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The Princess Cut Diamond

"Amphora for Princess" Engagement Ring 4 Prong Princess Earrings Verragio Princess 3 Stone Ring
"Amphora for Princess" Engagement Ring 4 Prong Princess Earrings Verragio Princess 3 Stone Ring


The princess cut diamond was developed in the 1960s. This square diamond makes use of the brilliant style of diamond cutting rather than traditional step-cut configurations of traditional squares such as the emerald. The extra faceting causes the princess to have more natural diamond brilliance and scintillation. The enhanced performance hides inclusions and makes color less noticeable. It is essentially a square version of the round brilliant, technically recognized as a square modified brilliant cut.

Princess cut diamond applications

Super Ideal Princess Cut Diamond
Super Ideal Princess Cut Diamond

Square diamonds like the princess cut work well in many design applications and is a popular selection for our  designer wedding rings. Eternity ring squares can be set in one continuous line with no gaps, as occurs with round stones. The geometrics of the square allow for different looks and easily stand alone or combine with round & other shapes. Rings that are ‘starset’ (meaning the square diamond's shape is turned so the points are N-S-E-W) have a distinctly different look.


Princess Cut Diamond Assessment

Unlike round diamonds (or Hearts & Arrows diamonds), the performance of fancy shape diamonds cannot be predicted using only proportions or static reflector photography. Experienced sellers can recommend a favored range of parameters, and it is possible to make broad conclusions from photography and reflector images, but these shapes must be seen live for decisive evaluation. This is why no lab awarded a cut grade for the princess diamond until 2005, when the American Gem Society introduced the industry’s first-ever scientific cut grade based on actual light performance. For this reason it is imperative to work with an expert you trust on princess cut diamond selection.



Several diamond configurations exist for the princess. The main differences are in pavilion construction, where 2, 3 or 4 ‘chevrons’ can be seen. As diamond facets get smaller, broad dispersion is reduced in favor of smaller, rapid scintillation. When choosing a princess cut diamond it is prudent to keep size and construction in mind to arrive at the balance of performance qualities you desire.


Princess Cut Diamond Corners

Any sharp point on a square diamond or other gemstone is vulnerable. For this reason the setting process is critical with princess cuts and should be done by a skilled professional worthy of trust. Princess cut diamond points can be set into pre-cut ‘seats’ in the setting. Some manufacturers ‘chamfer’ the corners slightly and others are producing 'clipped-corners' to improve the diamond's durability.


For square diamonds that have sharp corners or points, chamfering is allowed to the extent that it improves durability without obviously changing the shape of the stone.


Princess Cut Diamond History

The forerunner of the princess cut diamond was the Barion cut diamond, developed by Basil Watermeyer of South Africa (nicknamed after his wife Marion). The term princess cut was previously applied to what is now known as the profile cut, developed in 1961, but the profile cut was used for very flat diamonds and differs from the modern princess.


Diamond Rough

Every piece of diamond rough is different and some pieces will finish best as a shape other than round. The diamond cutter makes decisions based on what will make the most attractive diamond while allowing most yield from the rough. The princess cut diamond works well with steep rough and much of the material best suited for square shapes may finish better as a princess, rather than a square baguette or emerald cut.


Expert Selection

It is critical to work with an expert you trust on locating and selecting the best diamond available, particularly in fancy shapes - which must be seen to be decisively assessed.


For more specific questions ask our experts
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