The second most popular diamond shape after the Round is the Princess. The Princess shape was developed in Israel in 1979, as an evolution of several other square shape diamonds. Very quickly, this diamond shape became hugely popular around the world, and for good reason.
The three developers of the Princess shape – Yigal Perlman, Betzalel Ambar, and Israel Itzkowitz – sought to create a diamond that was both beautiful and economic. The result was a diamond with great brilliance and high yield. The combination of these two characteristics helped make this diamond shape very popular, especially in the U.S.
The sighting of many celebrity rings set with a Princess-shaped diamond further propelled the popularity of this shape. Among them are Kim Kardashian, Jessica Biel, Christina Aguilera and many more.
There are several versions of the Princess cut, which differ by the number of chevrons on the bottom (the pavilion) of the diamond. The number of facets ranges from 57 to 63. The more chevron facets a Princess-shaped diamond has, the more fire and brilliance it will have – depending on the quality of the polishing.
The measurements of the Princess can be so exact that it is the only diamond shape except the Round Brilliant that the AGS grading lab gave a Triple 0 Cut grading.
Because of its great brilliance and sparkle, it is easy to “hide” inclusions in a Princess-shaped diamond. This lends itself to a great range of rough diamond qualities and possibilities.
Like the Cushion, Radiant, Asscher and Emerald-shaped diamonds discussed here over the past few weeks, the Princess is a member of the square shape group of diamonds, one of three groups of diamond shapes. The other two are Rounds and semi rounds – shapes that are based on the Round brilliant, such as the Pear, Oval, Marquise and Heart.
Left to right: Round, Oval, Pear, Heart, Marquise, Cushion, Emerald, Radiant, Asscher and Princess-shaped diamonds (not real size)
The Relative Value of a Princess
Compared to Rounds, the value of Princess-shaped diamonds is about 24%-54% less, depending on color and clarity. The table below compares the value of one carat and 0.95 carat Princess-shaped diamonds to 1-carat Round diamonds (1 carat Round = 100%) in all colors and clarities. The 0.95-carat comparison is here to highlight the relatively small difference in size that results in a large difference in value.
Value of Princess-Shaped Diamonds
Compared to 1-ct Round Diamonds
Source: Mercury Diamond© 2015
Polishing the Princess
When considering rough diamonds for polishing, a manufacturer is usually faced with a number of alternatives to choose from. He may take into account the shape of the rough diamond (known as the rough diamond model), the location of the inclusions, the color of the rough and the different values of the resulting polished diamonds.
To help them in these choices, modern day polishers use polishing planning technology that maps the rough diamond, detects the inclusions and their locations, and suggests several polishing options. This helps the polisher get the highest value and yield from the rough.
In the following real-life examples, a manufacturer faces two choices when considering two rough diamonds for polishing. The first is a 4.23-carat rough diamond, pictured in the 3D render below. The polisher can take advantage of the shape of the diamond and polish two diamonds out of this single rough stone. He can polish two Round diamonds, which will result in a 1.09-carat and a 1.08-carat, D color, IF clarity, Excellent make polished diamonds. In this case, total yield is 51.3%, meaning 48.7% of the rough diamond's weight will be lost in the polishing process.
Alternatively, the manufacturer may polish larger Princess-shaped diamonds, as shown below from a slightly different angle. In this case, two Princess-shaped diamonds will take better advantage of the rough diamond’s shape and result in a 2.10-carat and a 1.01-carat, D color, IF clarity polished diamond with Excellent make. In this option, the total yield is 73.5%.
For this rough diamond, the polisher preferred two Princess-shaped diamonds to two Rounds because of the value. Despite the higher value per carat of Rounds compared to Princess, in this case the difference in size is enough to result in a higher value Princess-shaped diamond. The value comparison below is based on an analysis of current prices in the market and represents the total value of the diamonds.
In the next example is a 3.22-carat rough diamond. It can be polished into a 1.29-carat, D/IF Round diamond with an Excellent Cut at a yield of 40.1%, as shown below.
Alternatively, the polisher may consider a Princess-shaped diamond, because of the shape of the rough diamond. The polisher can better utilize it to get a higher yield. In this case, a 1.58-carat D/IF diamond can be made at a yield of 49.1%, as shown below.
As we saw in the article on Emerald-shaped diamonds or Heart-shaped diamonds, even if the optional Round diamond is smaller than the alternative shape, the Round may still have a higher total value. This is true for all shapes, including Princess-shaped diamonds. In this case, even though the Round diamond is 18.4% lighter in weight, it has a higher total value than the alternative Princess, as the following table shows.
The reason the yield is noted in all these polishing options is that from a financial standpoint, it makes sense to try to get the best return out of the cost of the rough diamond. This is especially true for Princess-shaped diamonds that tend to offer a very high yield, which makes them a desirable option for consideration – depending on the model of the rough diamond. In the two examples above, it may be possible to get an additional polished stone out of these rough stones. In this case, the yield and return on the cost of the rough diamond is better.
Given the different possible outcomes, it is worth comparing the value of different options, and seeing which is more economically beneficial to manufacture
When polishing a diamond, proportions are important for a number of reasons, including aesthetics. A well-proportioned diamond looks much better than one that is not. Another reason is light return. To get the best light return, light must enter through the top of the diamond, bounce inside of it and then reflect out through the top. The more light that is reflected, the more the diamond shines.
To achieve this, the facets must face each other at the right angles. Below is a list of Princess-shaped proportions by Cut standard:
As stated in previous articles, the intention of this review is to highlight a number of issues relating to diamonds, their value and how to understand the varying characteristics of diamonds that may seem identical but differ enough to affect their value.
In addition, we presented a table that showed the difference in value between the various diamond shapes. This table is part of the Mercury Crystal Clear™ system. It is important to keep it in mind when considering diamonds as part of a wealth preservation belief or even as a gift.
The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity. None of the information made available here shall constitute in any manner an offer or invitation or promotion to buy or to sell diamonds. No one should act upon any opinion or information in this website (including with respect to diamonds values) without consulting a professional qualified adviser.
Diamond industrialist Ehud Arye Laniado is a man passionate about diamonds. From his early 20s in Africa and later in Belgium honing his expertise in forecasting the value of polished diamonds by examining rough diamonds by hand, till today four decades later, as chairman of his international diamond businesses spanning mining, exploration, rough and polished diamond valuation, trading, manufacturing, retail and consultancy services, Laniado has mastered both the miniscule details of evaluating and pricing individual rough diamonds and the entire structure of the diamond industry. Today, his global operations are at the forefront of the industry, recognised in diamond capitals from Mumbai to Tel Aviv and Hong Kong to New York.
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