Some diamond cuts have been around for a number of centuries, while others such as the radiant cut are a much more recent cut. The Asscher cut is one of those that boast a century of existence. Its history goes back to 1902 Holland where the Asscher brothers were looking for the perfect cut for an engagement ring.
Already the brothers were famous for cutting the Cullinan. Its 3,106 carats made it the largest diamond in the world. But it wasn’t until the 1920s where the popularity of the Asscher cut saw rapid growth.
Then for a period after that, if you wanted to buy an Asscher cut diamond, chances are you could only find it in antique jewelry stores. However, in 2002, its popularity was rejuvenated and many people started going for the cut.
The sudden surge in the demand was due to a difference in the cut which caused the stone to achieve an even higher level of brilliance compared to the original cut by the Asscher brothers. The standard Asscher cut, which was the original, had 58 facets while the Royal Asscher cut has 78 facets which are the more modern cut. Since then the interest has only gone one way—up!
The shape of the Asscher cut
The modern Asscher cut diamond looks very similar to the emerald cut. The main difference is that the Asscher cut has a smaller table, larger step cuts, and a higher crown. Because of this, the Asscher cut diamond is much more brilliant than the emerald cut.
When you look down right into the table of an Asscher cut diamond that has been properly and professionally cut, you should be able to see concentric squares. However, the only way to see this is if the pavilion facets underneath have the proper cut
Similar to the emerald cut the Asscher cut is cropped at the corners. Due to the square shape, however, this gives the Asscher cut an octagonal look. The look tends to disappear when it is placed on a 4-prong setting leaving the square shape.
The length to width ratio of the Asscher cut is often 1.00. However, it is very possible to find one that is cut in a slightly rectangular shape. Note that if there is only a slight difference between the length and the width such as 1.05, the eye will still interpret this as a square Asscher cut.
It is not very easy to find an Asscher cut diamond mainly because it is among the rarer cuts. However, with a bit of informed searching, you can locate the ideal Asscher cut diamond for you.
Relationship between the shape and color
The color that will be most appealing to you will very much be subjective when it comes to the Asscher cut diamond. It is however much easier to see the color thanks to the large open facets on the stone This is especially the case with larger diamonds that are over 1.5 carats in weight.
There are many buyers that will go for the warmer colors that are between G-H on the color scale. However, the price goes up as the diamonds get more and more colorless. These are between D-F.
Most buyers will only buy an Asscher cut diamond if it falls in the D-F color grade regardless of the price. With the naked eye however it is not easy to tell the difference.
The table below will help you evaluate the Asscher cut color grade.
|.51 to 1.0 ct.||D-F||G||H-I||J-K||>K|
|1.0 to 2.0 ct.||D-F||D-F||G||H-I||>I|
|Fluoro||None||Faint||Medium||Strong- Very strong||Strong- Very strong|
Asscher cut clarity guide
Thanks to the fact that the Asscher cut has a flat table, you are able to look through the gem in an unobstructed fashion. Because of this, you can easily spot any inclusions with your naked eye.
The main reason why many people would go for the Asscher cut is of course, for the clarity. However, if there are inclusions then this will not make the diamond very appealing.
Some diamond shapes due to their faceting such as the princess cut and the round cut will reflect light in a certain way resulting in an intensely bright and sparkly diamond. Because of this, the flaws in the diamond and the impurities will be hidden as the light shines on your eyes.
Since the Asscher cut doesn’t reflect light in such a brilliant fashion, you can see right through it and it is much easier for the eye to notice flaws.
Because of this very fact, it is even harder to spot eye clean Asscher cut diamonds. It is therefore advisable to pick stones that have a VS2 clarity rating. While you can do with a lower clarity rating when it comes to other diamond cuts which tend to hide the inclusions, this is not the case with the Asscher cut.
It is, therefore, a good idea to balance the appearance of the diamond with its price. In many of the diamond cuts available, you can strike a good balance between appearance and price with an SI1 clarity grade. However, to get the same balance with the Asscher cut, you will need to strike a clarity grade of VVS2.
Below is a list of clarity ratings as per the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
- FL—Flawless, no inclusions
- IF—Internally flawless, no inclusions only blemishes
- VVSI and VVS2—Very very slightly included, has inclusions but difficult to spot
- SI1 and SI2—Slightly included, the inclusions are noticeable
- I1 and I2— Obviously included
The chart below offers guidelines for the clarity of the Asscher cut.
|.51 to 1.0 ct.||FL-VS1||VS2||SI1||SI1||>SI2|
|1.0 to 2.0 ct.||FL-VVS2||VS1-VS2||SI1||SI2||>SI2|
Ascher cut diamond setting
The Asscher cut diamond will look stunning in many different settings. However, perhaps the best of these settings is one that displays a vintage look that has elaborate detailing. Granted there are other diamond shapes that are much more brilliant but once the Asscher cut is set on a halo setting, it tends to spark more.
They are even more stunning when set on an earring or bracelet.
Unlike the marquise cut or the pear cut, the Asscher cut diamond doesn’t have vulnerable points or edges. You will therefore not need to place it in a protected setting. This shape is also highly versatile and will work well with different types of settings
If you prefer to go with the prong setting, the 4 prong is by far the most popular. It holds the diamond from its 4 edges and turns an otherwise octagonal look into a square look.
Then there is the halo setting that we mentioned above. It is one of the best ways to add sparkle and brilliance to an otherwise clear Asscher cut diamond. You will also find that it will provide extra protection to a stone that may not really need it. That said, it wouldn’t hurt.
An Asscher cut diamond can also have a three stone setting. Not only will it add sparkle but will add depth as well. Since the diamond cut is so versatile, it allows you to pick any shape stone that you want for the side setting.
And if you are one for the vintage look, the Ascher cut will blend perfectly with this. That said if there is a setting to be avoided with the Asscher cut it is the bezel. This hides the diamond and will not really add to the sparkle and brilliance.
How to avoid bad Asscher cut diamonds
When the gem has not been cut properly you are likely to experience windows and extinction. The symmetry will need to be perfect to prevent this.
Windows are the white and very conspicuous spaces in the diamond where light is not being reflected back to you. Instead, you are going to see through the diamond.
The opposite of windows is extinction. In this case, there will be dark areas in the stone as a result of facets that are misaligned.
Most of the time you are more likely to spot extinctions when holding the diamond at an angle. Since there will be very little light reflection, this will cause the stone to be less brilliant. If you were to look at an Asscher cut diamond and these were the first things that you noticed, then you should probably pick another stone.
Often a grading report will not provide you with this type of information and is therefore important to first take a look at the stone before deciding on the purchase. Videos and images on the actual stone will help.
Understanding the cut parameters of the Asscher cut diamond
Note that the GIA will not offer a quality grade on the cut of the Asscher cut diamond. It is thus crucial that you understand how to judge the quality by yourself so as to make the best purchase decisions.
The depth is the first main factor to consider when choosing your Ascher cut. It has quite the deep cut which means a large percentage of the diamond is underneath. A cut that has a depth range of between 60 and 67% is ideal as this can make the diamond appear larger.
Go for either good, very good, or even excellent symmetry or polish.
The squarer the Asscher cut the better to go for a length to width ration of 1.05 or 1.00. The chart below offers guidelines to the cut of the Asscher cut diamond.
|Depth%||61-67||59-60.9 or67.1 to 70||57-58.9 or70.1 to 74||54-56.9 or 74.1-79||<54 or >79|
|Table%||61-69||57-60 or 70-72||54-56 or 73-74||51-53 or 75-79||<51 or >79|
|Girdle||Very thin to slightly thick||Very thin to slightly thick||Very thin to thick||Very thin to very thick||Extra thin to extra thick|
|Length-to-width ratio||1.00 to 1.03||1.00 to 1.03||1.04-1.05||1.06-1.08||>1.08|
Ascher cut to shape and price
Due to the depth of the Asscher cut diamond, it uses the rough diamond much more efficiently when compared to say, round diamonds for example. Near the center of the diamond is where most of the carat weight is distributed due to the shape of the cut.
Because of the nature of the cut, the Asscher tends to look smaller. Because of this fact they are much cheaper compared to the round diamonds which look visually larger, that is when you hold all other factors constant. Overall the Asscher cut is quite pricey as we will find out later.
How the Asscher cut compares to other diamond cuts
Often when you are in the market for an Asscher cut diamond, chances are you will have to compare it with other diamond cuts. Let’s consider a few comparisons to help you make the best decisions and for a better understanding of the differences in the cut.
Ascher cut vs the emerald cut
Perhaps the other type of cut that is commonly compared with the Asscher cut is the square emerald cut since both are step cuts and have a length to width ratio of 1. However, one of the main differences is the culet which is the bottom part of the stone.
The Asscher cut culet is pointed and long while that of the emerald cut is flat. This part is also among the main reasons why many people will go for the Asscher as it will draw the eye towards the center of the diamond.
Due to this type of cut, many people find themselves mesmerized by the depth which tends to dazzle the eye.
Asscher cut vs the Princess cut
The Asscher cut and the princess cut only share the shape as far as similarities go. They are both squared. One of the main differences is the cropped corners of Asscher cut which tend to give it an octagonal look.
The Asscher cut also has fewer facets that are much longer. There is a huge difference in the light action between the two cuts. The princess cut is much more brilliant and exudes more fire due to the elaborate faceting. The Asscher cut focuses more on the clarity of the diamond.
Asscher cut and the cushion cut
The cushion cut has more faceting than the Asscher cut which makes it exude more brilliance and fire. The larger number of faceting means that more light will bounce off the stone and onto your eyes.
There is also a difference in the outline between the two cuts. The corners of the Asscher cut are blunt while those of the cushion cut are more rounded. There is more arch in the cushion cut which is something that you are not going to see in the Asscher cut.
Some tips for buying Asscher cut diamonds
An Asscher cut diamond features a step cut. This simply means that they are not cut for brilliance and fire but rather for clarity and luster.
By this fact alone, there are a few factors that you will need to keep in mind when buying the ideal Asscher cut.
The first is to always ensure is that you are dealing with a jeweler who is reputable and who will be able to provide you with an IGA certification.
On the other hand, you might be interested in an antique diamond. In such a case always make sure that you ask for a certificate of proof of authenticity.
And thirdly, it is always a good idea to seek a second opinion on the type of gem you are interested in. Talk to a gemologist or a jeweler on how to go about the selection process.
Different faceting styles
When out searching for the perfect Asscher cut diamond, the faceting is one of the main areas of concern. And with this type of cut, you have three main types of facetings.
You can either find an Asscher cut that has 3 pavilions and 3 crown steps. There is also the 4 pavilion and 3 crown steps and lastly the 5 pavilion and 3 crown steps.
Keep in mind however that there is no perfect faceting style and the one you chose will depend on your individual preference. The cutter will decide on the type of faceting based on the shape of the rough diamond
Also, keep in mind that the Asscher cut comes with a windmill pattern. This rises up to the center of the diamond and then diminishes. If the windmill happens to end before the center of the stone, the diamond will not achieve a balanced look.
When analyzing your Asscher cut use this as a criterion to pick the right one. The diamond should give off a hall of mirrors effect. If it does not then it is poorly cut.
To get the best Asscher cut diamond, one way is to take a magnifying glass and analyze it yourself. However, you’re likely only going to get to 10X magnification. Good online stores will provide you with 360-degree video of the diamond as well as images that are up to 40X magnification.
You are much better able to see just how clear the diamond is.
Are they more expensive?
You might wonder how the Asscher cut compares to other types of cuts. In fact, it is the fourth most popular cut in the diamond market. There are a number of reasons why the Asscher cut can fetch a steep price.
First is the fact that the cut cannot hide blemishes the same way as other brilliant cuts can. Because of this only the clearest and the most high-quality diamonds are chosen for the Asscher cut.
Second, the Asscher cut tends to look smaller than it actually is. If you want a specific larger sized diamond, then you will need to pay more for the extra carat weight.