What is an Asscher Cut Diamond?
Asscher cut diamonds feature an octagonal shape and facets arranged in parallel lines on all sides. This diamond shape also has a high crown and a deep pavilion, both of which contribute to its signature sparkle. The Royal Asscher Diamond Company developed two kinds of Asscher cuts: the original Asscher cut and the Royal Asscher cut.
In this guide, we cover everything you need to know about the Asscher cut to help you determine whether an Asscher cut engagement ring is right for you. We also compare the Asscher cut to some other diamond shapes that are similar and provide expert tips on how to choose an Asscher diamond.
Characteristics of Asscher Cut Diamonds
Asscher diamonds have a modern, clean look thanks to their rectilinear shape. Sometimes called a ‘square-emerald’ cut, Asscher diamonds were very popular during the Art Deco period.
Generally speaking, Asscher diamonds have 58 facets – the same number as round diamonds. However, it is the way in which these facets are arranged that gives them their unique ‘hall of mirrors’ look.
Another defining feature of Asscher cut diamonds is their shape. Their length-to-width ratio is the same, like that of a square, but they have trimmed corners like a cushion cut. The result is an octagonal shape that is somewhere between the perfect square of a princess cut and a round cut.
How The Asscher Cut Diamond Came To Be
The Asscher cut was created over a century ago by Joseph Asscher, founder of the I J Asscher Diamond Company.
Prior to its invention, the Asscher brothers had already established themselves as expert diamond cutters. As a matter of fact, the Asscher family became renowned for cutting some of the world’s most prestigious diamonds, and some of the largest too.
Following its debut onto the diamond market, it took several decades for the Asscher cut to gain traction. But with the emergence of the Art Deco movement, the Asscher cut quickly rose to popularity.
The Asscher cut was also the first diamond cut to ever be patented. Its patent protected it from being replicated by other diamantaires until it expired during the height of World War II.
Step cuts like the Asscher and emerald cut are among the oldest diamond cuts from the Late Modern Period. The reason why the Asscher cut appeared before the round brilliant cut is because there was less precision involved in the cutting process.
Reasons To Buy an Asscher Cut Diamond
Many people are captivated by the Asscher cut’s clean, sophisticated look. The elongated rectangular facets enable plenty of light to enter the stone, resulting in large flashes.
Because this faceting style was all the rage during the Art Deco era, Asscher cut diamonds will also appeal to those with vintage tastes.
In addition, if a step-cut diamond is what you’re after, an Asscher cut diamond ring is an excellent choice. You could also opt for an emerald or baguette cut diamond if you prefer a more elongated shape to the Asscher cut.
Asscher Cut Diamonds Vs The Most Popular Diamond Shapes
Although you’ll find that the Asscher cut isn’t the most popular diamond shape for engagement rings (that title goes to the round cut diamond), it does give you the chance to stand out in a crowd. There is also a variety of other shapes that will appeal to those looking for something less mainstream. Below, you can find comparisons between the Asscher cut and three similar diamond shapes: emerald cuts, princess cuts, and cushion cuts.
Asscher Cut Vs Emerald Cut
As mentioned above, Asscher cut diamonds are often referred to as a ‘square emerald’ cut. Both cuts are known as ‘step cuts’ because they have facets running in parallel lines on all sides.
The main difference between Asscher and emerald cuts lies in their shape. Emerald cuts have a longer, more rectangular shape, with a length-to-width ratio between 1.30 and 1.50.
Asscher cuts, on the other hand, are predominantly square in shape, with an even length-to-width ratio. Like the emerald cut, they have cropped corners (rather than the pointed corners of a perfect square). This means that they actually have eight sides like an octagon.
Emerald cut diamonds also offer the same look as other elongated shapes such as pear, oval, and marquise. By comparison, Asscher cut diamonds tend to appear more like a traditional round diamond, especially when seen from afar.
Note that the elongated shape of the emerald cut provides a larger surface area, which can make it look bigger than an Asscher diamond of the same carat weight. But the Asscher cut diamond will offer more shine.
Emerald and Asscher cut diamonds are also called ‘step cuts’. This is a class of diamond cuts encompassing square and rectangular stone shapes whose facets run in straight lines that are parallel to the girdle.
These stones also typically have cropped corners, giving them an octagonal shape. This is done to reinforce the edges of the stone since pointed corners are more prone to breakage.
Because the crown and the pavilion are somewhat shallow, a step-cut diamond does not display the same fire as a brilliant-cut stone. Instead, more attention is drawn to the diamond’s clarity, whiteness, and polish.
This means that imperfections are much more visible in emerald and Asscher diamonds, so you will need to look for a diamond with a higher clarity grade.
Generally speaking, there is no significant price difference between Asscher and emerald cut stones. Both shapes are also cheaper than round cut diamonds. But because imperfections can be easier to see in step-cut diamonds, you may end up paying more for a stone with a better clarity grade.
So, when you are choosing between an emerald and Asscher cut diamond, it all boils down to which shape you prefer.
Asscher Cut Vs Princess Cut
Although Asscher and princess cuts are similar in shape, there are some key differences between the two. Most notably, princess cuts have more sparkle because of how their facets are arranged.
Both Asscher and princess cut diamonds have a predominantly square shape, meaning they have an equal length-to-width ratio. The difference lies in the corners. A princess cut diamond is a perfect square shape with sharp, right-angled corners and four sides. Conversely, an Asscher cut diamond has trimmed corners that give it an octagonal shape with eight sides.
Asscher cuts and princess cuts belong to two different faceting styles. Asscher cuts are a type of ‘step cut’, featuring a large table and straight facets running parallel to the girdle. They also have a high crown and a deep pavilion. Princess cuts belong to the ‘brilliant cuts’, which maximize a stone’s brilliance.
This means that a princess diamond offers a lot more sparkle than an Asscher cut diamond, all other factors equal. Princess cuts are also better at hiding color and imperfections, meaning you can get away with buying a diamond with a slightly lower grade compared to an Asscher cut.
Because princess cuts belong to the highly sought-after brilliant class of cuts (the same class as round diamonds), they tend to be more expensive per carat than Asscher cut diamonds. However, the price usually evens out when you consider that you need to move up one or two grades in clarity for an Asscher cut diamond.
Asscher Cut Vs Cushion Cut
Another shape that bears a close resemblance to the Asscher cut is the cushion cut. Both are predominantly square cuts with trimmed corners, although rectangular cushion cuts are not uncommon.
Asscher cuts and cushion cuts can be differentiated by the shape of their corners. Asscher cuts have straight angles on each corner, giving them an octagonal shape. Cushion cuts have rounded corners resembling a pillow, hence the name.
Asscher cuts and cushion cuts also differ in terms of how they react to light. This is because cushion cut diamonds are brilliant cut diamonds like the princess cut. Thus, cushion cuts offer more fire (colored light reflection) compared to Asscher cuts, which offer slightly more brilliance (white light reflection).
Both Asscher and cushion cuts are quite affordable. This is because a large portion of the rough stone is preserved when the diamond is cut. Their similarities in shape also mean that diamonds of the same carat weight will appear the same size to the naked eye (as opposed to emerald cuts, which often appear larger for stones of the same carat weight). This means you’ll get around the same value for money when buying an Asscher or a cushion cut, all other factors equal. However, bear in mind that you may need to move up a clarity grade or two for an Asscher cut diamond, making cushion cuts slightly more affordable.
How To Choose an Asscher Cut Diamond
Like all other diamond cuts, there are several factors to consider when choosing an Asscher cut diamond. We’ve compiled a guide to all these factors below to help you get the most bang for your buck when it comes to choosing an Asscher cut diamond ring.
Asscher Cut Diamond Clarity
Clarity is by far the most distinguishing factor for Asscher cuts compared to other diamond shapes. This is because Asscher cuts do not disperse light in the same way as brilliant cuts, which happens to be a very good way to hide inclusions.
In other words, it’s much easier to spot imperfections in an Asscher diamond because its facets don’t break up the light entering the stone in the way that brilliant cuts do. They are not cut for brilliance. Rather, their beauty lies in being a clean and sharp gemstone.
What We Recommend
Because the table of an Asscher cut diamond is like a large window into the heart of the stone, any inclusions will be very easy to see. For this reason, we recommend a VS2 clarity grade or higher to get your money’s worth.
However, it is sometimes possible to find an Asscher diamond with SI1 clarity that is still clear to the naked eye. This usually occurs when the inclusions are located toward the edges of the diamond, directly beneath the step facets. So, if you’re looking for a lower grade than VS2 clarity, make sure that there aren’t any visible imperfections in the heart of the stone.
Asscher Cut Diamond Cut Quality
Unlike round brilliant diamonds, whose cut quality is evaluated according to a set of diamond industry standards, Asscher cuts are only graded based on their symmetry and polish. In other words, there is no general consensus on the parameters that constitute the perfect Asscher diamond cut.
What We Recommend
A good rule of thumb is to look for a diamond with a total depth between 60% and 68%. The total depth is calculated by dividing the diameter of the girdle (the width of the diamond) by the length of the culet (the height).
In brilliant cuts, the total depth has a significant effect on how well the diamond will refract light. But for Asscher cuts, this isn’t a problem. Thus, you should aim to find a stone with as low a depth as possible. This is because a shallower diamond will look bigger, saving you some money on carat weight.
Asscher Cut Diamond Color
As mentioned elsewhere, brilliant cuts like the round brilliant and princess cuts are good at hiding color. Color refers to the slight yellow tint that white diamonds sometimes exhibit. Of course, you also get fancy-colored diamonds like pink, red, blue, and canary yellow.
Asscher cuts, on the other hand, are good at retaining color. This means you need to be slightly more picky when it comes to choosing a color grade for an Asscher cut diamond.
Also, bear in mind that if you are in the market for an Asscher cut engagement ring, you will need to ensure that the color of your center diamond matches the color of the accent stones.
What We Recommend
Because Asscher cuts retain color slightly better than round brilliant and princess cuts, we recommend buying a diamond with a minimum of an H color grade. Anything lower, like a J, and you can expect to see some slight color. You can also move up to a G, which will provide you with some incremental whiteness. That being said, the visual difference between an H and a G is often so slight that it typically isn’t worth the extra money.
Also, note that the color of the setting metal you choose for your engagement ring will influence the color of the center stone. A warm metal like yellow gold will offset any yellow tint, whereas a light-colored metal like white gold will enhance it.
Frequently Asked Questions About Asscher Cut Diamonds
Do Asscher diamonds sparkle?
Asscher cut diamond rings do sparkle, albeit more softly than round and princess cuts. If you’re looking for an Asscher cut diamond with more brilliance, you’ll need to find one with a high cut quality. Alternatively, you can always opt for a princess or a cushion cut, which are similar in shape but offer more sparkle.
What is the difference between a radiant cut and an Asscher cut?
The main visual difference between Asscher and radiant cuts is that the former is eight-sided, while the latter is four. Radiant cut diamonds also have a facet pattern that makes them appear like cracked glass, making them almost as sparkly as a round brilliant. Asscher cuts offer much less sparkle by comparison, and are typically less expensive as a result.
What is a Royal Asscher cut?
The Royal Asscher cut replaced the original Asscher cut after its patent expired during World War II. While the original Asscher cut has 58 facets, the Royal Asscher cut has 74. The Royal Asscher also features a higher crown. Although both cuts were patented by the Royal Asscher Diamond Company, any diamond cutter can now cut stones in the original Asscher style since its patent is no longer in effect.
What is the best setting for an Asscher cut diamond?
The best setting for an Asscher cut diamond engagement ring is a solitaire. This will emphasize the unique shape of the Asscher cut and make it stand out. You can find Asscher cut engagement rings in yellow gold, rose gold, white gold, and platinum.
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