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Emerald Cut vs Princess Cut Diamonds: Shape Showdown

Table of Contents

  • What Is Diamond Cut? 
  • Why Does Diamond Cut Matter?
  • What Is An Emerald Cut Diamond? 
  • What Is A Princess Cut Diamond?


A variety of Nexus Diamond™ alternatives compared side by side When shopping for an lab grown diamond engagement ring, it’s easy to be overcome by all the beautiful options. After all, every diamond ring is uniquely gorgeous, but not every diamond ring tells your special love story. It’s important that you not only love the style of your engagement ring but that it feels symbolic and meaningful. To help you hone in on the right engagement ring for you, you first have to decide on the right diamond shape for you. Every diamond shape exudes its own style and has its own list of pros and cons.

Among the many gorgeous diamond shapes, two of the more sleek shaped diamond styles with strong geometric lines are princess cut and emerald cut. A princess cut and simulated emerald cut diamond ring both are some of the most elegant and sought after diamond cuts. And after round cut diamonds, they are also two of the most popular choices for engagement rings. If you have your eye on either, or both, of these shapes, we will help you determine which one suits you best.

What Is Diamond Cut? 

To start, let’s explore what is diamond cut in the first place. The diamond cut is the end result of an extremely detailed and specialized diamond cutting process that has been around for centuries. Diamond cutting is the artistry of cutting a rough diamond into a beautiful and brilliant gemstone. Diamond cutters use balanced and proportionately cut facets that reflect and refract the light to shape the rough stone so its brilliance, which is that gorgeous glimmer we all love, can be revealed.

It takes highly trained and skilled diamond cutters to cut a diamond for its highest potential. A successful cut will create dozens of facets whose angles, locations, sizes and shapes maximize the diamond’s sparkle. When the diamond cutter is done, the diamond should have symmetry and brilliance.

Once a diamond is cut, it is graded according to the diamond grading standards. Grades range from Excellent (or Ideal) to Poor. A diamond with a cut grade of Excellent will reflect all of the light that hits it, maximizing the diamond’s beauty. A diamond with a cut grade of poor or fair, on the other hand, has little to no value and will not make for a beautiful ring.

Why Does Diamond Cut Matter?

Diamond cut is one of the main factors of diamond quality. The cut of a diamond influences a diamond’s durability, brilliance, and aesthetic appeal. A poorly cut diamond can look dull and lifeless, and that’s no diamond worth investing in. While clarity, color, and carat weight are important, the cut can make or break the value of a diamond. This is why it is probably the most important of the four C’s when evaluating a diamond’s worth..

An engagement ring featuring an emerald cut center stone

What Is An Emerald Cut Diamond? 

What is an emerald cut diamond? An emerald cut diamond is traditionally rectangular in shape with cut corners, however, while uncommon, it can also be a square shape. It is a “step cut” diamond, which means it has long rectangular facets that appear like parallel steps when you view the diamond from above. These “steps” create a mirror-like appearance that is positively entrancing. They also give the stone a sleek, linear look that has become a signature of the shape. Many brides, including Amal Cooney, Kim Kardashian, and Beyonce Knowles, to name a few, love the refined, elegant quality emerald cut diamonds exude.

An engagement ring featuring a princess cut stone

What Is A Princess Cut Diamond?

A princess cut diamond is traditionally a square shape with four pointed corners. Princess cut diamonds are cut for maximum brilliance and fire and thus, can boast up to 76 tiny facets that reflect and refract light. This brilliance makes this cut exceptionally sparkly and exceptional at hiding inclusions and flaws. Brides love the sparkling quality and classic and timeless look of princess cut diamonds. Its celeb wearers include Kate Bosworth, Katrina Bowden, and Nicky Hilton.

Before we compare these two incredible diamond cuts, know that you can also compare round vs princess cut diamond or radiant cut vs emerald cut here on our blog to better understand how this shape stacks up to the rest. .

Emerald vs Princess Cut — The Key Differences

Princess and emerald cut diamonds are alike in the fact that they both have straight edges that give them a geometric shape. They both have an elegant, sleek, and regal air to them and look good on anyone, truly. However, there are some key differences that set these two stone shapes apart. In addition to variations in cut i.e. triangle vs. rectangle facets and pointy corners vs. clipped corners, these are the noticeable differences between princess cut and emerald cut diamonds.

Facets, mentioned above, are the faces of the diamond that diamond cutter’s create to maximize the stone’s ability to reflect and refract light. The more facets the more sparkle. While princess cut diamonds have up to 76 facets, emerald cut diamonds have only 57. So, emerald cut diamonds are less brilliant than princess cut diamonds, but that doesn’t mean they lack brilliance completely. Emerald cut diamonds still reflect light, but the sparkle they exude is more subdued.

Princess cut diamonds, on the other hand, are second only to round brilliant cut diamonds when it comes to sparkle. They too feature a brilliant cut that reflects light beautifully in cascading brilliance, the white light that is internally and externally reflected from a diamond to the eye, and fire, the tiny flashes of color reflected back to the eye when the light bounces around the diamond.

So, if sparkle is what you’re after, a princess cut gemstone is the way to take.

A chart comparing emerald and princess cut diamonds Clarity:
Princess cut and emerald cut diamonds also differ in the clarity grade they need to look their very best. The level of the sparkle of a well-cut princess stone will mask any inclusions in the stone well, so you can get away with selecting a princess cut diamond with a lower clarity grade.

For emerald cut diamonds, on the other hand, clarity is far more important. The large rectangular table, or window into the diamond, doesn’t hide anything. Additionally, the more subdued sparkle of an emerald stone won’t mask inclusions nearly as well as the intense sparkle of a princess cut stone.

For emerald cut diamonds, it’s important to select a stone with VS1 or VS2 Clarity, while for princess cut diamonds, any clarity higher than SI2 will do, as long as the stone is “eye-clean”, which means there are no imperfections visible to the naked eye.

Both princess and emerald diamond shapes are cut in a way that uses more of the original rough diamond, which makes both shapes significantly less expensive than the round cut diamond, which is cut in a way that uses far less of the rough stone, resulting in more waste.

Typically, princess cut diamonds will be more expensive than emerald cut diamonds at lower carat weights, but as the stone increases in size, emerald cut diamonds become more expensive. This typically occurs around the 2-carat mark.

When comparing diamond prices, cut isn’t the only contributing factor, though. In fact, because lesser cuts are practically worthless, carat weight, clarity, and color have a bigger impact on price. With princess cuts, you may be able to afford a larger carat size with a lower clarity grade, because of the cut’s ability to hide flaws. With emerald cuts, the larger the stone, the more important the clarity, however, this cut also tends to appear larger than it is, so you may be able to decrease in carat weight to meet your budget.

For the most part, princess cut and emerald cut diamonds are comparable. Both can work with your budget when you focus on one or two of the four Cs that mean the most to you.

Which Is Better? Emerald or Princess Cut? 

Both emerald cut and princess cut diamonds are incredibly beautiful. Which is better is completely up to you! Only you can decide whether the pros of one cut outweigh the pros of the other.  If your style is more feminine, and your priority is sparkle, a princess cut diamond is the better choice. If your style is more refined, and your priority is clarity, an emerald cut is the better choice. The right stone will become a part of your love story.

The setting, though, is another crucial aspect of the overall style of an engagement ring. Whichever diamond cut you choose, both shapes pair beautifully with a variety of engagement ring settings. A solitaire setting will complement their geometric shape, a pave band or halo will enhance their sparkle, and a three stone setting will add drama. If you need a guide on the best emerald cut diamond settings, we have your back.

Are you ready to commit to a cut? Shop our beautiful selection of emerald cut engagement rings or princess cut engagement rings to find a style you’ll love now and forever.


1 Cushion cut vs Princess Cut

2 Quality Control

3 This is the most expensive diamond cut

4 Diamond Shapes Price Chart

5 Princess Cut Diamonds

*Here at Diamond Nexus, we strive to provide valuable information while being clear and honest about our products. The Nexus Diamond™ alternative is a patented lab created diamond simulate that, among all simulants, most closely imitates the look, weight and wear of a diamond, with two exceptions – it is absolutely perfect in every way, and it costs significantly less. Price points and environmental facts expressed in this blog were taken from popular online retailers and may vary. Learn more about the environmental impact of mining by visiting our blog.

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