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What do Emily Ratajkowski and Kate Bosworth have in common? Besides being famous actresses and fashion darlings, they both have princess cut engagement rings. While Bosworth went romantic with a vintage-inspired setting, Ratajkowski paired hers with a pear-cut diamond for a modern look. Whichever you prefer, the versatility of this diamond shape is just one of many reasons to love it.
What Is the Princess Cut?
A princess cut diamond is a square-cut stone with pointed corners and an inverted pyramid base. “It is either perfectly square or has a 1.05 - 1.10:1 length to width ratio to make the whole stone look larger,” says Lauren Priori of L. Priori Jewelry.
While the round brilliant cut may be the most popular diamond shape of the bunch, the princess cut maintains the fire that makes round brilliants desirable while boasting a timeless and modern geometric silhouette. “The top facet on a princess cut diamond is a lot bigger than what you’d see on a round-cut diamond,” Priori says. “That makes the stone look brighter and whiter because it lets more light in.”
Meet the Expert
- Lauren Priori is the owner of L. Priori Jewelry, a by-appointment custom jeweler in Philadelphia. Priori is a Gemological Institute of America (GIA) trained Graduate Gemologist and a graduate of the Wharton School of Business.
- Rordane Shane is the President and CEO of Shane Co., the largest privately-held retail jewelry chain in the United States. He is the fourth generation in a family of jewelers.
Pros and Cons of the Princess Cut Diamond
Princess cut stones are beloved because they combine the best aspects of several cuts into one style. The square look is modern and chic and is a great alternative to a round brilliant diamond. Princess cut diamonds are a cost-effective option for engagement rings since the shape of the diamond is already similar to the shape of the rough diamond it is cut from. Therefore, less diamond is wasted by gem cutters.
However, princess cut diamonds have the potential to appear smaller than their counterparts. “Because princess cuts carry most of their weight in the pavilion (the underside of the diamond), they may appear smaller than another diamond shape with the same carat weight,” Shane Co. President and CEO Rordane Shane tells Brides. “While one person may say their con is the cut appearing smaller than other shapes, another might find this inconsequential, favoring sparkle more than size.” Because of these fluctuations, the best way to decipher which diamond is right for you is by looking at it up close.
What to Look for in Princess Cut Diamonds
- What settings pair best with princess cuts? You’ll want to choose a prong style that provides extra protection for the corners. Per Priori, the best option for protecting a princess cut stone is a V-prong setting, but if you’re not a fan of the look, there are other options.
- How much do princess cut engagement rings cost? Princess cuts are typically priced lower per carat than other brilliant cuts. Why? Well, the design allows for more of the rough stone to be saved in the cutting process. “They also hide inclusions, or natural imperfections, really well, because they’re so faceted and deep,” Priori adds.
- Which of the 4Cs is most important when it comes to a princess cut diamond?
The cut of the diamond is extremely important when searching for a princess cut because that is what will bring out the most sparkle in the stone. Since the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) has not come out with an exact overall cut grade for princess cuts, some gem cutters could take advantage of that and sell diamonds of a lesser quality to increase yield. Make sure to ask many questions when picking out your princess cut to ensure you are getting the best quality diamond for your money.
How to Care for Your Princess Cut Diamond
Shane suggests caring for your diamond by avoiding harsh chemicals in cleaning supplies, as well as using light dish soap, warm water, and a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean it at home. “It’s also important to check your princess cut diamond every now and then to ensure it hasn’t become loose in the setting,” he adds. “The sharper corners of the stone can make it more likely to snag than other shapes.”
History of the Princess Cut
Per Priori, square diamonds have been cut since the 1700s, but the princess cut as we know it today is actually one of the newest shapes on the market.
The shape saw a resurgence in the 1960s when London jeweler Arpad Nagy began offering a “profile” cut that allowed for less of the rough stone to be shed in the cutting process. After that, South African designer Basil Watermeyer introduced the beautiful but difficult-to-replicate family of Barion cuts in the 1970s. The height of popularity for princess cut stones began in 1979 when Israeli diamond duo Betazel Ambar and Israel Itzkowitz perfected the “quadrillion” cut, a precursor to the princess cut most similar to the shape we currently know it as.
There’s not much documented about why “princess” was chosen for the name, but many suspect it’s because the combination of brilliant sparkle and classic clean lines makes the cut feel fit for royalty.
Ahead, scroll through stunning and unique princess cut engagement rings.
This beautiful sunburst style features a dazzling 0.5ct princess-cut diamond tilted at 45 degrees. Marquise diamonds radiate from each corner, and natural round diamonds complete the design for a vintage look.
Does it get any more glam than this? A bead-set diamond halo blends seamlessly with a bead-set diamond band for all-over sparkle, but all eyes will be on the light that clusters in the center of the beautifully-cut center stone.
The star of this unique heirloom-style engagement ring is the responsibly mined princess-cut diamond. It’s flanked by free-flowing, organic arrangements of morganite, apricot sapphire, and champagne diamonds on either side.
An elegant classic from each and every angle. The 2 millimeter-wide platinum round brilliant pavé band is crafted with a perfectly proportioned corner-prong princess-cut stone for a truly timeless style.
This Tacori RoyalT collection ring stays true to name by surrounding a center princess-cut stone with marquise-shaped designs and 0.98 additional carats of diamonds. Forget princess—the intricate detailing on this ring is fit for a queen.
This chevron-shaped pavé band dips to accent a princess-cut center stone supported by substantial claw prongs. It’s a unique style available in four metals (shown in rose gold).
Turn tradition on its head with a princess-cut diamond set upside down (or “stiletto” style) in a micro-pavé diamond halo on double 18-karat gold bands. It’s modern and old-world, perfect for the bride whose style draws from all eras.
This thoroughly modern bezel-set, open basket princess-cut ring is set in 18-karat white gold for a sleek monochrome look. The diamond is 1.01ct, allowing for a sizable sparkle.
Dainty and delicate is the name of the game here. Four double prongs hold the 1.3ct E-color princess-cut diamond at a tilt, giving a subtle celestial vibe to the ring. The slim yet solid 14-karat gold round band brings warmth to the style.
Give a nod to your past, present, and future together with Ila’s pretty three-stone ring.
The vine motif on this Cathy Waterman platinum and diamond ring offers a lovely, nature-inspired look that works for both boho brides and Game of Thrones superfans.
This one-of-a-kind ring features three striking diamonds and is handset with white diamond micro pavé halos.
Try a halo setting with your princess cut diamond for the ultimate sparkling effect.
This classic engagement ring will play nicely with the other rings on your hand thanks to its simplicity and elegance.
Another unexpected option for the non-traditional bride-to-be, this ring gives the illusion of floating princess-cut diamonds and is available in yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold.
This princess cut ring provides an elegant look with a twist. Literally. The center stone is flanked by a pavé twisted vine design.
If you are looking to go against the grain with your ring, this two tone metal princess cut ring is a stunning option. The center diamond is surrounded by alternating round and kite set princess bezels, making for a one-of-a-kind look.
An alternative to a traditional diamond, this solitaire princess cut blue diamond is just the right amount of color to set this ring apart from the rest.
This breathtaking princess cut features two baguette cut diamonds flanking the 1.5ct center stone. Smaller rounded diamonds illuminate the gallery of the ring.