfillment
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About the author

Mike Fried Mike Fried Mike Fried has over 25 years experience in the diamond industry working with Leo Schachter Diamonds, Moshe Namdar Diamonds, and joining The Diamond Pro in 2007. He is recognized as an industry expert and has been quoted in publications such as Us, People, Page Six, The Next Web and more.

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