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Radiant Cut vs. Princess Cut Diamonds. Which One Comes Out on Top?

by Willyou.net * Oct 3, 2021

Key Takeaways

  • The Radiant and the Princess are two of the most modern -looking diamond shapes out there. They are both very distinctive, and very different from one another in terms of shape and facet structure.
  • In terms of durability, the Radiant certainly has the edge over the Princess. The right jeweler will, however, be able to set a Princess diamond in a way that protects its vulnerable corners and ensures it remains safe and secure over the years.
  • The Princess cut is one of the most economical choices for shoppers, since it’s a relatively easy shape to cut from rough stone without generating too much wastage.
Radiant cut diamond 3 carat vs Princess cut diamond 3 carat SI1
Radiant cut vs Princess cut

Offering a similar brilliance and fire top the Round, though in a more modern silhouette, these two shapes have long since been incredibly popular for engagement rings. Their similarities can, however, cause some shoppers to get confused between the two.

However, there are some noticeable differences between the Radiant and Princess cuts, and some subtler differences, too, that can help you decide between these two stunning shapes…

What is a Modified Brilliant Cut?

This is a term used to describe diamond cuts that feature a facet pattern based on the one found in the Round Brilliant cut.

The Round cut is, of course, pretty much the archetype for diamond engagement rings – not least of all because of the unparalleled level of sparkle it offers. This sparkle is down to the particular facet pattern used to create the modern Round and, for that reason, has been modified into numerous other shapes with a view to retaining the same sparkle in new and interesting ways.

The Radiant and Princess cuts are just two of a number of modified brilliants, alongside the Pear, Oval, Marquise and Heart.

The best way to understand what makes a modified brilliant ‘brilliant’ is to compare the Round with a step cut, like the Emerald shape, which sparkles in a totally different way.

What is the Difference Between Radiant and Princess Cut?

While both shapes feature a brilliant facet structure and geometric shape, their silhouettes, proportions, and effect within jewelry are totally different.

If you take a look at the side-by-side comparison of the Radiant and Princess cuts below, you’ll notice straight off the bat that the Radiant has twice as many sides as the princess. Its corners are ‘beveled’, creating a long, octagonal shape rather than a straightforward square or rectangle.

In actual fact, this serves to make the Radiant cut a little more durable than the Princess, since the sharply pointed corners of the Princess cut are vulnerable to damage – but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

More often than not, the Radiant cut is rectangular in shape, with a silhouette that resembles the Emerald cut (although, of course, their facet patterns are total opposites). The Princess cut, however, is square.

Does Princess or Radiant Cut Look Bigger?

A Radiant cut diamond can appear larger than a Princess cut of the exact same carat weight.

The elongated shape of the Radiant is pretty effective at giving the impression of having a higher carat weight, since its weight is distributed across the surface of the diamond, rather than within its pavilion. 

The difference is pretty minor, but definitely noticeable when you’re comparing the two diamonds side by side.

Which Sparkles More Radiant or Princess?

Both diamonds offer tremendous amounts of fire and brilliance, and both certainly rival the Round cut in terms of sparkle but, once again, the Radiant just has the edge over the Princess.

While the facet pattern of any modified brilliant cut is based on the arrangement found in the Round cut, each one is carried off a little differently due to differences in shape and proportion.

The table of the princess cut (that larger, flat surface at the center of the diamond) is larger than it is on the Radiant, meaning that, while this means extra light is able to get in, sparkle is also slightly diminished.

Don’t let that frighten you away from the romantic Princess, however. The difference in sparkle between a Radiant and a Princess is marginal, and both exemplify the power of the brilliant facet structure.

Is the Radiant More Durable Than the Princess Cut?

Yes, as its corners are beveled.

This is something we touched on above, but which can sway some shoppers that bit further toward the Radiant cut.

Despite the fact that diamonds are incredibly strong and resilient things, the very fine, precise points that are so characteristic of the Princess cut are not impervious to chipping or breaking off if they are knocked hard enough. Obviously, during everyday wear, we can’t always protect against those little bumps.

This can be an issue when it comes to setting the diamond. Jewelers have to exercise incredible precision in order to ensure that the diamond is not only held securely in place by its prongs, and also that they are not exerting too much pressure on those delicate corners.

Is the Radiant Cut More Expensive?

The Princess cut tends to be a more affordable choice, as it generates very little waste during the cutting process.

While the Princess cut remains a very popular choice among buyers, the most expensive diamond cuts tend to be those that are not only popular, but also require the diamond cutter to make some sacrifice with regards to the original size of the rough stone.

Creating a Princess diamond is a little more economical, in terms of the original stone, than cutting a Round – or even a Radiant cut. Diamond cutters can preserve more of the rough stone’s weight, which means that these diamonds are often a little more affordable.

The Radiant cut does, however, generally produce a pretty small amount of wastage too. It’s generally around 10% more expensive than the princess, but still a lot cheaper than the Round and Oval.

So, Is Radiant Cut Better Than Princess?

The Radiant certainly nabs top spot on a number of factors, but only just. Both of these shapes will create beautiful center stones for your engagement ring and, since the differences are mostly subtle, you should probably be led by your heart on this decision.

If you’re still 100% on the fence, then, by all means, lean toward the slightly more sparkly, slightly more durable, slightly larger-appearing Radiant. It creates truly striking and modern engagement rings, like this Radiant Cut Pave Ring, or even something as simple as this Radiant Cut Solitaire.

That said, if you and your bride-to-be feel inexplicably drawn toward the Princess cut, then there’s no use digging your heels into the dirt and opting for the Radiant instead. An experienced jeweler will understand how to protect those sharp corners from damage – and we’re willing to bet you won’t notice any significant difference in sparkle between the two.

On paper, the Radiant cut absolutely appears better than the Princess, but if all that theory goes out the window when you turn up to the jewelry store and see these two diamond shapes in person, you’ll know you’re onto a winner.