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What Is a Princess Cut Diamond?

Table of Contents

  • How Princess Cut Diamonds Compare to Other Diamond Cuts
  • How To Know If A Princess Cut Diamond Is Right For You

A simulated princess cut diamond ring is the second most popular cut for a diamond ring thanks to its sparkling nature, sharp, symmetrical shape, and affordability. It is a “fancy” shape, and with up to 76 facets that reflect and refract light, it is cut in a way that produces maximum brilliance and fire. What are brilliance and fire? Brilliance is a white light that is both internally and externally reflected from a diamond into your eye. Fire is the tiny flashes of color reflected back to the eye when the light bounces around the diamond, which appears like a rainbow of colors. The princess cut diamond reflects brilliance and fire, making it eye-catching from any angle.

A princess cut simulated diamond pendant The Shape

You (or your partner) may be wondering, “what does a princess cut diamond look like?” and understandably so. There are so many different diamond shapes; it can be tough to choose your favorite. While other diamond cuts are more obvious such as round or oval, “princess” is a bit more mysterious. While traditionally, princess cut diamonds look square, they can also be a rectangle. They are cut in a way to optimize sparkle and have sharp corners and symmetrical sides.

The History

Since the 1960s, innovative diamond cutters have created sharp square cuts, but it wasn’t until the 1980s when the princess cut got its name. Today, this square-ish stone, also called “square modified brilliant,” stands out amongst the crowd of other diamonds with rounded edges. It is one of the most popular engagement ring styles, second only to the round cut diamond.

The Setting

Princess cut diamonds work well in different types of engagement ring settings as long as their sharp corners are protected with sturdy prongs. A princess cut diamond ring can have a solitaire setting, which allows the stone to shine all on its own, a three-stone setting, or a halo setting, which will add even more sparkle to its already dramatic essence. Princess cut diamonds aren’t only for engagement rings, though. Princess cut diamond settings are a popular choice for earrings and pendant necklaces too.

How Princess Cut Diamonds Compare to Other Diamond Cuts

There are a number of shapes available for diamonds, 11 of which you can find at any common jeweler. With all of these cuts to choose from, each of which is beautiful in its own right, it can be difficult to decipher between them and know which is best. Here, we compare the princess cut diamond to similar diamond shapes and discuss their major differences.

Round vs. Princess Cut

When comparing a round vs princess cut diamond, the most noticeable difference is the shape. Round cut diamonds are, well, round and princess cut diamonds are most often square. Both stone styles can have a brilliant cut, which means they are cut in a way to provide the maximum light return through the top of the diamond and, therefore sparkle brilliantly.

Diamond cutters who cut stones into the princess shape can typically retain much more of the original stone. They can use 80-90% of the actual stone for a Princess cut, which makes the process much more economical than with other stones such as a round diamond cut, where they can typically only use 40-50% of the actual stone. This makes the princess cut diamond less wasteful, but also less expensive than a round cut of the same carat size.

Additionally, princess cut diamonds can appear bigger than their round counterparts of the same carat size because the table or top of the diamond is larger. The pavilion or bottom of the diamond is smaller in a princess cut than a round cut.

A princess cut stone compared to a round cut stone Cushion vs. Princess Cut

If you like the shape and sparkle of a princess cut diamond, you may also be considering a cushion cut engagement ring. When comparing a cushion cut vs princess cut engagement ring, the most noticeable difference is that the shape is softer, resembling a pillow cushion. While a princess cut diamond has sharp, clean corners, a cushion cut diamond has soft, rounded corners. The soft corners of the cushion cut diamond give it a more antique feel as opposed to the modern feel of the princess cut.

While similar in affordability, cushion cuts don’t hide flaws or inclusions as well as princess cuts and can appear smaller in size, which means you may have to pay more for a higher clarity stone and larger carat weight.

A princess cut stone compared to a cushion cut stone Emerald vs. Princess Cut

The sharp square shape of a princess cut is most similar to that of an emerald cut and has the same striking, regal effect, but there are some major differences. For one, the princess diamond is cut with triangular facets to maximize brilliance and fire (that sparkle and shine that puts a twinkle in your eye) while the emerald diamond is cut with rectangular facets that create a “step” like appearance, which doesn’t give off near as much brilliance. Another key difference is that the corners of an emerald stone are clipped, which creates an edge, as opposed to the pointed corners on a princess cut.

Additionally, emerald cut diamonds will show rather than hide inclusions and reveal more color than princess cut diamonds as well. However, you may be able to afford a higher clarity and higher color grade to make up for this because emerald cut diamonds are typically more affordable.

A princess cut stone compared to an emerald cut stone

How To Know If A Princess Cut Diamond Is Right For You

After learning what is a princess cut diamond and comparing it to similar diamond cuts, you may be ready to select your stone. This is a big purchase, though, so there are a few important things to note when shopping for the right diamond. Before you hit “buy,” let’s discuss what to look for in order to find the perfect princess cut for you.

The 4Cs

With any diamond shape, it’s important to pay attention to the 4Cs of diamonds: color, clarity, carat weight, and cut. The 4Cs will largely affect the diamond’s price and brilliance and should be carefully considered when shopping for the right diamond for you. Here are the most important aspects to pay attention to when purchasing a princess cut diamond:

Color: The color of princess cut diamonds is rated on the GIA standard color chart, and while higher color grades are more expensive, a lower grade may appear more desirable to you. Lower color grades, such as H and I, will have warmer tones while higher color grades, such as D and F, will have cooler tones. The difference will be hardly noticeable, so pick the hue that you prefer.

Clarity: The princess cut has the capability to hide flaws or inclusions, which makes it possible to have a brilliant diamond without a high-quality grade. However, be wary of selecting a diamond with major inclusions in the corners of the princess cut as they can be more prone to chip or break. Minor inclusions in the corners of the diamond can be overlooked because they shouldn’t affect the stone’s stability and will be invisible once covered by prongs.

Carat Weight: Princess cut diamonds can appear larger in size than other diamond cuts of the same carat weight because more of their carat weight is at the diamond’s crown. Due to this, you can achieve the appearance of a larger stone without the larger price-tag.

Cut: While traditionally square, many princess cut diamonds are slightly or overtly rectangular. The more rectangular the cut, the lower in price the diamond. Even if you opt for a more rectangular shape, you can create the illusion of a squarer princess cut with side-set diamonds, which expand the ring’s width.

In addition to the symmetry of a princess cut diamond’s sides, it is important to pay attention to the size of its table (top) and its depth. As you shop, look for a table percentage under 75% and a depth percentage between 65% and 75%. These are general guidelines since there are no set standards for princess cut diamonds like there are for round brilliant cuts.

Personal Preference

A princess cut diamond makes a royal statement. If you want a timeless, chic, and radiant cut, a princess diamond could be perfect for you. It is also a great diamond if you are looking for a more affordable option than a round cut diamond, without sacrificing any brilliance or fire.

The princess diamond ring is clean, modern, and classic all at the same time and will work well with whatever setting you select, just remember to pick a setting that protects its precious four corners, such as a channel or four-prong setting. Opt for a solid gold band and solitaire setting to let the stone do all the talking, complement the stone’s symmetry with two side stones, or soften the sharp edges with a halo setting.

Browse our selection of princess cut diamond rings to find the style that speaks to you.

*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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