Princess vs Round Cut Diamonds – What Are the Differences?

princess vs round cut

Which is better? The princess cut or round cut diamond?

When it comes to diamond engagement rings, the round cut and princess cut are the 2 most popular shapes because of their superior sparkle and brilliance. But what are the differences between a princess cut and round cut diamond?

Which one is the right shape for you? How do you choose between a round diamond ring and a princess cut diamond ring?

If you are undecided between the 2 shapes, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will look at the pros and cons of each shape and focus on the most important factors to help you make a choice between them.

Ready? Let’s get right into it!

Overview of the Round Brilliant Cut Diamond

solitaire round diamond ring 4 prongs flat
halo round diamond ring comparison vs princess cut

Feel free to click on the images to view details of the rings…

Designed in 1919, the modern day round brilliant cut has 57 facets and is renowned for its fire and scintillation. Today, it accounts for more than 60% of the diamonds sold worldwide and offers a timeless appearance for engagement rings.

With their better sparkle and brilliance, round diamonds tend to be more forgiving of clarity flaws and color tints. The rounded outline also makes them very versatile for many different types of ring styles and designs.

Overview of the Princess Cut Diamond

knife edge princess cut solitaire diamond ring
3 stone princess cut diamond ring

Feel free to click on the images to view details of the rings…

The princess cut, also known as the square modified brilliant cut, is ideal for people who love symmetrical and geometrical outlines. It is the 2nd most popular diamond shape after the round brilliant cut and accounts for more than 15% of the diamonds sold.

Among the fancy shape diamonds, the princess cut diamond stands in terms of having the best performance and sparkle. With a modern and trendy appearance, princess cut diamonds have gained popularity in contemporary ring designs.

Round Cut vs Princess Cut: Brilliance and Sparkle

Both the round and princess cut diamonds are designed to maximize brilliance and sparkle when they are cut well. In fact, the princess cut is the most brilliant of all the fancy shapes.

However, when it comes to the crunch, the round diamond outperforms the princess in terms of brilliance and sparkle. This is due to light physics and is inherent of the cutting styles.

As a benchmark, I’ve made a comparison of a round cut vs princess cut diamond ring in the video below. Make sure you watch the full-length video to see how they look like in real life and when they are worn on a finger.



A truly well cut round diamond has the ability to reflect more than 90% of the light entering it and this gives a well cut diamond its bright, scintillating appearance. In contrast, the best cut princess diamond would only be able to return 70% of the light entering it.

So, if you are looking for a diamond with the best sparkle, you might want to choose a round shape instead of a princess cut diamond.

Both beautifully crafted rings you see in the video above are made by James Allen. If you want a high-quality engagement ring at great prices, make sure you check them out for yourself!

Princess Cut vs Round Cut: Which is More Expensive?

When it comes to prices, princess cut diamonds typically cost less per carat compared to round diamonds. This is because a princess cut diamond utilizes a rough diamond more efficiently during the polishing process.

You see, the princess cut diamond has a squarish outline that closely mimics the shape of a rough diamond. This allows the polished stone to retain more of its original weight. On the other hand, round cut diamonds typically require the removal of a lot more weight from the rough stone.

round vs princess cut diamond prices

Round vs princess cut diamond price comparison chart.

As you can see from the price comparison chart above, a princess cut diamond could be 20% to 35% cheaper than a round cut diamond. The price differences would widen even more at larger carat sizes and higher tier color/clarity grades.

While princess cut diamonds are cheaper, they have smaller face up sizes compared to a round diamond with similar carat weight. For example, a 1ct princess cut is 5mm x 5mm in dimensions while a 1 ct round cut is 6.5mm x 6.5mm in diameter.

Princess Cut Diamond vs. Round Cut Diamond: Which One is Better?

square or round makes successful proposal ring

Both princess and round cut diamonds have different value propositions to offer.

Due to their linear appearances (square-like), princess cut diamonds are suitable for more complex ring designs like channel and 3 stone settings. On top of that, they are also more affordable compared to the round cuts.

On the other hand, round diamonds are classic and evergreen choices for engagement rings. They offer unparalleled light performance when cut well and can complement most types of hand shapes.

At the end of the day, the personal taste of the recipient should help you decide which shape to choose. With that, I hope you had gained useful insights in this write up.

Now, I want to hear from you. Which diamond shape do you prefer? The princess cut or the round cut? Leave a comment below to let me know what your thoughts are.

Whether you prefer a princess cut or a round cut diamond, the key to selecting a beautiful diamond is to buy one that is cut for light performance. James Allen and White Flash are 2 vendors I highly recommend for diamonds that are cut with the best brilliance and sparkle.

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  1. Norman-
    March 22, 2018 at 1:23 am

    Is a princess cut diamond the best option for an engagement ring if I am shopping on a budget? My gf has no preferences on shape and I only have two thousand dollars to spend on the ring. I want the best shine from the diamond!

  2. Paul Gian-
    March 25, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    If there’s no preference, then it makes sense to go with a princess cut over a round cut diamond ring. I’ve actually built a $2000 square princess cut diamond ring in a pave setting style here:

    Here’s another tip. You may also want to consider the wearer’s hand and type of fingers she has. You may want to opt for a round diamond if she has smaller sized hands and thicker fingers. If she has larger hands and slender fingers, a princess cut may better complement the look. Strictly speaking, if you want a shiner diamond ring, a round cut would be a better option because of its intrinsic cut properties.

  3. Patricia-
    August 26, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    Thank you for the video and website. The side by side comparison of the round vs princess cut diamond’s shine was eye opening. Is there any reason why princess cut diamonds look smaller compared to round diamonds with the same weight?

    I’ve come across some 1 carat princess cut diamonds that have 6mm by 6mm dimensions and wonder if a larger diamond signifies better cut quality due to weight retention?

  4. Paul Gian-
    August 27, 2018 at 1:05 am

    You’ve asked a great question. Well cut princess diamonds tend to have steep depth percentages as they require a certain depth for them to produce attractive light performance. For a one carat princess cut diamond, having a 6mm by 6mm outline tells me one thing. The diamond isn’t well cut and is spready. In fact, it would have to be cut to extremely shallow proportions and likely with an extremely large table in order to achieve that kind of dimensions. This will adversely affect the fire and brilliance of the diamond. Also, for more details and info, check out this guide I’ve written on buying a square diamond ring. It contains additional tips, images and ideas that you may find useful.

  5. Wanda-
    January 23, 2019 at 8:29 am

    What would be the size differences between a 2 carat round vs princess diamond? Would carat size affect the shine of a princess cut?

  6. Paul Gian-
    January 23, 2019 at 10:42 pm

    This printable carat size chart here should help you visualize things: Carat size has little effect on the shine or luster of a diamond. I think many people mistake the bigger flashes of light coming out of a bigger sized diamond which is due to a proportionate increase in facet size. But really, the shine of a diamond is a factor of cut.

    Also, this article on the topic of buying a two carat princess cut diamond ring may interest you and offer some insights into the things to look out for.

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