Princess-Cut Diamond Rings– All You Need To Know

Princess cut diamondThe Princess cut diamond shape is the most popular “fancy shape” worldwide today and the second most in-demand for engagement rings! This is surprising because of all GIA-certified diamonds that vendors sell, princess cut engagement rings make up only 5% . The Princess cut combines a rectangular outline with brilliant-cut facets.  This combinantion creates more sparkle than a traditionally cut rectangular or square diamond. This is why it’s so popular, plus the fact that Princess cut diamonds are quite rare. Despite all of this, Princess cuts are less expensive than classic round cut diamond rings. So, lucky for you if this is what you have your heart set on!

Why are Princess Cut Diamonds More Affordable than Round Cuts?

There are a variety of factors that go into determining the price of any diamond. In comparing square Princess cut diamonds with classic Round cuts of identical carat weights, you will see that the Princess cuts have a lower price per carat than their Round counterparts.

The reason for this is because diamond cutters are able to use about 80% of the original rough diamond when they’re creating a Princess cut. So, only 20% goes to waste. But, when cutting a rough diamond into a Round cut, cutters end up wasting a lot more of the original stone. You must take this into consideration when pricing the final cut.

It’s a simple fact that in creating Round cut diamonds, cutters lose more of the original stone than they lose when creating any other cut. This loss must be taken into consideration when pricing the final cut, which is why Round cut diamonds cost more than Princess cuts.

If you’re on a budget  look for a diamond that’s a tiny bit rectangular, rather than square-shaped. Diamond cutters waste more of the original stone when creating square Princess cuts. That’s why they’re more expensive than Princess cut diamonds with more of a rectangular shape.

Color Considerations

When considering the color of a Princess cut diamond, you need to be more careful than you need to be with a Round Brilliant cut. Because both the Princess and Round cuts are brilliant. They reflect the light in such a way that the exact color of the stone is more difficult to discern.

Because the light reflection on the Round Brilliant is greater, it’s better at masking the stone’s true color. This is why I recommend that when choosing a Princess cut diamond, you select a GIA color grade of either H or I.

As you can easily see in this spectacular diamond, an I color grade in a Princess cut can appear perfectly clear, as long as the lines are proportionate and the diamond is eye-clean.

Clarity Grade

Diamond Clarity Scale VVS2 DIamondThe Princess cut is fairly good at concealing inclusions, just like the Round Brilliant. However, you do need to keep in mind that with a Princess cut diamond there is the potential for durability issues.

The problem is that Princess cuts have four sharply pointed corners that could potentially chip. If one or more of the corners is included, that weakens the diamond and greatly raises the odds of chipping.

If the diamond you’re buying has already been set in a ring, this may not be as much of a problem, unless you’re planning on resetting the stone in the future.

Recommended Clarity Grades for Princess Cut Diamond

If you were buying a Round Brilliant cut diamond, I would recommend that you choose an SI2 or perhaps an I1 clarity grade. As long as it was eye-clean. Because Princess cuts are so rare, eye clean diamonds in these grades are far more difficult to find.

Therefore, with Princess cuts, you would be far better off buying an eye-clean VS2 or SI1 clarity grade. You can verify that they’re indeed eye-clean by looking at them through James Allen’s Virtual Loupe.

Cut Quality

In selecting a Princess cut diamond you need to be doubly careful when it comes to cut quality compared to Round cuts. When the GIA gives a Round cut diamond a clarity grade, you can be sure it’s accurate.

The GIA doesn’t even give Princess cuts a clarity grade. They will only grade them on Polish and Symmetry. So, this means it’s up to you to determine the clarity of the Princess cut diamonds you’re considering. Unlike Rounds, the diamond industry has never come to an agreement on the elements that make for the ideal Princess cut.

The reason for this comes down to the fact that this cut originated out of a desire to stop wasting so much of the diamond during polishing. Princess cut diamonds are specifically cut to accommodate the shape and size of the rough diamond, which is the reverse of Round cuts.

Cutting Rough Diamonds

If a rough diamond is naturally shaped like a nicely proportioned Princess cut, then the cutter will follow the shape and it will end up as such. But if the rough diamond is too deep and misshapen to be a nicely proportioned Princess cut… well that’s unfortunately how it will end up.

Diamond cutters want to be able to adapt their polished stones to the shape of the rough diamond. This is why they  don’t have to. comply with a specific standard for Princess cuts.

Recommended Total Depth for Princess Cuts

The total depth that I would recommend for Princess cuts is anywhere from 65% to 75%, although lower is better. The best balance between brilliance and size comes with a depth of 68% to 73%.

In terms of table percentage, I would recommend below 75%. However, there are two opposing opinions regarding the table size of Princess cut diamonds.

If the cutter is focusing on giving a Princess cut a small table, then the resulting diamond will look better if the depth percentage were somewhere in the 74% to 77% range.

Two Schools of Thought on Tables & Depth Size

One school of thought is that small tables of 68% and under are better, while the opposing view is that it makes no difference. This is why cutters just follow the shape of the rough diamond. They create slightly larger tables ranging from 73% to 78% when the depths approach 76% to 77%.

Very few Princess cut diamonds end up having a small table, so if this is what you’re looking for it might be more difficult to find.

Guide to Shopping Online for a Princess Cut Diamond

When you go online to shop for a diamond, it is imperative that you find a reputable dealer. Make sure you understand their policies on resizing, exchanges and returns. James Allen and Blue Nile both have plenty of Princess cut diamonds to choose from that would look beautiful in an engagement ring. They also have a large selection of matching sets if you’re interested in buying earrings. Both companies have 360° videos that allow you to see their diamonds under magnification. This way you can closely inspect for color, clarity, and sparkle before buying.

But if you’re specifically looking at engagement rings, James Allen has the largest selection. This makes it much easier to find the right ring for the style of the recipient. They also have an in-house staff of diamond experts who are more than happy to help. This way you can find an eye-clean diamond that sparkles beautifully in the setting you choose.

If you’ve got your heart set on a rectangular Princess cut, you may be better off relying on Blue Nile. They have a search function that allows you to narrow your search according to length/width ratios.

Conclusion & Additional Tips

An engagement ring with a Princess cut center diamond can look quite elegant. You can choose from several setting styles at James Allen. And Princess cuts make absolutely gorgeous earrings, pendants, and bracelets. So, no matter which type of setting your diamond(s) will ultimately go in, you can’t go wrong with a Princess cut. It’s uniquely beautiful and quite rare so you won’t run across many others proudly showing off a Princess cut diamond.

Some additional tips to help you find the right Princess cut diamond:

  • Shape – If you want a square Princess cut, make sure the ratio of length to width is no more than 1.05:1. Princess cut diamonds that are disproportionate or have uneven sides are not as pretty.
  • Symmetry – Princess cuts are their most beautiful when the facets are symmetrical. You can see this for yourself by imagining a line down the middle vertically and then see if the facets on each side are the same in size and shape. See whether all the facet points meet and whether there are any extra or missing facets. Then imagine a line going horizontally across the diamond and whether the facets on top are symmetrical with the facets on the bottom half. The more symmetry between the facets, the more beautiful the diamond.
  • Scintillation – The most beautiful diamonds have a balance of light and dark patterns that contrast in the table and among facets. A diamond that is too light overall or too dark is simply not as pretty as one with an even balance between the two.


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