Radiant Cut vs Cushion Cut Diamonds: What's the Difference?

by Ryan Hart | Updated on July 3, 2022 | Post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

One of the most important decisions when purchasing a diamond is choosing the right cut. The cut of a diamond affects not only its appearance but also its ability to reflect light and sparkle.

When choosing between a radiant cut and cushion cut diamond, it is essential to consider each option's different strengths and weaknesses.

Radiant cut diamonds are rectangular with trimmed corners, giving them a modern look.

They are also very good at hiding imperfections and reflecting light, making them appear larger than they are, but they can sometimes seem cold and lifeless.

Cushion-cut diamonds have a soft, rounded appearance with large facets that help to maximize sparkle. They are also very good at hiding blemishes, making them ideal for those who want a diamond with a vintage look.

So, which is cut better for engagement rings? Let's find out!

What's the Difference Between Radiant and Cushion Cut Diamonds?

Here are the primary differences between a cushion and a radiant cut diamond:

Shape

Radiant cut diamonds are rectangular, have outstanding brilliance, a modern look, and can appear more prominent than other shapes.

It is similar to the emerald cut but with modified corners to create a more brilliant sparkle. The rectangular diamond shape is often used for solitaire engagement rings and pendants, as well as in three-stone diamond jewelry designs.

When shopping for a radiant cut diamond, pay attention to the "length to width ratio." The ideal ratio is 1.00-1.05, meaning that the stone's length should be approximately equal to its width.

A higher ratio will result in a longer, narrower stone, while a lower ratio will produce a shorter, wider stone. There is no "perfect" length to width ratio, as each person's preferences are different. However, the ideal ratio will help ensure that the stone appears balanced and proportional.

Cushion-cut diamonds, on the other hand, have a softer, rounder look. They often have less sparkle than radiant cuts, but they can appear more vibrant because of their smaller size.

The cushion cut diamond is often square or rectangular with rounded corners, giving it a pillow-like appearance. It is one of the most popular diamond shapes, and its signature softening effect is achieved through a combination of 58 facets.

Setting a cushion-cut diamond requires a high level of skill, as the stone's culet (the point at the bottom of the diamond) must be positioned precisely to maximize its sparkle.

Facets

Radiant cut diamonds are a brilliant cut, meaning they have both step and brilliant cuts on the pavilion, or bottom, of the diamond. They have between 50 and 70 facets.

Cushion cut diamonds are a modified brilliant-cut. They have a larger culet, or point, on the pavilion and usually have 58 facets.

The difference in these two cuts is mainly in the faceting, or how the diamond is cut and polished to create the sparkle. Both radiant and cushion-cut diamonds will have brilliant faceting on the diamond's crown or top.

Radiant cut diamonds will have step faceting on the pavilion, while cushion cut diamonds will have brilliant faceting on the pavilion. The difference in these two types of faceting creates different optical properties and gives every kind of diamond its unique look.

Brilliance

Diamond brilliance is what makes it sparkle and shine. When light hits a diamond, it is reflected off the stone's surface and returned to your eye.

The greater number of facets a diamond has, the more opportunities there are for the light to reflect off the surface and create brilliance.

Cushion-cut diamonds maximize brilliance, which means they reflect light exceptionally well, giving them a dazzling appearance.

The cushion cut is also a very versatile option when choosing a diamond shape. It looks great in various settings, from solitaire rings to multi-stone pieces.

Radiant cut diamonds are highly sought after for their brilliance and fire. In a radiant cut diamond, the facets reflect light evenly across the stone's surface. This design creates a "brilliant" effect, where the diamond appears to be radiating light from its center.

In addition, the facets are also cut at different angles, which increases the "fire" of the diamond. The result is a stone that is both bright and full of life.

Color

To the naked eye, diamonds with higher color grades look brighter and sparkly. However, diamonds with lower color grades can often appear dull or yellowish.

When it comes to cushion-cut diamonds specifically, color can also affect the stone's symmetry and clarity. Thus, it's usually best to choose a gemstone with a higher color grade if you're looking for a diamond with maximum brilliance.

Regarding color, Radiant cut diamonds can range from D (no hue) to J (a light hue). The most popular choice is often a stone near the middle of the color scale, such as an H or I. This gives the stone a slight hue that adds to its sparkle and fire.

Price

In general, radiant cut diamonds are slightly more expensive than cushion cut diamonds due to the increased fire and brilliance that a radiant cut diamond offers.

Additionally, radiant cut diamonds often have fewer flaws than cushion cut diamonds, making them a slightly more desirable choice.

However, both styles of diamond are beautiful and memorable in their own way, so ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. Whichever type you choose, your fiance is sure to love it!

What is a Cushion Cut Diamond?

Cushion-cut diamonds are known for their brilliance and fire, making them an excellent choice for engagement rings and other fine jewelry. But what exactly is a cushion-cut diamond?

A cushion cut diamond is a modified brilliant cut with a rectangular or square shape and rounded corners that resemble a pillow.

The facets on a cushion-cut diamond are often longer than those on a traditional round brilliant cut diamond, which helps to increase the diamond's sparkle.

Cushion-cut diamonds are also typically shallower than other diamonds, giving them a larger surface area and making them appear larger.

What is a Radiant Cut Diamond?

The radiant cut diamond was developed in the 1970s, making it a relatively new style of diamond cut. Its rectangular shape and trimmed corners give it a unique look that is both modern and elegant.

The unique shape of the radiant cut diamond makes it ideal for those who want a different look for their engagement ring.

The radiant cut is also one of the most versatile diamond cuts, as it can be used in various settings and looks great with all metals.

Whether you are looking for a classic solitaire or something more unique, the radiant cut diamond may be a perfect choice.

Bottom Line

When deciding on the perfect diamond cut, it can be challenging to choose between the many options available.

Two popular choices are radiant cuts and cushion cuts. Both have their unique sparkle and can help set off a diamond's brilliance.

Radiant cuts are rectangular with rounded corners. They have 70 facets, or small surfaces, that help to reflect light and create a bright, sparkly effect.

Cushion cuts are also rectangular, but their corners are more squared off. They usually have 64 facets, which gives them a softer, more subdued sparkle.

Both radiant and cushion-cut diamonds are attractive options, depending on personal preference.

A radiant cut may be the way to go if you want a diamond engagement ring with maximum sparkle. However, a cushion-cut diamond may be better if you prefer a more understated look.

Ultimately, the best way to choose is to see the diamonds in person and decide which one you prefer.