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By Reviewed By Andreas Zabczyk

Princess-Cut Gemstones

Princess-Cut Gemstone
Princess-Cut Gemstone

What is a Princess Cut Gemstone?

A princess cut gemstone refers to a specific type of diamond or gemstone cut that is characterized by its square or rectangular shape. It is a popular choice for engagement rings and other jewelry pieces. The princess cut features a brilliant faceting style, with multiple facets on the crown and pavilion, allowing for exceptional sparkle and brilliance. This cut combines the elegance of a square shape with the brilliance and fire of a round cut, making it a sought-after choice for those looking for a modern and sophisticated gemstone.

The princess cut is a relatively recent development in gemstone design, but one which has become remarkably popular. In fact in the diamond world it has become the second most popular shape after the round brilliant cut. It is now being used extensively for colored gemstones as well.

The princess cut was developed to solve a specific problem in gemstone cutting; the most attractive way to cut a square or rectangular gemstone. The classic solution to the problem was the step cut. Used in emerald and baguette cuts, the step cut emphasized color and luster, but at the expense of brilliance, scintillation and fire.

The step cut has a large flat table with broad, flat facets resembling steps of a stair. The princess cut, by contrast, is a modified version of the brilliant cut with 76 facets in its typical form. The technical description for the princess cut is "a square modified brilliant cut".

Emerald-Cut Citrine Gem
Emerald-Cut Citrine Gem

The princess cut has its origins in 1961, when Aprad Nagy in London developed what is now known as the "profile cut". Since Nagy's cut was much flatter, the modern day princess cut is now attributed to Basil Watermeyer, a diamond cutter from Johannesburg, who in 1971 developed the Barion cut. Though the Barion cut and its variants were protected by patents, a number of these patents expired during the last 10 years and stones cut in a similar style are now known as princess cuts.

Round Brilliant Cut Gem
Round Brilliant-Cut Gem

There many variations on the princess cut. Ideally a princess-cut stone should be fully square with a 1:1 length to width ratio. In practice, the length to width ratio may be as high as 1.15:1. The princess cut usually has 76 facets, but there are other versions with at least 45 facets.

The princess cut does have some weaknesses. The four pointed corners are prone to both chipping and light leakage. This has led to cuts being developed with tapered or beveled corners. But many gem aficionados believe that these detract from the timeless look of the princess cut.

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