The Diamond Pro

Asscher Cut Diamond Guide

By Michael Fried
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What is an Asscher Cut Diamond?
asscher-cut-diamonds_16_detail

An Asscher Cut diamond is an octagonal diamond with a square shape and layered facets. The Asscher Cut features a deep pavilion and high crown—offering brilliance and its signature appeal. 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.

After being produced in 1902 by the Asscher Brothers of Holland, the Asscher shape regained popularity in 2002 after its one-hundredth anniversary and a small change to the cut technique.

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.

Below you can check out the size differences of an Asscher Cut between the different carat weights compared to a US quarter.

size vs carat weight asscher cut

Asscher Cut vs Princess Cut

The difference between Asscher and Princess Cut diamonds is that Princess Cuts have four sides, where the Asscher has eight. The Asscher Cut also has a deeper pavilion and higher crown. The Princess Cut provides more brilliance than the Asscher Cut. When cutting Asscher Cut and Princess Cut diamonds, a large majority of the rough diamond is retained. This helps their prices remain similarly affordable.

Asscher Cut vs Cushion Cut

The difference between Asscher and Cushion Cut diamonds is that Cushion Cuts have rounded edges. They both resemble a square, but the Asscher Cut has distinct corners. The facets also generate somewhat different reactions to light. The Asscher Cut offers slightly more brilliance (white light reflection) while the Cushion Cut provides more fire (colored light reflection). A large amount of the rough stone is maintained when cutting  Asscher and Cushion Cut diamonds, so they’re similarly priced and more affordable than other diamond shapes.

Asscher Cut vs Emerald Cut

The difference between Asscher and Emerald Cut diamonds is that Asscher Cuts are square while Emerald Cuts are rectangular. The Asscher offers more sparkle, while the Emerald Cut tends to appear larger for the same carat weight.

Emerald and Asscher cuts are a class of diamond cuts that are known as “Step Cuts.”  According to Wikipedia step cuts are:

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 most important differentiating factor between the two is in the shape. Both are excellent options, but it’s especially important that you purchase these cuts from a jeweler who can guarantee high-quality color and clarity.

To see if you like the look of an Asscher cut, you can peruse recently purchased rings from our highest rated retailers here.

Is Asscher Cut More Expensive?

Asscher Cuts are not more expensive than most diamond shapes, as they have a relatively low price per carat. The majority of the rough stone is maintained in the cutting process, keeping the costs low. 

The price of Asscher Cuts depends on factors like Cut quality, Color and Clarity. For a 1 Carat Asscher Cut with G-H color and VS2 clarity, the average price is $3,600. This 1 Carat Asscher Cut is a beautiful example priced at $3,311. For a 2 Carat Asscher Cut with G-H color and VS2 clarity, the average price is $14,819.

How do you pick an Asscher Cut diamond?

To choose the most beautiful Asscher Cut for your budget, consider expert recommendations for Color, Clarity, and Cut quality. Opt for the grade that gives you the desired appearance without overpaying. You’ll also want to look at each diamond closely before purchase.

Follow the recommendations below and reach out to our experts for specific questions.

Asscher Cut Diamond – Color

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.

Our Color Recommendation

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.

Asscher Cut Diamond – Clarity

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.

The table of an Emerald cut or Asscher cut is like a big clear unobstructed window into the center of the stone.  Almost any inclusions there will be clearly visible. If you’re 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.

But for the most part, I recommend people buy VS2 Clarity or better.

Our Clarity Recommendation

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.

Asscher Cut Diamond – Cut Quality

 ExcellentVery GoodGoodFairPoor
Table % Under 6970-7273-7475-79>79
Depth %61-6759-60.9 or 67.1-7057-58.9 or 70.1-7454-56.9 or 74.1-79<54 or >79
GirdleVery Thin – Slightly ThickVery Thin – ThickVery Thin – Very ThickExtra Thin – Extra Thick
CutletNoneVery SmallSmallMedium>Medium
Length/Width Ratio1.00-1.051.06-1.08>1.08

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 

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”

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 Cut Diamonds 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%.

Our Cut Recommendation

  • 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

Best Setting for Asscher Cut Diamond

The best setting for an Asscher Cut diamond is a solitaire, because it makes the unique design of the Asscher Cut stand out. Asscher Cut engagement rings are available in white gold, rose gold, yellow gold, and platinum. 

Here’s a list of the best settings for Asscher Cut diamonds along with examples.

Solitaire

Pavé 

Halo

Frequently Asked Questions About Asscher Cuts

Here are the answers to the most common questions about Asscher Cut diamond rings.

Do Asscher Cut diamonds sparkle?

Asscher Cut diamonds sparkle due to their layered facets, high crown, and deep pavilion. The brilliance isn’t as strong as it is with rounds or princess cuts, but it ‘s still a gorgeous diamond. Asscher Cuts tend to sparkle more than Emerald Cuts. The best way to choose an Asscher Cut with more sparkle is to carefully consider Cut quality. We offer Asscher cut parameter recommendations above. 

Asscher Cut vs Royal Asscher Cut 

The difference between Asscher Cuts and Royal Asscher Cuts is that Asscher Cuts have 58 facets while the Royal Asscher Cut features 74 facets. The Royal Asscher also has a higher crown. The original Asscher Cut was never patented and is the universal design for Asscher Cut diamonds. Both cuts were designed by the Royal Asscher company. 

Asscher Cut vs Radiant Cut

The difference between an Asscher Cut and a Radiant Cut is that the Asscher has eight sides, while the Radiant Cut only has four. The Asscher Cut also has step cuts, while the Radiant does not. Radiants feature numerous facets and angles, making them appear almost like cracked ice. The Radiant Cut—second only to the Round Brilliant—offers more brilliance than the Asscher Cut. Because of less brilliance, Asscher Cuts are usually less expensive than Radiants.

Shop for asscher cut diamodn engagament rings here.

About the author
Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, PeopleMoney, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more. See more
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