People looking to buy a diamond often debate between the radiant and the cushion cut, and for good reason: They look very similar. Let’s see what the differences between these two cuts are and how you should decide which to buy.
What Is a Radiant Cut?
The radiant cut has a rectangular or square shape, but its corners are trimmed. From the top, its outline looks much like the emerald diamond cut.
What Is a Cushion Cut?
The cushion cut also has a rectangular or square outline.
The sides and corners of these diamonds are slightly rounded, creating a pillow-like appearance, which is the reason for this cut’s name.
Cushion Cut vs. Radiant Cut: Similarities and Differences
The radiant cut and the cushion cut are so similar that it is hard to pinpoint the aspects in which they differ.
Here are the most important factors you should consider when comparing these cuts:
One of the most visible differences between radiant and cushion cut is in the way they are shaped.
The radiant cut has a rectangular outline and its corners are cut.
The cushion cut, on the other hand, has sides that are more rounded, so its profile does not look as rectangular.
Some cushion cuts can be so rounded that they may actually look oval.
Cut and Facets
Both the radiant and the cushion cut belong to the group of the so-called “brilliant cuts.”
This means that their facets are shaped and arranged in a way that enhances brilliance.
Although these two cuts differ somewhat in the number and shape of their facets, these differences are visible from a close distance.
Besides, the cushion cut has so many variations that it is hard to list all dissimilarities between them and the radiant cut.
From a normal viewing distance, a radiant and a cushion cut look similar, and the most salient difference is in their face-up outline.
Cushion cuts that have bigger facets may exhibit noticeably less brilliance than radiant cuts – this is often the case with the so-called “antique” variations of the cushion cut.
Most modern variations of this cut, however, are pretty close to the radiant cut in terms of brilliance.
Anyway, in order to compare two diamonds of each cut, you would need to evaluate them side by side and see which stone has more sparkle.
Clarity and Color
In general, there is no significant difference between a cushion and a radiant cut in terms of how visible their color or inclusions are (if both stones have the same clarity and color grades).
Just remember that if a diamond has a cushion cut variation that has lower brilliance, the stone’s flaws or yellow tints (if any) might not be masked as well as they would in a similar-quality radiant stone.
Conclusion and Shopping Advice
As you can see, the differences between the radiant and the cushion cut are not dramatic. Even their shapes look similar.
And because of the vast diversity of cushion cut modifications available, you should compare radiant and cushion diamonds on a case-by-case basis.
In the end, our recommendation is that you choose between the two based on your personal preferences for shape and sparkle.
Where to Buy Diamonds and Diamond Jewelry?
For diamond jewelry, we highly recommend James Allen because it shows real photos and videos for each diamond so you can take a 360-degree look at any stone before buying it.
For colored diamonds, we recommend Leibish & Co., which specializes in fancy color diamonds (use code JewelryNotes200 at checkout to get a 5% discount).