The Difference Between Princess Cut and Emerald Cut Diamonds

Q: I have been looking through all of the different types and cuts of diamonds, including diamond cuts, colors, etc., and I think I am finally figuring all this out, but I do still have one question – What is the difference between princess cut diamonds and emerald cut diamonds?

A: The names of different cuts of gemstones can be confusing. Diamond cut simply means the proportioning, symmetry and polish of a stone and has significant impact on brilliance (or sparkle!). While the princess cut and emerald cuts appear similar, as they are both either square or rectangular in shape, there are some significant differences too.

The princess cut diamond is one of many jewelers’ favorites because it wastes minimal crystal mass during the cutting process. It is sometimes referred to as a “square modified brilliant”. The face-up shape of the princess cut is square or rectangular, with a profile shaped in an inverted pyramid. Unfortunately, the square corners of a princess cut diamond can be brittle and care needs to be taken in mounting it in a suitable and protective setting.

The emerald cut diamond was originally created for shaping the emerald gemstone but is now widely used for diamonds. It is rectangular in shape with truncated corners, creating an octagonal outline. The elongated, broad planes of this cut are stunning in just about any simple setting.

The most pronounced difference between the two is the “pavilion,” or underside. The pavilion of an emerald cut diamond is shaped in a series of graduated rectangles, whereas the pavilion of a princess cut diamond is more triangular.

Due to this difference in the pavilion, the princess cut tends to throw off more light. While the emerald cut may not appear as bright, the cut allows the buyer to view more of the inside of the diamond and therefore shows off more of the clarity and color of the stone.

Emerald cut tends to be more expensive due to the type of stones selection that suits the shape. Princess cuts can be achieved even from using stones that are a little rougher and therefore less costly. As the princess cut is a brilliant cut, it can mask some imperfections in color and clarity that would easily show up in an emerald cut diamond.

Blue Nile has a range of beautiful, conflict free diamonds from the modest 0.2 carat to the spectacular 10 carat, there is something to suit every taste and budget.

James Allen also has a great selection. They have over 6000 princess cut diamonds and nearly 1400 emerald cut diamonds to browse in their online catalog. Go to to start searching. Once you have chosen your stone, you can use the online guide to design your own ring, earrings or pendant.

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