Second only to the ever popular Round Brilliant Cut, The Princess Cut diamond has become one of the most popular cuts on the market today. One of the youngest cuts it was developed during the late 20th century to maximise weight retention of octahedral Diamond crystals, helping to create more attractive Diamonds at more reasonable prices. It was the first fancy cut to achieve AGS status in 2005. The shape can vary between square and rectangular. Its appeal comes from the fact that it achieves a brilliance and fire reflection to almost match that of the Round Brilliant Cut but with a rectangular or square shape.
The name Princess Cut was originally linked to another diamond cut known as the Profile Cut, which was designed in London by Arpad Nagpy in 1961. The Princess Cut, as we know it today, has its origins in the early "French" cuts of the Victorian era having a step-modified "Double-French" or "Cross" cut crown and a series of unique, chevron-shaped facets in the pavilion which when viewed directly through the table combine to give a distinct cross-shaped reflection. This was improved upon by Basil Watermeyer of Johannesburg, when he developed the Barion Cut. This cut was subject to patents and these have been lifted over the past decade which has enabled the development of the Princess Cut.
The Princess Cut owes its shape to cutters wanting to maximise weight but also maintaining a high level of brilliance. This helps to cut down on waste from the rough. Two diamonds with the same width and depth dimensions as each other, one a Princess Cut and one Round Brilliant Cut will have different carat weights. This is due to the fact that the Princess Cut will have four corners that the Round Brilliant Cut will not and thus will weigh more. The Princess Cut offers buyers an alternative shape whilst maintaining the brilliance levels associated with The Round Brilliant Cut. This is reflected in the alternative name for Princess Cut being the Square Modified Brilliant.
The appearance of the Princess Cut when on the finger is that of being a larger gem than the Round Brilliant because of its rectangular shape. This rectangular shape also helps to lengthen the appearance of the finger when on a shorter finger. As well helping to lengthen short fingers it also helps to narrow wider fingers. Optically the appearance of the Princess Cut has a four pointed star on the top or table of the diamond, this created by the vertical nature of the facets and the contrast between dark and light.
Whilst the Princess Cut maintains the high levels of brilliance of the Round Brilliant Cut, the faceting of the two diamonds are markedly different, with straight lines being at the heart of the Princess Cut's image. Effectively, the Princess Cut combines the high degree of light return of a Round Brilliant Cut with a distinctive square or rectangular shape. However the brilliance is improved the closer the corners are to a right angle or a 90 degree angle to make a perfect square this gives better symmetry inside and improves the ability of the diamond to reflect the light. When buying a Princess Cut diamond the perfect ratio for the Princess Cut diamond is 1:1 although a width to length ratio of up to 1.4:1 is also perfectly acceptable. A typical depth percentage of the diamond is 70-78% with the purists preferring a depth percentage at or around the 72% mark.