Princess Cut vs. Round Cut Diamonds - Selecting a Style

When it comes to diamond shapes, the two that stand out above the rest are the round brilliant cut and the square princess cut. Both are known for their eye catching sparkle and brilliance. The right one for you depends largely on personal taste and the different qualities of each that you find especially important.
Round is the most traditional diamond cut and continues to be the most prevalent in today’s market. One of the reasons for the overwhelming popularity of round diamonds is their potential for ultimate light performance, brilliance, fire and sparkle. But princess cuts share a similar facet pattern on their pavilions, giving them the potential for outstanding brilliance. The big key to light performance is the quality of the cut.

Round Cut Diamonds

The first round diamonds were seen around the 17th century. At the time, they had 17 facets on the top half of the stone. In the early 1900’s a Belgian mathematician named Marcel Tolkowsky was widely credited with determining the ideal cut proportions for the round brilliant. Truth be told, several American cutting pioneers were already manufacturing high quality diamonds to these parameters decades earlier. Today, modern tools and technologies give us the ability to cut round diamonds to a degree of perfection never known before. It is through the craftsmanship of man that the full potential of a diamond is revealed.
It is widely understood that the precision of the cut is the factor that has the greatest effect on diamond beauty. If we think of a diamond as a tiny system of mirrors, the positioning, alignment, and polish of those mirrors determine the reflection and refraction of light through that system and back to the eye of the beholder.
A CUT ABOVE® Hearts and Arrows are round super ideal cut diamonds that are considered by experts worldwide to be among the finest cut diamonds ever brought to market. They are the “best of the best” in terms of brilliance, fire and sparkle.
Vatche 1020 6-Prong Channel Diamond Engagement Ring
Vatche 1020 6-Prong Channel Engagement Ring

Princess Cut Diamonds

Princess diamonds have become enormously popular in recent years. This shape combines a square outline with a brilliant style facet arrangement. The result in gemological terms is a ‘square modified brilliant’, otherwise known as the princess cut. With their straight sides and sharp corners, princess cuts are a good choice as center pieces for certain types of ring designs. In addition to style choices, a big advantage of the princess is that diamonds of the same weight, color and clarity will cost considerably less in a princess than in a round. The main reason for this is that the shape retains more carat weight from the rough diamond, resulting in less waste during cutting and greater yield.
Ritani 1RZ1327 Cushion Halo V Diamond Engagement Ring
Ritani 1RZ1327 Cushion Halo V Engagement Ring

Ideal Princess Cut Diamonds

Although princess diamonds are commonly cut to maximize yield and do not have great light performance, Ideal princess diamonds do exist in the market. The American Gem Society Laboratories (AGSL) is the only lab that grades overall cut in a princess. Certified AGS Ideal diamonds provides assurance of far better light performance than ordinary princess cuts. The A CUT ABOVE® Princess from Whiteflash is a true ‘super ideal’ and the extraordinary sister to the A CUT ABOVE® Round Hearts and Arrows diamond. The A CUT ABOVE® Princess goes through the same rigorous testing and reviews as its round counterpart, and represents the ultimate pedigree of performance.

Browse Our Collection of Round and Princess Ideal Cut Diamonds

Princess vs Round Cut Diamonds

As mentioned above, the princess cut shares a similar facet pattern with the round brilliant. The all-important pavilion facets, which are the engine of light performance, are both cut in the brilliant style with vertical facets extending from girdle to culet. This arrangement accounts for the high amount of sparkle and scintillation that characterizes well-cut specimens of both popular shapes. In addition to the cost savings mentioned earlier, stylistically the princess cut adds an angular outline with straight sides. The distinctive outline of the princess therefore lends itself to a range of different jewelry designs, including very modern architectural styles.

Whether a round cut or princess diamond suits your fancy and meets your budget, the important thing is to get a diamond that handles light extremely well. Compromising too much in the area of diamond cut quality will result in diminished beauty, especially in low light conditions. Some trade off can be made in color and the diamond will still appear nice and white. Some tradeoff can also be made in clarity and the diamond will still be clean to the eye and capable of plenty of sparkle. But cut quality should be the last thing to compromise. A smaller diamond that really pops is far more attractive than a larger one that doesn’t.

Regardless of your preference for shape, the ideal diamond for most people is usually one with an ideal cut!

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