The Princess Cut Diamond and The Four C’s

This is part two (of two) of our article on Princess Cut Engagement Rings. Read Part One here: Princess Cut Engagement Rings.

diamond

When purchasing a Princess Cut Diamond there are a number of factors to consider, in particular, a knowledge of the Four C’s and how they differ for a Princess Cut.

Most articles about the “Four C’s” (Cut, Color, Clarity, Carat) concentrate on the Round Cut and although the Princess Cut and the Round Cut are both “brilliant” cuts, there are some important differences that should be kept in mind when shopping for a Princess Cut diamond.

Shape

The Princess Cut is usually referred to as a “square modified brilliant” on lab reports and grading certificates.

Like all diamonds, the Princess Cut diamond is initially cut from rough stone. However, the Princess cut’s pyramid-like shape follows the natural crystalline structure of the diamond more effectively than most other shapes and fits closely into one-half of the rough stone. In the cutting process, the Princess shape allows the diamond cutter to produce two equal sized princess cut diamonds from one stone. The Princess Cut retains from 60 percent to 80 percent of the initial weight of the rough diamond compared to only 50% for the Round Cut.

Because the Princess cut retains much more of the original diamond, you will typically get a larger carat sized diamond for the same price when compared with the round brilliant.

Traditionally, the Princess Cut is a square shape with all four sides having an equal length. As the princess cut moves away from the square and towards a rectangle shape, the price will decrease. For reference, once the ratio of length to width is less than 1.05, the princess cut will appear square to the unaided eye.

Cut

A high-quality cut is the ideal choice, and helps to bring out the diamond’s allure, brilliance and sparkle. The brilliance of the stone can be altered a great deal with just one downgrade.

Unlike the Round Cut, there currently is no industry-wide consensus on what parameters make up the perfect Princess Cut. The American Gem Society now offers a scientific cut grade based on actual light performance; however the GIA will only grade Polish and Symmetry on a Princess Cut diamond.

However, due to customer demand, each diamond seller will have their own Cut grading system for princess cut diamonds. In addition, the proportions below can be helpful when judging the cut of a princess cut diamond.

  • Polish – excellent to good
  • Height of the crown – 8 to 13%
  • Depth total – 62 to 73%
  • Length to width ratio – 1.0 to 1.05
  • Table size – 65 to 75%

Best Value: As with round diamonds, don’t skimp on cut, it’s where the sparkle is! Look for Excellent/Ideal cuts.

Color

The Princess cut retains the color of the original stone better as compared to other cuts. Which means that the Color grade is somewhat more important for the Princess Cut than the Round Cut. It is best to select colors lower than J. The J-color may tend to show some yellowish tint in the corners of a princess cut diamond.

Best Value: Select a Color grade of G, H or I.

Clarity

Because of its brilliance, the Princess Cut is more forgiving of inclusions than other square cuts.

However, as impurities in the princess cut diamond can weaken the strength of the stone, special attention should be paid to the corners of the stone and any inclusions therein. Problems can eventually occur with cracking and chipping when impurities are located at the stone’s corners.

Best Value: For Princess Cuts, select a grade of VS2 or SI1 or better.

Carats

As stated above, for the same price a larger carat Princess Cut Diamond can be purchased versus a Round Cut Diamond. However, the Princess shape has a larger depth percentage than the Round cut which means that for stones of the same carat weight the Princess Cut’s surface area may appear smaller than the Round Cut.

Best Value: There is a price break at 1.0 ct, so look for diamonds just under 1 ct.


Over the decades since its creation, the princess cut has gained in popularity, especially as an engagement ring. While it still is considered a modern innovation in diamond design, the rising popularity of this timeless look has set a new tradition in jewelry. Already, the sparkle of this design has captured the hearts of many customers seeking a stylish yet classic look for a diamond engagement ring.

The princess cut is considered one of the most fashionable and desirable cuts. Its larger carat size for the same price, along with its attractive shape and brilliant sparkle, makes the Princess one of the most popular choices for a diamond engagement ring.

Read Part one of our Princess Cut Engagement Rings article here.