The princess cut or square modified brilliant is the second most popular diamond shape used on engagement rings next to the traditional round brilliant cut. Princess cut diamonds are traditionally square with sharp corners but some appear to be more rectangular than square. When viewed from the side, its shape looks like an inverted pyramid. Unlike the round brilliant cut which has been around for more than 100 years, the princess cut is a relatively new shape, only having been invented in the 1960s.
Princess cut diamonds and round brilliant diamonds generally have the same degree of brilliance, although they have different faceting styles. A round brilliant diamond has 58 facets whereas a princess cut diamond has 76 facets, which highly contributes to its fire and brilliance.
As previously mentioned, most princess cut diamonds are square from the surface but others are more rectangular. This will depend on the buyer’s preference. To determine how square or rectangular a princess cut diamond is, you should look at the length to width ratio of the diamond (i.e. length/width= length to width ratio). Square princess cut diamonds are within the 1 to 1.05 ratio so if you want a square diamond, you should check if the length to width ratio falls within this range. Those with length to width rations higher than 1.10 are more rectangular.
Square princess cuts are more expensive than rectangular ones but some people may prefer a more rectangular princess cut depending on the setting. When set with side stones, rectangular princess cut diamonds can look squarer than it actually is.
When it comes to color, valuing a princess cut diamond is the same as any other colorless diamond; with the D to F range being excellent and more expensive and warmer colors from G to Z being cheaper. It is worth noting, however, that color may be more visible on the edges of a princess cut diamond than it is on a round brilliant diamond so a J-color diamond may appear more yellow on the sides compared to a J-color round brilliant diamond. While some people prefer warmer colors for princess cut diamonds (i.e. around the G to H range). The smaller the diamond, the less visible the color is, which is why G-color princess cut diamonds that are less than .50 carats are still rated excellent.
Princess cut diamonds can conceal inclusions better than round brilliant diamonds because of their brilliance. Some customers don’t mind not having such an excellent clarity grading as long as the inclusions are not very visible, although others are more particular about the clarity of their diamonds in a technical sense.
It is highly recommended that princess cut diamonds be set with prongs on each corner because the corners are susceptible to chipping and should be protected. The corners of princess cut diamonds may also have extra inclusions and facets, which would not look very good if not concealed.
Princess cut diamonds are highly preferred by consumers because its fire and brilliance is almost at par with that of round brilliant diamonds. Its unique shape and bigger appearance also adds to its appeal. Of all the diamond cuts, the princess cut wastes the least of the original rough stone that it is cut from. As a result, it is cheaper in price compared to round brilliant diamonds and other cuts.