Princess Cut Diamond Buying Guide: How To Avoid Pitfalls

Princess Cut Diamonds Buying Guide

The crowd-pleasing, fanciest diamond shape – the Princess Cut diamond offers a stylish and edgy look to any diamond jewelry piece. 

A royalty in the diamond world, it accounts for a whopping 30% of engagement rings. It doesn’t slow down and shows no sign of letting its rank go.

The princess cut diamond has a classic look that appeals to most diamond lovers. The way it resembles an upside-down pyramid and how its four sharp corners present a subtle edge to add sparkle all add to its ever-growing popularity.

Princess cut diamond is for the unusual and the adventurous. It is for the unconventional woman as its geometric style defines the rebel within. If that sounds like you and you are looking for a princess cut diamond for yourself, you’ve come to the right place.


What Is A Princess Cut Diamond?

princess cut diamond

The princess cut diamond, or “Profile Cut,” is, by tradition, a square diamond that presents excellent fire and brilliance. First created in 1980 by Betzalel Ambar and Israel Itzkowitz, this popular fancy cut is designed from the inverted pyramid of the rough diamond stone.

They are among the most brilliant of all diamond shapes, and it is not surprising that they are a popular choice for engagement rings. Like round cut diamonds, they are ideal because of their flexibility in working with almost any ring style.

The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) grades princess cut diamonds as square-modified brilliants. They distinguish them from the step cut facet arrangements that you see on other square diamonds, precisely like the Asscher cut diamond.

The princess cut diamond may be rectangular or tapered. Since it is cut like an upturned pyramid, much of its weight is in the pavilion. This makes its face-up appearance appear smaller than another diamond of a different shape but similar carat weight.

The Princess cut’s number of facets and the faceting layout on its pavilion and crown may vary significantly. This variation may create different sorts of scintillation, combinations of how much it sparkles, and the sparkle’s pattern.

Princess Cut Diamond’s Key Features

  • It is square-shaped but with the most brilliance
  • It contains around two to four striped/chevron patterns
  • Cheaper per carat than Round Cuts since more of the rough stone is upheld during the cutting process
  • The ideal choice for engagement rings and earrings
  • Also called Square Modified Brilliant and Rectangular Modified Brilliant, although rectangle princess cuts are not that sought-after

Princess Cut Diamond’s Anatomy

Most fancy cut diamonds have a lot of variations for standardized cut grades. Compared with Round Brilliant, there are no expectations set for how a princess cut should look like. Princess cut diamonds differ by their crown pattern and the number of cuts on the pavilion.

Neither bears an impact on value nor quality. You’ll just fancy one over the other.

The princess cut’s crown may either have French or bezel corners. Those that with bezel corners have diamond-shaped facet that extends from the table corners to the stone corners. On the other hand, French corners show star facets that point to the stone corners.

Bezel corners are more durable, so you may want to stick to this design except if you prefer French corners.

princess diamond cuts

Its pavilion has chevron shapes that make out the diamond’s brilliance. Princess cut diamonds can have up to four chevrons. Those with two stripes create larger and bolder flashes of light and color. Three chevrons make a middle ground, while four scintillate more but with reduced facets.

Princess Cut Diamond – Cut Guide

 

Excellent

Very Good Good Fair

Poor

Table Percentage

67 to 72

59 to 66
or
73 to 75
56 to 58
or
76 to 82
53 to 55
or
83 to 85

< 53 or > 85

Depth Percentage

64 to 75

58 to 63.9
or
75.1 to 80
56 to 57.9
or
80.1 to 84

< 56 or > 84

Girdle

Very Thin – Slightly Thick

Very Thin
to
Thick
Very Thin
to
Very Thick

Ex. Thin
to
Ex. Thick

Culet

None

Very Small Small Medium

> Medium

Length to Width Ratio

1.00 to 1.03

1.04 to 1.05 1.06 to 1.08

> 1.08

Depth Percentage

The light that passes through the stone won’t correctly reflect to your eye if the diamond is cut too shallow or too deep. For princess cut diamonds, you may want to look for a total depth between 65% to 75%. The rule of thumb is, the lower, the better. The lower ones seem to offer the best balance of brilliance to size.

Table Percentage

Table percentage refers to how extensive the top facet is compared to the width of the diamond. The ideal table percentage for princess cut is at 75% or below.

There are groups of diamond buyers who prefer small table at or under 68%. If you are looking that way, you would want to prepare with a bit of search since Princess cut diamonds with smaller tables are less common than larger tables.

Length to Width Ratio

The best princess cuts have a well-defined square shape with a length to width ratio of 1.0 to 1.05. Anything above this range may appear off-shape.

Girdle Thickness

The fragile corners of princess cut diamonds require that its girdle is thick enough to support prongs. Although most princess cut girdles can, there are “extremely thin” ones that leave the diamond more susceptible to breaking.

Polish and Symmetry

Since there is no apparent difference between “Good” and “Excellent” grades in Polish and Symmetry, ratings you should consider for princess cut diamond should be “Good” or better.


Princess Cut Diamond – A Diamond Manufacturer’s Dream

Amongst all diamond shapes and cut, the princess cut is a diamond cutter’s favorite for one reason – its yield from rough.

Wholesale Rough Uncut Kimberley

This uncut diamond is a perfect example. Simply cut it in half, and you’ve got yourself two princess cut diamonds! There’s not much left to do but add some structure to the table and a few brilliant faceting.

You would not even want to imagine doing that with a Round Brilliant Cut because there will be too much diamond material to lose. The dissimilarity is quite apparent.

Princess Cut Diamonds are Cheaper

Other cuts like Round Brilliant will usually yield approximately 40% – meaning a cut 1-carat piece of rough will produce a 0.40 carat polished round diamond. Conversely, a princess cut will yield between 80% to 90% range.

That is why while all else is equal, the princess cut is cheaper than a round diamond.

Another effect of this rarity is that since Princess cuts are solely made from very high-quality and very well-formed rough diamond crystals, it usually correlates with cleaner rough.

Clarity

Even in their beauty, diamonds have imperfections. Such imperfections are what clarity grade measures. They analyze whether these imperfections are noticeable or acceptable.

An eye-clean clarity for a princess cut diamond is at SI1 or VS2. Although SI1 and I1 diamonds can be eye-clean and can make a good alternative for those on a tight budget, there might not be many princess cut diamonds in these clarity grades.

Another thing to note is princess cut diamonds at these clarity grades must not have dark inclusions near the center of the stone. Also, be on the lookout for inclusions near or in the corners. Inclusions in these zones cause the corners weaker and more likely to break.

Remember that your goal should be to find the most affordable eye-clean princess cut diamond you can find. Eye-clean is when the diamonds may have inclusions when looking at them under a certain degree of magnification, but with a naked eye won’t.

Princess Cut Diamond – Clarity Guide
  Excellent Very Good Good Fair Poor
< .50 carat FL to VS2 SI1 to SI2 I1 I2 > I2
.51-1.0 carat FL to VS1 VS2 to SI1 SI2 I1 to I2 > I2
1.0-2.0 carat FL to VVS2 VS1 to VS2 SI1 to SI2 I1 > I1
> 2.0 carat FL to VVS2 VS1 to VS2 SI1 SI2 > SI2

Color

It would help if you were slightly more careful with a princess cut diamond than you would with a Round Brilliant in terms of color. Considering that they are both brilliant cuts, they both flourish in chopping up the light, making the actual color of the rough material hard to recognize.

Round Brilliant is superior when it comes to light return. Thus it is better at keeping the true color of your diamond a secret.

Today’s diamond market has customers wanting to pay a price premium for D to F color grades. In reality, in a world without color grading, the price is considerably lower since the actual differences are hard to see.

This is why most jewelers recommend picking an H or I color grade for a princess cut diamond to get the best value. Check the guide below to get a better understanding of evaluating color grades in princess cut diamonds.

Princess Cut Diamond – Color Guide

 

Excellent

Very Good Good Fair

Poor

< .50 carat

D to G

H to I J to K L to M

> M

.51-1.0 carat

D to F

G H to I J to K

> K

1.0-2.0 carat

D to F

G to H I to J

< J

> 2.0 carat

D to F

G H to I

> I

Fluoro

None

Faint to Medium Strong

Very Strong

Princess Cut Diamond Size Chart

Princess cuts have rough millimeter sizes that match up to certain carat weights. Sizing them may be confusing since they have large diagonal measurements.

Princess Cut Diamond Size Chart


Best Settings For Princess Cut Diamond Ring

A lot of setting styles for Round Brilliant diamonds will work fine with princess cut. Although the best that can emphasize their beauty are channel and four-prong settings, like solitaire or three-stone ring. The Princess vut’s pointy edges should be considered in picking ring settings as you would want to protect the corners from getting chipped.

Since princess cut diamonds are adaptable, they can work with different setting options.

Solitaire

Solitaire ring styles stunningly highlight the modern appeal of the princess cut venter diamond. They are intended to maximize sparkle while maintaining their chic square shape. Check out this princess cut in solitaire ring setting from James Allen.

Channel Set

Channel Set in engagement rings is classic and easy to find. And, while they are almost anywhere, they are still considered unique and practical at the same time.

Why? Because they protect your accent diamonds way better than other ring settings. It features two parallel metal rails to mount accent diamonds down the side of the ring, providing many benefits to the diamond.

Blue Nile’s Channel-Set Princess-Cut Diamond Ring

Halo

Princess cut diamonds may cost anywhere between 25% to 40% less than Round Brilliant Cut. But, they can still be expensive. Their popularity could be one factor why they are pricey. So, if you are looking to get a smaller princess cut diamond but want to make it look bigger, put that on a halo setting.

This setting can make the center stone look up to a half-carat bigger than its size, translating into hundreds of dollars in savings. Halo also adds sparkle to the ring as a whole. Check out Brilliant Earth’s princess cut in Halo Setting and how its scalloped pavé split-shank band adds a stylish, dazzling effect.


Princess Cut Diamond Pricing

Princess cut diamonds are efficient for manufacturers and jewelers. But, is it the same for you?

For princess cut, gemologists use a significant percentage of the rough diamond that there is little to almost no rough material is wasted. Wasted material drives up the cost; therefore, you are paying the right value for your money for a princess cut that doesn’t waste as much.

In fact, you can expect to pay less for a princess cut diamond than a Round Brilliant Cut that has the same carat weight. However, please take into consideration that it is a popular cut. Therefore, it will be marginally higher priced than other fancy-shaped diamonds like Radiant Cut or Pear Shaped Cut.

As with all diamonds, the price still comes down to its 4 Cs evaluation. Cut is significant since it has a considerable impact on the stone’s brilliance. A poorly cut diamond will appear duller, while an excellent cut retains stunning beauty and brilliance.


Where to Buy Princess Cut Diamond

Princess cut diamonds can be purchased from reputable online retail stores like James Allen, Blue Nile, or Rare Carat. These stores have a wide range of choices for not only engagement rings but earrings, or necklaces, too. Be sure to read their policies regarding returns, exchanges, and resizing.

The good thing about these retail stores is how they utilize 360° magnified videos of their diamonds. So, even when you can’t physically go to their store to check them out, you will be able to scrutinize their diamond’s performance, clarity, and color before checking out your cart.


Conclusion

The Princess Cut Diamond. The Profile Cut. The Square Modified Brilliant Cut. However you want to call it, this facet design is a staple in the diamond world. They are not one-trick ponies. They help you save huge on your engagement ring.

So, if it is a princess cut diamond you decide to go with for your engagement ring, you are not going wrong. You will be in the ranks of Cameron Diaz, Sherri Shepherd, and Kendra Wilkinson, who all said yes to a princess cut diamond engagement ring.


FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: Are princess cuts more prone to damage than other cuts?

A: Chipping is a risk that any diamond cut to a point is entailed to. With a Round Brilliant Cut, the only point is the cullet, which is almost always protected by a mounting. A Princess Cut has four points. Prongs should protect these points for a more secure setting. While this may still pose some risk, it reduces the chances of chipping or falling out from the set.

Q: What side stones complement a Princess Cut diamond best?

A: Triangles, trilliants, baguettes, or tapered baguettes work best as side stones in enhancing the beauty of a Princess Cut.


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