The princess cut is a square shaped diamond with a shallow top and deep bottom. It’s a relative newcomer to diamond cuts. Its origins are hazy, with different sources saying 1961, 1979 or later. How many facets it has is also difficult to pinpoint. Unlike the round brilliant, the cut style on the princess varies. Some versions may have as few as forty-nine facets, while others may have four sets of chevrons on their pavilions.
Part of the appeal of princess cut diamond rings, is how they achieve brilliance while sacrificing less rough. While diamond rough can take on many forms, a common type is octahedral. It resembles two pyramids emerging from the same square base. Turning an octahedron into one or two princesses requires little change to the original shape.
Another reason for the princess cut’s popularity may have to do with the round brilliant. The latter cut has been beloved for nearly a century, and has spent decades adorning diamond bands. Princess cut engagement rings stand out with their contrasting shape and face up brilliance. Their chevrons create a pattern unlike the round brilliant, but still sparkles.
Ideal princess cut diamonds have length to width rations as close to 1:1 as possible. The shape should have two sets of parallel lines, and the corners defined at right angles. If possible, try to tilt the jewel back and forth to see if it’s brilliance pleases you. Ring settings should have V shaped prongs or other means to protect the fragile corners from chipping.