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How to Choose Between Radiant and Cushion Cut Diamonds? Insider Guide

by Willyou.net * Oct 9, 2021

Key Takeaways

  • The Cushion and the Radiant share plenty of key similarities and, ultimately, your choice should come down to personal preference, and which one just has the edge over the other.
  • The Radiant it traditionally cut to rectangular proportions, which means that it tends to be the more flattering shape on the finger. Then again, it is possible to find elongated Cushions, although they are comparatively much rarer.
  • If you’re a fan of fire, then the Cushion is probably your best bet, since this shape is prized throughout the jewelry world for its high production of fire.
  • The Cushion bears a closer resemblance to the Round Brilliant, while the Radiant has a slightly more modern look. This fact alone can help shoppers to decide.
2 carat radiant cut diamond vs 2 arat cushion cut diamond
2-carat radiant cut diamond VS. 2-carat cushion cut diamond

When it comes to lavish and luxurious diamond cuts, two of the first names that spring to mind are the Radiant and the Cushion. Both featuring pretty similar facet patterns, particularly high levels of fire, and versatile, timeless shapes, choosing between the Radiant and Cushion is not easy – especially if you’re still struggling to work out the differences between them.

It’s certainly understandable – both shapes are very similar – but there’s a few key points you should know before you make your choice.

Is Radiant Cut Same as Cushion Cut?

No, although they do share more similarities than differences.

For starters, the Cushion cut stems back around two hundred years, while the Radiant is considerably younger, having been developed less than fifty years ago, in the late 1970s.

The most noticeable difference between this two cuts lies in their silhouettes. While the Radiant features beveled corners (creating an irregular octagon shape, rather than a rectangle), the Cushion has those characteristically smooth, rounded corners that lend it its name in the first place.

While this may seem like a pretty minor difference, it means that the two shapes give off entirely different vibes. The Cushion looks plush and sumptuous, while the Radiant looks a little more refined and geometric – a silhouette very similar to the Emerald, while still preserving the Brilliant facet pattern so many of us want.

While both cuts are available with square and rectangular dimensions, it is much more common for the Radiant to be rectangular. The Cushion, on the other hand, is much more popular with square dimensions – though both simply fall down to personal preference.

What Looks Bigger, Cushion or Radiant?

The Radiant will typically look longer than a rectangular Cushion. That same Cushion cut diamond, however, will look wider than the Radiant.

As you can see, there’s no simple answer to this question. The difference in weight distribution between a properly proportioned Radiant and a properly proportioned Cushion is such that each cut will look bigger (and smaller) in its own way.

If you like the elegant, elongating effect a rectangular shape has on the finger, then Radiant might just clinch the deal here. If you would prefer the rounder, plusher look created by rounder shapes like the Oval when they’re worn on the finger, however, then you’ll know the Cushion is the one for you.

Which Sparkles More, Cushion or Radiant?

In two diamonds of the same cut quality and size, you can expect the Radiant to produce more brilliance, while the Cushion will produce more fire.

This is one factor that can push help shoppers to make up their minds more than any other, since most tend to have a preference for maximizing fire or brilliance.

One of the things that makes the Cushion such a desirable cut is its ability to produce a lot more fire than many other cuts, which creates an incredible display of colorful light across the surface of the ring as the wearer moves their hand under a light source.

At the same time, a major selling point for the Radiant cut is the very high degree of brilliance it creates, meaning a dazzlingly bright show of white light.

Again, there’s no straightforward answer here; it comes down to personal preference, and what feels right for your bride-to-be. Both diamonds will offer plenty of sparkle, and you’re only likely to notice the most significant difference when you’re comparing the two side-by-side.

Are Cushion Cuts More Expensive?

Cushion and Radiant cuts tend to be very similar in price, since both enable the diamond cutter to preserve a lot of the original rough stone, and both enjoy a similar level of popularity.

What’s more, both are considerably more affordable than the Round cut, meaning that you may be able to consider opting for a higher carat weight without changing your price point. Both shapes also offer the opportunity to put a slightly more original spin on the traditional engagement ring designs.

Which is More Durable, the Radiant or Cushion?

Both cuts are highly durable, thanks to their smoother corners.

This is one thing that helps in the debate over the Radiant vs the Princess cut – the fact that, thanks to its beveled corners, the Radiant is a little less vulnerable to chipping or breaking, particularly when it is held in place by prongs positioned at each corner.

The Cushion enjoys a similar level of durability, since, rather than featuring any sharp (and vulnerable) points, its edges and corners are smooth and gently rounded. This reduces the risk of high pressure – whether from an accidental knock, or from the ring setting itself – causing surface damage to the diamond.

So, once again, there really isn’t much discrepancy between the two shapes here.

So, is the Radiant or Cushion Cut Better?

If you’re looking for a more subtle twist on the classic Round, then we’d recommend the Cushion. If, however, you’re all about the brilliance – combined with a little geometric-elegance – then go for the Radiant.

In case it wasn’t clear already, there really is no clear winner between these two incredible cuts. Their differences are clear to see, but none of these differences brings one out on top of the other.

Yes, the Radiant offers more brilliance…but Cushion offers more fire. Yes, the rectangular Cushion looks wider on the finger…but the Radiant looks longer.

While, right now, it might seem like you’re no clearer on which shape you want to go for, you can take this as a blessing. With no significant differences in cost or durability, size, or sparkle, you’re free to explore both cuts further until you hit upon a diamond you just can’t say no to.

You can browse our full range of Cushion cut diamonds and Radiant cut diamonds online first, then connect with a local jeweler who can take you the rest of the way, and throw their expertise into the mix until you know which cut is the right one for you.