What are Princess Cut Diamonds?

September 17, 2023

The princess cut is one of the most popular diamond shapes, revered for its lively brilliance and sharp geometric corners. Its unique “X” faceting pattern makes it a top choice for engagement rings. This guide will cover everything about princess cut diamonds including history, grading factors, settings, comparisons and FAQs.

Brief History of the Princess Diamond Cut

The princess cut emerged in the mid-late 1900s as one of the earliest diamond cuts designed specifically for brilliance rather than maximizing carat weight.

In 1961, gem cutter Arpad Nagy pioneered the first quadrillion or princess cuts. The name referenced the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara owned by Princess Victoria.

This groundbreaking princess cut was patented in 1969 by Henry Grossbard, using a square outline and innovative crisscross faceting to optimize light performance.

The princess cut quickly gained popularity for its lively fire, becoming a staple diamond shape for engagement rings.

Princess Cut Faceting and Proportions

Defined by its sharp corners and distinctive “X” patterning when viewed face-up, the princess cut has:

  • Square outline with pointed corners
  • Brilliant-cut style crown and pavilion
  • 76-78 facets total
  • Table on point to square outline
  • Crisscross angular faceting
  • Depth % between 65%-80%

The optimal polish, symmetry and angles result in exceptional brilliance, with arrows of light radiating outward through the table. This makes the princess cut one of the most lively and fiery shapes.

When choosing, look for ideal light return as the facets interact, not the presence of actual arrows which depends on numerous factors.

Grading Princess Cut Diamond Quality

Princess diamonds are assessed using the 4Cs like other shapes:

  • Cut – Well-proportioned princess cuts achieve top color grades. Look for Excellent or Very Good cut grade.
  • Clarity – SI2 to VS2 range provides the best value. Inclusions are typically less visible.
  • Color – Near colorless G-J grades face up bright white and maximize savings.
  • Carat – 0.50 to 1.5 carats ideal for maximizing spread and sparkle.

With its deep pavilion, princess cut retains weight well – a 1.0 carat princess visually faces up closer to 1.25 carat round. Optimize cut and clarity before size.

Ideal Princess Cut Diamond Settings

The princess cut's strong geometry pairs best with simple settings:

  • Solitaire - Classic four-prong or bezel settings highlight the square.
  • Side stones - Baguettes, trillion cuts or rounds complement nicely.
  • Three stone - Princess makes an ideal centerpiece with two tapered baguettes as sides.
  • Eternity band - Princess cut pairs elegantly with pavé and channel set bands.

The princess cut suits both modern minimalist and classic vintage ring styles.

Princess Cut Diamond Prices

Price ranges for a 1 carat princess cut diamond:

  • D color, IF clarity, Excellent cut - $7,500
  • G color, VS2 clarity, Very Good cut - $4,250
  • J color, SI1 clarity, Good cut - $2,150

The princess shape commands a slight premium for its exceptional fire, while offering reasonable value compared to rounds.

Princess Cut FAQs

How does princess cut brilliance compare to other shapes?

The uniquely aligned princess facets produce exceptional light return. Princess cut diamonds exhibit supreme fire compared to other shapes when optimally cut.

Can a princess be cut too shallow or deep?

Yes, improper depth percentages and crown/pavilion angles reduce light performance. Review certificate for depth % between 65%-80% for ideal ranges.

Do princess diamonds show more color than round brilliant?

Princess cuts typically face up with negligible color. Hues are minimized compared to emerald cuts. Ideal color range is G-J.

Should I remove blemishes from a princess diamond?

No, only minor enhancements should be made to improve transparency if needed. Avoid heavily included princess diamonds.

Does a princess cut ever exhibit a bow-tie effect?

Rarely, an undesirable darker bow-tie effect can occur in poorly cut princess diamonds with skewed faceting. Avoid those with extreme bow ties.

With its sharp corners, geometric appeal and scintillating light shows, it’s easy to see why the princess reigns supreme as an engagement ring favorite. When expertly cut, the princess shape unleashes exceptional fire and brilliance.

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