What is an Asscher Cut Diamond? Here's How To Pick One, Best Settings & More
Few diamond cuts have distinguished themselves by making it easier to see a stone’s imperfections. That’s why Asscher Cut diamonds appear to have none: This cut is designed to bring out the clarity that often lives untapped within high-quality diamonds.
Below, we explain what an Asscher cut is, how it’s different from other cuts, and how to buy a quality Asscher cut diamond.
Let’s get right to it...
The Asscher Cut Diamond Explained
An Asscher Cut diamond has been specially cut to exude a luminous presence with quiet elegance. The Asscher Cut is not for every stone, but when appropriately matched to the right one, the results can be stunning.
The Asscher Cut Story
The Asscher Diamond Cut was designed in 1902 by Joseph Asscher, grandson of the I.J. Asscher Diamond Company’s founder.
In 1980 the Asscher Diamond Company became the Royal Asscher Diamond Company and revamped the original Asscher Cut, into the Royal Asscher Cut.
An Asscher Cut diamond is octagonally-shaped, having the four sides of a square with its four corners cropped. It lacks brilliance but makes up for it with flash and clarity.
Two Types of Asscher Cut
There are two types of authentic Asscher Cut diamonds.
Standard Asscher Cut
The 58-facet Standard Asscher Cut reflects the Art Deco style. Its patent expired during WWII.
Royal Asscher Cut
The 74-facet Royal Asscher Cut added 16 facets and a higher crown to the original cut.
Endless Shimmer…All Year Long
The Asscher Cut uses a spatial perspective. When you look down into an Asscher Cut diamond it almost seems to draw you into a seemingly endless hallway of reflective mirrors--unlike other cuts that seem to shower you with shards of light. It creates whole different energy than most other cuts.
How Do You Choose An Asscher Cut Diamond?
Choosing an Asscher Cut diamond may require patience because the cut reveals a stone so transparent that you may want to take some time to learn where the thresholds are if you want the best results.
With fewer facets to break up the light, color imperfections cannot be hidden.
To avoid problems with color you can disregard anything below “G” on the color scale and consider whether you will be able to find an exact color match for your stone if you plan to surround it with smaller stones.
To keep your piece eye clean avoid going with anything below a VS1 or VS2 grading. Gradings below this level allow inclusions. VS1 grading or above would probably be the best choice for any Asscher Cut diamond weighing 1.5 carats or more.
Why are Asscher cut diamonds considered as "step cuts"?
Asscher Cuts are called this because each side of the stone clearly resembles a flight of steps with the landing at the top and the steps horizontally cut in rows around the pavilion. When you look from the side at how Asscher step facets descend from crown to culet you will see the simple ingeniousness of the design.
Why are Asscher cut diamonds often described as architectural?
This cut creates its compelling architectural quality by the terracing of its steps. Picture eight terraces arranged around a single point. Imagine each of the terraces upside-down and backward so that each terrace faces inward with its broad base flipped skyward. Now you will see it as if it has been set in a ring: a three-dimensional structure similar to earlier pyramids called ziggurats, which is exactly, and architecturally, what this cut looks like in miniature.
When you shop for an Asscher cut diamond, you might want to repeat this to yourself three times: Never Go Below VS2 Clarity--all within its depths will be revealed!
Cut quality is determined by the proportions of the finished stone. As an Asscher Cut diamond, the shape is square or very close to square, as determined by the length-to-width ratio (LW ratio).
The lower the total depth, the better with regards to Asscher cut diamonds: greater depth = greater brilliance. But the whole point of an Asscher Cut is not to elicit brilliance, but clarity. To that can be added another principle: the shallower the stone, the bigger it will appear.
When holding a stone upright and looking at it from the side, depth is measured from the very top of the diamond to its lowest point, which is called the culet. The rule here would be to stay around 60% - 68% depth because with step-cut stones, the greater the depth the more the stone will visually disappear into its own weight, so you may feel like you have to buy a larger stone to make up the difference. This can mean paying for weight that you cannot see.
You can compensate for this by choosing a stone that has been cut with a shallower depth and a broader table. This is called a stone’s “spread.” The greater a stone’s spread, the larger the stone will look.
The table is the large facet at the top of the stone. It is the window into the stone. In an Asscher cut diamond, the table carries more of the carat weight than most other cuts.
Polish & Symmetry
Symmetry refers to the finished size, positioning and balance among the various parts of a cut diamond: how well each facet balances its opposing facet, whether the table is centered and evenly proportioned or the girdle is level all the way around.
Because the visible difference between Excellent grade and Very Good is so minuscule as to be imperceptible to the naked eye, there is some room within this category for adjustment while looking for the best value in a diamond.
The Length/Width Ratio
The Length to Width Ratio (LW Ratio) measures the table’s proportions. The LW Ratio ranges between 1.00:1 to 1.08:1, with stones rated Excellent and Very Good falling between 1.00:1 and 1.03:1.
When evaluating the cut on an Asscher cut diamond, quality level charts may be helpful to look at.
Asscher Cut Analysis
Asscher Cut & Cushion Cut
The Asscher Cut and the Cushion Cut share many of the same characteristics. The main difference is that the Asscher Cut produces a square table with the corners cropped, creating an octagon. The Cushion Cut also produces a square table, but the corners are more severely cropped than on an Asscher Cut stone, creating an overall rounder shape.
Read our full Asscher Cut Vs Cushion Cut comparison
Asscher Cut & Emerald Cut
If you were to compare two square-cut diamonds side-by-side, one Asscher Cut and the other Emerald Cut, you would see the main difference in the way the four corners are cut. On the Asscher Cut diamond, the cropped corners help to create the overall octagonal shape. On the Emerald Cut diamond, the shallow corner-cropping maintains the squareness.
Asscher Cut & Princess Cut
With a Princess Cut diamond, you can go as low as an SI1 clarity rating. Its larger number of facets can even make a yellow-tinted diamond look white.
The Asscher Cut leaves no room for anything less than VS1 or VS2.In terms of shape, because the Princess Cut is square with sharp corners, this diamond may require more care and caution when worn. These are the weakest points of this design and often the most likely to break off.
Read our full Asscher Cut Vs Princess Cut comparison
Asscher Cut & Radiant Cut
While both stones draw the eye down through the stone to the culet, there is a difference. The Radiant Cut diamond has greater brilliance and its facets appear to radiate star-shaped light out from the center toward the edges of the stone, while the Asscher Cut, known for its more subtle “endless shimmer,” has less brilliance but sends the light out into the steps. This gives the impression of broad bands encircling the outer edges of the stone.
Asscher Cut Pricing
In general, the price per carat for an Asscher stone tends to be a bit lower than other cuts, though an Asscher Cut diamond usually costs more because it uses higher-quality stones.
There is much less waste with an Asscher Cut compared to the round brilliant cut, which wastes the most rough stone, so their basic value has already been established and keeps the per-carat price relatively low. A ¾-carat stone can go for between $2,800 and $3,400. For a 2 carat VS2 stone, the average per-carat price would be between $15,000 to $16,000.
The degree of precision and difficulty in cutting is also a factor that gives little leeway for aberration, since this cut magnifies everything you can see in any stone.
Setting of Asscher Diamonds
Here are a few suggestions for settings that can pair nicely with Asscher Cut diamonds:
You also might want to keep in mind that the color of any setting will also be reflected and be magnified by the long unbroken lines within an Asscher Cut diamond. Therefore, it may be worth spending the time to carefully consider how the stone will look in a setting by testing it out under differing light conditions.
The Perfect Match
Diamonds personify endurance. Millions of years have to pass before a diamond is brought from the depths of the earth. During that time it endures all sorts of extreme conditions until it becomes the rare, precious piece of geological history that sits in front of you, ready to be cut and shaped again—this time as a treasured and honored piece of your own personal history.
If you’re considering an Asscher cut, some of the most common settings are:
- A halo setting ring, surrounded by a set of complementary stones
- Paired with an eternity wedding band
- Tennis bracelets
- Stud earrings
An Asscher Cut diamond can reflect your inner essence as gracefully as it reflects the light that draws you into the depths of its endless shimmer. Its simplicity of design, elegance, and restraint allows its softness and clarity to stand out without embellishment, explanation—or apology.