If you’re thinking of a square shaped diamond for your engagement ring, you will come across the terms Princess, Asscher and Cushion.
These are all square cuts but are quite different from each other in many ways, including light performance, durability and appearance.
To help you make the choice, 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.
What Are These Three Square Cuts?
Of the many different types of cuts, the princess, Asscher, and cushion are three of the most popular.
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.
Related Articles: Princess vs. Round Cut Diamonds
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. 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 not intense, but the faceting arrangement and the contrast of light and dark is intriguing, giving the diamond an eye-catching beauty and greater depth.
The Asscher cut exhibits less brilliance as it’s not cut to enhance its sparkle. Rather, the focus is on clarity and depth. It has a clean, glamorous look that most other diamond cuts lack.
The princess shape is a brilliant cut diamond. It has numerous facets (around 50 to 58) with a chevron pattern that gives the cut its distinct look.
The cushion cut 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.
So which is better?
This 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 kind of sparkle, the Asscher is ideal.
How Does Sparkle Affect the Diamond’s 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.
Related Article: Cushion vs Radiant cut diamonds
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, which can be prone to chipping if struck. Most ring settings take this into consideration, and feature prongs that hold the four corners of the princess cut.
The Asscher cut doesn’t have sharp edges. While it appears to be a four-sided shape, it actually has eight. This is because the pointed corners have been truncated and turned into shorter sides. This makes the Asscher a lot more durable than the princess.
The cushion cut is also very durable. It’s 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.
So, to reiterate, the princess cut is the most vulnerable from the three.
Which Is More Valuable?
The princess cut tends to be the most expensive of the three cuts, because of the higher demand and popularity it enjoys. Along with the cushion and round cuts, it’s the only diamond cut that is given a cut grading by the GIA.
The cushion cut is the least expensive of the three cuts. However, within the cushion types, the chunky cushion can be more expensive than the crushed ice cushion. It is often cut from better quality diamonds and has a unique 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.
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, glamorous look, the Asscher is perfect. Of the three, the cushion cut offers a balance of value, sparkle, and beauty.
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.
Where to Shop for Square Diamonds
There are many excellent places to purchase diamonds online, be it a loose diamond or a pre-set engagement ring. Whichever retailer you decide to go with, always make sure that they are reputable, are specialized in what they do and will provide you with certification. We prefer GIA-certified diamonds, as the lab is known for its stringent quality parameters when assessing diamonds. We recommend the following retailers:
Why: Superior diamond imaging, competitive prices, high quality, wide range
An online giant in the diamond space, James Allen a stunning collection of high-quality diamonds. The images and videos are unparalleled in quality and makes shopping online similar, if not better, to shopping in store.
Why: Competitive prices, wide range, great quality
Known for dominating the online diamond industry since the late 1990s, Blue Nile offers one of the largest online diamond inventories. Search diamonds here at competitive prices, solid after-sales policies, and good customer service.
Why: Superior cut quality, exclusive range, stunning designs
Whiteflash has earned an international reputation for the elite quality of their precision cut diamonds, and for their impeccable collection of designer engagement rings. Check their stunning range of diamond jewelry and loose diamonds.
Why: Impeccable quality, superior cut, small but exclusive inventory
Brian Gavin is a renowned expert in diamond cut – and it shows in their superior diamond quality. For the very best in diamonds, search their inventory of designer diamond jewelry and loose diamonds.
Why: Try before you buy, build your own ring, great quality
If you want to try out how a round diamond ring looks on your finger before you commit to buying one, check out With Clarity’s Home Preview Service which is completely free. Find out more here.
Check out our quick comparison of the top online engagement ring retailers for more information.
So, there you have it. When we put these three square diamonds head to head, it’s easy to see that each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Hopefully, this guide will help you make your choice. If you’re looking to learn more about diamonds, check out our step by step guide on how to buy a diamond.