The Diamond Pro

Q&A: Wants Fiery Square Diamond: Princess or Radiant?

The following is a real email conversation between The Diamond Pro and a reader just like you who contacted us.
Personal information is always removed. Learn from these posts, or contact us yourself to get free personalized help.

Hello- I am interested in purchasing a stone for an engagement ring. The ring setting itself will be the heavier trellis ring in platinum or white gold. I see that on Blue Nile, these rings can only be set with round, princess or asscher.

James Allen offers a larger variety of stone shapes for this setting, including radiant and cushion cut. I would like to purchase a square shaped stone. To me, the stone’s most important quality would be fire and scintillation.

Next important is size and shape – i would like a square shape (ratio 1.05 to 1) around a full carat. Thirdly, I do not want a stone which has eye visible inclusions (unless they could be hidden under a 4 prong setting).

With this in mind, I have several questions:

1) Which stone would offer the most fire, a princess cut or a radiant cut? Should I also consider a cushion cut? I have excluded the asscher cut from consideration because, even though i love the shape, it doesn’t have much sparkle.

2) Can you please recommend some stones from the james allen and/or website? i found these, but one is only rated by the igi, is this an inferior rating company?

3.) Also, does James Allan still offer a 10% discount with code TAD0611? I have 10% off at blue nile and this would be a big factor in where I purchase the stone. lastly, I guess the most important is finding a stone that can stand up to the heavy setting i have selected. I definitely want a stone that will look at home in a band that is at least 3mm wide. thanks so much for your help, let me know if you need any additional info!!

Hi M.  Thanks for writing.

1) Princess vs. Radiant – it’s a close call.  Both offer a lot of fire and sparkle.  I’d say that radiant’s have the slight edge, but you should look at pictures of both on James Allen and see which displayed pattern you like better as well.  When you look into a princess cut, it looks much more symmetrical and defined than a radiant, which just looks like a pool of chopped up light.  I know that was a horrible description, but take a look at some pics and you’ll see what I mean.  Here’s one more try – when you look into a princess cut, you see the well defined bottom facets.  This isn’t the case with a radiant, it’s got slightly more sparkle, but it’s not bouncing off of what look like neatly lined up facets.  Its all a matter of taste, so have a look and figure out what you like for yourself.

2) Cushion cuts – if your primary concern is fire and sparkle, then radiants and princess, I think, would be better for you than a cushion.

3) IGI – Yes, they are inferior in that they’re a bit less consistent than GIA.  Have a look at the article i wrote about IGI:

4) I looked at both of the stones you suggested and they both look great. Here’s another one that I thought would look great:

Unfortunately, there isn’t a huge selection of square radiants in this price range.  I even looked from D-H and IF until I1, and still the only square GIA stone I found I could recommend was the stone mentioned above.  If you decide you want a princess cut, there will be much more to pick from.

5) Yes, the discount code TAD0611 still works.  It’s for the setting, not for the diamond (which I’m fairly certain is also the case with the BN code).

6) Generally speaking radiants are more durable than princess cuts since they have beveled corners.  Chipped corners are the most common issue with princess cuts.

Please feel free to send me any more questions you may have.  And should you decide you want a princess cut, then please let me know and I’ll be able to send you a wealth of suggestions.

Thanks so much for your quick and informative response!

1) With regard to the princess vs. radiant issue, the look I am going for is Tiffany Lucida.  When I tried this ring on in the store, I loved the setting but was disappointed in comparing the stone’s sparkle to the typical round tiffany stone.  While I think the princess cut may look a little more refined with such a modern setting, i also think the radiant cut may combine the best of both worlds and be an interesting stone in such a sleek setting.  Also, this is a ring I plan to wear every day and a chipped corner would be very upsetting to me.  I do like the corners of the radiant cut.  I would love to hear your opinion on which stone shape you think would look best with the trellis setting.
2)  thanks for that, this puts cushion cuts out of the running.
3)  The clarity issues you describe with IGI… would this have much of an impact if the diamond I choose is a radiant cut?  It’s my understanding (please correct me if I’m wrong) that radiant cuts do mask a variety of inclusions better than other cuts.  Does an  IGI certificate negatively affect the value of the ring for insurance or resale purposes?  It appears that all of the cheaper stones have IGI certs.  Also, do you choose to not recommend IGI stones for these reasons?  I just want to make sure of my reasons for excluding these types of graded stones in my search.
4)  I do really like the stone that you’ve recommended.  It does look a bit yellow in the picture, but I am guessing that could be due to the photo and is not a characteristic of the stone?
I am curious to know your opinion on this stone (previously listed below).  The depth seems to be pretty low, and as a result it looks like the stone may have a larger face for being such a lower carat weight.  Does the low depth sacrifice sparkle?  It is a l/w ratio of 1.06 but it still looks mostly square to me, so I would be ok with it.
Also, I found this stone the other day…
does the faint fluoresence cause a problem with such a high color grade?  the stone looks very clear in the picture. of the above two stones, and the stone you’ve recommended, which would you pick of the three?  Also, does the difference in price (1203665 being the highest at 3,660) provide any noticeable difference in the stone’s brilliance? I am willing to consider a princess cut if I could find one that I knew had a lot of fire.  Is that something that can be determined based on the ratios?  I would be very happy to look at any stones you recommend Ira.
Sorry for the long response, thank you again!!

Okay M! – Here goes!

1) Can you send me a link to the setting you are looking at on JA?  Once I see exactly what you’re getting, I’ll better be able to answer this.  Just one note first though – You won’t chip a corner of a princess cut in day-to-day wear.  The only chance they have to get chipped is during the actual setting.  And if you are buying the setting from JA also, then it’ll be their responsibility.

3) Regarding IGI – I’d say as a general rule, they’re about 1.5 grade higher in color and 1 grade higher in clarity than GIA.  So that’s why they’re cheaper.  Diamond prices are always based on the diamond’s real grade (more or less).  So an IGI G SI1 will be cheaper than a GIA G SI1 because it’s probably more equivalent to a GIA H SI2.

This is all fine and good except for one thing – GIA is more consistent than IGI.  So while you can assume things based on the averages I mentioned earlier, you really will never KNOW what the GIA equivalent of your stone is.  You wouldn’t want to get caught with the IGI G SI1 that’s really an I I1 in GIA (It can definitely happen).   Having said that, you can use JA’s virtual loupe to see if the clarity grade is reasonable.  If it is, then that only leaves color as an unknown.  And if you’re starting off with a high enough color anyway (like an IGI E color), then even if it’s 2 grades off the GIA equivalent, you’re still going to have a great looking stone.

As for the resale value – you shouldn’t ever worry about that because if, God forbid, you ever have to sell your ring, you’re going to get killed no matter what certificate is with the stone.  I don’t think having an IGI will negatively affect the appraised value any more than it affects the sale value.

4) yeah, the yellowness is definitely due to the photography.  I’ve seen E colors that look yellow in some of their pics.

The first 0.93 F VS2 I’m afraid might be a little too shallow.  The picture looks like the stone has a dark face, and that’s often a symptom of a shallow stone.

I really like the 2nd F VS2.  The picture looks great.  And no Faint fluorescence has absolutely no affect on the diamonds appearance.

Out of the two F VS2s and the H VS2 I selected, I think the 2nd F VS2 is the nicest.  The H VS2 is really nice, but one thing about radiants is that they show color the most of any shape (that’s why many many fancy color diamonds are radiant cuts).  So I’d be more comfortable if you got a higher color.

If you’d like to see a few princess cuts, I’d be happy to find a few for you.  And yes, I can tell by their parameters whether they’ll be fiery or not.

Let me know what you think!

A:  Hi there Ira-
Again, thanks for such thorough answers…just a few more questions/comments:
1)  Here is the link to the setting for the ring:
With your experience, please let me know your opinion if a radiant cut would look a little off in such a setting.
2) I am somewhat concerned about the color of the H radiant.  If set in platinum, what do you think the chance is that this H colored diamond could look faintly yellow?  If that is the case, then I would not want it.  I definitely want one of these two stones (either the nicer F VS2  or the H VS2).  If you could send me a link to both to ensure that you are compensated by JA when we make the purchase (probably thursday) I would appreciate it.
Thanks very much!!

A: Hey M.  I think a Radiant would look fantastic in that ring.  But don’t put too much stock in my opinion on this specific issue.  My experience is really heavily concentrated in loose diamonds.  And anyway, I think this is purely an aesthetic call, so it’s really what you think will look nice.  As far as it being balanced looking in such a setting, I think it definitely will.  The specs say that it’s 5.5mm wide at the widest part on top which is just about the size of the diamond, so it will fit really nicely and seamlessly.

As I wrote in my article about Color, H is really the lowest you should go in a radiant.  It’s really borderline.  So especially for you with your ring that has so much platinum showing, I would say to go with the F color.  It’s important that the stone also have a very white face to match well with the ring.

Thanks so much for being so concerned about the commission!  It should already be set up since you have clicked on the links I sent you in the email, but if you want to be extra sure, then you could just go into your email right before you buy and click on the link again.  Thanks again.  That’s really very kind of you.

Hey M!  I just received notice from James Allen that a commission posted to my account for the F VS2 radiant we had discussed, so I just wanted to say thank you very much!  (btw, they maintain your privacy and don’t tell me who the sale was to for any of my commissions, but for the way I work, it’s not hard to figure it out 🙂

Anyway, please please please contact me when you get the ring and let me know how it looks.

If it’s everything you hope for, do you think you’d be able to “vouch” for me on  Take a look at my “success stories” page to get an idea of what I’m talking about.  If so, I’ll send you a link after you receive the ring.

Thanks again!

Q:  Hi Ira-
Absolutely, I will keep in touch to let you know how everything works out.  We plan to get the ring appraised once we receive it too, so I will fill you in on all the details.  I can’t thank you enough for your guidance on this- I’ll definitely write a post for you once we get a look at the ring- probably towards the end of october.
talk with you soon!

Hey M!  Did you get the ring delivered yet?

Hi Ira-

yes, I did receive the diamond (set into the ring) and I love it!  We are going to have it appraised later this week or next. I will go to your ivouch page to leave a post today.  I would like to let everyone know how helpful you’ve been!
Thanks again for your help with this huge purchase.  I’m really glad we put so much research into this buy instead of going to a standard bricks and mortar jewelry store.  I know we got so much more value for our money!
The diamond you recommended is beautiful, in the sunlight it throws tons of great sparkle.  When there is a little less light the crackled look inside the diamond is really interesting.  I’m very happy I chose the radiant cut over princess.  I do love it-  will send you a picture once it is uploaded to my pc!
Thank You again- I will recommend you to my friends in a heartbeat!

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