A Guide to Choosing Between Radiant Cut and Emerald Cut Diamonds

Diamonds are timeless and precious gems that have fascinated people for centuries. When it comes to choosing a diamond for an engagement ring or any other special occasion, one of the most crucial decisions is choosing the cut of the diamond.
Two popular diamond cuts that are often compared are the radiant cut and the emerald cut. To the untrained eye, when you look at the emerald cut diamonds and radiant cut diamonds, they will appear similar. Both cuts are rectangular and have similar profiles, but there are differences in the way they are cut, worn and appreciated.
Legato Sleek Line Pave Diamond Engagement Ring
Legato Sleek Line Pave Diamond Engagement Ring
Not sure which one is right for you? Below we have explored their similarities, differences, and of course, sparkle potential to help you make an informed decision.

An Introduction to Emerald Cuts

Emerald cut diamonds have long been considered the most elegant diamond shape. They are very distinctive in their overall look and in the type of optics they generate. Their step cut facet design creates an entirely different visual sensation than the ubiquitous round brilliant and the many brilliant style shape variations available.
Emerald Cut Diamond Facet Diagram table
Emerald Cut Diamond
Emerald Cut Diamond Facet Diagram pavilion
The emerald cut – facet diagrams and actual photo
The emerald cut features a series of horizontal step-like facets, as opposed to the vertical facets of brilliant styles. Its four longer sides have beveled corners with two, three, or four concentric rows of facets, parallel to the girdle, on the crown and pavilion. This unique facet style impacts light performance.
The cut has fewer facets than other cuts, with only 50 to 58 facets, which gives it a more elegant, vintage look. The emerald cut diamond is known for its sleek lines and understated elegance, and it's been around for centuries. This venerable diamond cut is prized as a classic for its old-world opulence.
Legato Sleek Line Solitaire Engagement Ring
Legato Sleek Line Solitaire Engagement Ring
To make sure you choose the best quality emerald cut diamonds, we suggest reading our complete guide to emerald cuts, or contacting us directly. It would be our pleasure to assist you!

All About Radiant Cuts

The radiant cut diamond is a relatively new entry into the world of diamond shapes. It was developed in the late 1970’s and became an instant success.
Several diamond shapes and facet arrangements have swept onto the scene with great fanfare only to quickly disappear. But the radiant cut gained popularity by combining the linear outline of the emerald cut with a facet arrangement that adds more sparkle and distinctive visual appeal.
Radiant Diamond Facets Table
Radiant Diamond
Radiant Diamond Facets Pavilion
The radiant cut diamond has 70 facets and cropped corners, which give it an octagonal shape. Generally, the radiant cut can be described as a cross between an emerald cut and a round brilliant. Similar to the emerald cut, it features the same overall shape but with those iconic corners that are clipped straight to create a straight-lined octagon outline.
Whereas the emerald cut features a facet arrangement of horizontal ‘step’ facets, the radiant has a mixture of horizontal and vertical facets that give it a completely different visual appearance.
Legato Sleek Line Pave Diamond Engagement Ring
Legato Sleek Line Pave Diamond Engagement Ring
It's known for its combination of scintillation and fire and has become increasingly popular over the years. Learn more about this highly desirable diamond shape in our buying guide to radiant cut diamonds.

Radiant vs Emerald Diamond: Which Is Right For You?


Diamond Color Grading Scale from Ags and GIA
Diamond Color Grading Scale (click image to enlarge)
Color is one of the 4Cs to consider when buying any diamond. An elongated shape may concentrate color at the ends of the stone depending on its facet arrangement and proportions.
Both emerald cut and radiant cut diamonds do not exhibit as much brightness as well-cut round diamonds, for example, resulting in more noticeable body color by virtue of their shape.
The longer ray paths passing through the diamond as a result of the facet arrangement tend to trap more of the body color in the diamond. Because of this, a lot of fancy color diamonds are cut into radiants. Consequently, you should aim for a color range slightly higher than you might otherwise if looking for a round brilliant.
The best way to find a radiant or emerald cut that looks icy white is to stay in the upper near colorless range of G-H or higher. Colors in the I-J or lower range will begin to show a bit of yellow.

Cut & Clarity:

The facets of radiant cut diamonds are designed to enhance their brilliance. The flashes of light from an emerald cut diamond tend to be larger and more dramatic than those of a radiant cut diamond whose facets are smaller and more numerous.
Radiant cut diamonds tend to hide inclusions better than emerald cut diamonds due to their high number of virtual facets which provide camouflage. The large facets of the emerald cut act as windows allowing you to see into the diamond more easily. However, it's still essential to examine the clarity of any diamond you're considering, regardless of the cut.
In short, radiant cut diamonds have cropped corners, which gives them a more modern, edgy look. Emerald cut diamonds tend to have smaller beveled corners, which gives them a more vintage, classic look. The choice between the two cuts comes down to personal preference and the style you're going for.

Size Appearance:

The overall outline of radiant cuts, like emerald cuts, can vary from square to very elongated. The length to width ratio will significantly impact the visual appearance of the diamond.
In terms of overall shape, emerald cuts can range from very square Asscher shapes to very rectangular. A great deal depends on personal taste when it comes to the diamond’s outline. A long, slender shape is preferred by some, while a square to squarish shape is preferred by others. But in general, most people prefer a rectangle with a length/width ratio of about 1.4.
Shapes that are elongated tend to look bigger and feel more graceful on the hand. In contrast, certain types of setting designs may benefit from a squarer shape. It is mostly a matter of preference as long as light performance is not compromised.
In order to give the shape its angularity, corners should be clipped moderately, not too large to appear of similar size to the sides, and not too small to lose it to the prongs.
The real difference between emerald diamonds and radiant diamonds may lie in the actual light performance of the diamonds.


One of the value factors that radiant cut diamonds offer over emerald cuts is that they tend to conceal inclusions better. Emerald cut diamonds reveal clarity features more readily than any other cut and the small, fast scintillation patterns of radiant cuts tend to make small inclusions much more difficult to see.
Hence, it is possible to purchase eye-catching and eye-clean radiant cuts at significant savings - especially if you opt for lab-grown diamonds too.
Emerald cuts have a relatively large table facet that acts like a window, along with long steps and slow scintillation which make inclusions relatively visible. It is for this reason that emerald cuts are typically found in higher clarity grades.
Just be sure that the inclusions do not negatively affect transparency. The loss of brilliance can occur even with top-quality cuts. Detecting this subtle effect requires a trained eye, so working with an experienced vendor, such as Whiteflash, is your best bet for finding a truly brilliant diamond.
A bow-tie effect is a particular characteristic that is common to radiant cuts and many other elongated shapes and should not be overlooked. This is a visible shadow that spans the diamond's center width. Large bow ties are to be avoided since they tend to create darkness in the middle of the stone. Because of its long straight horizontal facets, emerald cuts do not have this issue.
It is imperative to opt for a well-cut diamond that will reflect light throughout the stone without any obvious disruptions.


Diamonds sparkle with an unmistakable light and brilliance that erupts from the stone with every movement.
Radiant cut diamonds have more facets, which means they produce smaller and faster sparkles than emerald cut diamonds.
This makes them more popular for those who are looking for a diamond that has a lot of sparkle and shine. However, emerald cut diamonds produce larger and slower sparkles, which make them perfect for those who prefer a more understated type of light performance.
It has taken decades for diamond cutters, jewelers, and experts to refine precise mathematical formulas in order to maximize the brilliance, scintillation, and fire of diamonds. Find the perfect diamond that sparkles just for you.


There's no doubt both radiant and emerald diamonds each have their rightful place in the beautiful assortment of fancy diamond shapes, but they both occupy different positions on the style spectrum.
Emerald cut diamonds are often used in solitaire engagement rings and are a popular choice for vintage-inspired jewelry. And radiant cuts are perfect for those who are torn between a brilliant-cut modern diamond shape like a round, pear or oval cushion, and a classic emerald cut.
Both radiant cut and emerald cut diamonds can be set in a variety of both trendy and timeless settings, including two-stone, prong, bezel, flush and channel ring settings; not to mention earrings and pendants. The type of setting you choose will depend on your personal preference and the style of the jewelry you are creating - these stones are more versatile than meets the eye.
Prong settings are a popular choice for both radiant cut and emerald cut diamonds. They allow more light to pass through the diamond, which enhances its brilliance and sparkle.
Sharing a similar outline both emeralds and radiants are available in a huge number of beautiful setting styles.


Regardless of shape, fundamentally, the 4 C's are the basis for all diamond pricing systems. That said, diamond prices increase geometrically as diamonds get larger, quality for quality. Cut quality plays an important role in calculus; it is the greatest factor in light performance but can be the most challenging to understand.
In spite of the fact that non-round shapes generally have lower carat prices per carat, emerald cuts tend to be made from rough of higher color, making them more costly. The shape of the rough gem allows cutters to utilize more of the rough diamond, making fancy cuts generally more cost-effective to make.
While most shoppers looking for the best value focus on VS and Si clarity when shopping for rounds, it is likely that value shoppers shopping for an emerald cut should focus on VS and above as a baseline, or consider lab-grown diamonds. Finding a great deal on an emerald or radiant can be challenging since cut quality is very important.
Our focus at Whiteflash is on the finest natural diamonds, and we have a large inventory of fully vetted and in-stock diamonds on hand - both natural and lab-grown.
We also provide customers with a full range of shapes through our Other Diamonds category, where they can take advantage of both our expertise in light performance as well as our gemologist's thorough vetting.
Diamonds will never go out of style, no matter if they are emerald, radiant, round or any other shape you prefer. Whether it's by phone, email, or chat, our friendly and knowledgeable Whiteflash diamond consultants are always ready to help you find exactly the diamond that you've been looking for.

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