Here’s a royal dilemma: you love the fire of a traditional round diamond, but you want something a little different—and a little more modern than a classic emerald or radiant cut.
Princess, have we got a stone for you! The square princess cut diamond marries the sharp geometry of an oblong with all the brilliance of a traditional round.
There are three basic styles of diamond cuts: brilliant, step, and mixed. Brilliant cuts—including the classic round and our modern princess—have kite-like facets radiating from the center of the stone. A step cut has parallel facets, and a mixed cut combines both. Because the princess is a brilliant cut, it will have more fire and sparkle than either the step-cut emerald or the mixed-cut radiant. Remember that the word “cut” really refers to the arrangement of facets in a diamond, not the shape of its perimeter. But since each shape also has a basic arrangement of facets, it is ok to just say “cut” and nobody will think Your Highness hasn’t learned her diamond facts.
A princess cut is a little more forgiving than the emerald or radiant cut, so even if your prince’s budget isn’t quite royal, you can drop a grade or two in clarity and still have a beautiful stone.
The princess cut lends itself well to channel setting, where diamonds are tightly lined in a row between two metal “walls,” i.e. in a channel; and to invisible setting, where they are held in place by metal set underneath and the top appears as an unbroken surface of diamond.
Take care that your princess-cut solitaire is set to protect its delicate corners from chipping. A bezel around the stone is one option, but if you want a more open look, then choose a classic prong setting. You’ll need at least four prongs, and make sure they gently cup all four corners of the stone.
But why, you ask? Isn’t a diamond the hardest material on Earth?
Yes, it is. Diamond is as hard as it gets: a 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness, which means that nothing but another diamond will scratch its surface. But toughness—meaning how well it resists impact—is not the same as hardness. A diamond is pretty tough, but a sharp blow in the wrong place can chip it, especially on the vulnerable corners of a princess cut.
Always take your fine jewelry off before playing sports, cleaning the house, or (as Queen Elizabeth purportedly can do) fixing the car.
It’s hip to be square!