Asscher Cut & Emerald Cut Engagement Rings and Diamonds

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Buying an Asscher Cut Diamond Ring or Emerald Cut Diamond Ring?

Bottom Line Recommendation:


  • Setting Style: Emerald cuts look fantastic in elegant tapered baguette style settings. Asschers are well suited for a square halo setting like this.
  • Color: I Color or better. I Color with an Asscher or Emerald Cut Diamond will give you the best value. Going higher in diamond color will give you an incremental benefit, but I’m not convinced it’s worth the incremental price.

I don’t recommend J color with Asscher or Emerald Cuts because they retain color slightly more than Round Brilliants and Princess Cuts.

  • Clarity: Stick to VS2 clarity for the best value. SI2 and SI1 clarity grades are generally not recommended with Step Cuts such as Asscher Cuts and Emerald Cuts.  Step cuts aren’t cut for their brilliance, so there’s no break up of light to hide inclusions. Take advantage of James Allen’s ultra-high quality diamond photography to confirm your choice is eye clean.

The table of an Emerald cut or Asscher cut is like a big clear unobstructed window into the center of the stone.  Any inclusions there will be clearly visible.  If you are looking for an SI1 or SI2 Asscher or Emerald Cut, then you must verify that the inclusion is not in the center of the stone.  

You can accomplish this online with James Allen’s Virtual Loupe.

  • Cut Parameters for Asscher & Emerald Cut Diamonds:
    • Depth: 60% to 68% (under 65% is relatively hard to find)
    • Table: 60% to 68%
    • Polish/Symmetry: Good, Very Good, or Excellent
    • Length/Width Ratio:
      • Asscher: 1.00 to 1.05 is GIA’s acceptable range for defining a diamond as “square.”
      • Emerald: 1.25-1.55
    • Examples of Nice Stones (the very small inclusions seen in the photos will not be visible to the naked eye):

The Emerald Cut Diamond

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).

The Asscher Cut Diamond

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.

Buying the Best Diamond for an Asscher or Emerald Cut Engagement Ring

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.

Matching Colors

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 on Emerald and Asscher Cut

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.

Cut Quality

Blue Nile's Category of Fine Make Asscher Cuts Called "Blue Nile Signature Asscher Cuts"

Blue Nile’s Category of Fine Make Asscher Cuts Called “Blue Nile Signature Asscher Cuts”

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.

The Lower the Total Depth, the Better 

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%.

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