Difference between Emerald vs Radiant vs Cushion Cut Diamonds

Difference between Emerald vs Radiant vs Cushion Cut Diamonds

Difference between Emerald vs Radiant vs Cushion Cut Diamonds

Posted by Sharif A.K. & Sara on 5th Jul 2019

Emerald Cut Vs. Radiant Cut Vs. Cushion Cut

Diamonds come in a variety of shapes, colors, and cuts. And finding the perfect one can be an enjoyable task or a harrowing undertaking. It all depends on whether you know what to look for and have dotted all the I’s and T’s in your research. To help you in the search for that perfect diamond here’s some information on some of the unique stones available in the market: emerald, cushion, and radiant cut.

James Allen

Emerald Diamonds

Emerald cut diamonds are among the most unique cuts currently available in the market. In fact, only 3% of diamonds made are emerald stones. These particular diamonds are sometimes referred to as step cuts because of its parallel facets. When viewed from the top, a well-cut emerald will exhibit a large transparent, open flat surface. It has a long rectangular shape with parallel sides, cropped corners, and a larger than average face-up appearance. Emerald cut diamonds may not wear the crown for the shiniest stones, but they get major points for being uniquely elegant with their dramatic flashes of light.

Emerald Cut Diamonds Ratio

Radiant Diamonds

The radiant cut diamond is similar in shape to emerald cut diamonds: a rectangular or square shaped crown with trimmed corners that adds to its durability. Radiant cut stones are also fancy shaped diamond with a unique faceting pattern. It was the first of its kind to have a brilliant faceting pattern not only on the crown but also in the pavilion. As the name suggests, the diamonds have a radiant sparkle and brilliance owing to the excellent light dispersion of its numerous facets. Giving it just the right amount of wow factor to make you stand out.

Square vs rectangular radiant cut

Square vs Elongated Radiant Cut 

Cushion Diamonds

One of the first things you will notice in a cushion-cut diamond is the pillow-like shape, rounded corners, and beveled edges. Its girdle is more rounded than that of the radiant cut, so its edges appear less angular and the corners less trimmed. These features give the crown a smaller face-up appearance. Even so, its superb brilliance and sparkle have inspired many gem cutters to imitate the cut to achieve a similar brilliant effect. Cushion cut diamonds come in three variations; antique cushion, cushion brilliant, and cushion modified. The variants may be similar in cut but are quite different in brilliance and sparkle. You will often hear the terms “chunky” or “crushed-ice” being bandied around. The marketing terminologies should not faze you as they refer to the different faceting patterns in the variations.

Cushion Modified Brilliant Difference

Differences in Cut

The beauty of fancy shaped diamonds is determined by its cut. But, since the GIA does not grade on cut, this quality is largely subjective. Still, an excellent cut diamond will have superb brilliance and sparkle, and in that category, among the three cuts, the radiant cut reigns supreme. The radiant diamond cutting style is classified as a hybrid cut because it uses both the brilliant and step cut features. With the outline of the stone resembling that of step cuts, the pavilion and the table are cut similar to brilliant cuts. The diamond gets its name from the exceptional radiance caused by the numerous triangular shaped facets having excellent light dispersion. A distinctive cracked ice pattern is easily noticeable in its faceting pattern. One downside to this particular cut is the bowtie effect. Radiant cut stones with a too shallow or too deep cut will have a dark band that stretches across the center of the crown which dials down the sparkling radiance.

Blue Nile

Emerald diamonds are cut using the step-cut style with three rows of steps above and three rows of step below the stone. Such that the facets are arranged parallel to each other and to the girdle of the stone: which gives the facets a linear, clean, and sleek look. The parallel arrangement of the facets is also what creates flashes of light that are in stark contrast to the dark planes in each step attributing to the “halls of mirror effect.” The dramatic flashes lend emerald diamonds a soft, elegant glow rather than the sparkly shine found in brilliant cuts. Similar to the radiant cuts, the bowtie is also present in poorly cut emerald stones. And given the diamond’s sizeable open table, the imperfection is magnified twice over. Even so, some people tend to like bowtie effect on the overall appearance.

Cushion cut diamonds have one of the oldest cutting styles invented in the early 1700s. Given the lack of electricity and limited tools, cutting diamonds was an expensive, time-consuming process. To cut down on overhead costs, manufacturers aimed at retaining as much weight from the rough stone as possible. The resulting diamond- the original antique cushion, was square in shape with a deep pavilion, high crown, and small table. With the creation of more advanced cutting tools, the cutting style also evolved to create the cushion modified and the cushion brilliant variation. To tell them apart, identify the faceting pattern. Cushion modified have no discernable pattern in the facets, and one is often left feeling like they are looking at crushed ice. Its shortened pavilion mains shorten reflected light, leaking copious amounts of light that result in a stone with little sparkle and brilliance. In contrast, the faceting pattern in the cushion brilliant is crisp clear with a star-like appearance. Having more pavilions that its counterparts, it has the best refractive quality, lending the stone an excellent brilliance, sparkle, and fire.

Color Grade that Appears Colorless

The color grade D-F for any diamond cut will give the same exact color- colorless.

Emerald cut diamonds are pretty good at showing color such that if you want a colorless stone you can’t skimp on this quality and go for lower color grade stone. In fact, H color emerald cut stones already have a yellowish tint with a slightly warmer appearance. Radiant cut and cushion brilliant cut diamonds are even better than emeralds at retaining color because of their exceptional brilliance and fire. With a clear metal setting, the radiant and cushion brilliant stones in the near-colorless grades G-I will capture the elusive colorless appearance.

Clarity Grade that Masks Inclusions

Usually, cushion cuts with a clarity grade higher than SI2 will appear eye-clean. Because clarity depends on brilliance, the superior sparkle and fire in the cushion brilliant make it better at hiding imperfections than the other variations. What does this imply? For a cushion brilliant, one can go lower on the clarity scale as the brilliance will distract the eye from noticing inclusions. On the other hand, the lower sparkle in the cushion modified necessitates choosing stones higher in the clarity scale to get a stone with no visible imperfections.

Radiant cuts are nothing but forgiving when it comes to hiding inclusions. That means you can go for a lower color grade that is eye-clean and save up to maximize on other qualities such as cut and color. The intense radiance of these diamonds makes it very hard to spot imperfections. Ideally, most SI1 and SI2 stones will be eye clean.

The imperfections in an emerald cut diamond are easily noticeable because of its large open, transparent table. Because of this, only stones with a clarity grade of VS2 or higher will have no imperfections visible to the naked eye. We would recommend VVS diamonds for emerald cut.

Appropriate Setting

Radiant cut diamonds look fabulous in a variety of settings, from the classic three prong designs to the wide range of halo and non- halo settings available in the market. And since the edges are not susceptible to chipping, protective styles are unnecessary. The stone will look beautiful in platinum metal settings as the diamond’s superb brilliance, and fire will be enhanced by the brightness of the metal.

Normally, emerald stones are mounted on classic or traditional designs. The halo settings can also offer a beautiful unique alternative because of the contrast created from the dark planes, the flashes of light from the center stone and the flashes from the pave diamonds that surround it. Going for a modern design is an excellent way to achieve a traditional and modern look in one stunning piece of jewelry.

Cushion cuts also impress and enchant views in a wide range of designs. Mounting the stone in a 4 prong setting allows more light to reflect on its surface, giving it an extra shine to its brilliance that will undoubtedly dazzle viewers. To draw attention to the exceptional sparkle, set the stone in a solitaire design where it is smack in the middle of the ring, and there is nothing to distract the eye from its magnificent brilliance.

These are only recommendations: the choice of setting is ultimately up to the buyer’s personal tastes and preferences.

Which one to Choose?

Choosing which cut to go for is a matter of individual tastes. Whether you prefer the cushion cut’s pillow-like shape and vintage like appearance, or the dramatic flashes, cropped corners and larger than average face-up appearance of the emerald cut diamond or even the stunning radiance of the radiant cut- it is up to you. Check out our loose diamonds guide for more information.

Good luck!