So I received an email from an existing client of Nice Ice this morning who is interested in princess cut diamonds and thought that it would make an interesting blog post since very little information is available online about how to select a princess cut diamond.The challenge with princess cut diamonds is that the visual performance can not be estimated using the proportions measurements in the same way that visual performance can be estimated or anticipated for round brilliant ideal cut diamonds. The fact of the matter is that there are too many variations in the actual facet structure of the diamond. While a standard round brilliant cut diamond is designed with 57 primary facets and then the culet which is the bottom point (the 58th facet if counted) there is no standard facet design used in the production of princess cut diamonds… so the visual performance and optical precision is literally different from diamond cutter to diamond cutter and technically from diamond to diamond because the cutter might make adjustments to the facet design of each individual diamond during the production process.
Now this is important because while most people are familiar with the concept of actual physical facets cut on to the surface of a diamond to act as mirrors and reflect light, they are probably not familiar with the existence of “virtual facets” within a diamond which are created each time a diamond is tilted and tiny mirrors or windows of light are created by the overlapping of physical facets interacting with other physical facets in a sort of perpetual reality which exists within a diamond at all times when you or the diamond is moving.
I’m not going to get into the whole concept of virtual facets in this article beyond introducing it as a valid concept and indicating that it is important to the diamond selection process, but it is something which I consider to be of critical importance to the selection of a princess cut diamond and tend to prefer the princess cut diamond production of Brian Gavin and Crafted by Infinity because both cutters take the virtual facets concept into consideration during the planning and production phases of their princess cut production.
The best example which I can provide as a visual demonstration for the differences in basic facet structure of a princess cut diamond is a side-by-side comparison of a Brian Gavin Princess Cut Diamond and a Crafted by Infinity Princess Cut Diamond. For the sake of this article, I’m going to be comparing two princess cut diamonds produced by Brian Gavin (left and center) and a diamond of the same relative size produced by Crafted by Infinity (right).
Each image provided above represents the plotting diagram provided on the diamond grading report issued by the American Gem Society Laboratory (AGSL) which is designed to represent the specific facet design of each diamond graded… the laboratory actually produces a plotting diagram which accurately represents the actual facet structure of each diamond being graded, they do not use a mass produced plotting diagram and so this provides us with an excellent way in which to distinguish the different design strategy incorporated by each diamond cutter in the diamond cutting process.
If you look at the portion of the images which represent the top half of each diamond (left side of each image) you will see that the upper design for each princess cut diamond is pretty much the same for both the diamonds produced by Brian Gavin and the princess cut diamond produced by Crafted by Infinity. However if you look at the sections of the plotting diagrams which represent the lower portions of the diamonds (right side of each image) you will see that they look dramatically different.
Specifically what I want you to notice is the size and structure of the facets which comprise the “X” and Chevron patterns in the center region of the pavilion section (lower half of a diamond). The center “X” represents the Pavilion Main Facet and then the Chevron facets which look like V’s extending outwards from the “X” are the step facets which act to break up the light being reflected back out of the diamond.
On the princess cut diamonds produced by Brian Gavin, both the pavilion main and chevron facets are larger spread out further across the surface area of the four sides of the pavilion section of the diamond. On the princess cut diamond produced by Crafted by Infinity, both the pavilion main and chevron facets are narrower and they cover a smaller portion of the four sides which comprise the pavilion area of the diamond.
Now it is important to note that neither princess cut diamond facet design is actually correct or incorrect, they are merely different and reflect a difference in the personal preference in terms of the type of light return or sparkle factor that each cutter likes to see from a princess cut diamond. In short, one facet design is going to produce larger virtual facets and the other is going to produce smaller virtual facets… and this translates into your world as a difference between larger flashes of brilliance and dispersion (reflected white light and colored light) and smaller pinpoint type flashes of light. But it’s not quite that simple either…
Pictured above are images of each diamond as provided in the same order as the facet diagrams provided above as seen while unmounted through an ASET Scope which is intended to show how light is reflected from the diamond from different regions of the hemisphere. This is a topic for another blog post, but the images serve to help distinguish the differences in how light is reflected from each diamond depending on the difference in the facet structures.
All you need to do to recognize the difference is to look at the differences in how the red, blue, black and green areas are clustered within the diamond. In the princess cut diamonds produced by Brian Gavin you will see that the colors comprise a larger area of the diamond whereas they are more focused within the princess cut diamond produced by Crafted by Infinity. Here again one facet design is not better than the other and the ASET images for one diamond are actually not more desirable than another, they are simply different and the deciding factor between which diamond is better will likely come down to the individual preference for broader flashes of light or smaller pinpoints of sparkle.
This can easily be demonstrated by visiting a local store which sells crystal chandeliers and looking at the different type of light and sparkle created by the presence of larger and smaller facets and paying particular attention to how the size and shape of the facets seem to change and additional facets seem to appear and disappear as an individual crystal is tilted back and forth.
For the purpose of this article I evaluated three princess cut diamonds and they were represented in the images provided above in the following order from left to right:
Brian Gavin Princess Cut Diamond weighing 1.050 carats, G color, VVS-2 clarity with negligible fluorescence selling for $8,267.00 with a slight discount available for payment via cash / wire transfer*
Brian Gavin Princess Cut Diamond weighing 1.058 carats, G color, VVS-1 clarity with negligible fluorescence selling for $8,335.00 with a slight discount available for payment via cash / wire transfer*
Crafted by Infinity Princess Cut Diamond weighing 1.095 carats, G color, VVS-1 clarity with negligible fluorescence as represented by High Performance Diamonds which is an authorized dealer for Crafted by Infinity which does not sell diamonds directly to consumers. This diamond is selling for $8,956.00 with a slight discount available for payment via cash / wire transfer*
Now when I start looking at princess cut diamonds on behalf of my clients, the first thing that I do is look at the facet structure as represented on the plotting diagram of the lab report because it provides me with some insight as to the type of light return that the diamond is going to exhibit.
The next thing which I do is look at the outside diameter for each diamond to determine how square or rectangular the diamond is going to be because “princess cut diamonds” are produced both square and rectangular and most often somewhere in between (which I find to be less desirable) and honestly I prefer them to be more square. In this particular instance, the three diamonds measure as follows: 5.52 x 5.54 x 4.13 mm | 5.47 x 5.46 x 4.11 mm | 5.59 x 5.60 x 4.34 mm, respectively. So they are all pretty much as perfect a square princess cut diamond as you’re going to find. If we’re going to split hairs, the 1.05 carat princess cut diamond from Brian Gavin is just a smidge less square than the other two options, but it is highly doubtful that you or I would ever be able to distinguish the difference using just our eyes.
If you follow the links provided for each diamond above and open the file for the lab report issued by the AGS Laboratory, you will be able to compare the proportions of each diamond. When I did so I noticed that the total depth measurements are all within the same region [74.6% | 75.3% | 77.7% respectively] however the table diameter measurements are dramatically different [63.4% | 62.8% | 58.5% respectively] between the princess cut diamonds designed by Brian Gavin and the one Crafted by Infinity, this is another distinct difference between the princess cut production of the two diamond cutters… and it is a direct result of the personal preference for each cutter in terms of how they design a princess cut diamond because the size of the table facet on a diamond is directly influenced by the crown angle of the diamond which represents different ranges for each cutter, specifically the crown angle measurements for the princess cut diamonds produced by Brian Gavin in this instance are 41.1 degrees and 40.5 degrees respectively and is 33.5 degrees for the princess cut diamond Crafted by Infinity.
The pavilion angle measurements for each diamond are relatively within the same range however, specifically 39.6 degrees and 39.1 degrees and 41.9 degrees respectively. To be able to appreciate the potential differences between the diamonds, we need to stop and consider that while the pavilion angle dictates the amount of light return that will be reflected back up towards the viewer because it is the primary reflective surface which directs light upwards in a specific direction, the crown angle dictates the type of light return. Combine this concept with the concept of virtual facets and how the different facet structure designs can affect the way a princess cut diamond looks and how light moves through each diamond and you have a bit to think about.
However it should be considered that all of this does not need to be confusing or overwhelming because both Brian Gavin Diamonds and High Performance Diamonds offer excellent inspection periods and return policies… so theoretically you could order diamonds from both online diamond vendors and compare diamonds from each vendor side-by-side with zero risk. You could even arrange to have the diamonds shipped to an independent Graduate Gemologist or Certified Gemologist Appraiser and pay for them to provide you with an in-depth analysis of two or more diamonds… but the truth be told, I’ve seen many of the princess cut diamonds produced by Brian Gavin Diamonds and Crafted by Infinity and I would not hesitate to go with either vendor because both produce a fabulous princess cut diamond, which is not something which I can say for most of the other diamond cutters who seem to produce princess cut diamonds for maximum retention of diamond crystal (weight) and not visual performance and who don’t seem to take the presence of virtual facets into account.
You could get all caught up in the concept of whether you prefer broader flashes of light or pinpoint type sparkle because I’ve introduced these concepts to you, however I did so in an attempt to demonstrate that a difference in facet structure exists between princess cut diamonds whereas the facet structure of round brilliant cut diamonds tends to remain consistent in terms of standard round brilliant cut diamonds… however the reality is that your ability to distinguish between broad flashes of light and pinpoint flashes of light will change dramatically over time and one is not preferable to another.
What is important to realize is that if I were selecting a princess cut diamond for myself, that I would only consider one from either Brian Gavin Diamonds or Crafted by Infinity because I prefer diamonds with exceptional diamond cut quality and visual performance and both cutters produce exceptional princess cut diamonds to this regard. Of course feel free to contact me if you’d like assistance selecting a princess cut diamond because they can be a little tricky to figure out as you’ve no doubt figured out by now…
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