The princess cut is the second most popular cut shape for diamonds, topped by the ever-popular round brilliant cut diamond. The face-up shape of a princess cut diamond is either square or rectangular, and the profile (side-on shape) has the shape of an inverted pyramid with four bevelled sides. Think of it like an upside-down pyramid; much of the diamond’s weight is in the pavilion, so the face-up appearance of the finished diamond may appear smaller than another diamond of a different shape but of similar carat weight. Princess cuts are often mounted as solitaires in four-prong settings, but bezel settings are also popular, and both of these setting styles help protect the corners from chipping.
History behind the princess cut diamond
The princess cut is a relatively new cut in the diamond world. It was created in 1981 by Betzalel Ambar and Israel Itskowitz. The name princess cut was originally used in connection with a different diamond cut, otherwise known as the profile cut, designed by Arpad Nagy, a London cutter, in 1961. The same name was then later used on what we now know as the princess cut and made popular by Ygal Perlman, Betzalel Ambar, and Israel Itzkowitz.
Why is it popular?
The princess cut diamond offers a lot of brightness and is slightly less conventional than the standard round brilliant. It’s universally regarded as the runner-up to the round brilliant cut in today’s market, and in a display case full of round brilliants and emerald cut diamonds, the princess cut diamond can stand out as something slightly more unusual. It is a versatile cut, working with anything from simple solitaire rings to elaborate vintage styles.
Shape: Check the ratios are correct, because princess cuts that have uneven sides or unequal proportions tend to be less attractive. To be called a square princess cut diamond, length-to-width ratio cannot exceed 1.05:1.
Symmetry: The symmetry of the facets helps to create the beauty of the cut; the more symmetrical the facets, the more desirable the diamond. You can look for this by drawing an imaginary line down the length of the diamond, and seeing if the facets on the right and left halves are the same shape and size.
Scintillation: A balanced contrast of light and dark patterns in the table and facets are important. A stone that is either too light or too dark is typically not as attractive as one that has a pleasing balance.
Check the points: The points or sharp corners of a princess cut diamond are extremely vulnerable to chipping. Check to see if the points have been chamfered. This is a recent cutting technique which places a small flat facet on the corners to help improve durability.