If your taste skews toward vintage jewelry and design from the early 20th century, you may find a soulmate stone in an Asscher cut diamond. Similar to the emerald cut but with distinct and original differences, the Asscher cut diamond is an elegant, understated, and simply beautiful choice for an engagement ring. It’s no wonder why this cut has only been increasing in popularity over recent years, and we’ve got all the details on how to choose your perfect Asscher cut diamond.
The Guide to Asscher Cut Diamonds
History of Asscher Cut Diamonds
The Asscher cut was created in 1902 by famed gemstone cutter Joseph Asscher. At the time, the Asscher family of diamond cutters had already been established as the preeminent diamond cutters in the world. Founded in Amsterdam in 1854, the Asschers came to be responsible for cutting some of the world’s most important and largest diamonds, the most well-known being the Cullinan. Much of their work exists today either in museums around the world or as part of royal European collections.
When Asscher was designing this cut, he wanted to take the classic emerald cut and leverage the beauty found within rough diamonds to produce a more brilliant diamond. In the end, the Asscher cut adopted larger step facets, a higher crown, and smaller table to provide more brilliance along with the “hall of mirrors” look.
The Asscher cut was the first diamond cut to be granted a patent, and the Asscher family was the only company that could produce the cut until after World War II. Its height of popularity was during the Art Deco period when clean, crisp lines and a geometric aesthetic dominated jewelry design. This is why the Asscher cut diamond gives off a vintage appeal along with its stunning, sophisticated look.
Asscher cut diamond (left) vs. emerald cut (right)
When to Go Asscher: Pros & Cons
While diamond cut choice is always a matter of personal preference, knowing some details of each one will help you understand what features deserve the most weight. We’ve put together the pros and cons of the Asscher cut diamond to consider:
- - Perfect for those who love the class and sophistication of the emerald cut but want more sparkle.
- - Features a unique windmill facet pattern that is unlike any other diamond cut out there.
- - The cut of the Asscher does not leave it with any specific vulnerable points, making it a very durable choice.
- - A versatile choice, the Asscher cut diamond goes well with most settings, styles, and metal colors.
- - They have reduced brilliance and scintillation due to the nature of being a step cut diamond.
- - The open faceting style of step cuts allows for imperfections and inclusions to be seen more easily.
- - Asscher cut diamonds are very rare to find, both in general and in a high quality.
- - Due to their rarity and wasteful cutting process, Asscher cuts are typically about 10% more expensive than other diamond shapes of the same carat weight, except the round brilliant.
Asscher vs. Emerald Cut Diamonds
Evaluating an Asscher Cut Diamond: the 4Cs
The Asscher cut diamond can come in a variety of facet patterning styles. The difference between each facet structure lies in the number of pavilion and crown steps that the Asscher diamond is cut to. What can get confusing or overwhelming about this is that there is no right or wrong answer for best facet patterning. Each combination can yield a stunning looking stone if it is cut to good proportions and angles.
The choice for facet structure depends on the shape and composition of the rough crystal and the decisions a cutter makes as to how to create the best quality diamond with what’s presented. So without considering the faceting structure, there are a couple of features of a cut that require some awareness.
First, the length-to-width ratio. An Asscher cut diamond is a square shape and traditionally has a ratio of 1:1. However, not all stones are cut to this ratio and some can even start to appear more rectangular although most people prefer ratios between 1:1 and 1.1:1. The other feature is that when a stone has been cut badly, windows and extinction can occur. Windows are large open white spaces in the diamond, and extinction is the opposite, large open black spaces in the diamond.
The Asscher cut diamond’s value really comes from its clarity and smooth luster. Because of the step cuts, it does tend to retain color more than brilliant cuts, and often shows even slight tints of color. All color in the diamond is going to be subjective as to whether it’s appealing or detracts from the look.
For an Asscher cut, a G or higher color grade will provide a definite whiteness, but the visual difference is slight. An H-I color grade usually provides the best value for relative whiteness. It’s also important to remember the type of setting you want. Metal choice and larger side stones that require color matching will help direct the color grade.
Since step cuts do not have the added benefit of a brillicant cut, which chop up the incoming and outgoing light in countless ways due to the facets, clarity is extremely important for quality and an appealing look. Step cuts don’t provide the same fire and sparkle as brilliant cuts that are so effective at hiding imperfections from sight.
The appeal of step cuts lies in their showing off the simple beauty of a clean, crisp, and sharp gemstone. Generally, VS2 or better clarity grades are recommended since anything lower is likely to not be an eye clean diamond. Also, it’s important to keep any inclusions away from the center of the stone with its big, unobstructed view to the center of the stone.
The Asscher cut accounts for about 1.5-2% of cut diamonds in the world. This makes them incredibly rare and even harder to find in a quality and look that is appealing to your preferences. In fact, since they’re so rare, many jewelers will only carry a few or none at all. While they can be found in a range of carat weights and sizes, you may need to work closely with a trusted jeweler to source one that you love. As with all diamonds, they will be priced by carat with a significant jump in price at each whole carat.
Choosing an Ideal Asscher Cut Diamond
Staying within a certain set of parameters for your Asscher cut diamond is going to set you up for the best quality and value stone. Starting with the cut, to achieve an appealing proportion in a stone, look for a depth between 60-65% and a table size between 60-67%.
Of course, these aren’t strict rules, but they provide a good baseline for finding a quality stone. However, since it is impossible to estimate the light return of an Asscher cut diamond by numbers alone, it is critical to view them in person or have an excellent video with movement to review.
Poor symmetry in a cut is more apparent in an Asscher cut diamond than just about any other diamond shape. To combat this, make sure the windmills extend all the way into the middle of the stone and converge into a single point. This creates a very pleasing balance and helps in light performance. Any that join up before reaching the center are the mark of a poorly cut stone.
Asscher cut diamonds are also notorious for being too deep and holding a lot of carat weight in the bottom, which does not help at all in the perception of carat size. Because of how the Asscher is cut, it is very easy for cutters to leave a lot of weight in the bottom and make the stone too deep. A too deep diamond usually does nothing to benefit the overall look of the stone.
Asscher Cut Diamond Prices
Asscher cut diamonds are difficult to cut and waste a lot of the diamond rough. Asschers have the most facets of any diamond cut, and 72 facets means there are more opportunities for a mistake to happen. The amount of facets and the very precise layering of facets to create the windmill pattern is difficult to achieve. Any slight error can completely throw off the symmetry and overall appeal of the entire stone. This level of precision and skill gets costly.
Asscher cut diamonds also look smaller than other diamonds of the same carat weight specifically because more weight is carried at the bottom of the stone. So you’re paying for carat weight that you’re not seeing reflected in the size. It’s often the case that you’ll probably want to add a quarter carat or more to equal the full look you want. This can get costly as Asscher cut diamonds are typically around 10% more expensive than other diamond shapes of the same carat weight, except the round brilliant.
Angela: 3 stone asscher engagement ring
Florence: ornate asscher cut diamond ring
Designing a Ring with a Asscher Cut Diamond
Asscher cut diamonds effortlessly achieve an elegant, chic, and modern look while simultaneously exuding a vintage flare. It’s so incredibly versatile that there’s really not a design or style that isn’t well-suited to an Asscher cut diamond.
For example, our Azadi features a personally sourced 1 carat Asscher cut diamond in a prong setting with a peekaboo halo for some extra pop. And instead of leaving it as a solitaire, we covered the band in sparkly pavé-set diamonds for a timeless engagement ring style.
In our Angela, we upped the wow factor and set a gorgeous 3 carat Asscher cut diamond in a three stone setting, flanked by two perfectly matched emerald cut diamonds. Then we finished off the band with elegant channel-set diamonds for a vintage-inspired stunner.
And we really stepped out of the box for Florence, a refined yet intricately detailed vintage-inspired engagement ring. Set on its side for an unexpected twist, we placed an Asscher cut diamond as the centerpiece of a swirling and swooping design, highlighted by milgrain throughout.
If your heart is set on an Asscher cut diamond, you now have all the information you need to make an excellent choice that will forever have you looking down at your ring finger with delight. Just beware of the pitfalls of symmetry and a poor cut, throw in a little patience, and you’re well on your way to the engagement ring of your dreams!