When it comes to engagement rings, two stone shapes dominate the market - the round brilliant cut diamond and the princess cut diamond. While both styles are undeniably beautiful, there are a few reasons - think budget, lifestyle and personal preference - that you might choose one over the other.
In this helpful guide, we’ll go over round and princess cut basics including cost, optics and engagement ring settings to help you decide which style is a cut above the rest.
What Is a Diamond Cut?
The term “cut” is used to refer to the way that the facets of a diamond are arranged during the cutting process. Through symmetry, proportion and polish, a high-quality cut will enhance a stone’s brilliance and sparkle. Likewise, poor cut quality can negatively impact a diamond’s brilliance and beauty, decreasing the stone’s overall value. After all, no one wants a dull diamond.
What Is a Round Cut Diamond?
Accounting for roughly 60% of engagement ring and fine jewelry sales, round cut diamonds are incredibly popular. This style of cut is beloved for its ability to amplify a diamond’s sparkle. And that breathtaking shine is no accident, it’s thanks to the round brilliant’s unique faceting. The round cut diamond was first engineered in the 17th century with just 17 facets on the top of the gemstone. Then, in 1919, the cut was tweaked to include 58 facets resulting in the world-renowned stunner that we know today.
In addition, round brilliant cut diamonds are more forgiving than their diamond shape counterparts when it comes to masking flaws in color and clarity. This is once again thanks to their unmatched scintillation which allows small blemishes and inclusions to stay hidden making them only noticeable to a trained eye.
When it comes to durability, round brilliant diamonds have no edges or sharp corners making them less vulnerable to snags, chips and breaks than other diamond styles.
What Is a Princess Cut Diamond?
Princess cut diamonds make up for roughly 15% of diamond sales today making them the second most popular choice for diamond engagement rings. Another heavy hitter in the sparkle department, ring designs featuring a square shape princess cut center stone are modern, chic and in high demand.
Princess cut stones are most commonly set in square and rectangular shapes and offer the best design elements of the round cut diamond and the emerald cut or square modified brilliant diamond. Similar to a round brilliant cut stone, princess cut diamonds are fairly forgiving when it comes to hiding flaws and inclusions. However, be sure to look out for any inclusions in the four corners of your princess cut stone as this can make it vulnerable to chipping and other damage.
To prevent this, consider a protective bezel setting which consists of a ring of metal that holds the center stone in place while effectively keeping it safe from wear and tear.
Are Round Diamonds More Expensive Than Princess?
Carat for carat, you can expect to spend more on a round cut diamond than a princess cut diamond. In fact, you can get a larger princess cut stone for the same amount of money you would spend on a round brilliant cut diamond of comparable size and quality. This is because princess cuts create less waste during the cutting process, which shakes out to a greater yield, aka more carats for less.
This is opposed to the round brilliant in which diamond cutters waste over half of a rough diamond during the cutting process. The increase in raw material needed to make an average-sized stone drives round cut diamond prices up.
Do Round Diamonds Look Bigger Than Princess Cut?
When it comes to optics, you can expect a few surprises when comparing round cut and princess cut stones. For example, a princess cut diamond will appear larger than a round cut diamond of the exact same carat size. This is because princess cut stones have larger tables (the top of a diamond) than round cut stones making them larger in appearance to the naked eye.
Most Popular Engagement Ring Settings
While different in shape, princess and round cut stones both captivate in these striking engagement ring styles.
Known for their ability to make a center stone look larger than life, halo settings consist of several accent stones that encircle your gemstone of choice. The eye-catching sparkle of a princess cut or round cut diamond looks out of this world in this glamorous style.
A round or princess cut diamond ring will really pop in an impressive solitaire style. Perfect for those with a minimalistic sense of style, solitaire engagement rings consist of a sleek metal band that pairs fabulously with your stone of choice.
Opposite the solitaire is the accented engagement ring setting. In this style, a center stone is complemented by an accented band often featuring several small round cut stones to amp up the ring’s overall sparkle.
The prong setting is simplistic in design and pairs well with almost all popular diamond shapes. In this style, a diamond is secured to the band using either six or four prongs. Prong settings are a great option for stones with fragile corners or edges as the prong will give the stone some extra reinforcement and help prevent snagging or chipping.
The absolute best setting for fragile stones, the bezel setting is applauded for its ability to protect fancy shapes and regular stone shapes alike. In this style, the entire perimeter of the diamond is wrapped in metal to keep it in place. In addition to protection, there are visual reasons to choose a bezel setting too as it can give your ring a slightly vintage feel.
However, because the center stone is surrounded by metal, a bezel setting can impact your diamond’s light performance. But don’t worry too much about sparkle as diamonds receive most of their light from the top of the stone meaning that bezel set stones can still shine brightly.
Which Is Better Princess Cut or Round Diamond?
At the end of the day, only you can decide which stone is the right one for you. Princess or round, your personal taste will determine the best center stone for your engagement ring. Just be sure to keep important factors like lifestyle and budget in mind when making your decision.