The Asscher cut is one of the most elegant and sophisticated of all the diamond cuts and is the fourth most popular shape for diamond engagement rings in the world today.
The Asscher is a step cut, like the emerald shape, but it shows more brilliance and sparkle. This is due to the interesting arrangement of the long facets and the symmetry of the cut. Created in 1902 by Joseph Asscher, this was the first patented cut for gemstones. There are two versions of the Asscher – the standard Asscher cut with 58 facets and the Royal Asscher cut which is a modified Asscher with a total of 75 facets.
This classic cut has been a favorite for decades and has been increasing in popularity of late. It is ideal for engagement rings as it has the contemporary sophisticated look of the princess cut with the intriguing, vintage touch of the emerald. When cut expertly, the Asscher is stunning and eye-catching.
Finding a high quality Asscher is rare and will require some active searching, especially because it is among the rarer diamond cuts. Here we outline what you need to know before you buy an Asscher cut diamond.
Choose the Length to Width Ratio
The Asscher is a square cut and traditionally has a length to width ratio of 1:00. However, some prefer a more rectangular appearance. In this case you can opt for a length to width ratio up to 1:60. Anything more than this will look simply too narrow. The shape of the stone you choose is a matter of preference as there is no right or wrong shape here.
Avoid Bad Cuts – Windows and Extinction
Windows and extinction occur in Asscher cuts when the stone has been cut badly and the symmetry and proportion is not spot on.
Windows refers to large white spaces in the diamond, which do not reflect light back to you. Instead, they allow you to see right through the stone. Extinction is the opposite effect, where there are darkened areas in the stone often caused by misaligned facets. Often, this occurs only when seen at certain angles. There will be little light reflection in these areas, decreasing the brilliance and beauty of the stone.
If these factors are the first thing you see when you look at your Asscher cut diamond, it’s best to choose a different stone. This is why it is important to see images and video of the actual stone rather than a stock image, as the grading report will not provide this information.
Have a look at the screenshot below of a random selection of Asscher cut diamonds from James Allen. The diamonds have similar specifications and prices but when viewed face-up, each appears quite different. The third and fourth have the best look, while some have serious extinction. On paper, all these diamonds would appear nearly identical.
Choose the Color Grade
The Asscher cut is valued for its clarity and smooth luster, not for its brilliance. It tends to retain color more than brilliant cuts, and often shows even slight tints of color. This is why it’s important to choose your color grade carefully.
For the perfect whiteness and luster, choose a diamond from the D – F range. However, because the difference between these three grades is so slight, paying a premium for a D grade diamond is hard to justify.
For example, compare these two diamonds which are similar in features except in color grades. The difference in price is over $1000.
You can drop further down to an I grade diamond like this one and still have a stone that looks great but also saves you a considerable amount of money. This will give you the best value for your Asscher cut diamond.
If you choose a yellow gold setting, you can drop the color grade down to K – J as the contrast with the metal reduces the appearance of the tints in the stone.
Choosing Your Clarity Grading
Steps cuts, like Asscher and emerald, are not great at hiding inclusions. This means that you have to choose the clarity grade of your diamond carefully. The purpose of the Asscher is to showcase the diamond’s clarity. This purpose will be defeated if there are visible unsightly flaws.
Brilliant diamond shapes such as round and princess, play with light in a unique way due to their faceting arrangements, creating intense sparkle and fire. This makes it easier for impurities and flaws to remain hidden within the diamond. The Asscher cut does not have this brilliance and fire. Instead, its long open facets show off the diamonds clarity and smooth look as it is.
The best clarity grades would be Very Slightly Included (VS2) and better for Asscher cuts, although you may be able to drop down to a S1 depending on where the inclusions are located. This diamond is an S1 Asscher but appears eye-clean, making it good value for money.
The critical point is that flaws are not visible to the naked eye. Inclusions will be visible in larger stones, so it’s best not to compromise on quality in this aspect. Ensure that you images of the actual stone, as that provided by James Allen’s Diamond View Technology, to make sure that the stone is eye-clean.
Understand the Cut Quality Parameters of the Asscher Cut
Because the GIA does not grade the cut quality of fancy cut diamonds, having an understanding of the quality factors will assist you in making an informed decision.
The advanced search filters on most diamond sites allow you to set these parameters as required. Here are the main factors to look for:
- Depth – The Asscher is a deep cut, which results in a large portion of the diamond being beneath the surface. It’s best to choose a depth percentage between 60% to 67% as a shallower depth means a larger looking diamond.
- For the Table percentage, choose between 60% to 69% for the best look.
- Choose Good, Very Good or Excellent Polish and Symmetry.
- Choose a Length to width ratio of 1:00 to 1:05 for the perfect square.
Best Settings and Styles for Asscher Cut Diamond
The Asscher cut does not have any specific vulnerable points, unlike the pear or marquise cuts meaning that it does not require a protective setting. It is also a very versatile shape and goes well with most settings and styles.
For prong settings, 4 prongs are the most common for Asscher cut diamonds. This will hold the diamond securely from all four corners.
This cleverly designed setting appears to have 4 prongs but actually consists of 8, that provides added security for the diamond and is also highly aesthetic.
A halo setting is especially stunning for Asscher cut diamonds as it adds that extra sparkle and brilliance that the Asscher lacks, creating an excellent combination. It also provides extra protection for the stone.
The three-stone setting also works beautifully for Asscher diamonds, as it adds sparkle and depth to the stone. Because of the Asscher’s versatile cut, you can choose almost any shape for the side stones. The example below shows marquise shaped accent stones.
The Asscher cut lends itself well to vintage settings, and is especially beautiful set in Art Deco designs.
Avoid bezel settings for Asscher cuts, which tend to hide a lot of the diamond and does not add to its sparkle.
Where to Buy Online
Ensure that the retailer you choose to purchase from is licensed and reputable, with a history of good service. Check that they provide you with a certificate of authenticity for your diamond. The certifying lab should be recognized such as GIA, AGS, IGI or EGL.
Also ensure that you see images and/or videos of the actual diamond and not simply a stock photo to check for symmetry, eye-cleanliness and light performance.
It’s best to choose a respected retailer such as James Allen who offer high quality photos and special Diamond Display Technology that will allow you to inspect your diamond closely.
Also check that the after sales policies are solid including returns and warranty.
When Buying Antique
The Asscher cut was a roaring success during the 1920s and was popularly used in Art Deco designs. If you are purchasing an antique Asscher cut ring, always request for an appraisal or certificate of authenticity for the ring.
Because the ring will already be mounted, it cannot be evaluated like a loose diamond. If you have any doubts, you can always ask an expert to check it for you.