The Ultimate Princess Cut Diamond Buying Guide:
To begin with, a princess cut diamond is a square shape with a facet configuration that creates brilliance. With that in mind, it is also known as a square-brilliant cut diamond. However, that doesn’t sound as romantic as a princess cut solitaire engagement ring.
As a matter of fact, the majority of princess cut engagement rings fail miserably for light performance. In other words, they tend to be rather dull and lifeless. Although that may be true, there are a few cutters who are intent on creating the very best.
With that in mind, there is an AGS Ideal Princess cut diamond. In the same fashion as there are round brilliant ideal cut diamonds. Unfortunately, it's not enough to know the ideal proportions for a princess because there are too many variables. As you're about to discover, the number of chevron facets is a primary factor of performance.
Your Princess Deserves a Sparkling Symbol of Love:
With that in mind, I’m going to guide you through the process of buying square brilliant cut diamonds for light performance. In the first place, the idea of measuring diamonds for light performance is a relatively new practice. Secondly, the primary focus of most diamond cutters is the retention of carat weight. In other words, the goal of most cutting houses is to maximize profits rather than increase sparkle.
With that in mind, most of the efforts to improve performance take aim at the modern round brilliant. After all, the round is the most popular shape of all time. Under those circumstances, it makes sense to improve light performance in that category first.
Although that may be true, fifth-generation diamond cutter Brian Gavin produces ideal princess cut diamonds. Consequently, the number of chevron facets in the pavilion section is part of the secret.
How to count chevron facets on princess cuts:
The chevron facets polished on to the pavilion section of a princess cut diamond plays a critical role in light performance. The diagram below shows how to count the number of chevron facets on a princess cut diamond.
In this example, we’ll use the color orange to indicate the pavilion main facet. As a matter of fact, the pavilion main facet creates the ‘X’ pattern in the middle of a princess.
The color yellow indicates the first row of chevron facets that extend outward from the pavilion main facet. Then, the color green highlights the second row of chevron facets. And the color blue shows the location of the third row of chevrons. While the color purple helps us to identify the fourth row of chevron facets.
It's as easy as one, two, three:
As you can see, the rows of chevron facets above extend outward from the pavilion main facet. Contrary to popular opinion, more facets do not necessarily improve the sparkle factor.
As a matter of fact, a higher number of chevron facets can negatively impact light performance. In other words, adding more facets to a diamond breaks the light into smaller pieces. At first glance, that might seem like a good idea since that will produce more sparkle.
However, it produces sparkle that is smaller in size and that is where things go awry. Because our human eyes have trouble dispersing smaller size sparkle into colored flashes of light. Under those circumstances, the diamond may look very brilliant, but it might also lack fire.
Two chevron princess cut diamonds:
In the first place, princess-cut diamonds with two chevron facets produce sparkle that is larger in size. However, that type of sparkle tends to look bland and watery because it lacks the depth of field. In my experience, two-chevron princess cuts shimmer like the surface of a shallow fish pond.
In other words, they might look very bright, but the sparkle will probably be dull and flat looking. That’s because the virtual facets of the diamond are too large. In which case, the diamond is not producing the type of scintillation that I personally prefer.
However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t like this 2.02 carat, F-color, VS-2 clarity, James Allen True Hearts Princess. After all, not everybody likes the same thing and this is largely a matter of personal preference. With that in mind, James Allen also offers a 3-chevron version with a broader pavilion main facet.
James Allen True Hearts Princess Review:
The ASET map on the lab report for the James Allen True Hearts Diamond below tells a story. In the first place, it allows us to see how evenly light is reflecting throughout the diamond. Secondly, it enables us to determine how bright the diamond looks.
In addition, to telling us where in the hemisphere the diamond is gathering light from. Although that may be true, it also reveals the effect that the number of chevron facets has on performance.
Consequently, the technical terminology for the 2-chevron facet configuration is a 2+1. In other words, there are two chevron facets, plus the pavilion main facet. Some people mistakenly count the pavilion main as a chevron facet.
In which case, they might think that a 2-chevron facet princess has 3-chevron facets. For that reason, it’s important to remember that the ‘X’ pattern is the reflection of the pavilion main. Whereas the chevron facets will be chevron-shape and thus it will be easier to identify them.
Whiteflash A CUT ABOVE® Princess Review:
In the event that you prefer the look of a 2-chevron princess, then you should check out Whiteflash. After all, the Whiteflash A CUT ABOVE® Princess is extremely popular with online diamond buyers. At the same time, they have an extensive inventory of ideal cut diamonds that are not available anywhere else.
As you can see, the Whiteflash A CUT ABOVE® Princess cut diamond on the left features 2-chevron facets. In this case, it's a 1.097 carat, F-color, VS-2 clarity, WF ACA Princess ideal cut diamond. If you look closely, you will be able to count the chevron facets and the pavilion main.
Obviously, Whiteflash provides ASET and Ideal Scope images to verify the light performance. As you can see, both the ASET and Ideal Scope images confirm the higher degree of light performance.
With that in mind, you can use the ASET map to see how evenly light is reflecting throughout the diamond. Under those circumstances, it's obvious that this 2-chevron princess will be a top performer.
Four Chevron Princess Cut Diamonds:
Given the explanation above, we refer to a princess cut with four chevron facets as 4+1. In that case, the pavilion mains ‘X’ pattern looks longer and thinner in appearance. As a matter of fact, this may reduce the degree of contrast brilliance. In which case, the diamond may seem to sparkle less under certain lighting environments.
At the same time, the higher number of chevron facets may reduce the size of the virtual facets. In other words, breaking the light into smaller pieces means the sparkle is also smaller.
As a matter of fact, the virtual facets are internal flashes of light that are similar to a kaleidoscope effect. They result from the light breaking apart into different sizes and shapes due to the overlapping facet pattern.
Count the number of chevron facets visible in this 1.01 carat, G-color, VVS-2 clarity, Princess from James Allen. In this case, there are four chevron facets plus the pavilion main, so it’s a 4+1 configuration. Under those circumstances, the light is being broken into sparkle that is smaller in size.
As a matter of fact, this is something that most people in the industry probably aren’t even aware of. That might be why they promote the idea that diamonds with more facets are more brilliant. However, the term brilliant refers to both brightness and sparkle that is white in color.
In that case, a square brilliant with more facets might be brighter and/or exhibit more white sparkle. However, it might also mean that it lacks the dispersion that creates fire.
Under those circumstances, it might be fair to advertise that a diamond is more brilliant. Nevertheless, those marketing executives are not explaining that you’re giving up fire for brilliance.
Three Chevron Princess Cut Diamonds:
Of course, I realize that you might be wondering whether I can count. After all, it might make more sense to present the different chevron facets in numerical order. In which case, this segment should appear in between 2-chevron and 4-chevron facets.
However, I wanted to save the best for last and hereby invoke the protection of literary license. As a matter of fact, I prefer princess cut diamonds that feature a 3+1 configuration. In other words, I prefer the look of a princess with 3-chevron and one pavilion main facet.
For example, I would buy this 2.051 carat, G-color, VS-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature princess cut diamond. Obviously, it has three chevron facets, plus the pavilion main facet, so it’s a 3+1 configuration.
Under those circumstances, the 3-chevron facets will produce virtual facets that are larger in size. In that case, the sparkle factor is going to be brighter, bolder, and more vivid looking. At the same time, the 3+1 configuration should make the diamond look whiter and brighter.
Consequently, the same principle applies to rounds like the Leo Diamond. In that case, Leo Schachter split larger facets apart into smaller pieces to create more brilliance. Although some people might like the way their Leo Diamond looks, I think it looks like crushed ice.
Broad-spectrum Sparkle vs Pin-fire:
As a matter of fact, princess cut diamonds generally exhibit two types of sparkle factor. Specifically, the sparkle will either be broad-spectrum or pin-fire. In other words, the flashes of light will either be larger, bolder, and brighter, or they will be smaller and less intense.
With that in mind, the downside of smaller facets is that they reduce the appearance of fire and dispersion. Although that may be true, there are people who like the crushed ice look that the facet configuration produces. Be that as it may, I’m not one of those people and I prefer sparkle that is more vivid and intense.
In the same fashion, the length of the lower girdle facets also affects the intensity of sparkle. For example, a lower girdle facet length (LGF) between 75 -78% produces sparkle that is larger and more vivid.
Whereas lower girdle facets between 80 – 82% will produce sparkle that is smaller in size and less intense. You can read more about this in the article 15 Seconds to Diamond Buying Success.
The Brian Gavin Signature Princess:
As a matter of fact, the Brian Gavin Signature Princess cut diamond is a work in progress. In other words, the evolution of diamond cutting is more of a journey than a destination.
In that case, this 2.497 carat, G-color, VS-1 clarity, BGD Signature Princess cut diamond features a 2+1 facet configuration.
Consequently, Brian Gavin no longer uses the 2+1 configuration because 3+1 produces better light performance. Although that may be true, the technology to make that determination is a rather recent development. In that case, he is leading the way by taking advantage of the insight that modern technology provides. Under those circumstances, this provides you with an opportunity to compare images for the popular pavilion structures.
In other words, you can compare the light performance for 2+1, 3+1, and 4+1 pavilion facet patterns. At the same time, be sure to pay attention to the amount of red that appears in the ASET map. In addition to how evenly the colors are reflecting throughout the diamond. Of course, you should also read this article about what the different colors of ASET mean.
ASET for Princess Cut Light Performance:
In the event that you want to verify the light performance of a diamond, you should use AGS Advanced ASET. After all, it is the only technology that exists to verify light performance that has been scientifically vetted. In other words, the results are repeatable and the science behind the process has been peer reviewed.
With that in mind, notice how consistent the ASET images are for these Brian Gavin Signature Princess cut diamonds. Consequently, they all feature the three chevron plus one pavilion main facet structure. In that case, they exhibit broad-spectrum sparkle and a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion.
Now go compare this with the ASET images for other brands and see whether you see this type of consistency. Remember to read this tutorial about what the different colors of an ASET image mean. After all, it will provide more insight on how to interpret these images.
For example, if you would have read it already, then you might be thinking something like this. “The ASET for the 4-chevron princess above is showing a lot of white. Therefore, I know that it’s leaking a lot of light in all those places.”
Where to Buy the Best Princess Cut Diamonds:
Obviously, knowing the type of sparkle factor you prefer is a critical part of the selection process. Although that may be true, I doubt that many people take the number of chevron facets into account.
After all, it’s not the type of detail that most jewelers discuss with their clients. Be that as it may, you now know that it makes a difference in how your diamond sparkles.
At the same time, the majority of princess cut diamonds are not optimized for light performance. Otherwise, the people selling them would send them to the AGS Laboratory instead of the GIA. In the first place, ASET is a proprietary instrument of the AGS Laboratory. Secondly, I would estimate that less than 1% of princess cut diamonds qualify for the AGS Ideal-0 rating.
Whereas it’s pretty easy to hit GIA Excellent since light performance is not taken into account. Under those circumstances, the following vendors offer AGS Ideal-0 Princess Cuts:
GIA Certified Princess Cut Diamonds:
In the first place, there is no such thing as a GIA Certified Diamond. As a matter of fact, the gemological laboratories do not certify anything. In that case, the gemological laboratories report the characteristics of the diamond at the time it was submitted for grading.
Although that may be true, there are a lot of people who search for GIA Certified Princess Cut Diamonds. In that case, we need to use the term due to popular demand. Then, we can provide the correct terminology and shape princess diamond dreams accordingly.
Under those circumstances, here are the best places to buy princess cut diamonds with GIA diamond grading reports:
In addition, if you’re considering a lab-grown diamonds then you will find them at James Allen and Ritani. Of course, all of these vendors offer 30-day inspection periods and free shipping returns.
Goldilocks and the 3-chevron Princess:
For some reason, all this talk of 3-chevron facets reminds me of Goldilocks and the three bears. Not to mention that whole porridge incident which is another story entirely.
At the same time, there are those rumors that Goldilocks was the leader of the Bling Ring. Consequently, I’m as shocked as you are to hear that since she’s at the heart of such fond childhood memories.
Be that as it may, the true story of Goldilocks and the Bling Ring goes something like this. After eating her fill of porridge, Goldilocks wandered upstairs and spent the afternoon trying on clothes and jewelry.
Inside Mama Bear's Jewelry Box:
Goldilocks found three princess cut diamond engagement rings:
According to urban legend, Goldilocks tried on the princess cut diamond with two chevron facets. Then she exclaimed: “Oh my, the sparkle is a little bit too big, and a bit too flat in appearance.” After which, she tossed it aside and the ring rolled under the bed. Where I imagine that it remains to this day since bears are not well-known for their housecleaning skills.
Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend:
Without delay, Goldilocks slid that 4-chevron princess cut engagement ring on to her finger. Then quickly wrinkled up her nose and exclaimed: “In the first place, this one looks a little like crushed ice. Secondly, I think that the sparkle is too small, and there isn’t very much dispersion.”
As a matter of fact, Goldilocks is well-known for her obsession with fire. Under those circumstances, Goldilocks tossed that ring over her shoulder. It flew out the window straight away and landed on the front steps of the cottage.
Consequently, that was the mistake that would eventually bring down Goldilocks. Because the bright white sparkle caught the eye of Mama Bear as she made her way back to the house. Be that as it may, Mama Bear was happy about one thing. That is that it wasn’t her Brian Gavin Signature Princess pavé setting on the left.
Here's What Happened Next:
Finally, Goldilocks then tried on the princess cut diamond ring from Brian Gavin. That’s the ideal princess that features three chevron facets. For this reason, Goldilocks exclaimed that it was just right!
As a matter of fact, the sparkle was not too large, nor too small. At the same time, she could see how evenly the light reflects throughout the diamond. In addition, a Brian Gavin Signature Princess exhibits the perfect balance of brilliance and dispersion.
At which point, Goldilocks snuggled down beside the ring of fire. In the first place, she couldn’t stop looking at the ring and the feeling of total bliss is overpowering. Secondly, she was feeling very sleepy because the incredible sparkle factor was mesmerizing.
Under those circumstances, it wasn’t long before she fell asleep. In fact, she slept so soundly that she didn’t even stir when the three bears came home. According to legend, Goldilocks was never seen, nor heard from again. However, there are rumors that she’s been seen in the company of Jim Morrison and Elvis.
The moral of the story is that you should buy your Princess from Brian Gavin. After all, they all feature 3-chevron facets and the broad-spectrum sparkle of your dreams. What else could the moral of the story possibly be? It’s not like anybody actually eats porridge anymore.
Princess Diamond Ring-spiration:
Obviously, princess cut diamonds are one of the most popular diamond shapes. As a matter of fact, it is one of our favorite fancy shapes when the facet structure is right. Of course, now you know what characteristics to look for and where to find it.
The next step is to decide what ring style you prefer and the alloy type. The most popular settings are available in 14k or 18k rose gold, yellow gold, white gold, or platinum. As a matter of fact, all of these are good choices for an engagement ring. In that case, it really is just a matter of personal preference.
Solitaire Style Engagement Rings:
Obviously, the princess solitaire diamond ring is the most popular choice because it's a timeless classic. Although that may be true, there are many different variations of the style to choose from. Here are some of the more popular princess solitaire engagement rings:
Halo Engagement Rings:
One of the reasons why halo engagement rings are popular is because they make the center stone look larger. As a matter of fact, the smaller accent diamonds are less expensive than buying a larger diamond. In that case, the cost of princess cut halo engagement rings can pay off quickly.
Princess Engagement Rings with Side Stones:
Obviously, adding a little bit of extra sparkle to the sides of an engagement ring never hurt anybody. As a matter of fact, it's a pretty inexpensive way to dress things up. At the same time, the wide variety of styles makes it easy to personalize your ring: