You’ve decided you like timeless diamonds but you’re not sure if you want to go with an Asscher cut or Princess cut for your next one. You’ve come to the right place. We’re comparing Asscher cut vs Princess cut diamonds in every way.
What is an Asscher Cut Diamond?
With a similar art deco feel as an Emerald Cut diamond, an Asscher Cut diamond suggests rather than exudes sparkle. It is unreservedly honest, showing everything within its interior regardless of its carat weight. That is why only stones rated VS1/VS2 and above can successfully wear this cut.
An Asscher Cut stone is octagonal, based upon a square shape. Its pavilion can be shallower than other cuts. Decreasing its depth will increase the size of its table and consequently, its face-up size. This allows the step facets (so-called because they resemble a flight of stairs) to carry light into the stone’s interior and emit it back out.
It’s Pavillion/Table & Crown
Since this cut emphasizes clarity, the pavilion can be shallower than average. This increases the face-up size and flattens the angle between crown and table. The ideal pavilion depth ranges between 60% and 70%.
Number of Cuts
There are actually two Asscher cuts: the original, which has 58 facets, and the Royal Asscher, which has 74. The additional 16 facets were added to the lower part of the pavilion as an update to create a bit more sparkle.
The “Hall of Mirrors” Effect
The size and placement of the step facets create what is known as the “hall of mirrors” effect. This is created by the play of light and shadow within the interior, causing a pattern that resembles a reflection-within-a-reflection image you get when you stand between two mirrors that are facing each other.
What is a Princess Cut Diamond?
A Princess-Cut diamond is a more square-cut diamond with sharper corners. It’s a popular choice for engagement rings. Below we’ll examine all factors...
A Princess-Cut diamond is square with a four-pointed angular shape that leads the eye outward from the center. This diamond shape gives the visual impression of a larger stone. Its brilliance is similar to that of a Cushion Cut diamond.
It’s Pavillion/Table & Crown
The standard depth for a Princess Cut diamond ranges between 64% and 75%, or 70% of its girdle. Its table size increases as its depth decreases and vice-versa.
Number of Cuts
The Princess Cut has between 58 and 76 small, randomly-positioned facets.
Asscher Cut VS Princess Cut: Head to Head Comparison
Brilliance & Sparkle
Brilliance and sparkle are basically about one thing: light performance. The way a diamond is cut can greatly influence the stone’s ability to absorb, reflect and emit light. Light can leak out of the culet or sides of the pavilion if the diamond is not cut well. Conversely, light can be effectively enhanced by positioning the facets well in relation to each other and to the stone’s girdle.
The way a diamond is cut usually depends upon its clarity rating. Part of the reason that Asscher Cuts only make up 2% of the market is that they only work with stones rated at the highest clarity levels.
An Asscher Cut diamond uses carefully-arranged Step Cuts to show deep into the diamond’s interior. You get a sense of spaciousness when you look into an Asscher that isn’t there with a Princess.
The two cuts are designed to do entirely different things with light.
The Princess Cut is all about brilliance and fire. These are created by cutting many tiny facets at random positions to reflect the light in a scatter pattern. The beauty of the Princess Cut is that it tends to hide imperfections in the stone better than an Asscher Cut diamond would.
The greater the number of facets and the more random they are within the design, the more leeway you have to go down a few levels in the clarity grading and still have a beautiful looking diamond that shows no flaws.
If you love color and don’t mind showing it, then the Asscher is the better choice. This is because the more random facets you have in a cut, the more white unbroken light the stone will emit, masking its tints and colors.
An Asscher Cut diamond tends to accentuate any tint that’s present because it has less brilliance. The result is that more of the light tends to stay within the stone for longer. This gives the light more time to be broken down into its individual color wavelengths, which shows the color more intensely.
The main differences between these two cuts lie in the size, shape, and alignment of the facets. Each cut has almost exactly the same number of facets (57 or 76 for the Princess Cut and 58 or 74 for the Asscher Cut). Both styles usually have a square shape - in fact, the Asscher Cut diamond is also sometimes called a square emerald for this reason.
The similarities between the two cuts quickly become polar opposites when considering how the facets themselves are cut - and more importantly, what they will then do with the light that passes through the diamond's interior.
Because the Princess Cut is designed for sparkle, it falls within the Brilliant Cut category. This means that the facets are small and positioned out of alignment with the girdle and each other. The result is chaotic scintillation that gives off more light.
On the other hand, the Asscher Cut diamond is designed for more subdued scintillation. This is done via the use of step cuts. Step Cuts are aligned with each other and with the stone's girdle along the same plane in order to allow light to travel unbroken along their lengths. For what this reduces in sparkle it makes up for in clarity.
Durability refers to the ability of a diamond to withstand chipping and breakage. There are two reasons why this may be an issue: either the diamond is on a lower clarity grade and therefore has inclusions or other flaws that create structural weakness within its interior, or it has been shaped with sharp edges or corners that leave the stone vulnerable to being caught or bumped in those areas.
An Asscher cut has rounded corners which tend to be a weak point in diamonds. This makes it less vulnerable to chipping when compared to a Princess Cut with its sharp corners.
Effects on Yellow Tints & Imperfections
Most diamonds come out of the earth with yellow-to-brown tints. The more you can break up the light within the diamond's interior and emit it back out as brilliance, the less you will see these tints. The same principle allows imperfections to be masked, which gives the stone an eye-clean face-up.
Number of Facets
The number of facets in a Princess Cut diamond is almost identical in range to that of an Asscher Cut diamond. It’s the way the facets are positioned in relation to each other, as well as their sizes and shapes, that make the two diamond cuts look so different from each other.
Shape & Corners
While most Asscher or Princess Cut diamonds on the market generally have a square outline, the way that outline differs between them tells a story. The Princess Cut’s sharper corners make it more vulnerable to damage, but they also help to make the stone face up larger than other cuts. While the Asscher Cut generally results in a smaller face-up size (its appearance at the top), the arrangement and shape of its facets allow light to be emitted more subtly and colorfully.
Value For The Money
Despite the undeniable fact that the true value of any diamond lies in the eye of its beholder, in practical terms the Princess Cut is technically more affordable than the Asscher Cut. The main reason comes down to the supply and demand of the market. Only 2% of available diamonds come in the Asscher Cut, while Princess Cut diamonds are everywhere due to their popularity and are therefore relatively easy to find.