When it comes time to select an engagement ring, it can be challenging to know which diamond cut is the right one for you. With over 10 styles to choose from, it makes sense that you might be overwhelmed. If you have narrowed it down to either the princess cut or the cushion cut, then this guide is perfect for you!
There is no wrong choice when it comes to selecting either the princess cut or the cushion cut. The diamond you select will depend entirely upon your personal preferences. For a contemporary, square-shaped diamond that produces a brilliant fire, the princess cut is the perfect option. If you prefer a rounded square to straight edges, then you will want to consider the cushion cut instead.
You should know that while there is no wrong choice between a cushion cut and a princess cut, each cut differs quite a bit from the other starting with their different shapes.
The princess cut features a more geometric square pattern while the cushion cut features rounded edges. Keep reading this guide to find out how else they differ to better help you select the cut that best suits your personal style.
Aspects of Princess Cut Diamonds
If you are searching for a contemporary diamond, the princess cut is the perfect shape for you. Relatively new to the scene, this particular diamond has only been in wear since the 1980s. While this stunning cut hasn’t been around for long, it has managed to allure countless buyers with its unusual fire.
Featured in an elegant geometric square that resembles a pyramid, this step-cut diamond is glimmering with beauty. Because most step-cut diamonds feature an angular shape, they often fail to exude the fire for which diamonds are known.
The one exception to this rule is the princess cut. With its unique shape, it is able to easily mimic the brilliance of the round or cushion cut stones.
The brilliance exuded by the princess cut diamond requires numerous facets. In fact, one of these stones will usually have around 56 or 57. These facets vary stone to stone, but the number and shape of facets play an important role in the type of brilliance produced.
- Two chevron-patterned facet – Two chevron-patterned facet offers bold flashes of fire, but is overall less dazzling than other facet patterns.
- Three chevron-patterned facet – Three chevron-patterned facet offers a higher level of brilliance than the two chevron-patterned by reflecting more prominent flashes of light.
- Four chevron-patterned facet – Four chevron-patterned facet produces a “crushed ice effect” with an intense fire produced by light that doesn’t readily disperse.
While the naked eye may see the princess cut as a perfect square, this is not actually the case as the diamond is, in fact, rectangular.
For diamonds that most closely resemble the perfect square, you should aim for a cut ratio of 1.00:1.05.
If you prefer the rectangular aesthetic, then ratios of 1.06:1.12 will be perfect to showcase the longer sides of your stone.
How does the princess cut compare to the cushion-cut diamond?
Aspects Cushion Cut Diamonds
Cushion-cut diamonds are the perfect shape for those looking for a classic rounded edge. Rising in popularity due to their easier shape, this style has been around since the days of cutting stones by hand.
Featuring an unusual rounded square edge, this stone is delightful to behold and was once one of the most popular cuts in the world. Further, the cushion cut is the only diamond shape that features both rounded edges and a striking geometric form.
The number of facets a cushion-cut diamond will possess depends upon the stone itself; however, you can generally expect to find around 58 facets on these gems.
Some of the more famous patterns include:
- Hearts and Arrows Pattern – In this pattern, the cushion cut diamond features 4 to 8 carefully shaped facets.
- Modified Cushion Pattern – This advanced cutting technique produces a “crushed ice” effect that dazzles with scintillation.
When choosing which cushion cut is right for you, you should consider whether you prefer more fire or brilliance. The modified cuts will produce more fire, but they will also have less brilliance as a result.
The cut ratio you select will have a major impact on the overall shape of your diamond. If you are looking for a classic rounded square look, you will want to be sure your ratio is in the 1:00:1:03 range.
For an elongated or rectangular-shaped cushion diamond, this cut can be achieved through a ratio of 1.15:1.20.
Now that you know the special features of both the princess cut and cushion diamonds, let’s walk through some of their key differences. Knowing what sets each diamond apart will better help you make the right decision when selecting your stone.
Take a Look at Some of the Key Differences Between Princess Cut and Cushion Cut Diamonds
One of the key differences between the princess cut diamond and the cushion cut diamond happens in the way they are formed. Offering completely different shapes, it is crucial you select the one that best fits your individual preferences.
For a more modern feel, the princess cut offers an updated design. With a geometric square cut that resembles a pyramid.
On the other hand, the cushion cut offers a unique combination of geometric lines with rounded edges that work perfectly for vintage-inspired engagement sets.
As both of these cuts are quite different, the one you select for your ring will have a major impact on the style.
For a diamond that produces note-worthy brilliance, you should opt for the princess cut. Featuring a special design, this unique step cut has all of the benefits of that categorization while also exuding diamond brilliance.
If you are more interested in fire than brilliance, the cushion cut diamond is the perfect stone for you. Be sure to take a look at the different facet patterns as each one offers its own unique style of fire that is sure to leave you in awe.
Along with the dramatic difference in shape between these two cuts, the cost of these stones can also have a major impact on your purchasing decision.
If you are looking for a more budget-friendly stone, you may want to consider the cushion cut as it can be anywhere from 15-20% cheaper than the princess cut. For instance, you can expect to pay at least $2,000 for a 1-carat princess cut diamond and around $1,500 for a 1-carat cushion cut.
If your heart is set on the princess cut as the stone for you, you can always reduce the cost by selecting a slightly lower-cost band (such as one with 12k gold or sterling silver) or you can lower the price by selecting a smaller diamond.
The shape of these cuts plays heavily into the style of the stones. For trendy looks that have been on the scene since the 1980s, you should consider the princess cut. With its dazzling display of brilliance, you will love the contemporary look this classic design offers.
Cushion cuts offer a vintage elegance not available in any other shape. As the only diamond that offers rounded edges and geometric forms, there is a reason this stone was the most popular cut for over 200 years.
With more ratios and facet shapes, the cushion cut offers versatility that is unmatched by the princess cut. However, that does not mean the cushion cut is the better diamond, only that it works better for those interested in having more options.
Working well as a center diamond between two other stones, the cushion cut is one of the most versatile engagement gems. That said, the princess cut offers its own versatility as well! While its square design limits it more than the cushion cut, this popular diamond shape works well with linear design patterns.
Knowing the major differences between the princess cut and cushion cut diamonds is useful in knowing which one pairs well with your personal taste. However, you should take cost into consideration as well as it may be a major factor in determining which stone is ultimately the right one.
How Does the Price Compare Between Princess Cut Vs Cushion Cut Diamonds?
A princess cut diamond is going to run about 15% more expensive than a cushion cut diamond of the same size. Why? The price of diamonds is determined using the 4cs: cut, clarity, color, and carat weight. All other factors being equal, the princess cut is considered more valuable than the cushion cut.
One of the reasons the cushion cut is the more affordable option compared to the princess cut is due to a lower demand. The princess cut is simply the most popular diamond of the two, which means supply raises its price.
A 1 carat cushion cut diamond has a price range from $1,260 to $40,086 with an average price of $3,911. For a 1 carat princess cut diamond, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,397 to $33,092 with an average price of $4,350.
When looking at these rings side by side and holding all other factors equally, you can expect to pay at least $2,000 for a 1 carat princess cut diamond and around $1,500 for a 1 carat cushion cut.
What are the other factors that go into determining the price of one of these stones?
Clarity can be reduced during the polishing process, natural wear and tear, or even from the pressures on the stone when it was formed. For the highest quality diamonds, you should look for those that are free of imperfections or blemishes.
The more colorless or “white” your stone is, the higher value it will be worth. Color of diamonds is rated on a scale that runs from a “D” to a “Z”, with “D”s representing the highest quality, colorless diamonds and “Z”s referencing those that are more yellow in nature.
Due to the limited supply of diamonds, the higher the carat weight of these stones, the more expensive they will be.
Should I Get a Princess Cut or Cushion Cut Diamond?
The decision on whether to get a princess cut or cushion cut diamond will come down to your personal preferences, budget, and style.
While there is no right or wrong answer, consider some of the key differences here to help you during the selection process.
Princess cut diamonds feature more brilliance than fire. When selecting the right princess cut for you, be sure to check out the different facet shapes (listed above) as these will determine the type of brilliance you can expect from your stone.
If you are on a budget, this popular geometric shape may not be right for you. While it dazzles with its square corners and unique setting, it can cost anywhere from 15% to 30% more than the cushion cut diamond.
Aside from its brilliance and cost, you may want to consider the princess cut for an updated look. Featuring a contemporary design that is fairly new to the diamond market, this stone offers an updated look to the classic engagement ring.
The cushion cut is the perfect stone for those who prefer fire to brilliance, are purchasing on a budget, or who are looking for a lot of variety in their ring options.
With a dazzling and unique rounded shape, the cushion cut is the perfect ring for those who favor a vintage style.
Choosing between the princess cut and the cushion cut can be challenging. To make it easier, we recommend the princess cut for those looking for brilliance, squared edges, and an updated design.
For a more vintage feel, lower cost, and wider design options, go with the cushion cut. No matter which diamond you select, know that there is no wrong choice when you go with either of these beautiful pieces!
Our Team of 10 includes jewelry experts, antique Buyers & Sellers, baseball card collectors, and other appraisal experts.