Last updated on April 7, 2021
Diamond buyers often compare radiant cut and princess cut diamonds due to their similar outlines. Although these two cuts share some traits, several features set them apart. Let’s discover the differences between radiant cut vs princess cut diamonds and see what aspects to consider when choosing between the two.
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.
What Is a Princess Cut Diamond?
The history of the princess cut traces back to the early 1960s when Arpad Nagy, a diamond cutter based in London, created a “profile” cut, which was often referred to as the princess cut at the time.
However, many believe that the true princess cut traces its roots from 1971 when Basil Watermeyer patented a new diamond shape and called it Barion cut. Being a very complex cut, Barion proved to be extremely difficult to create. Incredibly symmetrical lines were challenging even for the expert diamond cutters.
Nearly 10 years later, another cut similar to the Barion was patented and named Quadrillion. The Quadrillion cut gained some popularity as it was easier to create due to its use of 49 facets compared to the 80 facets of the Barion.
The modern princess cut is a relative newcomer to the diamond world. It was created in 1981 by Betzalel Ambar and Israel Itskowitz. A princess cut diamond can have as few as 50 facets, but the number of the facets is often modified (up to 144) to maximize brilliance and sparkle. The “gold standard” is 58 facets.
Although the princess cut is usually described as a square shape with sharp corners, the shape of the cut is closer to an inverted pyramid; however, it can also come in tapered and rectangular shapes.
Radiant Cut vs Princess Cut Diamonds
Like many other diamond cuts, radiant cut and princess cut diamonds may look similar at first glance. They both have large tables, brilliant facet pattern and square or rectangular shape. However, at a closer look, the difference in design becomes apparent.
Radiant cut diamonds have cropped corners, typically at a 45° angle, giving them an angular shape, while princess cut diamonds feature sharp corners giving them a more geometric appearance.
From a durability perspective, the princess cut is more prone to chipping, especially if the diamond has inclusions close to its sharp corners.
Cut and Facets
Both the radiant and princess cut belong to the brilliant cut group. Their facets are arranged in a way to maximize a stone’s fire, brilliance and scintillation. However, from a normal viewing distance, one can notice that they have a different face-up outline.
The distinction is caused by the difference in the shape and the number of facets. The radiant cut has 70 facets, while the princess usually features 58 facets. However, the number of facets in a princess cut diamond can range from 50 to 144 depending on its modification.
Brilliance and Sparkle
Since the classic radiant cut features more facets than the princess cut, it usually reflects more light than an equally well-cut princess diamond. However, since many princess cut diamonds range in the number of their facets, they can come very close to the radiant in brilliance and sparkle.
It is also worth mentioning that the brilliance and sparkle of these two cuts are different. The princess cut reflects light more neatly because of the linear arrangement of its facets. The radiant cut, in contrast, have more fiery brilliance. That is why when comparing a princess cut diamond with a radiant cut diamond, the former will reflect light in a more regular pattern while the latter will show a more random reflection.
Colour and Clarity
Brilliant cuts tend to hide imperfections in a diamond due to their facet arrangement and excellent light performance. Since both radiant and princess 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 princess 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.