The princess cut is a square – or sometimes a low-ratio rectangle – with a focus on sparkle. It has numerous facets, so the stone’s internal angles and planes. And it’s those endless-looking angles that give the stone its sparkle and shine. It’s the world’s Number #2 gemstone cut (the first is round and the third is cushion, a square with a starry center and rounded corners).
Princess cuts are sometimes called ‘square modified brilliant’. The facets form an X when you look at the stone from the top. The best settings for princess cut engagement rings have protective corners. These prevent chipping, but they also stop sharp corners from causing scratches or snagging clothes. Let’s learn more tips to buy princess cut engagement rings.
Princess Cut Engagement Rings Buying Guide
Design-wise, squares are sometimes considered masculine. But the reflective sparkle on princess cut engagement rings makes them feel more feminine. Gendered assumptions aside, these rings are both simple and dramatic, and that characteristic contradiction makes them all the more fabulous. So let’s dig up some shopping tips for these glitzy engagement rings.
Tip #1: Understand the Terms
When you’re looking to buy princess cut engagement rings, you’ll hear certain jargon tossed around. Knowing what these words mean will boost your confidence and avoid awkward or embarrassing scenarios. It could also stop you from getting conned by shifty jewelers.
- Face/Table: The flat side at the top of the stone.
- Pavillion: The pyramid shape on the underside of the stone.
- Chevrons: The diagonal wedge shapes outside the central X.
- Bevels: The triangular edges on the sides of the face.
Ideally, look for a princess cut engagement ring whose stone is certified by AGS (American Gem Society), GIA (Gemological Institute of America), or IGI (International Gemological Institute). They grade loose stones though, not completed rings, so find the stones first.
Tip #2: Know Your Square Gemstones
Did your spouse-to-be specifically ask for a princess-cut engagement ring? Or did they just want something linear? It helps to know the difference because princess cuts have specific pros and cons that drop them in and out of fashion. So your beloved may not want the ring they think. Princess cut rings are chosen for their sparkle, but decagon stones are brighter.
First, account for the three main square-shaped gemstones. Asscher’s are step-cut squares with cropped corners, so they’re linear. They look larger per carat but aren’t quite as sparkly. Cushion cuts are squares with round corners and they sparkle more than princess-cut stones. Radiant cuts are squares with cropped corners, so they’re less prone to cracks and chipping.
Tip #3: Choose the Right Stone
We’ve already mentioned you need a certified one. It comes with a report and a certificate so you’ll know the stone’s quality and background. This is crucial for both practical and ethical purposes since you don’t want a fake stone. Or a genuine but stolen gem. Jewelers often have a selection of gemstones for engagement ring buyers. So they can help you choose.
Diamonds are the traditional choice for engagement rings. But your beloved may want their birthstone or something with sentimental value. You may have historical jewels you want to reset. Or it could be a treasure you picked on your travels. Crystalline gemstones are best. They maximize the sparkle of princess cut facets, an effect you won’t get with mineraloids.
Tip #4: Check the Chevrons
Princess cut engagement rings – particularly colorless ones like diamonds – have countable chevrons. These usually come in twos, threes, or fours. There’s no right or wrong number, but the number of chevrons influences how your diamond sparkles. The more the chevrons, the more fragmented its reflections will be. And this affects colored stones too, so do check.
It may not be as simple as saying you want two or three chevrons – it’s a matter of visuals and taste. So you may have to try the ring (or at least the gemstone) on your beloved’s finger to see which refractive reaction they like best. If you don’t want to give the game away, enlist a couple you’re friendly with. Pretend you’re shopping for the other couple’s ring, not yours.
Tip #5: Be Careful with the Corners
When you’re checking out the edges of your princess cut engagement rings, pay special attention. Already, the corners are prone to chipping. But these 90 points are also prone to inclusions because of how the gemstone is formed and cut. These inclusions and potential cracks increase the risk of damage. So double-check the corners and avoid damaged ones.
This plays a factor in setting as well. Jewelers may recommend rounded corner prongs to protect your skin and your fabrics. Other people’s too, since your ring can scratch others as you move around. But select prongs and settings that protect the corners without applying extra pressure to said corners. Otherwise, the corner guard can inadvertently crack the stone.
Tip #6: Play It Loose
We’ve talked about the type of gemstone you should pick for your princess cut engagement ring. But whether you select a ruby, an emerald, a piece of jade, or even moissanite, start with a loose stone before you choose the setting. Why? Because – as we’ve mentioned – the corners of princess cut gemstones undergo a lot of pressure. Both in polishing and setting.
So if you get a ring that’s already set – whether it’s a jewelry display or a family heirloom – the bits hidden behind the prongs maybe be damaged. It could be an accidental crack when someone banged the prongs on a table. Or it could be a deliberate dent to position the prong. You’ll never know until you reset the ring! So look at loose stones first, for quality control.
Tip #7: Go Hands-On
The best way to shop for princess cut engagement rings is to go to the jewelry store in person. But even if you’re shopping online, look at the hands. Remember, rings (and lose gemstones) are often magnified on websites. So what you’re looking at could be anything from 10 to 100 times larger than its actual size. So look for a website that has hand models.
These will give you a realistic sampling of how the ring sits on your beloved’s hand. Some websites are extremely helpful – they might have hand silhouettes or stencils where you can press your palm for scale. Or they could have 360° uploads so you can view the ring from all sides. Some even have models with different skin tones so you can find the best metal match.
Tip #8: Ask for a Coloured Background
Shopping for princess cut engagement rings online doesn’t have to be a passive process. If you have a sales consultant or a relationship manager, you have some wiggle room. They might let you request a video call so you can view the stone in real-time. If they do, ask them to show you the gemstone on a colored background, especially if it’s a colorless stone.
Reason being princess-cut stones are prone to windowing and extinction. And you can see this more clearly on a colored background than a white one. You can’t eliminate these characteristics – they come with the cut. But at least you can check several princess cut engagement rings side by side. Then you can pick the stone with the least light leakage.
Tip #9: Proportion is Important
Since you’re shopping for a princess cut engagement ring, you’re unlikely to be swayed by decagon stones (which have more sparkle) or cushions cuts (whose rounded corners are safer). So look into sizing. You want a princess-cut gemstone with a face of 62% to 68% and a depth of 64% to 75%. Or as close to this as possible. The maximum princess ratio is 1.05.
Earlier, we talked about colored backdrops. These can also be useful when deciding between diamond colors. D is the clearest rating for exceptionally white. H is a standard white, and anything under that is ‘tinted white’. Higher colors are much more expensive, and the colored background will prove how low you can go without a discernible difference.
Tip #10: Get the Right Setting
Princess cut engagement rings can be solitaires, twin-stones, or even three-stones. You can pair the center stone with square cuts or you can contrast them with rounded cuts. Colors matter too – and not just in diamonds. Combine a clear princess cut with colored stones. And account for carats too. A 3.5mm stone is about 0.25ct while a 9.5mm stone is 5 carats.
Mixing colors and shapes creates a dramatic effect. Prong settings or claws are ideal, positioned at the four gemstone corners. Princess cut rings will work with any metal, so that’s more about your beloved’s preference and skin tone. You can set the stone as a square or angle it diagonally for a ‘diamond shape’. The shape works well for bezel and halo settings.
Tip #11: Make the Most of the Shape
Squares seem super simple. But these right-angled gemstones offer versatility in styling. Because they’re wider on the sides, you can play with twisted shanks, braided designs, or even double shank designs. Colored princess-cut gemstones (emerald, rubies, tanzanite, sapphire, etc.) can be especially eye-catching. Ethically speaking, it’s the least wasteful cut.
This is because the nature of princess cuts means you use about 70% of the rough crystal (compared to 30% for round cuts, the top gemstone shape). But while you ‘throw away’ less stone, you also get more leakage. The cut can have over 100 facets so it lets through more lights and has deeper shadows. Also, it has a deeper pavilion so it’s a bottom-heavy design.
Tip #12: Think Carat vs Colour vs Clarity
Gemstones with big faces will look larger per carat. So a 2-carat princess cut will look bigger than a 2-carat cushion cut. But princess cut rings have a deeper pavilion, so they might seem smaller than round cuts of the same carat count. So you could pick a higher carat with fewer chevrons for more value. But if your beloved wants shine and sparkle, get more chevrons.
Similarly, the numerous facets mean a princess cut has high refraction that can hide flaws. So you can go for a lower inclusion rating. You’re safe with VS2 or even SI1. And because of the emphasis on brilliance, you could pick a lower color too – as low as an H without feeling the pinch. This frees up your budget for higher carats, pricier metals, and fancier shanks.
Tip #13: Go for Girth
The best princess cut engagement ring has a ratio of 1, but you can veer as high as 1.1 and still qualify as a princess cut. The deeper pavilion means bottom-heavy princess cuts are cheaper than round rings of the same carat count. Which means you can use your carat budget to get a bigger-looking ring if you opt for princess over round. That makes the girdle a key factor.
See, round-cut gemstones are shallower, which means more visual mass per carat. So some jewelers will cut the princess stone thinner. This increases the gemstone’s table and ‘face value’ since it’ll look larger. But if you buy a princess cut ring with a thin girdle, it’s more likely to chip and break, regardless of its setting. So prioritize a stable girdle over a wide face.
Tip #14: Set it High
Princess cut engagement rings need high settings. This is because their thick girdles, deep pavilions, and broad faces need good vertical space. Pick prongs with V-settings like airline cuts or cathedrals. Try a hidden halo setting to raise the pavilion. Bezels are good protection for the corners of your square stone, but they’ll darken the diamond and limit its sparkle.
Check that the crown of your ring sits 8% to 13% above the shank. This reinforces the stability of the stone while showing off its table. Raised settings also let more light into the ring from the sides, which can enhance sparkle and shine. And if you’re buying rings online, read their return policy carefully – just in case your fiancé says yes to you but no to the ring.
Tip #15: Crown Your Ring Right
You may have seen some princess cut engagement rings branded as True Hearts. This mostly refers to H&A or James Allen gemstones that have a distinct pattern of stars and hearts on the diamond table. It’s something to consider, but it’s too brand-specific to be broadly helpful.
You could look at the crown pattern though. These can be French – meaning they have a mitered corner. Or they can be bezeled, meaning they have a diamond-shaped corner. The shape comes from how the facets are cut. Bezel corners are more stable and are glossier.
Top 15 Princess Cut Engagement Rings
Squares don’t seem that creative. Old school slang used ‘square’ to label something dull, boring, and out of date. But these shiny square rings are timeless and exceptional. So check out these 15 designs for princess cut engagement rings and get inspired. You could order them for your beloved or use them as reference points to design your own unique ring.
1. Channel Set Princess Cut Ring
Our first piece shows the power of distraction. The diamond has an average color (I) and clarity (SI1) but its channel setting vastly elevates the elegance and visuals on this ring!
2. Platinum Trilogy Princess Cut Ring
How big is the budget for your princess cut engagement ring? If your wallet is deep enough, this three-stone platinum ring is sure to impress. And that pave shank simulates channel.
3. Tapered Pavé Princess Cut Ring
When you want a Channel look but you don’t have a Channel budget, try this trick. The gemstones are pronged between yellow gold borders. Now you can get a bigger carat!
4. Comfort-Fit Princess Engagement Ring
Perhaps your beloved is more about the simple things. In which case, this 1.5mm ring will sate them. It’s a plain platinum shank with a solitaire gemstone just under one carat.
5. Pavé Twist Princess Cut Ring
If you set your priorities right, you can enjoy luxury on every front. This ring has a large center stone over 1 carat in G color plus pavé on its twisted shank. It’s 14k white gold.
6. Princess-Cut Pavé Halo Ring
The right details can lift your princess cut engagement ring from simple to superb. The pavé shank mirrors the halo around the center stone. And the open back maximizes the sparkle.
7. Three-Stone Knife-Edge Pavé Ring
Yes, square rings can be simple. But they can also be quite elaborate, as this piece shows. It has two rows of pavé snuggled on either side of the knife-edge shank plus a trilogy up front!
8. Seven-Stone Princess Cut Ring
For yellow gold rings, you can get away with a lower color grade, but this ring is up there in G! The center stone is flanked by three-stone clusters on either side. And it’s a thick shank.
9. Solitaire Princess Cut Rope Ring
Carats aren’t everything. The center stone here is only 0.5ct on a 14k white gold band. But that gold is twisted into a pretty cable shank that softens and sweetens the engagement ring.
10. Infinity Engagement Ring
This ring is quite busy, so it’s not for daily wear. But it’s ideal for dramatic design lovers. The shank has pavé twisted into two infinity signs and the front has three massive diamonds.
11. Lab-Created Ring with Princess Cut Channel
You might be worried about Channel cuts, but here, the shank is packed with princess cut diamonds wedged into a rose gold shank. They almost outshine the round center stone!
12. Princess-Cut Organic Bamboo Ring
The naming may puzzle you, but don’t worry, it’s all metal. The princess cut diamond is held in place by double-clawed prongs and sits on white gold carved to simulate bamboo reeds.
13. Vintage Princess Cut Engagement Ring
Retro rings had a heady mix of colors, shapes, and textures. This one has a princess-cut diamond flanked by round diamonds and marquise blue sapphires in beaded bezel settings.
14. Regal Frame Princess Cut Ring
When you place a princess-cut diamond in an east-west orientation, it gets a … diamond shape. But you can get similar effects using a decorative east-west halo setting, as seen here.
15. Twisted Pavé Halo Engagement Ring
Our last ring gives off high art deco vibes. The halo is a twisted pave ring with clustered prongs and endless sparkle. And the princess cut center stone is perfectly showcased.
What’s your favorite style for princess cut engagement rings? Show us in the comments!