Princess Cut Diamond Buying Guide

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The princess cut diamond is a square shape with a facet configuration that creates brilliance. It is also commonly known as a square-brilliant cut diamond.

However, that doesn't sound as romantic as a princess cut solitaire engagement ring. 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 intend to create 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.

Princess Cut Diamond Solitaire by Blue Nile.

Princess Cut Diamond Solitaire Blue Nile.

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Your Princess Deserves a Sparkling Symbol of Love:

3-chevron Brian Gavin Signature Princess Cut Diamond.

3-Chevron Brian Gavin Signature Princess Cut.

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 efforts to improve performance aim for the modern round brilliant. After all, the round shape is the most popular and timeless classic. 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:

How to Count Chevron Facets Brian Gavin Signature Princess Cut Diamond.

How to Count Chevron Facets Brian Gavin.

The chevron facets polished onto the pavilion section of princess cut diamonds play a critical role in light performance. This diagram shows how to count the number of chevron facets on a Brian Gavin Signature princess cut diamond.

In this example, we'll use the color orange to indicate the main pavilion facets. The main pavilion facets create 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.

The color blue shows the location of the third row of chevrons. In contrast, the purple color serves to identify the fourth row of chevron facets.

It's as easy as one, two, three:

Princess Cut Diamond Stud Earrings by Whiteflash.

Princess Cut Diamond Studs by Whiteflash.

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.

A higher number of chevron facets can negatively impact light performance. That is because the addition of more elements breaks the light into smaller pieces.

At first glance, that might seem like a good idea since that will produce more sparkle. However, it makes sparkle that is smaller in size, and that is where things go awry.

That is 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:

James Allen True Hearts Princess 2-chevron facets

James Allen Princess Cut Diamond 2-Chevron.

In the first place, princess-cut diamonds with two chevron facets produce bolder sparkle. However, that type of flash effect looks bland and watery because it lacks 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 prefer. However, that doesn't mean that you won't like this Princess from the James Allen True Hearts collection.

After all, not everybody likes the same thing, which is mostly a matter of preference. For that reason, James Allen also offers a 3-chevron version with a broader pavilion main facet. In that case, you'll be able to choose the right princess cut diamond for your taste.

James Allen True Hearts Princess Review:

ASET for James Allen True Hearts Princess

ASET for James Allen Princess Cut Diamond.

The ASET map on the lab report for this James Allen True Hearts Diamond 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.

The ASET also shows us from where in the hemisphere the diamond is gathering light. 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 mains. Whereas the chevron facets will be chevron-shaped, and thus it will be easier to identify them.

Whiteflash A CUT ABOVE® Princess Review:

Whiteflash A Cut Above Diamond

Whiteflash A Cut Above Princess Cut Diamond.

If you prefer the look of a 2-chevron princess, you should check out Whiteflash. The Whiteflash A CUT ABOVE® Princess is extremely popular with online diamond buyers. They also have an extensive inventory of ideal cut diamonds 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 and main pavilion facets. 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, this 2-chevron princess will be a top performer. 

Four Chevron Princess Cut Diamonds:

James Allen Diamond Reviews

James Allen Princess Cut Diamond

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.

That may reduce the degree of contrast brilliance. In which case, the diamond may seem to sparkle less under specific lighting environments.

Simultaneously, 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.

The Effect of Facet Structure on Virtual Facets:

ASET Scope Image for James Allen Princess

James Allen Princess Cut Diamond

The virtual facets are internal flashes of light that are similar to a kaleidoscope effect. They result from the reflections 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 breaks into smaller flashes of light.

The Semantics of Princess Cut Diamonds:

Princess Cut Diamond Solitaire from James Allen.

Princess Cut Diamond Solitaire by James Allen.

Most people in the industry probably don't realize the effect of chevron facets on light performance. That might explain why they promote the idea that diamonds with more facets are more brilliant.

However, the term brilliant refers to both brightness and white sparkle. In that case, princess cut diamonds with more facets might be brighter and more sparkly. However, they may also lack the dispersion that creates fire and a balance of sparkle factor.

Under those circumstances, it might be fair to advertise that a diamond is more brilliant. Nevertheless, those marketing executives are not about to explain that you're giving up the fire for brilliance when buying their diamond.

Three Chevron Princess Cut Diamonds:

Brian Gavin Signature Princess Cut Diamond with Three Chevron Facets.

Brian Gavin Signature Princess Cut Diamond.

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. I prefer princess cut diamonds that feature a 3+1 configuration.

In other words, I like 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.

Blue Nile Zodiac Ring Chart for Princess Cut Diamonds and Other Shapes.

Which Blue Nile Ring Style Is Right for You?

It has three chevron facets, plus the pavilion main facet, so it's a 3+1 configuration. Under those circumstances, the 3-chevron pattern will produce larger virtual facets and broad-spectrum sparkle.

In that case, the sparkle factor will be brighter, bolder, and more vivid looking. At the same time, the 3+1 configuration should make the diamond look whiter and more radiant.

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 their Leo Diamond, I'm not too fond of the crushed ice effect.

Broad-spectrum Sparkle vs Pin-fire:

Brian Gavin Signature Princess 3-chevron facets

ASET Brian Gavin Signature Princess Cut Diamond.

Princess cut diamonds generally exhibit two types of sparkle factors. Specifically, the sparkle will either be broad-spectrum or pin-fire. In other words, the flashes of light will 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, some people 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 sparkle's intensity.

For example, a lower girdle facet length (LGF) between 75 -78% produces bolder and more dazzling sparkle. In contrast, lower girdle facets between 80 – 82% create a smaller and less intense sparkle.

Brian Gavin Signature Princess Cut Diamonds:

Brian Gavin Princess Diamond 2-chevron facets

Brian Gavin Signature Princess Cut Diamond ASET

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 relatively recent development. In that case, Brian 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 common 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:

If you want to verify the light performance of a diamond, you should use AGS Advanced ASET. After all, it is the only peer-reviewed technology that exists to measure diamond light performance.

ASET for Brian Gavin Signature Diamonds
Brian Gavin Signature Diamond ASET Scope
Brian Gavin Signature ASET Scope
Brian Gavin Signature Princess ASET
Brian Gavin Signature Princess Cut Diamond Engagement Ring.

Brian Gavin Signature Princess Cut Diamond.

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. 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 have read it already, 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:

Princess Solitaire Engagement Ring

Brian Gavin Princess Cut Solitaire Engagement Ring.

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 they do not take light performance into account. Under those circumstances, the following vendors offer AGS Ideal-0 Princess Cuts:

GIA Certified Princess Cut Diamonds:

Brilliant Earth Primrose Princess Cut Diamond Engagement Ring.

Primrose Princess Cut Ring by Brilliant Earth.

In the first place, there is no such thing as a GIA Certified Diamond. The gemological laboratories do not certify anything. In that case, the gemological laboratories only report the diamond characteristics at the time of grading.

Although that may be true, many people 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:

If you're considering lab-grown diamonds, you will find them at James Allen, Ritani, and With Clarity. Of course, all of these vendors offer reasonable inspection periods and free shipping returns.

Goldilocks and the 3-chevron Princess:

Cut Diamond with 3-chevron facets.

Brian Gavin Signature Princess Cut Diamonds

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, Goldilocks and the Bling Ring's true story goes something like this. After eating porridge until full, 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:

Brian Gavin Signature Princess Cut Diamond

Brian Gavin Signature Princess Cut Diamond.

Without delay, Goldilocks slid that 4-chevron princess cut engagement ring onto 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." 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.

Here's What Happened Next:

Brian Gavin Signature Princess 3-chevron facets

Brian Gavin Signature Princess Cut Diamonds.

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!

The sparkle was not too large, nor too small. At the same time, Goldilocks could see how evenly the light reflects throughout the diamond. The Brian Gavin Signature Princess also 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.

Custom Designed Princess Cut Diamond Ring by Brian Gavin.

Custom Princess Cut Diamond Ring by BGD.

Under those circumstances, it wasn't long before she fell asleep. She slept so soundly that she didn't even stir when the three bears came home.

According to legend, nobody saw nor heard from Goldilocks again. However, there are rumors that she's been spotted 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 eats porridge anymore.

Princess Cut Diamond Ring-spiration:

Princess cut diamonds are one of the most popular diamond shapes. 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 them.

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. All of these are good choices for an engagement ring. In that case, it is just a matter of personal preference what style of princess cut ring you choose.

Princess Solitaire Engagement Rings:

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 from which to choose.

Princess Trellis Setting Blue Nile.

Princess Trellis Solitaire from Blue Nile.

3 mm Cross Cathedral Setting by James Allen.

Cross Cathedral Princess Solitaire by James Allen.

Ritani Diamond Gallery Princess Solitaire.

Ritani Princess Cut Diamond Gallery Setting

Princess Halo Engagement Rings:

One of the reasons why halo engagement rings are popular is because they make the center stone look larger. The smaller accent diamonds are also less expensive than buying a larger diamond.

In that case, the cost of princess cut halo engagement rings can pay off quickly. Plus, you set the stage on which to create an endless stream of romantic innuendoes about your princess and her halo.

Tear Drop Halo Setting by James Allen.

Tear Drop Princess Halo James Allen.

Floating Halo Engagement Ring Blue Nile

Floating Princess Halo by Blue Nile

Ritani French Halo Engagement Ring.

French Halo Princess Setting by Ritani

Princess Engagement Rings with Side Stones:

Adding a little bit of extra sparkle to the sides of an engagement ring never hurt anybody. It's also a pretty inexpensive way to dress things up, and there are a wide variety of styles available to personalize your ring:

Graduated Petite Milgrain Setting Blue Nile.

Petite Milgrain Princess Setting by Blue Nile

Ritani Bypass Micropave Setting.

Ritani Bypass Micropavé Princess Setting

Gold Laurel Leaves Setting by James Allen.

James Allen Gold Laurel Leaves Princess

Let us know if you'd like help searching for princess cut diamonds. Our diamond concierge services are free to the public.

Buying Guides by Shape:

Super Charge Your Diamond Buying Skills:

Follow the Steps in The Nice Ice® Diamond Buying Blueprint™ and Unlock the Secret for Maximizing Sparkle Factor and Light Performance. These are the Tips & Tricks from the back office of Nice Ice Diamonds.