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What is a Princess Cut Diamond?

Ring Advice

Jewelry shopping can be intimidating. That’s why we started Ask Holden, our blog where we answer your FAQs, break down scary industry lingo, and guide you in finding the perfect piece of jewelry.

Are princess cut diamonds out of style? Not at all! Princess cut diamonds are historically regarded as the second most popular diamond shape after round brilliants. Favored for their modern and sleek square shape, princess diamonds are here to stay.

Considering a princess cut engagement ring? You’ve come to the right place: in this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about princess cuts, from the history to what to look for when selecting your princess diamond.

What is a Princess Cut Diamond?

Though a princess cut diamond looks square or rectangular, it’s actually an inverted pyramid shape. Princesses incorporate 80% of the rough stone, so they’re considered to be one of the more environmentally friendly diamond shapes.

Princess cut stones also tend to be less expensive than round diamonds for this reason. (Want to save even more? Go lab grown!) Their octahedral shape allows diamond cutters to split the rough diamond in half, meaning that they can cut two princesses with minimal waste.

Princess cuts typically feature 57-58 facets, delivering excellent fire and brilliance (they won’t be quite as fiery and brilliant as a round, though). They have the best light performance of the fancy shapes (any diamond shape except for round is referred to as “fancy”)!

The facets that create a princess’s brilliance make up 2-4 chevron patterns on the underside of the cut. The number of chevrons will affect light performance. Two chevrons will generate larger, bolder flashes of light and color. Stones with four chevrons will have smaller facets and scintillate more.

Princesses can also appear larger than rounds due to their diagonal measurements, even though rounds will have a slightly larger face-up surface area.

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What are the Origins of the Princess Cut?

The princess cut didn’t get its name until the 1980s, but its cutting technique was first pioneered in the 1960s. It evolved from the French cut, which was invented in the early 20th century, which evolved from the table cut, which originated in the 14th century.

The princess cut we know and love today was officially invented in 1979 by Israel Itzkowitz. Since then, princess cut engagement rings have become more popular over time.

Though some see the shape as the epitome of modern femininity, princesses are also extremely popular in men’s jewelry! At Holden, we don’t believe in arbitrarily gendering diamonds, rings, or anything of the sort: go for the stone shape you love best.

What Should I Look For When Picking Out My Princess?

Due to their many facets, princess cut diamonds will conceal small inclusions and shadows, so you can go for slightly lower clarity and color grades. Generally, a SI1 or VS2 diamond (slightly included or very slightly included) will be clean to the naked eye.

You can usually get away with a lower color grade if you opt for a yellow gold setting. If you go for a lower clarity grade, just make sure to avoid dark inclusions near the center of the stone as well as inclusions near the corners, since these will make your stone more likely to break.

Speaking of the corners: you’ll want to select a protective setting since its sharp edges are vulnerable to chipping. The girdle should also be thick enough to support the prongs. Ideally, people want their engagement rings to last as long as their love story!

Carat Sizes for Princess Cut Engagement Rings on Finger

Can’t visualize the carat sizes for princess cut engagement rings on finger? We created this handy visual guide with some of the most popular options.

The crown of a princess cut stone will have either French or bezel corners, though bezel corners are much more common since they’re more durable. French corners have star facets that point to the stone corners, and bezel corners’ facets are diamond-shaped.

French vs Bezel Corner Crown Princess Cut Diamond

These cuts can differ by the pattern on the crown (top) and pavilion (bottom) of the diamond. There’s no consensus on which is higher quality, so go with whatever you like best.

Princesses should have a depth percentage of 65-75%, and the table percentage should be 75% and below.

Diamond Diagram

For a square princess cut, you’ll want a length-to-width ratio of 1.05 and below. For a rectangular (or oblong) princess cut, you’ll want a length-to-width ratio of at least 1.2.

Princess Cut Diamond Ideal Ratios

When it comes to polish and symmetry, keep in mind that there isn’t really a noticeable difference between "Good" and "Excellent” cut grades.

Find all the numbers confusing or overwhelming? Don’t stress it. When you purchase princess cut diamond rings at Holden, our GIA-trained diamond experts select the perfect stones based on your requested grades from a live inventory for you.

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What Kinds of Settings Pair Well With a Princess?

Princesses can work for a lot of different ring styles! If you’re looking for a 3-stone princess cut engagement ring, The Round 3-Stone is a great option.

The Round 3-Stone with a princess cut diamond

We love the way the round side stones contrast with the squared edges of the princess center stone and add extra sparkle.

You can definitely go for a princess cut ring with a low setting as well. The Low Set Solitaire looks stunning with a princess diamond!

The Low Set Solitaire with a princess cut diamond

Keep in mind that low settings will be difficult to stack flush with a wedding band though, unless you’re open to considering an Open ring.

Since the geometric nature of the princess cut also evokes the Art Deco movement, you can consider a setting that complements that in its design. You should check out The Tapered Baguette if that sounds appealing to you.

The Tapered Baguette with a princess cut diamond

Just want something simple? We offer plenty of solitaire styles with different band and prong shapes, like The Domed Solitaire, The Triangle Solitaire, or The Square Solitaire. If you’re interested in an eternity band, check out The Eternity Solitaire or The Floating Eternity Solitaire.

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Have something else in mind? We might be able to make it happen! You can submit a custom request to our design team here.

Questions? Give us a shout at or a ring (pun intended) at 646.722.6817.