Gemstone shapes and cuts are often very confusing, even for professionals in the gem and jewelry industry. This is because the terminology used to describe gemstone shapes and cuts are used interchangeably and quite often, definitions inadvertently transcend one another. To make it even more confusing, some cuts are defined by the shape, as is the case with princess-cut square gems. There are many variations to the princess cut, but ideally, princess-cut gemstones should be square with brilliant-cut facets. The technical description should be something along the lines of 'square modified brilliant cut'. As a modified version of the 'diamond cut', it was designed to maximize brilliance in square-cut gems. Most would agree that it is indeed the most attractive way to facet a square-shaped gemstone.
Second only to the 'round brilliant' shape and cut, princess-cut gemstones are one of the most popular gemstone cuts seen today. The origin of the princess-cut dates back to 1961, when Aprad Nagy developed what is known today as the 'profile cut'. However, the profile cut was much flatter in comparison to the modern-day princess cut, so most of the credit for developing the princess cut was given to Basil Watermeyer, a diamond cutter from Johannesburg. Watermeyer developed and patented the 'Barion-cut', but during the last decade, most of the patents have expired. Since then, gemstones cut in Barion-cut fashion, are now referred to as 'princess-cut' gems. Although princess-cut gems should be cut to 1:1 ratio, in practice, length-to-width ratio may vary as high as 1.15:1. Princess-cut gems are typically cut with 76 facets, but there are variations with as few as 45 facets.
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