Bottom Line Recommendation:
Emerald and Asscher cuts are a class of diamond cuts that are known as “Step Cuts.” According to Wikipedia:
Stones whose outlines are either square or rectangular and whose facets are rectilinear and arranged parallel to the girdle are known as step- or trap-cut stones. These stones often have their corners truncated, creating an emerald cut (after its most common application to emerald gemstones) with an octagonal outline. This is done because sharp corners are points of weakness where a diamond may cleave or fracture. Instead of a culet, step-cut stones have a keel running the length of the pavilion terminus. Because both the pavilion and crown are comparatively shallow, step cut stones are generally not as bright and never as fiery as brilliant cut stones, but rather accentuate a diamond’s clarity (as even the slightest flaw would be highly visible), whiteness, and lustre (and therefore good polish).
There is much confusion among diamond consumers regarding the Asscher Cut. People ask me the same question all the time – “what is the difference between a Square Emerald and an Asscher Cut?” The answer can be slightly confusing since there are two types of Asscher Cuts. There’s the standard Asscher Cut, and there’s the Royal Asscher Cut. Both were created by the Royal Asscher company. The original Asscher cut design has 58 facets and was never patented. It is this design – the square emerald cut – that is referred to universally as the “Asscher Cut.” The following is a quote from the Royal Asscher Website regarding this confusion:
The Royal Asscher Cut has a high crown and 74 facets – whereas the modern square-emerald cut, and the original Asscher both have 58 facets. Today the Asscher family name is often used as a commodity term for square-emerald cuts. It is obvious why companies want to use the world-renowned Asscher name.
Now that you have been acquainted with the origins of the Asscher Cut Diamond & Emerald Cut Diamond, lets learn how to buy one!
When it comes to Color, you need to be a slightly more careful with an Asscher or Emerald Cut than you would with a Round Brilliant or even a Princess Cut. Round Brilliants and Princess Cuts are brilliant cuts, therefore they both do quite well at masking the color of the diamond’s rough material. Asscher Cuts and Emerald Cuts, on the other hand, have no brilliance. They are cut for their clarity and lustre – so nothing is hidden. Because of this, I recommend when buying an Emerald or Asscher cut that you buy a minimum of an H Color. A G or higher color will definitely provide you with some incremental whiteness, but the visual difference is so slight that it might not be worth the added premium. It is important to remember, however, that if you are buying an Emerald or Asscher cut for an Asscher Cut Engagement Ring or an Emerald Cut Engagement Ring, then you need to make sure the color of your center diamond matches the color of the side stones.
It is specifically regarding Clarity that Emerald and Asscher cuts are most distinguished from the other Diamond Shapes. The other shapes, known as a category as “Brilliant” cuts, all chop up the incoming and outgoing light in endless ways due to the unique faceting of each shape. This effect provides the sparkle and fire we all know and love about diamonds. But aside from it providing great visual fireworks, it’s also a very effective way to hide impurities inside of a diamond. Emerald and Asscher Cuts, on the other hand, are step cuts. They provide no fire or sparkle. Their beauty lies in showing off the simple beauty of a clean and sharp gemstone. VS2 clarity inclusions which would almost never be seen in a round diamond can easily be seen floating inside of an Emerald or Asscher Cut. Once in a while, you can find an SI1 graded Emerald or Asscher cut that is still clean to the naked eye, if the inclusion is contained completely on the side underneath the step facets. But for the most part, I recommend people buy VS2 Clarity or better.
As with Princess Cuts, there’s no easy solution to buying an Emerald or Asscher Cut with a great Cut. With Rounds, it’s easy. GIA tells you their opinion, and you can trust it. With Emerald and Asscher Cuts, though, you’re pretty much on your own. GIA only grades Polish and Symmetry on fancy shapes. Unlike Rounds, there’s really no industry wide consensus on what parameters make up the perfect Asscher & Emerald Cut.
As I mentioned earlier in the Bottom Line Recommendation, look for a Total Depth between 60% and 68%. Generally lower is better. With the brilliant cuts, the depth is much more important because it has a crucial impact on how well the light is refracted inside the diamond. Since Emerald & Asscher Cuts are step cuts, they don’t have this issue. Since you don’t need any built-up depth to maintain brilliance, you should go as low as possible in terms of depth. Remember – a more shallow diamond means a diamond that will look larger. For Table Percentage, I recommend staying under 68%.
If you would like help finding the perfect Asscher or Emerald Cut Diamond, then please feel free to contact me. I will usually answer rather quickly. I will be happy to scour the internet to help you find the best deal for the best diamond.
If you have any questions, please post them in the comments below. I will usually respond within 24 hours.