The Diamond Pro

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

By Michael Fried
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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.

Highly brilliant, both the radiant and princess cuts are popular alternatives to the round brilliant cut. 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 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 has inclusions close to its corners.

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.

0.80ct H VS2 radiant cut Blue Nile
0.80ct H/VS2 Radiant Cut from Blue Nile

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.

Which Cut Has the Most Brilliance?

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.

1.20ct pricness cut from Blue Nile
1.20ct H/VS2 Princess Cut from Blue Nile

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.

Conclusion

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.

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.

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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