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Emerald Cut vs. Princess Cut | Diamond Shape Comparison

Of all the fancy square cut diamonds, the emerald and the princess cut are two of the most iconic. Elegant and timeless, both are angular diamond cuts, but with entirely different facet structures. To help you make the right choice about what diamond is right for you, we’ve put together a guide that will explain the differences between the two, giving you the knowledge of what to look for when purchasing either an emerald cut or princess cut diamond.

Differences between emerald-cut and princess-cut diamonds

While both are linear, square diamond cuts, the emerald cut and the princess cut have some distinct differences. Not only are the shapes unique to one another, but the cuts have opposing facet structures. The shapes have different proportions, with the emerald cut being more elongated than the princess cut.

In terms of shape, the emerald cut and princess cut have distinct characteristics. The emerald cut is an elongated, rectangular shape with bevelled corners created to complement it’s step cut facet structure. The emerald cut is similar in shape to an asscher cut and a radiant cut, as all three shapes feature bevelled corners and square or rectangular shapes.

The princess cut is a defined square shape, with sharp corners and a brilliant facet structure. Similar to a cushion cut, the princess cut also features a brilliant effect, but without the rounded corners of most other cuts. A princess diamond contains 50-58 facets, with a unique chevron pattern that gives the cut its distinct look and brilliance. This unique chevron cut can either contain two or four patterns, with the latter resulting in more scintillation, while the former has bolder flashes of white and coloured light.

When choosing between a princess cut and an emerald cut diamond, the most important aspect to consider is whether you prefer a more brilliant, sparkly facet structure, or if you prefer the more subtle sparkle of step cut facets.

What to look for when buying a princess-cut diamond

When shopping for a princess cut diamond, the first thing to consider is always four most important quality characteristics of a diamond: cut, clarity, carat and colour, otherwise known at the 4 Cs. For a princess cut, we consider the proportions in its cut to be the most important factor. With a square shape, any imperfection in its symmetry will be noticeable. As a quick guideline, avoid princess cuts with a table percentage that’s higher than its depth percentage. Also take the ratio of the diamond into consideration. All princess cuts are slightly rectangular in shape, although barely visible to the naked eye. The best of princess cuts usually have a ratio of 1.00-1.05.

princess cut diamond ratio

In terms of colour, because of a princess diamond’s brilliant internal fire small imperfections in the stone’s colour will be masked. A princess cut is a brilliant cut, meaning there is an incredible amount of light within the diamond due to its complex facet structure. A princess diamond will appear brighter than a step cut diamond, such an emerald cut. Therefore you can get a great value gemstone with a slightly lower colour grade, such as H-I.

Princess-cut diamonds are our fifth most popular shape of a diamond, only slightly less popular than the emerald shape. Princess cuts provide the perfect combination of sparkle and square shape, which is why so many people opt for the shape for their centre stone. A princess cut diamond engagement ring would look beautiful as a simple solitaire, or flanked with some trillion side diamonds or some tapered baguettes.

The princess cut also provides good value for money as it costs less per carat than a round cut because there isn’t as much diamond wastage in the cutting process. On average, a 1ct princess cut diamond costs around £3,000. A 2ct princess cut diamond costs around £10,000. This is all, of course, a lower price if you’re considering a lab-grown version of this mesmerising shape. A princess cut diamond engagement ring would look beautiful as a simple solitaire, or flanked with some trillion cut side diamonds or tapered baguettes.

What to look for when choosing an emerald-cut diamond

Like with the princess cut, when shopping for an emerald cut diamond it is important to consider the cut, colour, clarity and carat weight. For an emerald cut, we would say that all four factors play an equal role in the beauty of the cut, as a step cut diamond needs perfect symmetry, colour, and clarity. Emerald cuts are a classic, timeless cut that when perfectly produced make a beautiful engagement ring.

When choosing an emerald diamond, it’s important to evaluate both the symmetry of the diamond and its polish, as these two elements create the lustre of the emerald cut. While emerald cuts are rectangular, the shape features bevelled corners that make it a very wearable shape, unlikely to snag or chip due to sharp corners. To achieve the cut’s elegant rectangular shape, a ratio of around 1:40 is ideal, although a ratio between 1:30 and 1:50 also works well. Emerald cuts are known for their elongated shape, so if you prefer a square shape with a similar facet structure then an Asscher cut diamond could be the perfect diamond for you.

emerald cut diamond ratio

The emerald diamond has a step cut facet structure with a large visible table, meaning that the colour of the diamond will be more visible than diamonds with a brilliant facet structure. If your ring’s metal is whie gold or platinum, we suggest going for the cooler diamond colours of D-G. If you love yellow or rose gold, a slightly warmer diamond colour between H-I would make an excellent diamond (and also comes at a lower price point).

Another important aspect to consider when purchasing an emerald cut diamond is the clarity of the stone. Emerald diamonds have large, glassy tables which make it easy to see any inclusions. Skip any emerald cut that isn’t FL-VS1 clarity grade, unless you don’t mind visible inclusions in your gemstone.

In terms of expense, an emerald-cut diamond is less expensive than a round brilliant cut, as it doesn’t waste as much weight through the cutting process. However, an emerald diamond must be of a higher clarity grade to create an engagement ring, meaning they usually come out round the same price at the end of the day. On average, a 1ct emerald cut diamond costs around £2,700. A 2ct emerald cut diamond costs around £11,500.

diamond clarity grade

How to choose between a princess or an emerald-cut diamond

Both the princess cut and the emerald cut have unique and defining features, and it’s completely up to personal preference as to which one you choose. Both would create a beautiful engagement ring, each with its own character.

If you’re having trouble choosing between these two rectangular shaped stones, consider the style and personality of the wearer. Are they the type of person who prefers more dazzle, or do they have a more subdued style? A princess cut would fit perfectly with someone who prefers modern glamour, while an emerald cut is better suited to those who prefer a classic look. If you’re torn between the two, get in touch with one of our design consultants who will help you make the best choice for you or your partner.

When choosing between a princess and an emerald cut, consider the setting the gemstone will sit in and the way both cuts fit with other colours and shapes. A princess cut diamond ring can be set straight or rotated, with the latter being referred to as a ‘compass setting’. Details such as accent stones or engraving can accentuate the linear shape of the diamond.

An emerald cut diamond ring can also be set either vertically or horizontally, which is known as an “east-west” setting. An emerald cut can be set into a minimal solitaire, or can be set with other step cut accent stones such as a baguette diamond. With so many colours, shapes and sizes of gemstones that can be incorporated into an engagement ring setting, the possibilities are endless.

Ultimately, choose the diamond centre stone that speaks to you. Both the princess and the emerald cut are precious, beautifully cut diamonds with unique characteristics. Only you can decide which one is best.

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