The Benefits of Princess Cut Diamonds

by : Jonathan Blocker

The art and science of diamond cutting dates back to the mid 1500s, and princess cut diamonds represent the latest and one of the trendiest available. Part of the appeal of princess cut diamonds is the rectangular shape that manages to retain the sparkle and fire of more traditional round cuts.

Diamond Cuts Galore

Diamond as jewelry dates back to ancient Rome, but it wasn't until the High Renaissance that the first diamond cutters' guild was formed in the Belgian city of Antwerp. Natural diamonds are octahedral in shape (visualize two pyramids with their bases glued together). The earliest method of cutting loose diamonds was known as the point cut, which simply followed the gem's natural shape. During the early Renaissance, it was learned how to cut off one point of the octahedron; this was known as the table cut.

The problem with these early cuts is that they failed to reveal diamonds' light dispersion, which is what jewelers and gemologists call the stone's "fire." Diamonds in the early days were prized mainly for hardness and surface luster, but had little in the way of shine and sparkle.

Revealing the 'Inner Light'

The first brilliant cut diamonds date from the mid-1600s. Although fairly dull by modern standards, these early "Mazarin" diamonds were substantially more brilliant than those cut even a century earlier.

Modern brilliant diamonds were first produced around 1900; for decades, round cuts were the most common as well as the most popular, as these maximized the gem's fire and brilliance.

Comeback of the Square Cut

Princess cut diamonds engagement rings are gaining in popularity, currently ranking #2 among those who collect loose diamonds and diamond jewelry.

Among diamond cutters, princess cut diamonds are the more desirable, as this particular cut wastes very little of the rough diamond; thus, the diamond retains more of its original carat weight. This also makes princess cut diamonds less expensive than their traditionally round cut counterparts.

Princess cut diamonds made their initial appearance in 1979, and combine the brilliance provided by a traditional round cut with the square or rectangular shape. It was an innovation of one Israel Itzkowitz, who worked at the Ambar Diamond Company in Los Angeles, California. His work was based on three years of study that resulted in a cut that was literally the "best of both worlds" - square and rounded.

Because of the tetrahedral molecular structure of diamonds, the princess is really one of the most efficient ways to cut diamond. Princess cut diamonds are also known as "modified square brilliant."