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A Guide to: Princess Cut Diamonds

Updated: Jun 10, 2019

Princess diamonds are the second-most popular diamond shape – right behind the round brilliant cut. This shape is popular with engagement rings and wedding bands as it adds sparkle to a classic, yet modern look. Princess cut diamonds can often be compared directly to a round brilliant cut, as they are faceted in many of the same ways. This diamond style features pointed corners and is often found in square or rectangular shapes. 

Cut: Princess cut diamonds are comprised of 57 or more facets, depending on the desired level of sparkle. The more facets, the more sparkle. In general, a princess cut diamond will be on the lower end of faceting, with 57 “sides”. The proportions of a princess cut diamond determine how much sparkle the diamond will return. Diamond cutters strive for a balanced number of chevron patterns within the stone, too many chevrons and the diamond begins to take on a “crushed ice” appearance. When set, prongs should always cover the four points to avoid chipping. 

Color: The industry standard for grading diamond color ranges from a D grade (colorless) and increases in color to a Z grade (light yellow). This standard applies to all diamond shapes! Diamonds are color graded by comparing each stone to one in a master set. To an untrained eye, small differences in color between diamonds is imperceptible. Unless compared side by side to a diamond with color, it is very difficult to see a distinct difference. A diamond will always look different in a setting, so take care to choose a mounting in a color that will complement the stone, or vice versa.

Clarity: Diamond clarity refers to the appearance of the stone and the presence of any inclusions or imperfections. Many inclusions are only visible to a professional with specialized equipment or if viewed under 10x magnification. Princess cut diamonds hide inclusions exceptionally well, so SI1 is a viable option in this shape. Many times, this cut confines inclusions to the corners of the diamond to ensure the table is eye-clean. The GIA clarity scale uses 11 grades for all diamond shapes, and considers the size, nature, position, color, and quantity of characteristics visible under 10x magnification. 

  • Flawless (FL) - No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification

  • Internally Flawless (IF) - No inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification

  • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) - Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10× magnification

  • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) - Inclusions are minor and range from difficult to somewhat easy for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification

  • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) - Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader under 10x magnification

  • Included (I1, I2, and I3) - Inclusions are obvious under 10× magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance

The diamond on the left is eye-clean. The diamond on the right has a large carbon inclusion near the center.

Carat: Princess cut diamonds tend to have a slightly lower price point compared to round cut diamonds. This is due to the way the square diamond is cut – diamond cutters can produce two princess cut diamonds per rough stone with little waste. This greater yield means a lower price in most scenarios! 

Princess diamonds are a versatile shape and work wonderfully in anything from solitaires, to wedding bands, to elaborate dinner rings. This is a great choice for women who want a classic look with a little bit of modern flair. To shake things up, try setting a princess cut diagonally for a completely different look!

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