Every girl wants to feel like a princess on her wedding day. She dreams of walking down the aisle toward the love of her life.
After all, doesn’t it feel great to have that special someone who can sweep you off your feet with a lovely romantic proposal, holding a beautiful engagement ring in hand?
While the picture sounds so appealing, choosing that special ring is not a cakewalk. There are so many things to keep in mind while purchasing an engagement ring. Your beloved’s personal style, her jewelry preference, and of course, your budget. However, whatever be her taste and style, you can never go wrong with a classic piece, like a princess-cut engagement ring!
Just like the classic round diamond, princess diamonds are a cult favorite of brides who love edgy shapes and unique geometric designs. A princess diamond is the perfect square shape that exudes excellent brilliance and fire. Thus, it is a popular choice for engagement rings. The best thing about choosing a princess diamond for an engagement ring is that it looks good in all settings – solitaire, three-stone, and halo.
Today, our guide on princess cut engagement rings will show you why buying a princess cut engagement ring is a great choice for your would-be bride. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
What is a princess cut?
Essentially, a princess diamond is a square diamond with pointed corners. The diamond’s design is inspired by the inverted pyramid concept. The sharp edges separate the princess shape from the radiant shape. Its brilliant faceting shows off little kite-shaped and triangular facets which enhance the diamond’s brilliance by manifold. Hence, princess cut engagement rings are a perfect choice for women who would prefer a scintillating brilliance over the subtle sparkle of step cut diamonds like the emerald or Asscher diamonds.
If you want the most vibrant and symmetric princess diamond, opt for one with a length-to-width ratio between 1.0 and .05. The diamonds in this category are not just perfect squares but also very vibrant, making them a fantastic choice for engagement rings.
The princess shape is a favorite of diamond cutters since they can retain a maximum portion of the diamond rough while cutting a princess diamond, unlike a round diamond where a large portion of the rough goes waste in the cutting process. From the POV of the cut, the round brilliant is crafted to reflect the maximum amount of light to the onlooker’s eye. No wonder it is the ultimate choice for engagement solitaires! However, the princess shape hits close to home, almost matching the brilliance of a round diamond. So, if you are looking for a diamond with fire as brilliant as the round diamond, but less traditional, go for the princess diamond.
How many facets does a princess cut diamond have?
Depending on the cut of the diamond, a Princess Cut has anywhere between 50 and 58 facets. Most of the facets lie on the pavilion and crown, while a few lie on the girdle. When viewed from above, princess diamonds typically have two to four chevron patterns. In a diamond with two chevron patterns, the flashes of white and colored light that reflect from diamond surfaces are intense. Whereas a diamond with four chevron patterns offers more scintillation, causing it to produce a greater amount of small flashes of white and colored light when it moves.
So, while buying a square engagement ring, make sure to closely examine the diamond’s cut to get the optimal sparkle and value for money.
What makes the princess cut an excellent choice for engagement rings?
Princess cut engagement rings have become a top choice among modern brides. This diamond’s square or rectangular sides and interesting facet patterns combine to form a versatile face-up shape, making it an elegant option for almost any ring style. For example, you can choose a minimalist clean look like Kate Bosworth’s princess cut ring or take inspiration from Emily Ratajkowski and give your ring a unique twist by pairing a pear diamond with a princess diamond!
Although princess diamonds have a square crown area, they also have four beveled sides. When set in a ring setting, princess diamonds sit beautifully at the center of the ring (like an upside-down pyramid), further elevating the entire look of your ring. The clean and defined lines of princess diamonds offer a contemporary touch to it.
One of the biggest reasons why you should consider buying a princess cut engagement ring is that they are much more affordable than brilliant-cut round diamonds. This is simply because diamond cutters can retain as high as 80% of the diamond rough while carving a princess diamond. Contrarily, for round diamonds, only about 50% of the rough usually remains intact. Naturally, princess diamonds offer better value for weight.
Fun fact: Princess cut diamond rings are the second most demanded gem-cut style.
What does the princess cut ring symbolize?
The princess stone is known for its beauty, style, and pointed edges. This diamond shape’s symbolism is quite deep. The diamond’s exquisite square shape symbolizes symmetry and stability – two vital aspects of a marital bond.
Besides, numerous faiths around the world regard the number four as a necessary tenet for spiritual balance. The four sides of the princess diamond can be symbolic of the four cardinal directions, the four seasons, or even the four elements of nature – earth, air, fire, water.
This rich symbolism is a wonderful foundation for any couple embarking on a new journey of spending their lives together.
The history and evolution of a princess cut ring
As one of the hottest trending styles, princess cut diamonds add a modern, edgy aesthetic to diamond jewelry, be it a ring, or a solitaire pendant, or studs. Needless to say, the modern and edgy personality of the princess diamond is the ideal match for a strong, independent woman who is out to win the world with her creative flair and romantic persona!
The gem’s popularity stems from its unique facet arrangement (the cutting pattern), which redirects the maximum amount of light to the beholder’s eyes. Interestingly, this diamond shape isn’t new – it goes way back into the pages of history. So, let’s explore the history of the princess shape.
A diamond’s princess cut originated from the French Cut, which was developed from a table cut in the 14th century. This goes to prove that square-cut diamonds have captivated jewelry enthusiasts for centuries. With time, diamond cutters mastered the art of diamond faceting and cutting, perfecting the square cut. Though it is uncertain when the term “princess cut” began to be used for square diamonds, looking into the history of its evolution will help you understand this brilliant diamond shape.
From the French cut to Princess cut
The diamond industry has evolved continuously through time.
Initially, diamond cutters designed square diamonds because they wanted to optimize the rough diamond crystals, which were often octahedra in shape. While diamonds may be found in a variety of configurations, naturally they tend to form in octahedron shapes. Back in the day when modern scientific methods of identifying gemstones weren’t a mainstream thing, gem traders used the crystal habits of different gemstones as their identifier or marker.
To put it plainly, the octahedron can be described as two pyramid shapes joined at the flatter middle portion with two pointy edges on either end. This shape, when dissected from the center, resulted in a pyramid shape that could be carved into any shape. However, early diamond makers figured out that cutting square shapes from the octahedron led to lesser waste from the diamond rough, resulting in larger carat weight.
By the 20th century, the square-cut came to be known as the French cut. An excellent French cut diamond retains a significant amount of its rough shape while still reflecting a large amount of light. The technique of cutting and shaping square diamonds from the rough resulted in such brilliant stones that gemstone cutters applied the cutting style for other precious gems like sapphires, rubies, and emeralds.
During the Art Deco period (the 1920s), it was a popular trend to cut diamonds and other colored gemstones cut into square shapes. The Art Deco movement focused on the geometry of gemstones to pay tribute to the industrial revolution and the architectural advancements of that time.
Just like any other fancy diamond shape, square diamonds, too, have undergone numerous transformations over time. As the diamond cutting processes advanced and diamond cutters started to better understand the light performance in diamonds, square diamonds evolved into more enhanced shapes, often referred to as square modified brilliants.
This definition of a square diamond shape originally appeared during the early 1960s. During that time, London jeweler Arpad Nagy introduced the “profile” cut that minimizes the removal of rough stone during cutting. Following this, South African designer Basil Watermeyer developed a stunning, but difficult-to-replicate family of Barion cuts in the 1970s. Princess cuts were at their highest popularity in 1979 when Israeli diamond designers Betazel Ambar and Israel Itzkowitz perfected the “quadrillion” cut, which was the closest predecessor of what we now know as the princess cut.
While we’re yet to find out the exact reason why “princess” was chosen for the square diamond’s name, many think it’s because the cut’s classic clean lines and brilliant sparkle impart to it a royal look and feel. Not to forget, princess diamonds look highly glamorous and feminine.
What to look for in a princess cut while buying it?
Apart from the 4Cs, you must consider the following three aspects while buying a princess diamond:
- Shape: A square princess cut considered attractive has a length-to-width ratio of 1:05:1. Princess cuts with different proportions on the sides or uneven sides are not really appealing.
- Symmetry: Symmetrical diamonds are considered to be the most beautiful since they reflect and distribute light evenly. To observe a diamond’s symmetry, draw an imaginary line down the diamond and compare the size and shape of both halves. If they appear to be symmetrical, you’re good to go. Keep an eye out for the facet ends to make sure the diamond has no excluded facets.
- Scintillation: An attractive stone usually has a pleasing balance between light and dark patterns in the table and facets. The ideal princess diamond will depict a perfect balance of light and dark contrast, giving off an ice-cool image.
What are the ideal 4Cs to look for while purchasing a princess cut engagement ring?
Now that you’re familiar with the background of the princess cut, let’s jump to the more consumer-centric information that’ll come in handy while buying a princess diamond – the 4Cs.
As is true for any diamond, if you’re buying a princess diamond, you must carefully consider the 4Cs of a diamond and make sure it checks all the right boxes!
Although both round and princess diamonds belong to the brilliant-cut bandwagon, you need to be a little extra cautious while buying a princess cut. This is because the cutting style of round brilliants is such that it reflects way more light than a princess diamond, which allows it to better conceal the true color of the diamond rough.
So, when choosing a princess center stone with optimal color and money value, you can go for H or I grades. However, one thing you should always keep in mind while buying a princess cut engagement ring, is that the color of your center stone and accent stones should match well.
Here’s a color chart highlighting the different metrics for princess diamonds:
|Carat Weight||Excellent||Very Good||Good||Fair||Poor|
|< .50 ct.||D – G||H – I||J – K||L – M||> M|
|.51-1.0 ct.||D – F||G||H – I||J – K||> K|
|1.0-2.0 ct.||D – F||G – H||I – J||> J|
|> 2.0 ct.||D – F||G||H – I||> I|
|Fluoro||None||Faint – Med||Strong||Very Strong|
As far as clarity is concerned, princess diamonds are almost like round brilliants – they can both hide inclusions pretty well. You can look for princess diamonds in the VS2 or SI1 clarity range since these are generally eye-clean diamonds. Though it’s hard to find princess diamonds in SI2 and I1 clarity, if you do stumble across an eye-clean princess diamond in such clarity grades, pick it for it’s a value-for-money buy!
However, given its edgy shape, a princess diamond is a high-maintenance buy. It is easily prone to chipping if not protected by prongs on all four sides. The chipping issue gets further aggravated if a diamond has inclusions in any of the sharp corners. Thus, carefully scrutinize your diamond before setting it in a ring design.
Here’s a clarity chart to help you assess a princess diamond’s clarity:
|Carat Weight||Excellent||Very Good||Good||Fair||Poor|
|< .50 ct.||FL – VS2||SI1 – SI2||I1||I2||> I2|
|.51-1.0 ct.||FL – VS1||VS2 – SI1||SI2||I1 – I2||> I2|
|1.0-2.0 ct.||FL – VVS2||VS1 – VS2||SI1 – SI2||I1||> I1|
|> 2.0 ct.||FL – VVS2||VS1 – VS2||SI1||SI2||> SI2|
A princess diamond’s cut determines its fire and brilliance, and hence, it’s one of the most crucial qualities to evaluate when designing a princess cut engagement ring. Unlike round brilliants where the GIA standards clearly define the cutting style and aspects, there’s a lack of industry consensus on what makes a perfect princess diamond. GIA only grades the Polish and Symmetry aspects of princess diamonds.
This is primarily because the primary motivation for developing the square-shaped princess diamond was to minimize diamond loss from polishing the rough. In essence, princess diamonds are cut to fit the raw material and not vice-versa.
Below is a general guideline for evaluating the cut of a princess diamond:
|Carat Weight||Excellent||Very Good||Good||Fair||Poor|
|Table %||67 – 72||59 – 66
73 – 75
|56 – 58
76 – 82
|53 – 55
83 – 85
|Depth %||64 – 75||58 – 63.9
75.1 – 80
|56 – 57.9
80.1 – 84
|Girdle||Very Thin – Slightly Thick||Very Thin
|Culet||None||Very Small||Small||Medium||> Medium|
|L/W Ratio||1.00 – 1.03||1.04 – 1.05||1.06 – 1.08||> 1.08|
Tip: If you want true princess diamonds, you should steer clear of those with a greater table percentage than the depth percentage.
- Depth percentage: In a princess cut diamond, the depth percentage should not be more than 65-75%. If a stone is cut too shallow or too deep, it will not optimally reflect light to the beholder’s eye.
- Table percentage: In the princess cut diamond, the table percentage describes how large the top facet is compared to the bottom. The ideal percentage is below 75%.
- Length-to-width ratio: Princess diamonds with length-to-width ratios (L/W) beneath 1.05 are perfect squares. Anything above this ratio has an off-shape appearance. Diamonds with a rectangular cut should be of a substantial carat size so that they do not appear off-shape.
- Girdle Thickness: Check to ensure that the prongs can be supported by the girdle because fragile corners make diamonds more likely to break. Most princess girdles can hold prongs, but “extremely thin” girdles are highly likely to make the diamond chip or break.
- Polish & Symmetry: For polish and symmetry, “good” would be sufficient. There is no significant difference between good and excellent in these categories.
- Culet: Culet refers to the smaller area at the bottom of a diamond’s pavilion. It can be a small point or facet parallel to the table. Smaller culets are not visible to the naked eye and will not adversely affect the appearance of a diamond. On the other hand, if a culet is slightly large or larger, light entering from the crown may pass straight through the culet facet, causing the diamond’s brilliance to decrease. This may cause the culet to appear as a blemish or inclusion, or even create a dead zone in the diamond due to light passing through the bottom.
Since reputed institutes like the GIA or IGI have not developed a definitive overall cut grade for princess diamonds, gem cutters might fool unaware customers by selling them low-quality diamonds for higher prices. So, make sure you know the 4Cs well to get a bang for your buck!
What is the best setting for a princess cut diamond?
Ring settings for princess cuts include channel and four-prong settings (such as a solitaire in a solitaire ring or a three-stone in a three-stone ring). Since princess diamonds have pointed edges, it’s crucial to protect the corners from damage. As for the metal’s color, you can choose your desired color preference and personal style – white gold for a classic all-time look, yellow gold for its vintage charm, or rose gold for a chic and modern feel.
Princess diamonds are quite versatile and can be set in varied setting styles, such as:
- Solitaire: With a princess diamond at its center, a solitaire engagement ring looks absolutely unmatched in its grace and appeal. The best thing about a solitaire ring is that the center stone takes the focus. Rest assured, in a princess solitaire ring, your center stone will shine bright to bewitch every onlooker! Check out our Charlie Princess Engagement Ring featuring a wide tulip shank or the Hazel Princess Engagement Ring. In the latter, you’ll see that the princess diamond gets maximum protection from the fishtail prongs.
- Vintage: Rings with antique style features look ornate and beautiful, just like the Quanna Princess Engagement Ring. This lovely vintage-inspired piece is definitely a show-stopper. With its intricately woven lace design and diamond-studded band, this ring promises high dazzle. Even this twisted band princess cut engagement ring with milgrain accents delivers a stunning vintage charm.
- Halo: Rings featuring a halo of accent stones make the center stone shine brighter. What’s more, these smaller stones create an illusion of a bigger center diamond, thus, making your ring look much more brilliant. For instance, the Ruta Princess Engagement Ring has a halo of three accent diamonds on all four sides. Similarly, the cushion-shaped halo around the princess diamond of this ring looks marvelous! The pave split-shank diverting from the center stone joins in the middle, looking spectacular.
- Side stone: As trends evolve in the rings section, side stone settings are becoming increasingly popular. It is a broad term encompassing a diverse range of distinct styles that can dramatically alter the visual appeal of a ring. Side stone settings are generally in settings in which the stones are set around the band. Take a look at our Averie Princess Engagement Ring, in this gorgeous design, an asymmetrical princess center stone is set in prongs, with a quartet of smaller diamonds. Along the slender shank, additional diamonds are set in prongs to complete the enchanting look.
What mistakes should be avoided while purchasing a princess cut ring?
Apart from being white, eye-clean, and ideal symmetry, you must also look for diamonds with good contrast. It’s also important to look for stones having good contrast and white tips with no odd reflections. A truly beautiful princess diamond is all about these minute details.
When looking for the perfect princess diamond, avoid these four mistakes:
Mistake 1: Uneven contrasts or no contrasts at all
A diamond’s “contrast” refers to the dark areas that your diamond has, and every penny-worthy diamond should have at least some contrast of light and dark. Contrast acts as a backdrop for white sparkle, so diamonds with well-spaced contrast shine brighter than diamonds without enough contrast. Compared to other diamonds, princess cuts have a large table with steep angles, so contrast is a particularly important aspect here.
Also, check for uneven contrast on the diamond. Uneven contrast occurs when a dark pattern on one facet of the diamond is not mirrored on the other facet. Symmetry is of prime importance for princess diamonds. Gemstones with an uneven contrast may look irregular and unsettling to the eye. So, inspect a diamond minutely before purchasing.
Mistake 2: Odd reflections
Deep pavilions (bottoms) in princess cuts create ugly reflections on the stone. Does the right stone have facets that match the ones on the left? Is it clean and crisp? Or, does it look a bit like broken glass? When you stand back and look at princess cut diamond rings, you will see that they often have odd reflections or strange patterns that aren’t clearly visible to the eye at first glance. Hold the stone between your fingers and observe it from a distance to see if there are any odd reflections.
Mistake 2: Big square tables
The princess cut diamond ring’s table size and shape are as important as its contrast in maximizing the sparkle. Smaller tables mean more sparkle, while larger tables have fewer fingerprints. Despite industry guidelines, most people do not explain such a difference because diamond tables are measured from the widest point, not the overall size of the diamond. Hence, two princess diamonds with a 73% table size can look very different from one another.
It is possible for some tables to appear more square, while others appear more cushion-shaped. This means that the top flat facets of your stone come in a bit at the corners, making your table look smaller overall. As a result, when analyzing the table facet, we recommend setting your filter to 73% only if the diamond is more on the cushion-shaped side. This ensures a brilliant rainbow sparkle. However, if you don’t want cushion tables, you can look for a table percentage below 71%.
Mistake 2: Colored tips
Be careful to buy a diamond that doesn’t appear dingy in its tips! Because color can concentrate on diamond tips, it is very important that all four tips of your princess diamond are icy white. Inspect the diamond’s color up close to see if it’s evenly colored or is there a visible warmth around the corners of the stone? Never choose a diamond with warm-colored edges – it can spoil the overall look of your ring.
Princess cut vs other cuts
Question 1: Which is better: Princess cut or Round Cut?
From the popularity perspective, princess cuts are the second most common shape, after the classic round diamonds. Round brilliants are designed in a way to reflect maximum light to the onlooker’s eyes, and thus, they shine very brightly. However, brilliant-cut princess diamonds are a close match to round brilliants in terms of fire and shine. The final decision, of course, rests with you – the choice between a round or a princess diamond ultimately depends on your personal style and budget.
Question 2: Which appears bigger: Round cut or Princess cut?
Princess cut diamonds are typically around 5.5 mm in diameter due to their greater depth (typically 70-73%). The intrinsic design of the princess shape demands that cutters shift the optimal carat weight towards the stone’s base to enhance its brilliance. Naturally, a princess diamond will appear a little smaller than a round brilliant of the same carat weight.
Question 3: How do you make a princess diamond bigger?
A halo setting and compass setting provide an illuminating effect on a princess diamond. A compass setting involves turning a princess diamond in a way that it is not square. Princess diamonds have a longer diagonal length than side length and this helps accentuate their size. Adding a halo is a great idea since it can easily add 4-6mm in width.
Question 4: What makes a princess cut different from a cushion cut?
Princess diamonds are square-shaped stones with highly defined and sharp corners, whereas cushion cuts are square-ish diamonds with softer, pillowlike edges or rounded corners. Both these diamond shapes are brilliant cuts meaning they have kite-shaped and triangular facets. This causes them to shine immensely bright. However, princess diamonds have deeper cuts than cushions, so cushion diamonds may often appear to be bigger.
Question 5: Does cushion cut outshines the princess cut?
Both cushion and princess diamonds offer excellent brilliance and fire. However, their overall shine depends on their cut and clarity. If cut poorly, diamonds, be it round, cushion, or princess diamonds, neither will reflect light optimally, leading to a dimmed shine. While princess diamonds are a favorite of many modern women, cushion diamonds hold a special place forever in the hearts of folks who love all things traditional.
Question 6: Are princess cut diamonds cheaper?
Since diamonds often form in square shapes, diamond cutters can craft two princess diamonds from one sizable rough. Hence, princess diamonds are cheaper than other brilliant cuts like the round or cushion. While cutters maximize a diamond rough to create the princess shape, you get a brilliant dazzler at a budget-friendly price!
By now, you must be inspired to get a princess cut engagement ring for your lady and trust us, you’re making the right call! You can choose from LovBe’s wide range of spectacular princess cut ring designs – from dainty solitaires and three-stone rings to blingy halo rings, you can pick any ring style of your choice. Moreover, we’re always happy to customize our rings for our buyers. So, if you have a celebrity princess diamond ring inspiration, don’t hesitate to bring it to us – we can incorporate your desired details into your celebrity inspiration ring and create a unique engagement ring to commemorate your loving bond with your partner!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do princess diamonds show more visible body color than other shapes?
All diamonds, in one form or another, show more body color from the side than from the face-up direction. This is especially true with well-cut brilliants, such as princess cuts, which return much of the ambient light to the eye, masking some body color when viewed from the top. In diamond rings, mountings with full profile views usually reveal more color.
Do princess diamonds sparkle as bright as round brilliants?
A well-cut brilliant diamond will sparkle brightly in any shape. However, the intensity varies with the cut and faceting of the diamond. For instance, brilliant cuts such as the round and princess cuts dazzle with much more intensity and fire than step-cut diamonds like the emerald and Asscher.
How many facets does a princess cut have?
Typically, princess diamonds have anywhere between 50 to 58 facets. The number of facets mainly depends on the cutting pattern. While the concentration of facets is much more in the crown and pavilion, the girdle also has a number of facets.