Princess Cut Lab Diamonds: The Complete Buying Guide

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In this guide to princess cut lab diamonds, we’ll teach you everything you need to know when buying a princess cut diamond. Whether you’re a first-time diamond buyer or an experienced diamond trader, we’ll help you find the perfect lab diamond and save money!

Princess cut diamonds have become increasingly popular due to their distinctive square or rectangular shape and brilliant faceting pattern, which creates a remarkable play of light. With a contemporary flair and a touch of royalty, princess cut diamonds merge the classic and modern, making them a timeless choice for any discerning individual. The princess cut stands out as a true embodiment of grace and modernity among the many lab diamond shapes and cuts.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect engagement ring or a stunning piece of jewelry for a special occasion, understanding the unique qualities and characteristics of princess cut lab diamonds will help you make an informed choice.

A princess cut lab diamond from Clean Origin
A princess cut lab diamond from Clean Origin.

Throughout this guide to princess cut lab diamonds, we will delve into the origins of the princess cut, explore their key features, discuss factors that influence the quality, and offer practical tips on selecting the perfect princess cut diamond that matches your unique style and preferences. We will also address common misconceptions and shed light on lab-grown princess cut diamonds as a sustainable and ethical alternative.

Lastly, we’ll teach you how to save on princess cut lab diamonds and where to buy the cheapest and best princess cut lab-grown diamonds.

3 best places to buy princess cut lab-grown diamonds

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What is a Princess Cut Lab Diamond?

You might assume princess cut diamonds to be an old diamond shape, but they’re actually relatively new. This diamond shape came to the market in the 1960s.

Princess cut diamonds are attributed to a cutter and manufacture team named Arpad Nagy and Betzalel Ambar. They wanted to create a new square-shaped diamond with brilliance comparable to a round diamond.

A diagram of a princess cut lab-grown diamond from James Allen.
A diagram of a princess cut lab-grown diamond from James Allen

While they couldn’t quite achieve the sparkle and fire of the round diamond, they got pretty close. And with the princess cut’s wide surface and geometric lines, the diamond shape became a favorite alternative to round diamonds. 

Initially, the diamond shape was called the “profile cut” or the “quadrillion cut”. Later, the term “princess cut” was trademarked and attributed to the square brilliant shape. 

Pros and Cons of Princess Cut Diamonds

Pros of princess cut diamonds

  • Princess diamonds look bigger than some other diamond shapes due to their large table size.
  • Princess diamonds are less expensive than a round brilliant of the same carat weight.
  • Princess cut diamonds are the 2nd most popular diamond shape, so you can be sure you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.

Cons of princess cut diamonds

  • The pointed corners of the princess cut diamonds leave your diamond more vulnerable to chipping if struck than other rounded diamond shapes.
  • Dark inclusions in lower diamond clarity grades may appear more noticeable in the table area of a princess cut diamond. 

How to Choose a Princess Cut Lab Diamond

If you’re unfamiliar with the diamond world, finding the best diamond for your engagement ring can feel daunting. Fortunately, there’s not just a single perfect diamond. You don’t need the highest grades in every category, but there are some factors that you need to pay attention to before picking your prize.

The 4Cs of lab diamond quality are a great place to start. The Gemological Institute of America created the 4Cs as a grading system covering 4 major areas of diamond quality:

The 4Cs aren’t the only factors that affect your lab diamond’s price, value, and overall beauty. But these factors each have their own tips, guidelines, and recommendations to keep in mind.

The best thing to remember is that it’s not necessary to have the highest grades on every chart. A balance of grades is much better for both you and your wallet.

However, if you are searching for a colorless brilliant-cut diamond, such as the round brilliant, you should value the diamond cut grade above anything else.

Now, let’s go over some of these tips to help you find the perfect lab-grown princess cut diamond for you! 

Best Cut Quality for Princess Cuts

When people think of cut quality, they may think of diamond cut grades. The GIA developed a cut grade chart, but it’s only applicable to round diamonds. Round brilliant cuts are the only shape awarded cut grades by GIA. 

That’s because round brilliant diamonds have the best brilliance and sparkle than any other diamond shape. They are also the only shape that can be cut to exact proportions and perfect symmetry.

However, the International Gemological Institute (IGI) and the American Gem Society, two other reputable labs that grade diamonds, do grade fancy-shaped diamonds (fancy-shaped lab diamonds are any shape that is not round).

Princess cut diamonds can be given an ideal cut grade on IGI and AGS reports but not GIA ones. While IGI is the leading lab-grown diamond grading institute, the AGS usually doesn’t grade many lab-grown diamonds. 

But if you see a retailer categorizing their princess cut diamonds as having an excellent or ideal cut, its measurements should be within a specific range. We call these the ideal proportions.

Ideally (pun semi-intended), you should opt for lab-grown princess cut diamonds graded by one of the reputable grading institutes, such as IGI, and ensure you receive a diamond certificate.

Example diamond certificate for a lab-grown princess cut diamond.
Example diamond certificate for a lab-grown princess cut diamond (from Clean Origin)

Ideal Proportions for Princess Lab Diamonds

Unlike round diamonds, princess cut lab diamond doesn’t always have cut grades on their reports (if graded by GIA, for example), but IGI and AGS do award a cut grade. In some cases, diamond jewelers will also grade the cut quality themselves, but be aware of that (see, for example, Lightbox or Vrai).

While princess diamonds and other fancy diamond shapes can’t be boiled down to perfect symmetry and proportions like a round brilliant, they have ranges that you should stay within, and select the one you love the most within those ranges.

So, when princess cut lab diamonds include a cut grade, their proportions lie somewhere within a range. The proportions of a princess cut diamond, which will be deemed excellent or ideal, are: 

  • Table Percentage: 64-75%
  • Length to Width Ratio: 1-1.05
  • Depth Percentage: 65-75%
  • Crown Height: 10-15% of the total depth
  • Polish and Symmetry: Excellent

By staying within ideal proportions, you can ensure that your princess cut lab diamond is well-cut. A well-cut princess diamond will exhibit brilliant light performance and stunning beauty.

Lastly, when choosing a setting for your princess cut diamond rings, make sure to choose a setting that covers the corners, whether it be with prongs or a halo. That will reduce the risk of any damage if struck. If you don’t have good cut quality, it may increase the risk of damage, too—another good reason to go for an ideal or excellent cut-graded princess lab diamond.

Best Color Grade for a Princess Cut Lab Diamond

Your princess cut lab diamond’s color grade tells you where it falls on a scale of colorless to faint yellow (unless you’re shopping for a fancy-colored lab diamond).

Why are supposedly colorless lab diamonds colored? Just as diamonds come into contact with minerals to produce inclusions, impurities can also tint the diamond during formation. In diamond formation, nitrogen impurities can cause a diamond to have a yellow or brownish tint. This also is the case for lab-grown and not only mined diamonds.

The GIA’s color grading scale has the following color grades for colorless diamonds: 

  • Colorless: DEF
  • Near Colorless: GHIJ
  • Faint: KLM
  • Light Yellow: N-Z

The colorless range is most desirable for diamond jewelry. But, the color grade is a visual preference only and has no impact on the stability or durability of your diamond.

And further, most people cannot even distinguish a colorless from a near-colorless diamond. Except for the price tag. That’s because colorless diamonds, even lab-grown colorless diamonds, are exceptionally rare and thus exceptionally expensive.

In many cases, you may even prefer a princess cut diamond with a color grade on the lower side. For example, if your lab diamond will be set in a golden metal setting, then the color of the metal will influence the appearance of the diamond. So you may as well choose a lower color grade, such as I or J. You will be saving a lot!

Princess cut lab diamond engagement ring from With Clarity set in yellow gold.
Princess cut lab diamond engagement ring from With Clarity set in yellow gold.

In addition, warmer diamond colors are becoming a trend as opposed to the more sterile, completely colorless diamonds.

And since you’re buying a lab-grown princess cut diamond, your color grade will likely be better. This is because you don’t see too many faint yellow diamonds in lab diamond inventories. And, of course, the much lower cost of a lab-grown diamond vs. mined diamonds allows you to go for better grades.

So don’t select a specific color grade for your princess cut lab diamond. Instead, determine the cut quality and clarity tier. Maybe throw in a minimum carat range too. Then, choose the diamond that looks the best to you. And stay clear of any princess cut lab diamond with a color grade less than J.

Best Clarity Grade for a Lab Created Princess Cut Diamond

A lab diamond’s clarity grade is assigned when a gemological laboratory has assessed a diamond’s internal and external inclusions. 

Inclusions and blemishes happen to every diamond. Even flawless diamonds aren’t void of inclusions, and lab-grown diamonds aren’t devoid of flaws.

Inclusions are internal, while blemishes are external, found on the surface. Internal inclusions affect your diamond visually. They can come in different colors but are usually black or white-colored. The black inclusions are generally more noticeable, so you’re likely to want to find diamonds with light-colored inclusions. 

But even if your diamond has dark inclusions, there are ways to ensure they don’t impede the appearance and brilliance of your princess diamond.

The GIA looks at a diamond and gives it a clarity grade according to the number, size, type, relief, and color of the inclusions in your diamond. 

The GIA’s clarity scale consists of the following grades: 

  • Flawless (F)
  • Internally Flawless (IF)
  • Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1, VVS2) 
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1, VS2) 
  • Slightly Included (SI1, SI2)
  • Included (I1, I2, I3) 

Princess cut diamonds are said to be better at hiding more obvious inclusions found in lower clarity grades. However, the same inclusions will be more visible if your cut quality isn’t good. 

Stray away from large, dark inclusions in princess diamonds. They have a bigger surface area than most diamond shapes, so bigger inclusions will be more noticeable. That goes double for those of you who want a bigger princess diamond too.

We recommend choosing at least SI clarity or above for a princess cut lab diamond. For lab-grown diamonds, inclusions are generally limited in variety since no other mineral than carbon comes into contact with the crystal structure as it forms. 

Lab-created princess cut diamonds aren’t void of inclusions, however. They still follow the same clarity scale as mined diamonds. But you’re more likely to find eye-clean SI clarity diamonds in a lab diamond setting than with mined diamonds.

Best Carat Weight for Princess Diamonds

The carat weight might have been the first detail you’ve chosen about your princess diamond, but we recommend prioritizing the other Cs first. 

Unlike diamond cut, clarity, and color, the lab diamond carat weight you choose doesn’t affect the beauty of your diamond. But it will definitely impact the cost. 

However, bigger is not always better. While many people may still want a “big diamond”, more people are choosing smaller and more elegant diamonds. 

The visual size of a princess cut lab-grown diamond works to your advantage for those wanting a bigger diamond. The square shape and pointed corners make the princess cut look larger than a round brilliant of the same carat weight.

A big diamond doesn’t ensure quality or beauty. It’s easy to spend thousands on a higher carat weight with poor light performance. And that would be a waste. You might as well go for a diamond simulant, like cubic zirconia or Moissanite.

So make sure you pick the best cut grades and do not skimp too much on clarity and color.

The average carat weight for a diamond engagement ring lies around 1-2 carats. For lab-grown diamonds, the average is upped a bit, from 1.5 to 2.5 carats.

A 1.25-carat weight princess cut lab diamond engagement ring example from Brilliant Earth.
A 1.25-carat weight princess cut lab diamond engagement ring example from Brilliant Earth.

Princess cut diamonds above 2 carats are expensive. Cutting a larger stone with minimal flaws and color tint is hard. You’ll want to avoid the lower clarity grades and color grades with princess diamonds over 2 carats. 

That is because, as your diamond increases in size, some lower-grade clarity imperfections will appear more obvious, depending on location. We recommend staying away from I-clarity diamonds in larger carat weights. You probably want to start looking at VS-graded princess cut lab diamonds.

While that’s the bad news for the big diamond lovers, the good news is that you’re not just buying a princess cut diamond. You’re buying a lab-created princess diamond.

That means that you can get high-quality 2-7 carat princess cut diamonds for a whole lot less than if they were natural diamonds (compare the price of lab-grown and mined diamonds). All the best things about a big diamond, without paying as big of a price.

In the next part of our guide to princess cut lab diamonds, we’ll look at how much they cost.

How Much Does a Princess Cut Lab Diamond Cost?

The princess cut diamond is the second most popular diamond shape. It tends to be more affordable than the number one favorite: the round brilliant cut. Though the light performance doesn’t quite match up, the princess cut is typically much less expensive. 

Not only does it appear visibly bigger, but it’s also cheaper. Part of the reason is how much of the rough diamond that is retained when cutting princess-shaped diamonds. When diamonds are cut, the rest of the rough diamond that has been shaved off usually gets discarded.

Round diamonds only retain about 40% of the original rough stone. Princess cut diamonds retain 60-70% of the diamond rough. Since not as much is wasted, producing princess cut diamonds is less expensive for the industry.

Now this isn’t true when compared to every single diamond shape because there are a lot of different factors beyond the 4Cs that determine diamond prices. But, the easiest way to get the best value when choosing a lab-grown princess diamond is by considering all the guidelines within the 4Cs. 

By not choosing the highest grades in every category, you can lower the price of your princess cut diamond. Instead, select the diamond that is eye-clean or has the warmth (or lack thereof) you wouldn’t notice anyway. 

A balance of these grades will help you get a stunning diamond for a good price. And because you’re buying a lab-grown princess cut diamond, you can get it at a 60-80% discount over an equivalent mined diamond.

We have compared the prices of lab-grown diamonds of various carat weights from the best places to buy lab-grown diamonds. See for example:

And sometimes you can save even more. For example, check if there are any lab-grown diamond sales allowing you to save even more on your lab-grown princess cut diamond.

Remember, lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds in every way. Whether formed in a lab or within the earth, the diamonds follow the same quality guidelines and strict grading regime as natural diamonds.

Final Thoughts on Lab-Grown Princess Cut Diamonds

A lab-grown princess diamond is a perfect choice for an engagement ring you’ll love forever. But remember, choosing the best diamond is not about its shape but rather its quality and overall beauty. 

And to have a stunning princess cut lab diamond, you don’t need the best grades on all fronts. Never compromise your cut quality, as it controls durability and sparkle. Color, clarity, and carat weight are all up to you and how you see them relative to your diamond.

Choose the diamond that fits within these guidelines and tips while also choosing the one that is the most beautiful to you, and you’ll end up with the perfect princess cut lab diamond at the best possible price.

But where should you buy princess cut lab-grown diamonds? Let’s look at that next.

Where to Buy Princess Cut Lab Diamonds

At LabGrownCarats.com, we review lab diamond jewelers, and based on our numerous in-depth reviews, we recommend the following places to buy princess cut lab-grown diamonds.

Ritani review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Ritani

Ritani tops our list of the best and cheapest places to buy princess cut lab diamonds because of their market-leading low prices and price transparency, the most extensive inventory of lab diamonds, customization options, and jewelry store partnership.

Ritani tops our list of the best and cheapest places to buy princess cut lab diamonds.
James Allen is one of our best-rated places to buy princess cut lab diamonds overall.
James Allen review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

James Allen

James Allen is among our best-rated places to buy princess cut lab diamonds. The service is top-notch, prices are low, the selection is enormous, and the quality and craftsmanship are superb.

Brilliant Earth is the leading sustainable lab-grown diamond jeweler and one of the best places to buy princess cut lab diamonds.
Brilliant Earth review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Brilliant Earth

Brilliant Earth is the leading sustainable lab-grown diamond jeweler. Their deep commitment to sustainability, including being the only seller of sustainable graded lab diamonds, sets them apart. The prices are excellent, too, and they have an extensive inventory of princess cut lab diamonds.

With Clarity review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

With Clarity

With Clarity is another of our favorite places to buy lab-grown diamond engagement rings because of their unique 3D ring replica home previews (that you can try for free). In addition, they have a large selection of stunning princess cut lab diamonds and excellent prices.

With Clarity is another of our favorite places to buy princess cut lab diamonds.
Clean Origin is another of our favorite places to buy princess cut lab diamonds.
Clean Origin review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Clean Origin

Clean Origin is another of our favorite places to buy lab-grown diamond jewelry, including princess cut lab diamonds. We recommend Clean Origin for its unbeatable prices, a large selection of lab-grown diamonds and jewelry, and excellent support (plus 100-day risk-free returns).

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Rolf Hartmann
Rolf Hartmann

Rolf Hartmann has decades of experience in the jewelry industry. He knows everything you need to know to find the perfect diamond. He's an expert in lab-grown diamonds and has followed the exciting development of lab diamonds from industrial usage to the incredible gemstone quality that lab-grown diamonds are today. Rolf guides you to find the right diamond at the best possible price and expertly and transparently reviews all lab-grown diamond sellers.

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