The Asscher cut is one of the less well-known diamond shapes. But it certainly does make an outstanding option for a striking diamond engagement ring, and the fact that it is somewhat mysterious adds to its appeal. We are often asked about Asscher diamonds, so we have compiled a Q & A style response below, which should explain everything you need to know.
WHAT IS AN ASSCHER CUT DIAMOND?
The Asscher cut is the clarity Queen of diamonds! The shape was invented primarily to showcase the precious gem’s qualities of depth and lucidity. It’s an extremely elegant shape, with a luminous aura, and a cut which can exhibit some of the most astounding attributes of the best diamonds. It’s a relatively recent creation, having first been designed and developed in 1902, by Mr Joseph Asscher of the Asscher Diamond Company of Amsterdam. The family business would later become known as the Royal Asscher Diamond Company, after Queen Juliana of the Netherlands bestowed a royal title upon the important Dutch enterprise.
There are two types of Asscher cut diamonds: those produced as per the patent, before the company became known as the Royal Asscher Diamond Company, and those after (post 1946). Basically, the former have 58 facets and are known as Standard Asscher Cut. These are a classic Art Deco style diamond. The latter - Royal Asscher Cut - are like version 2.0; enhanced with extra facets (74 of them), and a higher crown (the top section of the diamond) – the regal terminology befitting the name. Asscher diamonds have a square or technically octagonal form; essentially a square with four cropped corners.
WHAT ARE ASSCHER DIAMONDS FAMOUS FOR?
The stand out quality of a good Asscher diamond is its depth. This is what gives it the amazing clarity and sensational shimmer which makes it so desirable. The cut makes ultimate use of the visual phenomenon of spatial perspective. It should be like gazing along an infinite hall of mirrors, when you stare down into the crystalline depths of an Asscher. There is a splendid play of shards of light, which has an entrancing energy.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN AN ASSCHER DIAMOND?
It’s best to be patient when selecting an Asscher diamond. You want to get the perfect one for your dream ring, and Asscher shaped stones tend to have individual personalities, more so than other shapes. Because they are so clear, they reveal a lot, which is wonderful, but can also mean any flaws or imperfections can potentially be visible. Jewellers talk about ‘thresholds’ when it comes to making these decisions – which really means, to what extent are you willing to overlook tiny blemishes, for the sake of having a big, gorgeous diamond which presents with incredible clarity and soul.
It's best to approach it by considering the C’s separately:
- Colour: if the colour is not perfect, this will be plain to see with an Asscher diamond. We recommend that you don’t go any lower than G colour. Particularly if you are thinking of surrounding an Asscher centre stone with smaller diamond accents. If so, you would want the colour of both to match up.
- Clarity: as discussed, this is the Asscher cut diamond’s strong suit. If the diamond you want is to be 1.5 carats or more (with Asscher diamonds you want decent size), then you really need to go VS1 or higher. You can often find VS2 stones in Asscher cut which will show fantastic clarity also, but any lower will most likely be a little lacklustre.
- Cut: Asscher diamonds are known as ‘step cut’. What does this mean? If you look at an Asscher shape diamond from the side, you see the facets go down from the crown to the culet in steps, which looks a lot like a miniature grand staircase – with a landing at the top and horizontal step sections going around the pavilion. The design is considered rather ingenious. This is also why Asscher cut diamonds are described as having ‘architectural’ form. The steps are like terraces. The shape reminds us of famous Art Deco buildings like the Empire State or Chrysler buildings in the USA. The form is influenced by ancient pyramid-like structures called ‘Ziggurats’. The quality of the cut needs to be top shelf. The proportions should be perfect, and the depth should be significant. The deeper the better, basically - proportionally speaking. The deeper, the more brilliant the Asscher diamond will be, even though this is not its best feature. If you have an Asscher which does display a considerable amount of brilliance as well as superlative clarity, you have a winner!
- Carat: Asscher cut diamonds need to be of generous dimensions to really be at peak performance. Anywhere from 1 carat upwards is fine. Around the 1.5 carat mark is ideal.
I LIKE ASSCHER CUT DIAMONDS BECAUSE OF THEIR SQUARE SHAPE.
WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER SQUARE STONES?
This is a very common query. Many people like the square shaped diamonds, and there is a small family of them – all similar but slightly different. As such, Asschers are frequently compared to the others, so how do they go?
- Asscher shape and cushion cut diamonds: these are quite alike, but cushion cut has a more rounded shape overall, not an architectural form.
- Asscher shape and emerald cut diamonds: the two are very similar, but emerald cut stones have different corners – they are shallow cut and not cropped in the same way. Emerald cut diamonds also tend to be more elongated in shape, Aschers more square.
- Asscher shape and princess cut diamonds: the princess has more facets and has sharp conners. The princess cut is admired more for its sparkle, not as much for its clarity.
- Asscher shape and radiant cut diamonds: radiant cut diamonds also aim to draw in the viewer, but their shape is not as striking as the Asscher. They tend to have extra brilliance because of their extra facets, but less clarity.
HOW MUCH DO ASSCHER CUT DIAMONDS COST IN RELATION TO OTHERS?
An Asscher cut diamond uses up a whole lot more of the rough stone from which it is created, compared to other shapes. So, from an environmental and sustainability perspective, Asschers are excellent. Price wise, Asschers are typically less per carat, but you do need to purchase higher quality stones. There is also a lot of work involved in the cutting, which adds to the cost. But it does depend, of course, on how large you go and the calibration of colour, clarity and cut from stone to stone.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SETTINGS FOR ASSCHER CUT DIAMONDS?
The most popular settings for Asscher cut diamond engagement rings are cathedral, channel, pavé and solitaire. An Asscher centre stone looks magnificent in a halo setting, with complementary stones surrounding it. Asscher diamonds go wonderfully when matched with eternity wedding bands. Asschers suit stud earrings and tennis bracelets splendidly. The nature of Asscher shape diamonds means that the colour of the setting you choose will be reflected and magnified, so make sure to bear that in mind.
Asscher cut diamonds are more about subtlety and restraint than other shapes. They are a fabulous, stylish choice for those who love architectural form in jewellery and design. For a vintage or antique feel, Asscher diamonds are superb. They speak to intensity and essence; their shimmer is a force which seems to possess wisdom. The grace of an Asscher cut diamond engagement ring embodies truth, authenticity and inner beauty.