Q&A: Best Princess Cut for $5000 to $7500 With F or Better Color

The following is a real email conversation between The Diamond Pro and a reader just like you who contacted us. Personal information is always removed. Learn from these posts, or contact us yourself to get free personalized help.

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Hello, I am currently looking for the best engagement ring possible within the budget of $5000-$7500. Princess Cut D-F Best Clarity Possible Currently been looking on Bluenile.com and mondera.com, can you recommend any other sites? Also are you aware if they offer insurance? Thanks.

Thanks for writing. You mentioned you wanted the best clarity possible and you didn’t mention anything about expected carat weight. So I’m going to take two separate tracks here. First, I’m going to show you the largest stones D, E, or F that are eye clean within your budget. Then, I’ll crank up the clarity, and we’ll try to get the largest stone keeping the clarity to a minimum of VVS.

Also, a word about different sites. I pretty much exclusively recommend James Allen.  It is the only site that I know of that has actual magnified photos of their diamonds.  Aside from that, though, they also have really great prices and the best customer service around.

Regarding insurance – I’m not sure I know any sites that sell insurance as well. Each site will provide you with an insurance appraisal, though. But it’s not hard to take care of on your own. Jeweler’s Mutual is the most popular company, I believe.

Regarding cut quality with princess cuts, there’s two approaches: 1) the classic approach, and 2) the new AGS approach. Conventional wisdom has always held that the nicest princess cuts had depths between about 65 and 73/74 percent and table sizes around the same size. 68-70 probably being the ideal range for depth, and under 70 the best for table. AGS (a certifying lab like GIA) came along and started offering cut grades for princess cuts, and they found with their own research that deeper princess cuts with smaller tables were more brilliant. So the stones I suggest to you mostly go according to the classic approach.

Here we go:

http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/F-SI1-Ideal-Cut-Princess-Diamond-1275963.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357 – eye clean. Great make. Large stone.

http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/F-VS2-Ideal-Cut-Princess-Diamond-1264037.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357 – ditto

http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/E-SI1-Premium-Cut-Princess-Diamond-1276937.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357

http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/E-VS2-Ideal-Cut-Princess-Diamond-1270386.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357

Now lets crank it up to VVS and see what we come up with:

http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/F-VVS1-Premium-Cut-Princess-Diamond-1275208.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357

http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/F-VVS1-Ideal-Cut-Princess-Diamond-1268866.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357

I know that’s a lot to absorb, but try to take a look at all these different options and let me know what you think.


Thank you for your quick response, you weren’t kidding about responding within 24 hours.  That being said, I really appreciate the effort you put in on the recommended diamonds.  I apologize, I meant to also include that I want a 1 carat princess cut w/ a Tiffany setting(my girlfriend raves about princess cut).

As for the classical approach, should I just ignore the cut rating(ideal, premium, very good, etc) when looking at princess cuts not rated by AGS?  How big of a factor should polish and symmetry be in my decision process?

Additionally, I was looking at depth and table according to your guidelines and it seems every diamond either has the ideal depth or the ideal table, but never both.  Are they really that rare given your recommended specs?

Given the guidelines of the ring in question, do you recommend platinum or white gold for the setting?  I have read numerous times platinum would better suit a Tiffany set princess cut, can you verify?


I generally do ignore the cut ratings offered on the online sites for princess cuts. GIA doesn’t give cut grades for princess cuts. The grades you see are the grades that the individual site gives for the stone based on where the stone falls out in a rubric of table and depth ranges.

I’m not sure what you mean when you say you couldn’t find a stone with the ideal range. All of the stones I recommended from James Allen are within the recommended range.

In terms of polish and symmetry – you can pretty much ignore them. Anything Good or better is perfectly fine – especially for a princess cut. There is no visual difference to the naked eye between Good pol/sym and Excellent pol/sym. Take a look at my articles on Pol and Sym:

http://www.diamonds.pro/truth-about/diamond-polish/

http://www.diamonds.pro/truth-about/diamond-symmetry/

I agree that platinum is probably the best. James Allen has a number of TIffany style settings. Just look for the ones that are labeled as “knife edge.” And don’t forget to use the TAD0611 coupon code to get 10% off the ring.

Please feel free to send any more questions. It’s my pleasure to help.

……

Just wanted to follow up with you – did you end up pulling the trigger on any of those stones I recommended?  If so, I’d love to hear which one and how it went.   If not, please let me know if there’s any other way I can help.


I haven’t quit decided on one yet but I have been researching.  I picked out a handful of diamonds that meet my specs and would appreciate it if you could give your own personal ranking of them.  Also could you let me know if each one is eye clean or not? How are you able to tell?  Are the photos for James Allen Virtual Loupe magnified at all without dragging the magnifying glass?

My search criteria:

Princess Cut
D,E,F Color
IF, VVS1, VVS2, VS1,VS2 Clarity (Will go with SI1 if guaranteed eye clean but I can’t tell)
Excellent, Very Good, Good Sym/Polish
Carat Size .99 – 1.19 (closer to 1 carat the better)
Depth: 55.0-73.1
Table: 52.0-74.1

My ranking of what I liked:

1)  http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/F-VVS2-Premium-Cut-Princess-Diamond-1261306.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357

This one is the most expensive but I don’t see any inclusions that really stick out.  I am skeptical about the high table of 74%.  Faint fluorescence, not good but according to your sight should not be noticeable?

2)  http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/F-VS2-Ideal-Cut-Princess-Diamond-950945.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357

I like the look of this one, good price, but it looks like there is a nasty inclusion right in the middle, is this eye clean?

3)  http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/E-VS1-Premium-Cut-Princess-Diamond-1277455.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357

Expensive, high table, and a bigger diamond.

4)  http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/D-VS2-Ideal-Cut-Princess-Diamond-1207706.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357

Expensive, has a lot of cuts to it which makes it look cool. great table and depth but has a lot of dark spots(what are they?).

5)  http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/F-VS1-Premium-Cut-Princess-Diamond-871373.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357

Great price, has a lighter look to it

6)  http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/E-VS2-Ideal-Cut-Princess-Diamond-1177858.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357

Great table, good price, what are the two dark spots?  Has a darker look which i don’t like as much

7)  http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/F-VVS1-Premium-Cut-Princess-Diamond-1277451.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357

Little Pricier, has a lighter look which I like, would rank higher but it has a brown spot, what is that?

I am not sure if its just the lighting of each individual picture, but I have noticed that I tend to lean towards a lighter looking diamond.  What causes the lighting difference in the pictures?

Finally, if you could please, find a best value for money 1 carat princess cut diamond within the range of 4k-7.5k.  I am interested what you come up with.  Ignore all other search criteria I gave above.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Let me hit your questions one by one.

Eye clean – I know from experience only looking at hundreds of thousands of diamonds both with a loupe and with my naked eye. yes, they’re definitely magnified even without dragging the thing. Look at the diamond’s LxW measurements. Draw that on a sheet of paper to see how little the actual size of the diamond is. Compare that to the size of the pic on your screen.

Comments stone by stone:

1) Faint flour is meaningless. Same as None. 74% table is a bit large. But it’s not something that affects sparkle, it’s really just a different look for the stone. Just to correct you on something, 74% table is not a measure of its “height.” 74% table means the table facet takes up 74% of the total width of the diamond.

2) The inclusion in the center is very far from being nasty. It’s 100000% eye clean (unless you’re a closet super-hero :) ) Take a look at my new article here: http://www.diamonds.pro/diamond-clarity-chart/ for pics of the worst of each clarity grade. Otherwise, it’s a very nice stone.

3) Again, not crazy about the 74% table.

4) I love this stone. D is completely colorless. 100% eye clean VS2. Best cut out of any of these. Nice small table (I love small tables on princess cuts). It’s a real serious beauty.

5) 74% table again.

6) Another beautiful cut. Not quite as nice as the D (since it’s a bit deeper), but still really really nice.

7) Nice stone, but I don’t think it’s worth it to buy a VVS2 when you can get a VS2 that’s just as clean to the naked eye.

Your color question – I wrote the following to a reader recently. I think it addresses your question:

The reason I’m telling you all this is that each vendor takes his own pictures on his premises and uploads them to JA. That means about 20 different photographers are taking pictures in 20 different environments and uploading pics to JA. That’s why you’ll find picture quality and lighting is very inconsistent across their pics. The only thing I find these pictures useful for is determining whether or not an inclusion pattern will be clean to the naked eye or not. Color can’t really be ascertained from these pictures.

My pick for the best value is the following:

http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/G-VS2-Ideal-Cut-Princess-Diamond-1269592.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357

Let me know what yout hink about my observations!


Thank you so much, I believe I am going to go with number four then.  I feel very confident in buying this particular diamond and don’t want to miss out on it.  Is there anyway I would be able to put the diamond on hold until the end of the week( I know its doubtful but I thought I would ask lol)?  If not, am I able to put part of the ring on my credit card and wire the rest from my bank account?  How long do you think this stone will stay on the market?


For those questions, you gotta contact James Allens customer support! Good luck and let me know how it goes! I don’t remember if I mentioned it or not – but don’t forget to use coupon code TAD0611 to get 10pct off the setting.


Yes, you did mention the discount, thank you! One last question.  My girlfriend only wanted a 1 carat sized diamond, do you think there is a noticable difference between 1.12 and 1 carat?  She does not want it to look  too big or gaudy.


Nah.  It’ll definitely look bigger than a 1ct diamond, but it’d only be noticeable if it was right next to a 1ct diamond.  It’s certainly nowhere NEAR gaudy levels.

……

Did you pull the trigger on the 1.12?  Did everything go OK?


I am waiting for money to hit my account and should pull the trigger sometime this weekend.  Do you feel I am making a sound purchase based on my budget of 5k-7.5k?


I’m confident that’s the best stone you’ll find for your budget.  Let me know how it goes!


Just thought I would let you know I have started the ordering process.  I will let you know when I receive it.  Thanks again :)


Excellent!  I can’t wait to hear your report.  Which ring did you match with that stone, btw?


went with the platinum 2mm comfort fit.  Thoughts?


It’s going to look great!  I look forward to getting your report.


Sorry to keep pestering you, but what are your thoughts on engravings on the inside of the ring? Will this take away form the ring?  Thanks.


No, why would it?  It’s on the inside of the ring!

…..

Did you receive the ring yet?  If so, I’d love to hear your impressions!


Apologies on waiting to get back to you.  I received the ring and got it appraised by an independent jeweler.  Not only was I impressed(of course i would be) but the appraiser who had been in the business for 35 years was blown away by this particular princess cut.  So, THANK YOU, Ira, for you excellent recommendation and for all the help along the way. I hope all is well and good luck with everything!

Oh and I forgot to mention, I proposed and my fiance was thrilled beyond belief :)

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