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Emerald vs. Asscher, Which is Best for You?

Most things get easier with practice. But, the longer you compare the emerald cut and the Asscher, the harder it gets to choose. Both are striking, and both make a bold statement, but they say different things. For such a seemingly subtle difference in shape, the difference between square and rectangular is a world apart when it comes to their personalities. Let’s compare the emerald vs. Asscher.

On one side we have the emerald. It’s more familiar and more popular in terms of consumer spending. Emerald cuts make a sophisticated statement, elongating the finger and drawing the eye with its striking bars of light.

On the other side, we have the Asscher. It’s harder to find, and has mostly been out of favor until recently, as the aesthetics of the Art Deco style have resurfaced in a powerful way, influencing contemporary jewelry design. The Asscher’s characteristic windmill pattern spirals inwards like a hall of mirrors. They’re mysterious and lively. So, emerald vs. Asscher — how is one to choose?

Do you like square or rectangles? If only it were so simple. While the shape of the emerald and the Asscher have much in common, the arrangement of the facets creates a different play of light, which gives each shape its characteristic personality. The emerald’s long and slender bars of light, and elongated look on the finger create an effect of refinement and sophistication.

The Asscher’s 58 facets are arranged in an octagonal shape that flashes light in all directions, creating a glamorous look. But, look closer and you could loose yourself inside its bottomless hall of mirrors. Both glamorous and mysterious, the Asscher entices. For two stones with so much in common, their personalities couldn’t be further apart. But which is right for you, and why?

Woman showcasing four placeholder engagement rings

EMERALD VS. ASSCHER — THE DIFFERENCE IN SHAPE

The most immediate and noticeable difference between the emerald and the Asscher diamond is their shape. Emerald cut diamonds are rectangular and come in different ratios of length to width. Asscher’s are mostly square, although with their chamfered corners they can be closer to octagonal.

Emeralds elongate the finger, presenting a refined and elegant look. The other benefit to their slender profile is that, similar to ovals, they appear larger than other diamonds of equal carat weight. While emeralds don’t spread quite as much as a pear or marquise, their size is impressive. To get the classic look, stay in the 1.3:1 to 1.6:1 ratio. 1.4:1 being the most coveted and classic ratio.

On the other hand — The Asscher. It’s bulky, one might even say husky, with broad shoulders and a portly belly, their shape commands attention. They are taller than other fancy shapes, which makes they’re spread less generous than an emerald. You’ll likely have to increase your carat weight to get the same visual impact.

Ratios of various emerald cut diamonds from squat to more slender.

The Bottom Line:

For a sophisticated elongated look, the emerald is ideal. For a glamorous eye catcher, go with the Asscher. If size matters most, the emerald is the better choice.

EMERALD VS. ASSCHER — THE DIFFERENCES IN CUT

Emeralds and Asschers are what gemologists call “step cut” diamonds. This cutting method was initially developed for more delicate gemstones (like green emeralds) that are prone to breakage when cut. Unlike brilliant cuts which have many small triangular facets that maximize sparkle, step cuts feature straight parallel sides along the diamond. These parallel facets give them their characteristic flash. But the story doesn’t stop here.

An east west bezel setting in yellow gold featuring an emerald lab grown diamond
Parker No. 6

Emeralds have a wide-open table that shows inclusions and usually results in purchasing 1-2 clarity grades above a round diamond. This table is also what gives the emerald its classic look, like the sun bouncing off a just cleaned window.

Emerald cut diamond faceting patterns to help answer the question: Emerald vs. Asscher

You can recognize an Asscher by the characteristic x shape formed at it’s center. A poorly cut Asscher is immediately recognizable by an asymmetrical windmill. It will ruin the overall look, shape, and sparkle. The center of the x should align at the bottom point of the diamond, known as the culet. This characteristic cut pattern creates an endless array of concentric squares that repeat into infinity, making it almost impossible to look away. This faceting pattern also makes it the more brilliant of the two.

Asscher cut diamond faceting patterns to help answer the question: Emerald vs. Asscher

The Bottom Line:

If you’re looking for more brilliance and sparkle, go with an Asscher. Otherwise, an emerald will give you a sophisticated and refined look.

A royal Asscher cut set in 18K yellow gold
Parker No. 3

EMERALD VS. ASSCHER — THE DIFFERENCE IN PRICE

Like most fancy cut diamonds, Asscher’s and emeralds are more affordable, carat for carat, than rounds. To see how they compare, be sure to check out the visual guide to carat weight.

Unfortunately, both emeralds and Asschers love to show off inclusions through their flat, clear tables and hold onto color more than other shapes. You’ll likely find yourself going up one or two color and clarity grades to get a clean look. Carat weight exacerbates this problem. We almost always recommend staying in the G – I color range, and VS clarity range for Asschers. When it comes to Asscher’s and Emeralds, we’ll often venture into the E-F / VV grades, especially for diamonds over 2.5 carats.

To make matters more difficult, diamond cutters love to preserve as much carat weight from the original rough diamond in the final shape as possible. That extra weight is usually located on the underside of the diamond in its pavilion. It just raises the price, without making it look any larger.

Emeralds and Asschers are some of the worst culprits we’ve seen for “carat stuffing.” A term we’ve coined for deep diamonds that look smaller than they are because of the wasted carat weight in their pavilion.

The Bottom Line:

Emeralds and Asscher cut are both less expensive than a comparable round brilliant. BUT, it’s likely that you’ll be choosing higher color and clarity grades. Their tendency to show color and inclusions more easily can drive the price higher than you were initially anticipating.

THE HISTORY

Both emerald and Asscher cuts are distinctly art deco. The emerald cut became popular in the ’40s but can be found adorning fingers back to the 1400s. Joseph Asscher designed and patented the first Asscher cut in 1902 (and named it after himself). To learn more about the history of this diamond, read our deep dive into the royal Asscher — a gemstone born from theft, mystery, and murder.

An Asscher Halo in platinum
Parker No. 2

The Bottom Line:

If you’re looking for an art-deco look both emeralds and Asschers have it.

If you’re going to be searching for one and want to prepare yourself, read our definitive guide to the emerald and Asscher Learn which clarity and color ranges to focus on, and which to avoid.

NOT SURE? SURE.

What can we say, it’s a difficult decision. The one thing we do know — every great ring starts with a great setting, but picking a setting out online is hard — or at least it used to be. At Frank Darling, all our engagement ring settings are available to try at home, for free. It’s just like our website, but you can touch things.

Get started by selecting your favorite four rings like this bezel set Asscher Solitaire or prong set emerald with pavé band.

An Asscher solitaire compared to an emerald solitaire to help answer the question: Emerald vs. Asscher
Parker No. 1 — Asscher Bezel
An Asscher solitaire compared to an emerald solitaire to help answer the question: Emerald vs. Asscher
Harper No. 4 — Emerald Solitaire Pavé

We’ll send you sterling silver size seven replicas set with 1 carat CZ stones.

Each try at home kit comes with a pre-paid return label, ring sizer, and The Handbook. A practical guide that contains all the information you’ll need to select a diamond. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started.