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We’re often contacted by readers interested in more unique diamond shapes, such as the Art Deco-inspired Asscher cut. Recently, a reader emailed us noting that they were looking for an Asscher cut diamond ring and asking for help with what to look for.
We helped this reader find a beautiful VVS2 clarity Asscher cut diamond, as well as a stunning three-stone setting.
Here’s the reader’s original message:
“I really appreciate the site. The engagement ring process is pretty daunting and your articles really helped.
The situation: My girlfriend and I have been going out long enough (almost 6 years) that we talk openly about getting engaged, which is great because I have gotten more than “hints” when it comes to what kind of ring she wants.
She really likes the look of an antique ring she found online (an Asscher cut with side baguettes). I like it too and I would probably get it in white gold and with a diamond in the 1-1.3 carat range.
My budget for the whole thing is under 10,000.
1. In terms of looking for Asscher cuts, on James Allen, is there a difference between the ones they list as “square” and “Asscher”?
2. When I look at the diamond pictures, what am I looking for? The inclusions are obvious to me only when they are black. Some of the pictures make the face not look symmetric, but I don’t know if that is just the way they were taken.
Overall, I guess I’m looking for anything above VS quality and between H-F color, with an emphasis placed on ideal cut.
One last thing: for the setting, I don’t really like the options on James Allen or Blue Nile for the tempered baguettes. What are your recommendations in terms of getting the center stone and then using a local jeweler to make the setting?
I would appreciate your advice.”
There’s a lot to talk about here, from what to look for in an Asscher cut diamond to this reader’s choice of custom setting. This is also a great opportunity to cover why an Asscher cut diamond can be a great choice if you’re looking for something different than the typical round diamond.
The Asscher cut is a unique and beautiful diamond shape. It’s octagonal, with a square shape and layered, straight-edged facets that give it a very clean, pristine look. Much like the similarly geometric emerald cut diamond, it has a decidedly Art Deco appearance.
This Art Deco look is undoubtedly a product of the time in which the Asscher cut was created. Developed in 1902, the GIA notes that the Asscher cut grew in popularity after World War I in the 1920s — the same decade that gave the world countless Art Deco skyscrapers, statues and other artworks.
Like many other designs from this period, the Asscher cut has stood the test of time and doesn’t look like a relic. Instead, it has a unique appearance that’s both modern and timeless, making it a wonderful choice of diamond shape if you’re looking for something different from the more popular round and princess cuts.
Unlike the princess cut diamond, which is totally square, the angled corners of the Asscher cut give it a slightly more rounded look. This type of diamond shape is sometimes referred to as a “square emerald” cut.
Beyond its looks, the Asscher cut has several advantages. The first is that it’s quite an efficient diamond shape to cut, with the majority of the rough diamond that’s used in the cutting process retained in the finished diamond.
This means that you can purchase an Asscher cut diamond for a slightly lower amount per carat than the amount you’d pay for a round brilliant cut diamond of equal size.
The second is brilliance. While the Asscher cut doesn’t have such strong brilliance as the round or princess cut, diamonds in this shape tend to be more brilliant than other step cut stones, such as the emerald cut.
To answer this reader’s first question, there’s no difference between Asscher cut and square cut diamonds. These two terms are used interchangeably by some vendors.
Now, let’s get into this reader’s second, more interesting question — what to look for (or look out for) when shopping for an Asscher cut diamond.
As we often explain, the most important things to look for in any type of diamond are the four Cs — cut quality, carat weight, clarity and color.
When you’re shopping for a diamond, you’ll want to choose one with a cut grade of Excellent (if the diamond is certified by the GIA) or Ideal (if it’s certified by the AGS). This should be the first of the four Cs that you look for, as a diamond’s cut has the greatest impact on its brilliance.
After this, the key is to find a diamond that’s close to your ideal carat weight, all while choosing acceptable clarity and color grades.
With a round brilliant cut diamond, this process is fairly simple. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when searching for an Asscher cut diamond that can make the process a little bit different.
Let’s start with cut quality. With Asscher cut diamonds, the GIA certificate only covers polish and symmetry, not the diamond’s other cut characteristics. This makes it important to look closely at the diamond’s characteristics yourself.
We recommend choosing an Asscher cut diamond with characteristics in the following range:
One thing to keep in mind with the Asscher cut is that depth isn’t as important for brilliance as it is for many other diamond shapes. This means that you can choose a lower depth percentage, giving you a larger-looking diamond.
Now, let’s move on to clarity. As a step cut diamond, an Asscher cut has a very different pattern of facets from a brilliant cut diamond, such as a round or princess cut. These cuts chop up light with their facet pattern, while an Asscher cut has a more geometric facet pattern.
Because the Asscher cut doesn’t chop up light and reflect it in different directions, it doesn’t hide imperfections in the way that a round brilliant cut diamond does. This means that inclusions are generally much easier to see in an Asscher cut than in most other diamond shapes.
It also means that clarity recommendations for round brilliant cut diamonds will not work if you’re looking for an Asscher cut.
We generally recommend sticking to the VS2 clarity grade or better for the Asscher cut. It’s also important to check any Asscher cut diamond for obvious inclusions using the magnification tools provided by James Allen or Blue Nile. A good Asscher cut diamond will be eye-clean.
Finally, let’s cover color. Just like it doesn’t do a good job of hiding inclusions, the step cut facet pattern of the Asscher cut diamond also hides nothing when it comes to color. This is the major strength and weakness of the Asscher cut — it has a clean design that disguises nothing.
Because of this, it’s important to be careful with color when it comes to Asscher cut diamonds. A color grade of H or better will almost always give you an Asscher cut diamond that’s colorless to the naked eye once it’s set in an engagement ring.
Since this reader is considering a three-stone ring, it’s also important to match the color grade of the Asscher cut center diamond to the side stones. Of course, this isn’t an issue for settings that feature gemstone side stones.
By following these guidelines, you can find beautiful Asscher cut diamonds in the 1+ carat range for $7,000 – $8,000 or less — a price point that provides this reader with $2,000 – $3,000 to spend on the setting.
For example, this 1.20 carat, F color, VVS2 clarity Asscher cut diamond from James Allen can be purchased for $6,910, while this 1.30 carat, E color, VS1 clarity diamond sells for $7,990.
When it comes to settings, the Asscher cut is a great match for many three-stone rings, such as this tapered baguette diamond engagement ring or this round pavé engagement ring.
These diamond and setting combinations all create beautiful, unique-looking $10,000 engagement rings.
The Asscher cut is a unique diamond shape with lots of personality. As a step cut, it has a clean, Art Deco-inspired design that can look gorgeous in a solitaire setting or, like in this case, next to other diamonds or gemstones in a three-stone ring.
When it comes to Asscher cut diamonds, it’s best to stick to diamonds with a color grade of H or better and a clarity grade in the VS2 or VS1 range. It’s also important to check the diamond with the magnification tools provided by James Allen or Blue Nile to verify that it’s eye clean.
If you need help finding an Asscher cut diamond or appropriate setting, feel free to contact us to talk to our team of diamond experts. We can find a beautiful diamond and setting based on your tastes and budget.
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