Princess Cut Diamonds & Engagement Rings

If you’re out there looking for the best diamond for your money, then please contact me and let me know your budget and what you’re looking for. I’ll sift through thousands of diamonds online and send you a list of 4 or 5 suggested stones to choose from that fit your needs the best.  Unlike the other sites, I’m not looking to sell you anything – my advice is objective and in your best interest.  The service is free, and there is absolutely no commitment to buy any of my suggestions.  You have nothing to lose!

Buying a Princess Cut Diamond Ring?

Bottom Line Recommendation:
Princess-Cut-Drawing-Small

  • Color: I Color or better. H Color or I Color with a Princess Cut will give you the best value.  Going higher in diamond color (to D, E, F, or G Diamond Color) will give you an incremental benefit, but I’m not convinced it’s worth the incremental price.  I don’t recommend J color with Princess Cuts because they retain color slightly more than Round Brilliants.
  • Clarity: Stick to VS2 clarity SI1 clarity for the best value. SI2 and I1 clarity Princess Cut diamonds are in very short supply due to the high quality of diamond rough that Princess Cut Diamonds are cut from.  If you can find one, and verify that it’s clean to the eye (with, for example, James Allen’s Virtual Loupe), then that’s even better.  VS1, VVS2, VVS1, and Internally Flawless (IF, or FL) are great, but why spend more money if they all look the same (clean)?
  • Cut Parameters for Princess Cut Diamonds:
    • Depth: 65% to 75% (under 70% is very hard to find)
    • Table: Below 75% (There are two schools of thought on this, the Small Table school and the Normal Table School.  Try and look at both – below 68% table and above 70% table and see what you prefer.  Just one note – small tables are much harder to find)
    • Polish/Symmetry: Good, Very Good, or Excellent
    • Length/Width Ratio: 1.00 to 1.05 for Square Princess Cut

Princess-Cut-Top-Side-SmallThe Princess Cut – Modern Cut Gaining in Popularity

According to Wikipedia’s article on Diamond Cut, the modern Princess Cut was first introduced in 1960 by A. Nagy of London.  The Princess Cut is universally regarded as the runner-up to the Round Brilliant in today’s market.  According to the chart from Jogia Diamonds’ blog that I refer to in my article about Diamond Shapes, a full 23% of searches on their site are for Princess Cuts.  That’s still a far cry from the 64% for Round Brilliants, but consider that the second runner up was the Emerald Cut with only 3% of searches.  The Princess Cut is squarely in 2nd place.

A Diamond Manufacturers Dream

diamond-rough

As I mention in my article about Diamond Shapes, the Princess Cut is a favorite of diamond cutters for one very important reason — its yield from rough.  Take a look at the picture on the left.  Now imagine cutting that piece of rough in two down the middle .  What you’d be left with, basically, are two princess cuts!  All that’s left to do is add some structure to the top of the stone and some brilliant faceting. Now imagine just how much diamond material you would lose if you were to cut a Round Brilliant out of that piece of rough.  The difference is quite stark:  A Round Brilliant will yield usually around 40% (meaning a sawed 1 carat piece of rough will yield a 0.40ct polished round diamond) while a Princess Cut will yield in the 80%-90% range!  This is the primary reason why all else being equal, a Princess Cut is cheaper than a round diamond.

Another outgrowth of this phenomenon is that since Princess Cuts are only made from rough diamond crystals that are very high quality and very well formed, that usually correlates with cleaner rough as well.  So the selection of clarity grades on Princess Cut Diamonds is notably skewed to the high end.  You will never find a large selection of SI2 and I1 Princess Cuts.  In fact, this always caused a problem for my former employer, Leo Schachter, since they were supplying major Princess Cut programs to the major retail chains.  It was always a problem to meet SI2 and I1 Princess Cut demand.

Buying the Best Diamond for a Princess Cut Engagement Ring

Now that you’re more familiar with the background of the Princess Cut, lets get right to the information that’s pertinent to the consumer.

Color

When it comes to Color, you need to be a little more careful with a Princess Cut diamond than you would with a Round Brilliant.  Since both are brilliant cuts, they both succeed in chopping up the light so the true color of the rough material is harder to perceive.  But since the light return on the Round Brilliant is superior, it is also better at keeping the true color of your diamond a secret.  Because of this, I recommend when buying a Princess Cut diamond that you either pick an H or I Color Diamond.  You can go higher than H, but I, personally, don’t believe the incremental whiteness you’ll gain is worth the incremental price you’ll have to pay.  One thing to keep in mind, though, is if you are buying your diamond to have it set in an Engagement Ring, then you need to make sure the color of your center stone matches the color of the accent diamonds.

Clarity

Regarding Clarity, a Princess Cut is likewise similar to the Round Brilliant in that it’s a decent hider of inclusions.  One thing you need to remember Princess Cuts, though, is that there are serious issues of durability.  Since Princess Cuts have four sharp corners, they are prone to chipping (And you thought Diamonds Were Forever!). If an inclusion is in one of the four corners of the diamond, that will greatly increase the chances of the diamond chipping.  If you’re buying the diamond already set in a ring, this is less of an issue unless you think that you might want to have the stone reset in a new ring in the future.  With Round Brilliant Cuts, I recommend buying SI2s or even I1s that are confirmed to be eye-clean.  With Princess Cuts, though, it’s a bit harder to do since they are so few and far between.  So, with Princess Cuts, I recommend buying VS2 or SI1 clarity diamonds that are confirmed to be eye-clean (you can do this with a tool such as James Allen’s Virtual Loupe).

Cut Quality

Perhaps the trickiest part of buying the best stone for a Princess Cut Diamond Ring is cut quality.  With Rounds, it’s easy.  GIA tells you their opinion, and you can trust it.  With Princess Cuts, though, you’re pretty much on your own.  GIA will only grade Polish and Symmetry on a Princess Cut diamond.  Unlike Rounds, there’s really no industry wide consensus on what parameters make up the perfect Princess Cut.  There’s good reason for this, of course.  As I mentioned earlier, the whole genesis of this cut sprang from a desire to minimize diamond loss on the polishing wheel.  As opposed to premium cut Round Diamonds, Princess Cuts are cut to fit the shape of the rough, and not the reverse. So if a piece of diamond rough happens to be shaped like a well proportioned Princess Cut diamond, then it will, by chance, end up as one.  But if a piece of diamond rough happens to be shaped like a very deep and not well proportioned Princess Cut, then it will, unfortunately, likewise end up as one.  Diamond cutters don’t want to be forced to adhere to one specific standard of Princess Cut diamonds precisely because of this.  They need the flexibility to be able to adapt their polished diamond to the rough diamond.

As I mentioned earlier in the Bottom Line Recommendation, look for a Total Depth between 65% and 75%.  Generally lower is better.  I prefer stones in the 68% to 73% range.  They seem to give the best balance of brilliance to size.  For Table Percentage, I recommend staying under 75%.  As I alluded to in the introduction, there are two schools of thought regarding Princess Cut table sizes.  One camp swears by small tables (68% and below) while others claim it really doesn’t matter, so they just go with what the rough naturally produces – slightly larger tables in the 73%-78% range.  Small tables are the serious minority in the industry, so just be aware that if that is your taste, you might have a harder time finding a diamond.

If you would like help finding the perfect Princess Cut Diamond, then please feel free to contact me. I will usually answer rather quickly.  I will be happy to scour the internet to help you find the best deal for the best diamond.

If you have any questions about the article, please post them in the comments below.  I will usually respond within 24 hours.

Leave a Comment

Please Note: For personal diamond assistance, you will receive a much quicker response sending us an email via the contact form. Comments should be reserved for questions and/or comments about this specific article. Thank you.

689 Comments

  1. Luke     Reply

    Hi!
    I’m currently looking at several pink diamonds in princess cut. In terms of clarity vs the saturation of colour.. What factor would be more sought after? Thanks

  2. Despina     Reply

    Hi! I have heard that the table on a princess cut should always be less than the depth. Do you agree with this?

    • Mike     Reply

      I do not. Just make sure they are both within the range of a well cut diamond.
      Depth 68-75% (ideally 69-73)
      Table 69-75% (ideally 70-74).

  3. Mike     Reply

    That is a terribly cut diamond. It is far too deep. I wouldn’t spend any money on it.

  4. Asad Khan     Reply

    I am thinking about getting diamond the following diamond. Please tell me about your thoughts. I am going for sparkle, size and value! Thank you so much.

    http://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/princess-cut/1.49-carat-k-color-vs1-clarity-sku-209321

  5. Jared     Reply

    Just wondering your guys opinions on clarity enhanced diamonds? Is it worth the extra cash to get the real deal? I can get a 1.7 CE for about the same price I would pay for a 1.5 non clarity enhanced. What would you do? Thanks in advance for all of your help.

    • Mike     Reply

      I would stick with a natural diamond. CEs are worthless investment wise (you shouldn’t view your diamond as an investment, but you shouldn’t completely ignore that aspect) and they rarely have legitimate certification.

Helping you get the most value on your diamond purchase

We are diamond industry veterans who will teach you to identify scams and avoid spending money on features you can’t see.

Click Now for Help

Article Finder

Filter posts on the site that are relevant to your diamond search.

  Returns results

Wondering why we do this? Think we’re biased? You’re only half right. Learn More