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Round Brilliant vs Princess Cut Diamond Engagement Rings

Posted by Julie Ward on Dec 5, 2017 9:37:30 AM

round cut and princess cut engagement rings

Symbolic of love and commitment, the diamond is desirable to both ladies and gentlemen. And when does a diamond take on the starring role? In an engagement ring, of course!

In this article, we are going to take a closer look at two diamond cuts that feature prominently in engagement rings: the brilliant round cut and the princess cut. They are two of the most popular diamond cuts on the market today, but how do you decide between them, and how much would each cost you?

During our decades of operation, we here at Burrells know that there are significant distinctions between different diamond cuts. From shape and size to colour and carat, different diamonds produce various results. More importantly, we know that your choice of diamond will also affect the overall style of a ring. Choosing an engagement ring shows your partner how well you know them.

So, we want to share some of our knowledge with you so that you can make the very best decision. In this article, we'll explore the who, the what, and the how much of the band the princess diamond.


The Brilliant Cut Diamond

The round brilliant diamond is a stone which conforms to the specific 'brilliant' pattern. The diamond will have 58 facets (flat surfaces), and it is these polished faces that create shine.

The facets of a brilliant diamond are almost entirely symmetrical. A diamond's facets act as small mirrors, reflecting light throughout the stone. Light movement is responsible for the spectrum of colours you can see when looking at a diamond.

Round brilliant cut diamond

How does a Brilliant Cut Diamond Optimise Light?

The proportions of the round, brilliant cut diamond, largely affects the amount of sparkle it creates. The sparkle created is called ‘brilliance’.

As light enters the diamond, it reflects between the lower facets. The light then redirects and moves through the upper facets. This process is called total internal reflection.


Who Created The Brilliant Cut?

Henry Morse began development of the brilliant diamond in the 1860’s. Based in the USA, Morse opened the first diamond cutting factory where he spent many years experimenting with angles and proportions.

Marcel Tolkowsky continued Morse’s work into the early 1900’s, and it is Tolkowsky who is now widely credited as the father of the brilliant cut. Tolkowsky combined mathematics and gemmology to produce a mathematical formula for optimising diamond brilliance.

You can read more about the history of the brilliant cut diamond here.


The Princess Cut Diamond

The princess cut diamond, otherwise known as the ‘Modified Brilliant cut’, has four clean edges. As the 'modified brilliant' name suggests, the facet arrangement of the princess cut is similar to the brilliant, although it is not the same.

The princess cut has 62 facets and offers maximum sparkle. It is this sparkle which earned the princess cut another name: the “radiant cut”.

Visually, the princess cut offers a slightly more edgy and contemporary look than the brilliant cut. The princess cut can also vary as to how square or rectangular it is.

Princess cut diamond

Who Created the Princess Cut?

The princess cut was developed by Ygal Perlman, Betzalel Ambar and Israel Itzkowitz in the late 1970’s, which means that it is a relatively recent entrant to the world of diamond cuts.


Which Diamond Costs More?

Buying a round, brilliant cut diamond will often cost you more. Here are some reasons why:


There is a lot of wastage when cutting a brilliant cut diamond.

The original material needed for a brilliant cut is more than a princess cut, and this increases the diamond’s price per carat (price per weight). A brilliant cut will retain only approximately 50% of the material weight, whereas the princess cut will keep around 80%.


Brilliant cuts have the ideal proportions of a diamond.

The best diamond shine comes from having an optimum relationship between the size, angles, and facets of the stone. The brilliant cut is the only cut to have this, and this affects how many view the overall quality of the stone.


Brilliant cut diamonds are more likely to maintain their worth.

The diamond market often fluctuates, however, demand for the brilliant cut is always high. It is this demand that keeps the price per carat stable.


• The princess cut is more vulnerable than the brilliant cut.

The princess cut has four sharp corners which are highly susceptible to damage. For damage limitation, a jeweller can set a diamond within a bezel. However, this limits the diamond’s ability to reflect light.


Which Diamond Cut is Right for Me?

Both the brilliant cut and the princess cut are incredibly desirable choices and make great features on engagement rings.

Despite this, the brilliant cut has a long history of being the most highly prized and sought-after type of diamond cut. The reasoning for this, is that the brilliant cut provides a timeless elegance and offers the very best regarding light and sparkle.

The princess cut, on the other hand, has a more contemporary look. The more modern princess cut may be second to the brilliant cut in sales, but those who are looking for a distinctive design sometimes prefer this style.

Once you have decided on a diamond cut, you might also find it helpful to read our article on Certified Diamond vs Non-certified Diamond Engagement Rings.


Pinterest engagement rings


Finally, before buying a diamond, we recommend that you consider not only a diamond's cut and price but the style of the rest of the ring too. Over time, trends come and go, so it is essential to choose an engagement ring to your partner's taste. We recommend reading this really helpful article on Vogue.com about choosing an engagement ring style.


If you have any other questions or queries, or if you would like to view our range of diamond engagement rings in-store, please do not hesitate to contact us. One of our fantastic members of staff are always on hand, and happy to help. As a family company that appreciates special moments, Burrells offers only the very best quality diamonds.




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