Last updated on March 23, 2021
At first glance, cushion cut and radiant cut diamonds may look quite similar to the untrained eye. Although these two cuts share some traits, several key features set them apart. Let’s discover the differences between cushion cut vs radiant cut diamonds and see what aspects to consider when choosing one.
What Is a Cushion Cut Diamond?
Although the cushion cut may seem to have a contemporary design, its history traces back to the 19th century.
At the time, a diamond with a square shape and rounded corners was referred to as “mine cut” after Brazilian diamond mines. Later, when diamonds were discovered in South Africa, the mine cut became known as the “old mines”. Being the most popular cut in the 19th century, it was not limited to diamonds. In the period, most gemstones were cut into this shape.
The modern cushion cut has been modified over time thanks to the evolution of diamond cutting and the cleaving process. Usually featuring 58 facets, it is a combination of the classic old mine cut and the round brilliant facet pattern. However, some experts believe that it was inspired by more than the old mine cut. Such cuts as the table, Peruzzi and candlelight also have a great influence on it.
As the name suggests, the cushion cut usually has a soft square or rectangular shape with curved corners resembling a cushion. Although cushion cut diamonds have less brilliance than round cut diamonds, they often have a better fire, making them so attractive for buyers.
What Is a Radiant Cut Diamond?
The original radiant cut was invented by a master diamond cutter Henry Grossbard in 1977.
Grossbard knew that many people loved the elegant elongated shape of the emerald cut but felt that it did not sparkle enough. His goal was combining the best features of the emerald cut and the round brilliant cut into one diamond cut that would unleash the full potential of a diamond’s brilliance.
After years of careful experimentation, Grossbard perfected the radiant cut in 1981. That was a revolution in the diamond industry; the elegant emerald shape was transformed into a new cut with unparalleled sparkle. Although it did not exceed the round brilliant cut’s brilliance, it was still more brilliant than any other angular cut.
Radiant cut diamonds come in both rectangular and square shapes with cropped corners. Featuring 70 facets, the radiant cut is the first angular cut, the second being the princess cut, which has a complete brilliant-cut facet pattern both on the crown and pavilion.
Even though the radiant cut has only been in the diamond industry for 44 years, it managed to gain extreme popularity in a short amount of time.
Cushion Cut vs Radiant Cut Diamonds
Like many other diamond cuts, cushion cut and radiant cut diamonds can look similar at first glance. They both have large tables, square or rectangular shape and brilliant facet pattern. However, at a closer look, the difference in design becomes apparent.
Cushion cut diamonds have slightly rounded, curved sides that create a pillow-like appearance. Meanwhile, radiant cut diamonds have cropped corners that are typically at a 45° angle, giving them an angular shape.
Cut and Facets
Both the cushion and radiant cut belong to the brilliant cut group. This means their facets are arranged in a way to maximize a stone’s brilliance and sparkle. However, from a normal viewing distance, one can notice that they have a difference face-up outline.
The distinction is caused by the difference in the shape and the number of facets. The cushion cut has 58 larger facets, while the radiant features 70 smaller facets.
Brilliance and Sparkle
Since the cushion cut has larger facets, it may exhibit less brilliance when compared to the radiant cut. This is especially true for the classic and antique variations of the cushion cut. However, most of the modern cushions are very close to the radiant in terms of brilliance.
The radiant cut is known for offering better brilliance than the cushion cut. It has a larger table and numerous facets, which allow reflecting a large amount of light, creating a beautiful sparkle.
Colour and Clarity
Brilliant cuts tend to hide imperfections in a diamond, due to their facet arrangement and light performance. Since both cushion and radiant cut diamonds belong to the brilliant cut group, there is no significant difference between them in terms of colour and clarity.
However, keep in mind that the cushion cut may have lower brilliance due to its modifications, meaning the flaws and tints in the stone might not be masked as well as they would be in the same quality radiant cut stone. That is why the colour should be compared on a case-by–case basis.