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If you’re thinking of a square shaped diamond for your engagement ring, you might have come across the terms Princess, Asscher and Cushion. These are all square shapes but are quite different from each other in many ways, including light performance, durability and appearance.
To help you make the choice between these three cuts, let’s take a look at the differences between these three cuts and what you need to know before you choose your ideal square shaped diamond.
Princess, Asscher and Cushion Cuts
The princess cut is the second most popular cut after the round brilliant and is the most popular of the square cuts. It is a brilliant cut, with an intense faceting pattern that allows for exceptional light performance.
The cushion cut is a square cut with rounded corners resembling a pillow, hence the name. There are a couple of different variations to this cut, the most important of which are the chunky cushion and the crushed-ice cushion. The first refers to the more traditional cushion cut which consists of larger facets, while the second refers to the modified cut that has a more intense faceting pattern resulting in a crushed-ice look.
And finally the Asscher cut, which is basically a square emerald cut. The Asscher is different to princess and cushion in that it consists of long step cuts. Its performance with light is different, and rather than being brilliant, the beauty of this cut is in its hall of mirrors effect.
Cushion Vs Princess Vs Asscher: Which Has the Best Sparkle?
To answer this question, it is important to have an idea about the different types of faceting arrangements.
Brilliant cuts have facets in various arrangements but these facets are not linear nor parallel to the diamond’s edges. This causes the diamond to sparkle intensely as it reflects light from all angles. Step cuts have long facets that run parallel to the edges of the diamond. The sparkle is less but the faceting arrangement and the contrast of light and dark is intriguing, giving the diamond an eye-catching beauty.
The princess shape is a brilliant cut diamond and it is cut to enhance its brilliance. The cushion is also very brilliant, but there is a caveat here: the sparkle depends on the type of cushion cut. The crushed ice cushion cuts are more brilliant than chunky cushions.
The Asscher cut exhibits less brilliance as it is not cut to enhance its sparkle. However, it has a clarity and smooth appearance that the princess and cushion lack.
So which is better?
This is a moot point. It depends on your taste and the type of sparkle you are after. If you wish for a flashy, brilliant ring, then the princess or modified cushion are your best bet. However, for a more subdued, different kind of sparkle, the Asscher is ideal.
Cushion Vs Princess Vs Asscher: How Sparkle Affects Clarity
The type of facets of the diamond can either hide or show the inclusions and blemishes that exist in the diamond. Brilliant cut diamonds such as the princess and modified cushion cut, are great at hiding imperfections in the diamond. Their faceting pattern and light reflection can make it difficult to see the flaws.
The Asscher cut, however, has clear open facets which have a tendency to show the blemishes in the diamond. The chunky cushion cut can also show inclusions due to its larger facets.
What does this mean for you?
When choosing the princess or modified cushion, you can drop to a lower clarity grade while with the Asscher or chunky cushion, you may require a diamond with a higher clarity grade with no visible inclusions.
Pro Tip: Regardless of the clarity grade, check to see whether the inclusions (if any) are visible. If the diamond is eye-clean, that’s the most important factor.
Cushion Vs Princess Vs Asscher: Which is More Durable?
From the three cuts, the princess cut has more vulnerable areas than the other two. This is due to its four sharp pointed corners. It is important to consider these vulnerable points and to ensure that the setting is able to protect these. Most prong settings have prongs that hold the four corners of the princess cut.
The Asscher and the cushion cut do not have sharp edges. The Asscher may be square, but it contains 8 edges rather than 4. These 8 edges are often beveled and slope gently down. The cushion cut is also very durable. It is similar to the round diamond in that it contains no edges at all, but has slightly rounded edges. It is less prone to chipping off or breaking.
Cushion Vs Princess Vs Asscher: Value
From the three cuts, Asscher often tends to be the most expensive. This is due to a number of reasons. Only the very best diamonds are chosen for the Asscher cut which hikes the price. Also, the Asscher is quite a rare cut with not many retailers carrying this shape. This can make it more difficult to find an Asscher and low supply has a direct correlation to high prices. And lastly, the Asscher is the only diamond cut that is named after a family name, which gives it a touch of luxury and prestige. Think Prada, Chanel or Tiffany.
The princess cut is more affordable than the Asscher and is easily found in any store that sells diamonds. Cutting a princess diamond allows for less diamond wastage, meaning that manufacturers can get more out of their diamond rough. Also, the demand for the princess cut is very high. All these result in a more affordable diamond.
The cushion cut is the least expensive of the three cuts. However, within the cushion types, the chunky cushion is more expensive than the crushed ice cushion. It is often cut from better quality diamonds and have a unique, gorgeous look. Crushed ice cushions are the least expensive of cushion cuts. They are cut to enhance the carat weight rather than the brilliance. They can leak light and are often cut from lower quality diamonds.
The princess cut offers the best value for money.
Compare these three diamonds with similar features taken from the James Allen site.
They have varying prices, with the Asscher being the most expensive even though it has a lot of extinction (darkened areas due to poor light performance and misaligned facets).
Cushion Vs Princess Vs Asscher: Which is Best?
Clearly all three of these diamond shapes are quite different from each other and offer something different to the wearer. If you are looking for brilliance, then you cannot go wrong with the princess cut. However, for a more unique, eye-catching look, the Asscher is perfect. The cushion cut offers value and beauty, but again, it depends on the type of cushion you are after.
Finally, have a look at the three types of shapes and see which you think looks the best. How does it look against your finger and does it have the appearance that you want from a diamond? The final decision will depend on your budget and preferences.
In the mood to browse for diamonds? For an excellent selection of loose diamonds or engagement rings, with high quality images and videos, check out James Allen.