Last updated on June 15, 2021
At first glance, emerald cut and radiant cut diamonds are pretty similar in shape. Although these two cuts share some traits, some features set them apart. Let’s discover the differences between emerald cut vs radiant cut diamonds and see what aspects to consider when choosing one.
What Is an Emerald Cut Diamond?
The emerald cut is one of the oldest diamond shapes, with origins tracing back to the 1500s.
Initially crafted for emerald gemstones, it was applied to diamonds as the step-cut facet arrangement was reducing the pressure during the cutting process and preventing chips in the gems.
While less fiery than the brilliant cut, the emerald cut highlights the clarity through its long step facets, making the stone sparkle and shine.
Typically featuring 57 facets, emerald cut diamonds are prominent in a rectangular shape with cropped corners, but they are also available in a square shape.
Interestingly, the term “emerald cut” was not used until the 1920s, when the cut increased in popularity. During the Art Deco period (1908 to 1935), where clean lines and symmetry were admired, the emerald cut became a huge trend. Since then, emerald cut diamonds are one of the most popular choices for engagement rings and other jewellery pieces.
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 to combine 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.
Emerald Cut vs Radiant Cut Diamonds
One of the key differences between the emerald and the radiant cut diamonds is the way they are cut. The emerald cut belongs to the step cut group, while the radiant cut is in the brilliant-cut group.
The step cut stones feature parallel facets, which give them a clean and sleek look, making it easier to see their pattern. For this reason, it is important to purchase emerald cut diamonds with higher clarity and colour grades.
In comparison, the brilliant-cut stones have more fire, brilliance and scintillation, but the facet pattern is not that easy distinguishable for an untrained eye.
The facets of an emerald cut diamond are rectangles parallel to each other and the stone’s girdle.
The facets of a radiant cut diamond have triangular and other non-rectangular shapes. In other words, radiant cut diamonds do not look as “linear” as emerald cut diamonds.
Brilliance and Sparkle
The facets of a radiant cut diamond are positioned and shaped to maximize the stone’s fire, brilliance and scintillation. In emerald cut diamonds, facets are not cut with this goal in mind. They are cut to emphasize the stone’s clarity, but they also tend to have wider more dramatic flashes of light.
If you compare these two cuts in terms of brilliance and sparkle, the radiant cut will exhibit more brilliance and sparkle than the emerald cut.
Colour and Clarity
Diamond sparkle directly affects colour. If you compare two diamonds with visible yellowish tints, the more sparkly diamond will look less coloured as the higher level of brilliance makes the tints less noticeable.
Since radiant cut diamonds belong to the brilliant-cut group, they exhibit more brilliance and sparkle, having an advantage over emerald cut stones, which tend to show visible colouration.
Emerald and radiant cut diamonds differ significantly in how visible their flaws are.
Since radiant cut diamonds exhibit a higher level of brilliance and sparkle, the flaws in them will not be that easily visible. If you compare two diamonds of the same clarity grade, the radiant will less likely have any noticeable imperfections.
In contrast, flaws in the emerald cut diamond are more likely to be visible due to its relatively lower brilliance and wide facet pattern, meaning you will have to pay special attention to clarity when considering an emerald cut diamond.