The Princess Cut Diamond

princess cut diamondThe princess cut diamond is the second most popular diamond shape following the round cut diamond. The princess cut diamond became popular in the 1970s and is therefore considered a very modern cut. The four corners of the princess cut diamond add a certain edginess and make it a good fit for individuals which like to stand out.

I will outline to you all the most important things you need to know about the princess cut diamond and at the end of this section I will explain to you in detail how to choose a princess cut diamond.

Prices of princess cut diamonds

A princess cut diamonds yield from the roughThe princess cut diamond is the cheapest of all diamond shapes! And in fact, a princess cut diamond with the same carat weight as a round cut diamond will usually cost around 30% – 40% less than the round cut diamond!

The reason for this phenomenon is simply that princess cut diamonds have the best yield from the rough. The picture on the right depicts a typical diamond rough that you would find in a mine. Now, to make a princess cut diamond out of this rough you would simply have to cut the rough into two pieces and then polish and cut the pieces accordingly to make it into a wonderful princess cut diamond.

Now imagine that you were to cut two round cut diamonds out of this diamond rough. You would lose way more rough than you do with a princess cut diamond! A typical princess cut diamond will yield around 80%-90% from the rough whereas a round cut diamond will only yield around 40%-50% from the rough!

Clarity grades of princess cut diamonds

This also affects a princess cut’s diamond’s clarity grade massively. Diamond cutters who want to cut a princess cut diamond have very few options to cut out inclusions because they nearly have to use the entire rough to make it into a princess cut diamond. For this particular reason diamond cutters usually choose very clean rough stones for princess cut diamonds.

Therefore, you will even have difficulty finding princess cut diamonds with clarity grades of SI2 and above.

Which proportions to choose in a princess cut diamond?

Now, in princess cut diamonds the consensus for the perfect cut is much smaller than in round cut diamonds. In fact only AGS offers a cut grade for the round cut diamond whereas GIA does not offer any such thing. The reason is simply that the princess cut diamond has not been around for a very long time. Most grading labs are not yet quite sure as to what the perfect parameters for superior light performance are.

AGS uses the following parameters for grading a princess cut diamond. You should use this system to narrow down your search and then perform an ASET analysis on the diamonds within your pick:

Suggested proportions for round cut diamondsBeing within these excellent proportions will make sure that your diamond will at least have a decent light performance! There are however certain parameters in a round cut diamond that impact the appearance and the light returning style. I will now be zooming in on these and get down to the nitty-gritty with you.

Ideal Length to width ratio of a princess cut diamond

To look appealing and soothing to the eye your princess cut diamond should clearly stay within a certain length to width ratio:

length to width ratio in princess cut diamonds

Any ratio up to 1: 1.05 will definitely appear square to the naked eye. From there onwards however a princess cut diamond might begin appearing rectangular. This is something to avoid. Typically, the less square a princess cut diamond is the cheaper it becomes in price as well.

Crown side of a princess cut diamond

In the picture below you can see the typical designs of the crown side of a princess cut diamond. The crown side is the side that faces up and that you would see when the diamond is set onto a ring setting.

French corner crown and Bezel corner crown in a princess cut diamond

The first diamond represents the so-called “French corner crown”. As you can see the corners are very slim and therefore this kind of princess cut diamond is the most prone to chipping especially if there are inclusions near the corner. And yes, even diamonds can chip if there is an inclusion near a pointed end of a diamond!

The second diamond represents the so-called “Bezel corner crown” and it is designed in such a way that the corners are less prone to chipping.

There are also other crown sides that are basically variations of the “French Cut” or the “Bezel Cut”.

The crown side of a princess cut diamond has a very small influence on the light performance of a princess cut diamond and therefore the appearance of the crown side should not be taken into consideration when estimating the light performance. But if you don’t have any own preference rather go for the “Bezel cut” as it will be less prone to chipping.

Pavilion Side of the princess cut diamond

The pavilion sides however do have an impact on a princess cut diamond’s sparkling style. The pavilion side is the lower side of a diamond that does not face up.

Of particular importance in a princess cut diamond are the so-called chevrons. These are the facets at the pavilion side of a princess cut diamond that surround the main pavilion. Most princess cut diamonds have either two, three of four chevrons.
Chevrons of a princess cut diamond

The more chevrons a diamond has, the more facets the light can be reflected upon. However, this does not necessarily mean that more chevrons equal a better sparkle. The sparkle will simply be different. Let me explain that to you!

How many chevrons to choose in a princess cut diamond?

The question of how many chevrons to choose for your princess cut diamond is basically a matter of taste. More chevrons mean more sparkling facets but it also means that all of these sparkling facets are smaller. Thus it comes down to the question of whether you rather prefer to have chunkier facets sparkling at you or you would rather have more smaller facets delighting you with their light return.

Let us actually have a look at real-world examples of different princess cut diamonds taken from James Allen. I have recorded a video for you where I am comparing 3 princess cut diamonds to each other. The first diamond has two chevrons, the second diamond has three chevrons and the third diamond has four chevrons:

As you might have come to realize the princess cut diamond with 2 chevrons returns larger flashes of light which gives it a somewhat bolder appearance. At the same time the princess cut diamond with 4 chevrons has a somewhat glittery sparkle look to it.
I personally think that the 3-chevron princess cut diamond has the best compromise to offer. But ultimately that will be a question for you to decide.

By the way even when using James Allen’s high definition videos it might be hard to see exactly how many chevrons the princess cut diamond you are looking at has. The best way is to look at the grading report. However only AGS grading reports depict the pavilion side of the diamond in a chart so that you can count the number of chevrons. When shopping at James Allen it is therefore wise to filter for AGS graded princess cut diamonds under “advanced options”:

AGS lab report of a princess cut diamond

Looking at the number of chevrons is important to determine the sparkling style of the diamond. However, the chevrons do not have a direct influence on the real light performance of a princess cut diamond. Remember: the light performance of a diamond refers to how much light is actually reflected to the viewer’s eye and how much gets lost through light leakage.

Determining the light performance of a princess cut diamond

The easiest way to go about the determining the light performance of a princess cut diamond is to simply choose an AGS Ideal princess cut diamond. This way you simultaneously ensure that the diamond will have an AGS0 grade in symmetry and polish, too. You could also choose your diamond according to the exact proportions but I find it far easier to simply go for an AGS Ideal cut grade in princess cut diamonds.

As with round cut diamonds I recommend to narrow down your search to 3 round cut diamonds that you find the most appealing. They should be appealing to you in terms of their first impression but also in terms of their sparkling style which is related to the number of chevrons.

From there you will want to determine the light performance by performing an Angular Spectrum Evaluation Tool Analysis (ASET Analysis).

What kind of ring setting to choose for the princess cut diamond?

To make it short: Princess cut diamonds are always set into a 4-prong ring setting to protect the corners of the diamond in the best possible way!

You will not even be able to get a princess cut diamond in a 6-prong ring setting or something else so that you will not have to worry about that.
princess cut diamonds set in 4-prong ring settings

How to choose a princess cut diamond?

The best way to choose a princess cut diamond is actually to filter for AGS0 graded princess cut diamonds. This way you will not have to concern yourself too much with the exact proportions of your diamond. You can be pretty sure that an AGS0 graded princess cut diamond will have a very decent light performance.

Narrow down your search to three choices and choose a diamond that is eye-clean. In my opinion the best website to do this is James Allen. It is the only store where you can review each diamond in 360 ° high definition videos and make out any inclusion even better than you would in a brick and mortar jewelry store.

Then contact the James Allen customer service via the chat tool, ask for a in-house gemologist review and an ASET analysis of each of each of your three diamonds. James Allen is the only company that will do this service for you for free for up to three diamonds. The reason is simply that all of James Allen’s suppliers are in direct proximity to the James Allen headquarters in New York and James Allen wants to provide an exceptional customer service.

For the time untill the the in-house review and the ASET analysis is sent to you, the three stones of your selection will be reserved for you. You can then choose the best diamond and be pretty sure to have made a good choice.

If you should have any more questions or if I can give you a hand in picking the best princess cut diamonds just write me a mail!