Emerald Cut vs Radiant Cut Diamonds

Emerald Cut vs Radiant Cut Diamonds 

Are you considering a less traditional diamond for your engagement ring, perhaps something rectangular? You might think the Emerald Cut and Radiant Cut styles look similar, however, there are some significant differences that would be helpful to know when selecting the best diamond for your special ring.

A Brief History

The Emerald Cut diamond style is most often associated with the Art Deco era, when the admiration of clean lines and symmetry made this style extremely popular. But this diamond shape is actually one of the oldest, tracing its stylistic origins back to the Table Cut of the 1500s. 

ILA Emerald Cut Solitaire Diamond Engagement Ring

ILA's East West Emerald Cut Engagement Ring 

Like the name suggests, this type of diamond cut was first used on emeralds (and still is) but was called a “multi-faceted table cut” until the term “Emerald Cut” was coined in the Roaring ‘20s. The Emerald Cut was further refined and standardized in the 1940s, thanks to the development of more sophisticated diamond-cutting tools.

Browse ILA Emerald Cut Engagement Rings

The Radiant Cut Diamond

The Radiant Cut is a much more modern cutting style, invented by Henry Grossbard in 1977. This hybrid cut is one of the most faceted diamond styles, designed to maximize the natural beauty of a diamond. Grossbard managed to create one of the sparkliest cuts available by being the first to apply a brilliant faceting pattern to both the crown and pavilion of the stone. 

Since the Radiant Cut was patented by Grossbard, you might see it referred to as a “Rectangular Brilliant” or “Cut-Cornered Square” (if square) on a laboratory certificate (such as GIA or AGS).


Emerald Cut diamonds are rectangular with cut corners and 50 to 58 step-cut facets, depending on the dimensions of the stone. The parallel step-cut facets create dramatic flashes of light that have a “hall of mirrors” effect, a more subdued, sophisticated sparkle compared to a Radiant Cut.

Radiant Cut diamonds have a similar cut-corner rectangular (sometimes square) silhouette but, instead of step-cuts, they have 70 triangular or kite-shaped facets radiating from the center to maximize the inherent fiery brilliance of the stone.


Carat Weight vs. Visual Size

Both Emerald Cut and Radiant Cut diamonds tend to look larger compared to round brilliant cut diamonds of equal weight. With Emerald Cuts, the top surface (table) is actually bigger compared to a similar-weight round brilliant diamond. 

Radiant Cuts have a slightly smaller face-up measurement compared to round brilliants of similar weight but the Radiant Cut will still appear to be larger. Grossbard’s intent was to create a diamond cut that looked as large as possible and, by pairing a broad, shallow design with intensely brilliant faceting, he achieved that optical illusion.

The elongated shape of both of these stones has the added benefit of making the wearer’s fingers appear longer and more slender.

Quality Tips

Certain diamond cut styles are more or less forgiving in some of the 4C categories, these two cuts are very different when it comes to showing their flaws.

When choosing an Emerald Cut diamond, you’ll want to look for a higher clarity grade because the large table of an Emerald Cut will emphasize any visible inclusions. Since there is less concentration of color with this cut, you can get away with a lower color grade to invest in a higher clarity. 

The faceting style of Radiant Cut diamonds is much more forgiving of internal flaws, masking inclusions with intense brilliance. You could find a beautiful SI1 or SI2 clarity Radiant Cut diamond and upgrade to a higher color since this faceting style does show more concentration of color. 

With either cut, you could sacrifice a bit on color grade if your ring is yellow or rose gold instead of white gold or platinum.


So, Which Rectangular Cut Is Right For You? (A Quick Quiz)

Whatever diamond cut/shape you choose, you can relax knowing that ILA's unique AI (Artificial Intelligence) analyzes over 30,000 diamonds in a matter of seconds to help you find the perfect diamond!

To determine which rectangular diamond style better suits the personalities of you and your partner, ask yourself these questions:

Q: Do you/they prefer vintage or modern styles? 

A1: Vintage - Emerald Cut diamonds bring to mind the elegance of the Roaring 20s and clean lines of the Art Deco Era.

A2: Modern - Radiant Cut diamonds are a modern innovation in faceting, achieving maximum sparkle and a larger appearance.

Q: Are you/they more classy or flashy when it comes to personal style? 

A1: Classy - The step-cut facets of an Emerald Cut diamond give off subdued yet dramatic flashes of light.

A2: Flashy - A super-faceted Radiant Cut diamond will definitely draw attention to your ring finger with all that intense sparkle!

Q: What’s more important: maximum size or maximum sparkle? 

A1: Maximum Size - Emerald Cut diamonds have a larger top surface area compared to round brilliant cut diamonds of similar weight. 

A2: Maximum Sparkle - Radiant Cut diamonds were designed with maximum sparkle in mind and (bonus!) that intense sparkle also makes them look larger than their actual size.

Q: Which celebrity personalities do you/they identify with more?

A1: Beyonce and Amal Clooney - These confident, stylish women have worn equally elegant Emerald Cut diamond engagement rings. 

A2: Jennifer Aniston and Drew Barrymore - The bubbly, outgoing personalities of these famous ladies are reflected in their Radiant Cut diamond engagement rings.

If you answered mostly “A1”s, an Emerald Cut diamond is for you! If you answered mostly “A2”s, your perfect stone is a Radiant Cut diamond. Or, if you’re also considering a round shape, read our Rose-Cut vs Brilliant Cut Diamond article to help make your decision.