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Is Princess Or Round Diamond Better?

Two of the most popular diamond cuts are round-cut diamonds and princess-cut diamonds, but which one should you choose for your engagement ring?

If you’re confused about which one to choose or which one is better I am here to help you make a decision, I’ll analyze each cut from every aspect so you know which one is better in terms of cost, durability, sparkle, and more.

By the end of this guide, you will have all the information you need to decide for yourself which one is better for you and your preferences.

So let’s start.

An Overview of the Round-cut Diamond

The round-cut diamond is the most popular diamond shape for engagement rings and other jewelry, prized for its brilliance, fire, and timeless appeal. It accounts for a significant majority of diamond sales worldwide, thanks to its ability to maximize light reflection.

The round cut is renowned for its unparalleled brilliance and fire. Brilliance refers to the white light reflected from the inside of the diamond, while fire describes how the diamond disperses light into the colors of the spectrum. The round cut’s 57 or 58 facets (depending on whether the bottom point or culet, is faceted) are proportioned and aligned to maximize light reflection.

round cut

A key aspect of the round cut’s appeal is its symmetry and the precise arrangement of its facets. The ideal proportions of a round-cut diamond are designed to enhance its sparkle and minimize light leakage.

Round-cut diamonds are incredibly versatile and can be set in a wide range of jewelry styles, from classic solitaire engagement rings to more elaborate designs. They complement almost any setting type, metal, and style, making them a preferred choice for many.

An Overview of the Princess-cut Diamond

The princess-cut diamond, known for its sharp angles and contemporary look, stands as a popular alternative to the traditional round-cut diamond. Introduced in the 1960s, the princess cut has gained popularity for engagement rings and other jewelry, offering a unique blend of brilliance and modern style.

The princess cut is distinguished by its square or rectangular shape with sharp, unrounded corners. It typically features 57 or 58 facets, similar to the round cut, which is arranged to maximize the diamond’s brilliance and fire.

Princess cut

Although traditionally less brilliant than the round cut, modern cutting techniques have significantly enhanced the princess cut’s ability to reflect light, making it almost as brilliant as the round cut. Its unique faceting pattern creates a distinct and eye-catching sparkle.

The princess cut is known for its cutting efficiency, allowing more of the rough diamond to be preserved during the cutting process. This efficiency often results in a lower price per carat compared to round-cut diamonds, making the princess cut a more budget-friendly option for those who do not want to compromise on sparkle.

Like the round cut, the princess cut is highly versatile and can suit a variety of settings and styles. Its modern geometric shape makes it particularly popular for contemporary engagement ring designs.

Comparison Overview Between the Round-cut and Princess-cut


Aspect Round-Cut Diamond Princess-Cut Diamond
Shape Circular Square or rectangular with sharp corners
Brilliance/Fire Highest brilliance and fire High brilliance, slightly less than round
Faceting 57 or 58 facets (with or without a culet) 57 or 58 facets, similar to a round but arranged differently
Cutting Efficiency Lower due to more waste during cutting Higher, as it preserves more rough diamond
Price Generally higher due to demand and cutting waste Generally more affordable due to higher yield
Versatility Extremely versatile, fits many settings and styles Versatile, suits modern and geometric settings
Popularity Most popular for engagement rings and other jewelry Popular, especially among those seeking a modern look
Cut Quality Importance Crucial for maximizing brilliance and fire Very important, affects brilliance and can reduce chipping risk
Risk of Chipping Lower, due to rounded edges Higher, due to sharp corners; requires a protective setting

comparison between a round cut diamond and a princess cut

Shape Comparison

When comparing the round-cut and princess-cut diamonds in terms of shape, the key differences lie in their geometry and overall aesthetic appeal.

The round cut has a circular shape, which is symmetrical from all sides. This symmetry allows for maximum light reflection, contributing to the round cut’s unparalleled brilliance and sparkle. The round shape is universally flattering and versatile, making it suitable for a variety of settings and styles. It’s a timeless choice that has been popular for generations.

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The princess cut features a square or rectangular shape with sharp, unrounded corners. This cut is characterized by its modern look and the way it combines the high brilliance of round-cut diamonds with a unique geometric shape. The princess cut’s straight edges and sharp angles give it a contemporary feel, making it a popular choice for those seeking a more modern design in their jewelry.

The round cut is known for its classic, timeless appeal, and maximum brilliance, thanks to its circular shape that allows for excellent light reflection. In contrast, the princess cut offers a modern and sophisticated option with its square or rectangular shape, appealing to those who prefer a contemporary look without sacrificing too much on sparkle.

Brilliance/Fire Comparison

The brilliance and fire of a diamond refer to its ability to reflect light and disperse it into colorful sparkles, respectively. Both are crucial factors in determining a diamond’s visual appeal, and they vary significantly between round-cut and princess-cut diamonds due to their distinct faceting patterns.

Round-cut diamonds are renowned for their exceptional brilliance and fire, more so than any other diamond shape. This is largely due to their faceting pattern, which is specifically designed to maximize light reflection. A round diamond typically has 57 or 58 facets (including the culet), which are proportioned and aligned to optimize light capture and reflection, resulting in outstanding sparkle and a dynamic play of colors. The round cut’s efficiency in reflecting light back to the viewer’s eye makes it the most brilliant of all diamond cuts.

Princess-cut diamonds also exhibit high levels of brilliance and fire, though they slightly trail behind round-cut diamonds in these aspects. The princess cut is characterized by its sharp angles and square or rectangular shape, with a faceting pattern that differs from the round cut but is still designed to enhance light reflection. It typically has 57 or 58 facets, similar to the round cut, but arranged in a way that suits its geometric shape. The faceting strategy for princess-cut diamonds aims to approximate the brilliance of round diamonds, and while they are highly brilliant, the unique shape and faceting pattern mean that they can’t quite match the round cut’s light performance. However, advancements in cutting techniques have significantly improved the princess cut’s brilliance over the years.

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While both round and princess-cut diamonds are designed to maximize brilliance and fire, the round cut is unparalleled in its light performance due to its ideal symmetry and faceting pattern. The princess cut, on the other hand, offers a modern take on brilliance and fire, with a unique sparkle that appeals to those looking for a blend of contemporary style and high shine.

Faceting Comparison

The faceting of a diamond significantly influences its brilliance, fire, and overall appearance. Both round-cut and princess-cut diamonds have unique faceting patterns that contribute to their distinctive looks and light performance.

Round-Cut Diamond

  • Faceting Pattern: The round cut is designed with 57 or 58 facets (the latter includes a culet), meticulously arranged to maximize the reflection and refraction of light within the diamond. This traditional faceting pattern is optimized for brilliance, creating a vibrant sparkle that is highly sought after.
  • Facet Arrangement: The facets in a round diamond are distributed across the crown (top), girdle (widest part), and pavilion (bottom) in a symmetrical pattern that promotes an exceptional display of light. The precise arrangement and angles of these facets are crucial for achieving the round cut’s renowned brilliance and fire.
  • Light Performance: Due to its optimized faceting, the round cut excels in light performance, offering unmatched brilliance (brightness) and fire (color dispersion). It’s the standard against which all other diamond cuts are measured in terms of light reflection.

Princess-Cut Diamond

  • Faceting Pattern: Princess-cut diamonds also features a high number of facets, typically around 57 to 58, similar to round cuts. However, the facets in a princess cut are arranged differently to accommodate its square or rectangular shape. The faceting style is designed to maximize brilliance while adapting to the geometric form.
  • Facet Arrangement: The facets on a princess-cut diamond are structured to enhance the stone’s inherent brilliance and fire within a square silhouette. This includes a unique arrangement on the diamond’s crown and pavilion, which are cut in a way that mirrors each other to optimize light reflection.
  • Light Performance: While the princess cut is highly brilliant, it generally doesn’t achieve the same level of light performance as the round cut due to the challenges of reflecting light as efficiently in a square shape. Nonetheless, modern cutting techniques have significantly improved the princess cut’s brilliance, making it one of the most brilliant square or rectangular diamond cuts available.

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While both round and princess-cut diamonds feature a high number of facets designed to enhance brilliance and fire, the round cut’s faceting is unparalleled in maximizing light reflection due to its symmetrical shape and precise facet arrangement. The princess cut, with its unique faceting adapted for a square or rectangular shape, offers a different type of brilliance that appeals to those looking for a more modern aesthetic.

Cutting Efficiency Comparison

Cutting efficiency refers to how well a diamond shape preserves the raw material from the original rough diamond during the cutting and shaping process. This efficiency impacts not only the yield from the rough stone but also influences the overall cost of the final diamond. Here’s how round-cut and princess-cut diamonds compare in terms of cutting efficiency:

Round-Cut Diamond

  • Efficiency: Round-cut diamonds have lower cutting efficiency compared to some other shapes, including the princess cut. This is because the round shape requires more of the rough diamond to be cut away to achieve its perfect circular form and ideal proportions for maximum brilliance and fire.
  • Yield from Rough: Typically, the yield from a rough diamond when cutting a round diamond is lower, meaning that a larger percentage of the rough stone is wasted. This lower yield contributes to the higher cost per carat of round-cut diamonds, as more rough diamond is needed to produce a finished round diamond of a given size.
  • Cost Impact: The lower cutting efficiency and higher waste associated with round diamonds are one of the reasons they are generally more expensive than diamonds of other shapes, including princess cuts, assuming all other factors (such as carat weight, color, clarity, and cut quality) are equal.

Princess-Cut Diamond

  • Efficiency: Princess-cut diamonds are known for their higher cutting efficiency compared to round-cut diamonds. The square shape of the princess cut allows for a greater yield from the rough stone, as less material needs to be removed to achieve the desired finished shape.
  • Yield from Rough: The princess cut can often be made with a higher yield from the rough diamond, which means that less of the original stone is wasted. This efficiency is particularly beneficial when cutting square diamonds from roughly octahedral-shaped diamond crystals.
  • Cost Impact: The higher cutting efficiency of princess-cut diamonds can make them less expensive than round-cut diamonds of similar quality and carat weight. This cost-effectiveness, combined with their modern look and high brilliance, makes princess cuts a popular choice for consumers seeking value without compromising on aesthetics.

In summary, round-cut diamonds have a lower cutting efficiency due to the significant amount of rough diamonds that must be removed to create their shape, contributing to their higher price. In contrast, princess-cut diamonds offer higher cutting efficiency with less waste of the rough stone, making them a more cost-effective option for buyers looking for a diamond with a contemporary shape and excellent brilliance.

Price Comparison

The price of diamonds is influenced by a variety of factors, including the 4Cs (Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat weight), but the shape of the diamond can also play a significant role in determining its cost. Here’s how round-cut and princess-cut diamonds compare in terms of price:

Round-cut Diamonds

  • Higher Price: Round-cut diamonds are typically more expensive than princess-cut diamonds of similar quality and carat weight. This price difference is due in part to the higher demand for round diamonds, which are the most popular choice for engagement rings and other jewelry.
  • Cutting Efficiency and Waste: Another reason for the higher price of round-cut diamonds is their lower cutting efficiency. More of the rough diamond is lost when cutting a round shape, which means that a larger rough diamond is needed to produce a finished round diamond of a given size. This increased waste contributes to the higher cost.
  • Market Demand: The enduring popularity of round-cut diamonds also drives up their price. Their timeless appeal and the perception of maximum brilliance and fire make them highly sought after, allowing sellers to command higher prices.

Princess-Cut Diamond

  • Lower Price: Princess-cut diamonds generally cost less than round-cut diamonds of similar quality and carat weight. This is partly due to the higher cutting efficiency of princess cuts, which allows more of the rough diamond to be utilized, resulting in less waste.
  • Demand and Supply: Although princess cuts are popular, especially among those looking for a modern alternative to the traditional round cut, their demand is typically lower than that of round diamonds. This lower demand, combined with the efficiency in cutting, contributes to their more affordable pricing.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: The princess cut offers a cost-effective option for buyers seeking a diamond with high brilliance and a contemporary look without the premium price tag of the round cut. It’s an attractive choice for those who prioritize both budget and aesthetics.

The difference in price between round-cut and princess-cut diamonds can be attributed to factors like cutting efficiency, waste, market demand, and the inherent popularity of the round-cut. While round diamonds command a higher price for their classic appeal and perceived superior brilliance, princess-cut diamonds offer a more budget-friendly alternative with a modern aesthetic and excellent light performance.

Versatility Comparison

The versatility of a diamond cut refers to its ability to fit into a wide range of jewelry styles and settings, appealing to diverse tastes and design preferences. Both round-cut and princess-cut diamonds are versatile in their own right, but they offer different advantages depending on the style and design context.

Round-Cut Diamond

  • Universal Appeal: The round cut’s classic and timeless shape has a universal appeal, making it the most versatile diamond cut. It complements nearly every setting and style, from simple solitaires to more complex and decorative designs.
  • Adaptability: Due to its symmetrical shape and unparalleled brilliance, a round-cut diamond can enhance the beauty of any piece of jewelry. It’s equally stunning in both traditional and contemporary settings, making it a favored choice for engagement rings, earrings, pendants, and more.
  • Popularity: The enduring popularity of round-cut diamonds ensures that they remain a desirable choice for a broad audience. Their adaptability to various metal types and colors (such as white gold, yellow gold, platinum, and rose gold) further enhances their versatility.

Princess-Cut Diamond

  • Modern Flair: The princess cut is known for its sharp angles and clean lines, offering a more modern and edgy look compared to the classic round cut. This makes it particularly appealing for contemporary jewelry designs and those seeking a diamond with a modern aesthetic.
  • Setting Compatibility: While slightly less universal than the round cut, princess-cut diamonds are still highly versatile and can be beautifully incorporated into a variety of settings, including channel, prong, and bezel settings. Their geometric shape makes them particularly suited for sleek, contemporary designs.
  • Pairing and Combinations: Princess-cut diamonds can also be effectively paired with other diamond shapes in multi-stone settings, where their square shape can complement both similar and contrasting shapes. This versatility makes them a popular choice for both engagement rings and wedding bands.

While both round and princess-cut diamonds offer significant versatility, the round cut is often seen as the more universally adaptable option due to its classic appeal and ability to fit seamlessly into a wide range of styles and settings. The princess cut, with its modern geometry, offers a distinctive alternative that excels in contemporary designs, appealing to those looking for a diamond with a more current look.

Popularity Comparison

The popularity of diamond cuts can vary over time and is influenced by trends, cultural preferences, and individual tastes. However, among all diamond shapes, round-cut and princess-cut diamonds stand out for their enduring appeal and widespread choice for engagement rings and other jewelry. Here’s how they compare in terms of popularity:

Round-Cut Diamond

  • Most Popular: The round-cut diamond is the most popular diamond shape and has been for many years. It’s the preferred choice for engagement rings, accounting for the majority of diamond sales worldwide. Its popularity stems from its unparalleled brilliance and fire, which maximize the diamond’s sparkle.
  • Timeless Appeal: The round cut is considered timeless, never going out of style. It appeals to a wide range of preferences, making it a safe and desirable choice for many buyers. The round cut’s versatility in fitting into virtually any setting also contributes to its widespread popularity.
  • Symbol of Tradition: For many, the round-cut diamond symbolizes tradition and classic elegance. Its long history and association with romance and commitment have cemented its status as the quintessential choice for marking life’s significant moments.

Princess-Cut Diamond

  • Modern Favorite: The princess cut is the second most popular diamond shape, especially favored by those seeking a modern alternative to the traditional round cut. Introduced in the 1960s, it has quickly risen in popularity due to its clean lines, contemporary look, and high degree of brilliance.
  • Contemporary Appeal: The princess cut appeals particularly to those looking for a diamond with a modern edge. Its geometric shape and sharp angles cater to a trendier, more avant-garde aesthetic, making it a popular choice among younger buyers and those desiring a distinctive look.
  • Versatile Yet Unique: While it may not match the round cut in terms of universal popularity, the princess cut is highly regarded for its versatility in various jewelry settings and its ability to offer a unique blend of modernity and brilliance at a more affordable price point.

In summary, while the round-cut diamond remains the most popular choice due to its timeless appeal, unmatched brilliance, and versatility, the princess-cut diamond holds a significant place in the market as a modern favorite. Its popularity reflects a desire for contemporary styles that still adhere to high standards of beauty and brilliance.

Comparison of Cut Quality Importance

The importance of cut quality in diamonds cannot be overstated, as it directly influences a diamond’s brilliance, fire, and overall aesthetic appeal. Both round-cut and princess-cut diamonds benefit significantly from high-quality cuts, but the impact of the cut and its importance varies between these two shapes due to their different characteristics and light performance needs.

Round-Cut Diamond

  • Critical for Brilliance: For round-cut diamonds, the cut quality is paramount. This is because the round shape’s unparalleled brilliance and fire are maximized by precise cutting techniques. A well-cut round diamond will have optimal proportions and symmetry, allowing it to reflect the maximum amount of light possible. The cut determines how well the diamond handles light, influencing not just its brightness but also how it disperses light into colorful sparkles.
  • Benchmark of Excellence: The round cut’s cut quality is often considered the benchmark for all diamond cuts. The standards for grading the cut of round diamonds are well-established, making it easier to assess and compare the cut quality of round diamonds. A high-quality cut in a round diamond is what distinguishes the most spectacular stones from those that are merely average.

Princess-Cut Diamond

  • High Importance, Different Challenges: Cut quality is also highly important for princess-cut diamonds, but the considerations and challenges are somewhat different. The princess cut’s unique shape and faceting pattern require precision to ensure that the diamond reflects light effectively, balancing brilliance with the diamond’s inherent geometric beauty. The cut quality in princess diamonds affects not only their sparkle but also their durability, as a well-cut princess diamond will have fewer sharp edges that could be prone to chipping.
  • Variability in Standards: The grading of cut quality for princess-cut diamonds can be more variable than for round cuts. There are fewer standardized criteria for what constitutes an “ideal” princess cut, which means there can be more variability in how well different princess-cut diamonds perform in terms of light reflection. Despite this, a high-quality cut is crucial for achieving a beautiful, brilliant princess-cut diamond.

In both round and princess-cut diamonds, the importance of cut quality cannot be overstated—it’s crucial for maximizing each diamond’s visual appeal. For round-cut diamonds, the cut quality directly impacts their brilliance and fire, making it the most critical factor in choosing a round diamond. For princess-cut diamonds, while the cut also significantly affects brilliance and durability, the criteria can be more variable. Nonetheless, a high-quality cut is essential to unlock the full beauty and potential of each shape, making cut quality a key consideration regardless of the diamond’s shape.

Risk of Chipping Comparison

The risk of chipping in diamonds is influenced by the diamond’s cut, which determines the shape of its edges and points. Both round-cut and princess-cut diamonds have specific characteristics that affect their vulnerability to chipping.

Round-Cut Diamond

  • Lower Risk of Chipping: Round-cut diamonds generally have a lower risk of chipping due to their rounded edges. The absence of sharp corners means that there are no acute angles susceptible to impact, making the round cut more durable in everyday wear. This inherent durability is one of the reasons why round-cut diamonds are highly favored for engagement rings and other jewelry that is worn daily.
  • Designed for Durability: The design and faceting pattern of round diamonds not only maximize brilliance but also contribute to their structural integrity. Their symmetrical shape distributes pressure more evenly, reducing the likelihood of damage from accidental knocks.

Princess-Cut Diamond

  • Higher Risk of Chipping: Princess-cut diamonds are more prone to chipping compared to round-cut diamonds, primarily due to their sharp corners. These corners can be vulnerable to impact, and if not protected properly by the setting, they may chip more easily. This characteristic is an important consideration when choosing a princess-cut diamond for jewelry that will be worn frequently.
  • Importance of Protective Settings: To mitigate the risk of chipping, princess-cut diamonds are often set in designs that protect the corners. Settings such as V-prongs or bezel settings can cover and shield the corners from direct hits, enhancing the durability of the diamond. Choosing the right setting is crucial for maintaining the beauty and integrity of a princess-cut diamond.

While both round-cut and princess-cut diamonds are durable enough for daily wear, their risk of chipping differs due to their shapes. Round-cut diamonds offer a lower risk because of their rounded edges, making them inherently more suited to withstand the rigors of daily activities. Princess-cut diamonds, with their sharp corners, require more careful consideration in terms of setting to prevent chipping. The choice between a round and princess-cut diamond, in terms of chipping risk, will often depend on lifestyle, personal preference, and the protective measures taken in the diamond’s setting.

Still not sure where to buy your diamond?

We always recommend shopping diamonds online and created a Full guide to shop diamonds like a Pro.
Among online retailers, here are our favorite stores click their logo to visit store

  1. James Allen:

    Our favorite online store, best diamond imaging technology available today, comes with the largest collection with more than half a million loose diamonds.

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  2. Blue Nile:

    Widest collection of loose diamonds of all sizes, great imaging technology for most of their inventory (hundreds of thousands of diamonds), great customer support.

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  3. Whiteflash:

    Home Of A CUT ABOVE® Super Ideal Diamonds, they stand out from the crowd by offering premium diamonds cuts, tailored to those who love the details, at great prices too.

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