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Ultimate Guide For Buying Princess Cut Diamonds (depth, table, L/w ratio)

Ultimate Guide For Buying Princess Cut Diamonds (depth, table, L/w ratio)

Ultimate Guide For Buying Princess Cut Diamonds (depth, table, L/w ratio)

Posted by Sharif Khan on 18th Jun 2022

Princess-Cut Diamonds

  • Princess-cut diamonds continue to be one of the most popular diamond shapes. They are elegant and full of sparkle. You cannot go wrong with them, especially if they are well-cut and set in a beautiful halo setting.
  • Since the GIA does not assign a cut grade to princess-cut diamonds, you must have a basic idea of their ideal proportions to make an informed decision. Ideally, a depth of 62-74% and a 58-70% table is preferred. Follow our chart below carefully for a thorough examination.
  • It is necessary to know what you prefer regarding the length-to-width ratio in princess-cut diamonds. Do you want a square or a rectangular-cut diamond? We have provided ideal ratios for both options below. Make sure you follow them while making a purchase.
  • Princess-cut diamonds have sharp corners and can be susceptible to chipping if left unprotected. Please ensure they are set in secure prongs; we prefer the v-prongs, provided you do them correctly.
  • In terms of prioritizing the 4Cs, we provide four scenarios below that shoppers often consider. In short, if you want a high-quality stone, get something like this (option 1). If you want a big stone without compromising the quality, this can be a good (option 2). If you do not mind going slightly low on the other 3Cs to prioritize carat weight, this would be a range that you should consider (option 3). You can compromise on color in the fourth scenario to maximize carat, clarity, and cut due to budget constraints. In such a case, something like this might be an option for you (option 4).
  • Finally, here is a list of our top-rated online vendors for loose diamonds and engagement rings to consider while shopping for a diamond.

Princess-Cut Diamond Overview

Betzalel Amber and Israel Itzkowitz popularized the fancy "French" inspired cut diamond in the 1970s. The princess cut diamond is our most popular non-round diamond because of its brilliance and unique cut, making it a favorite diamond for unique engagement rings.

Princess-cut diamonds have pointed corners and are traditionally square cut. (We use "traditionally" because many princess-cut diamonds are slightly rectangular.) The preciseness with which the stone is cut into a square affects its price. However, many consumers prefer a rectangular cut; often, it is about how you want your diamond to be. As shown in the picture below, rectangular princess-cut diamonds have a distinct advantage over square princess-cut ones—they look larger (both of the following princess-cut diamonds weigh one carat). So, if you have slim fingers, a rectangular princess-cut diamond might be your choice.

In addition to providing comprehensive insights on the 4Cs of princess-cut diamonds, we will also cover four scenarios in this article that you should consider while deciding which C to compromise on and to what degree.

When buying a princess-cut diamond, the key factors include cut, color, and clarity. Learning more about diamond fluorescence and certification is also a good idea.

square vs rectangular princess cut diamond

Analyzing the Cut of Princess-cut Diamonds:

Princess-cut diamonds do not have an assigned cut grade in GIA reports, though the AGS does give it to them. Therefore, an entire agreement on the proportions of the princess cut does not exist. It is indeed a problem for many suppliers and consumers of these diamonds.

If you would like our opinion on it, we think you should look for a diamond whose total depth is 68-70% (with a tolerance of 5%). Another rule of thumb is to check that the diamond's polish and symmetry grade is Good.

Generally, the diamond's brilliance is maximized by how nicely it has been cut without making it look too deep or shallow. Please follow the chart below to determine a princess-cut diamond's cut.

A helpful tool you should consider is James Allen's High Definition 3D Videos with 40X Magnification, which will show you how the proportions below affect a stone's visual appearance. It can also help locate diamond inclusions and their types, especially black crystals. Please ascertain that you play with their filter to know what might be best for you within your budget range. 

Depth %

Excellent: 64-74.9

Very Good: 64-74.9

Good: 59-64/75.5-81

Fair: 56.5-84

Poor: <54 or >84

Table %

Excellent: 62-69

Very Good: 58-61/71.1-73.9

Good: 55-59/75-81

Fair: 55-81/52-85.3

Poor: <52 or >87

Crown Height %

Excellent: 10-16

Very Good: 9-15.5

Good: 6-17.9/8-17

Fair: 5.2-18/4.1-20

Poor: <3.2 or >21

Girdle

Excellent: Very Thin-Slightly Thick/Thin-Thick

Very Good: Very Thin-Slightly Thick/Thin-Thick

Good: Very Thin-Thick

Fair: Very Thin-Very Thick

Poor: Extremely Thin-Extremely Thick

Culet

Excellent: None

Very Good: Slight

Good: Small

Fair: Average

Poor: >Average

Length/Width Ratio: Square Range

Excellent: 1.00-1.05

Very Good: 1.00-1.05

Good: 1.00-1.05

Fair: 1.059-1.079

Poor: >1.079

Length/Width Ratio: Rectangular Range

Excellent: 1.26 -1.45

Very Good: <1.20 - >1.50

Good: <1.18 - >1.55

Fair: <1.15 - >1.65

Poor: >1.70.00

The chart above represents a set of guidelines created for you to use as a rule of thumb when evaluating the cut of a princess-cut diamond. We advise you to avoid a princess-cut diamond whose depth percentage is smaller than its table percentage.

Click on the images to see details of good square and rectangular princess-cut diamonds.

JA Rectangular JA Square

Choosing the Color of a Princess-cut Diamond:

H or I Color in a princess-cut diamond will give you more value for your money, although the higher the color, the better the diamond. When evaluating the color of a princess-cut diamond, it is crucial to look for a stone that does not have a visible yellow tint. Hence, you will be better off if you do not choose a color grade lower than G, H, and/or I.

It is not essential to spend additional money to buy a colorless princess-cut diamond, i.e., those graded as D, E, and/or F. Any of these colorless grades will not have a noticeable color difference to the naked eye, unlike I or J colors. G and H color diamonds are also high-quality stones and should be a top choice for people who have a limited budget.

Selecting the Clarity of a Princess-cut Diamond:

We like princess-cut diamonds because of their proportions and ability to exhibit significant brilliance and sparkle, unlike other diamond shapes. In addition, it is a valuable aspect of princess-cut diamonds because their brilliant proportions make their inclusions less visible.

Although princess-cut diamonds with clarity lower than SI1 are rare, you may still find your dream princess-cut diamond if you focus on buying one with VS1, VS2, SI1, and/or SI2 graded clarity.

When buying these sparkling diamonds, you must ensure that the one you choose does not possess visible inclusions in its corners. Large inclusions lead to weakened corners, making the diamond susceptible to chipping.

Selecting the Right Setting for a Princess-cut Diamond:

Always choose a setting that protects the diamond's corners. When a diamond is set in a mounting with rough edges, it can become thin. Besides, a strong blow can also eventually chip the diamond off.

To provide a safe mounting for your diamond, choose a V-prong setting.

Best Scenarios to Consider While Buying a Princess-cut Diamond:

Consider these four scenarios while shopping for a princess-cut diamond.

After selling millions of dollars worth of diamonds, we have found that people look for four things when buying a princess-cut diamond.

Scenario 1: The buyer's priority is to get the highest color, clarity, and cut grade for any given carat weight. The perfect fit here would be investment-grade highest quality diamonds, Flawless to VVS, D-E color, GIA graded, and no fluorescence.

PrincessInvtJAJAHIGHPRINC

Scenario 2: In this category, the shopper is still interested in a high-quality diamond but wants to get a bigger stone (we call these "high circulation" and "high-value" stones because they are the most traded online). Thus, they may go as low as VS clarity and G/H color diamond, very good to excellent cut, medium blue fluorescence, and 1.5 carats instead of 1.

Scenario 3: In this scenario, the buyer is willing to go as low as possible to get an eye-clean stone with decent color and the largest possible size. Therefore, they choose a 2 carat, SI1/SI2, up to J color, and strong blue fluorescence and are willing to consider IGI/HRD certification. If you are in this category, ensure that you master diamond clarity because knowing which inclusions to avoid and which ones could work in your favor can make all the difference.

Scenario 4: The shopper knows that they must compromise heavily on 1C to maximize the other 3Cs. We usually recommend giving up color for maximum cut, carat weight, and clarity quality in this category. The stone will look slightly yellowish (a warm color might be your preference) but will still have optimal brilliance and fire because of the cut, high clarity, and big size.

Good Budget Options for Princess-cut Diamonds:

Princess-Cut Diamond Options for Buyers with Budget Constraints:

Excellent Choice:

  • Weight of at least 1.0 carat
  • Very good to excellent polish and symmetry
  • G or above in color
  • Clarity of SI1 or higher
  • No fluorescence
  • Length/width ratios: 1-1.05 for square or 1.5-1.75 for rectangular shape

Very Good Choice:

  • At least 0.90 carats in weight
  • Good to excellent polish and symmetry
  • H or above in Color
  • Clarity of SI2 or higher
  • None, faint or medium blue fluorescence
  • Length/width ratios: 0.95-1.05 for square or 1.5-1.75 for rectangular shape

Good Choice:

  • At least 0.80 carats in weight
  • Good to very good polish and symmetry
  • I or higher in color
  • Clarity of SI2 or higher
  • None, faint or medium blue fluorescence
  • Length/width ratios: 0.95-1.05 for square or 1.5-1.75 for rectangular shape

FAQ About Princess-cut Diamonds:

Are princess-cut diamonds popular?

Yes, they are popular among shoppers looking for alternative options to round-cut diamonds. Although oval and cushion-cut diamonds have been trending higher than princess-cut diamonds lately, the latter are still highly popular. It is always good to check some options locally before buying loose diamonds online.

Which one is better: a square or rectangular princess-cut diamond?

It depends on your taste; we are equally divided when determining which one is better. If you have thin fingers, rectangular might be the way to go. They will also look bigger than squares and might be slightly pricier. However, square shapes are generally more popular; you will see more square options on the market than rectangular ones.

What is the difference between princess-cut and radiant-cut diamonds?

Radiant-cut diamonds generally have cut corners and slightly different faceting structures in terms of cut. Follow our guide on radiant cut diamonds for detailed information. 

Recommended Proportions
Depth% Table Girdle Culet L/W Ratio
64-74% 61-70% See Below None Square: 1-1.05 Rectangular: 1.22-1.42