A Definitive Guide to the Asscher Cut
By Stephanie Dore
Do Asscher cut diamonds live rent free in your head? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, this stunner of a diamond shape is about as addicting as those french-tip nail hack videos. Just. Can’t. Stop. Staring. And that’s saying something. But who wants to just stare at a diamond when you can wear one on your pretty little ring finger? Um, no one darling. So we’re here to break down how to buy yourself (or someone else) the perfect Asscher cut diamond engagement ring. Or just a ring. Or just a diamond. You do you. But here’s how.
That Capital A
First of all, yes, Asscher is a proper name. Born into a family of diamond cutters, Joseph Asscher made a name for himself by designing the family cut in 1902. Taking the step-cut facets of an emerald and limiting them to a squared shape (instead of elongated), the Asscher quickly became popular in Art Deco jewelry, as it perfectly captured the sharp lines and geometric obsession of the time period. You will know an Asscher by its distinctive square proportions, step cut facets, and clipped corners.
Step and Repeat
So, we mentioned a step cut. But what is that? Let’s start with a round brilliant cut — you know the one — which has sort of star-like facets that radiate out from the center point. This gives you that classic brilliance and sparkle diamonds are known for. Step cuts, on the other hand, are more like looking into a stack of squares, each smaller or larger than the next.
You’re Getting Sleepy
The major draw of an Asscher’s step cut design is pretty simple, and frankly, stunning. It’s that kaleidoscopic hall of mirrors look you get from the cut’s characteristic faceting pattern. Each of those facets, however tiny, can have a major effect on an Asscher cut diamond’s appearance. If even one facet of that sweet little windmill pattern is out of alignment or not symmetrical, it can start to look all wonky. And no one wants that, darling. How to avoid this? Look for a stone with excellent symmetry and polish.
But Don’t Look for Cut Grade
Yes, we know. We’ve been telling you all along that cut grade is really the most important of the 4Cs because it plays the biggest part in determining the overall beauty of your diamond. But guess what — there are no official cut grades for fancy cut diamonds. Or really, for anything other than rounds. It’s unfortunate but true. There’s just far too much variation in how fancies are cut for the industry to get behind an agreed-upon perfection scale. So what’s a person to do?
This is where that elementary math comes in handy, folks. You knew it had to one day, right? Yes, you might be on any retailers site and see all sorts of cut grades assigned to fancy shaped diamonds. But look at a grading report, and it’s suddenly disappeared. This is because most retailers have determined their own cut grading parameters for fancy shaped diamonds and use these to help guide you. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just not necessarily consistent. You know what are? Numbers! Make sure to check out an Asscher cut’s measurements, including length to width ratio (this will tell you how elongated or squatty the overall shape is), depth percentage and table percentage (which will help you understand a diamond’s light return), and the girdle and culet sizes.
Into the Deep
Fun fact about Asschers — they make really great use of a diamond’s natural shape and carat weight. Downside? This tends to lead to deeper cut stones, which retain more carat weight (and thus more value for the manufacturer) but also hide that carat weight from the face up view. This basically means they can tend to look a bit smaller than other shapes and stick up a bit higher on your finger. Basically, you can end up paying for diamond weight that you can’t see. And that’s not a good look on anybody.
Speaking of Pocketbooks
Asscher cut diamonds only make up about 2% of diamonds on the market. Which means finding a really great one can be a tough task to tackle. Not that it can’t be done. One of our favorite money-saving Asscher shortcuts? The lab. Yes, lab created diamonds are real diamonds. They’re just made by super smart folks in white coats (we assume). And guess what. They can save you tons of dough. Like almost half, really. And there’s a bonus — lab grown diamonds can be created to spec, which means if you’re looking for a specific shape, size, or cut pattern, it’s never out of the question.
In Full Color
Brilliant cut diamonds, with all their bright white sparkle, can help hide a bit of body color. But what about color in Asscher cuts? That’s a bit harder to hide. Their deep shape can actually accentuate body color, making it a bit more noticeable. But that also doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, we love a warm, champagne Asscher cut diamond that stands out from the crowd. Set that bad boy in some yellow gold to really up the ante, and you’ll save money to boot.
Seeing More Clearly
Now that we’ve talked a bit about cut, carat and color, folks, it’s time for the nitty gritty. Clarity, of course. While clarity can definitely be graded to very specific detail, it’s also probably the most subjective of the 4Cs, in terms of preference. Some of us will only accept a flawless diamond, because, duh. But for most of us, that price point is just plain out of reach. So how low can you really go when it comes to Asscher cut diamond clarity? We suggest aiming for eye clean. Which basically means you won’t see any inclusions face up to the naked eye at a normal, handheld distance. Just remember that with Asschers, they have those really open, clear facets. Similar to color, where brilliant cut diamonds hide inclusions, Asschers basically have windows to their souls. So you might want a slightly higher clarity grade. And the larger you go in diamond size, the larger those windows get.
Use Your Asscher Cut Eyes
Ultimately, when you’re ready to shop for an Asscher cut diamond, your most important tool (no matter how much research you do) will be your eyes. Don’t buy an Asscher sight unseen, we beg. Get photos and videos to see how it sparkles. Or if you need a bit more help hunting down your dream diamond, reach out to our Diamond Concierge at firstname.lastname@example.org with a note about what you’re looking for and your budget, and we’ll get you sorted.