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A Definitive Guide to the Asscher Diamond

By Lead Gemologist Erica Hirsch, GIA GG

The Asscher diamond is a very close relative to the emerald but has a bit more savoir-faire. Its sophistication is welcome in even the most playful settings. With their distinct “windmill” appearance, “Hall of Mirrors” flash effect, and varieties in ratio, the Asscher diamond can express many different statements.

Be aware, Asscher diamonds can be somewhat fussy. Round, oval, pears and other non-step cut diamonds do a better job of: camouflaging inclusions, disguising their color, and even look great with lower cut grades than Asscher. But most will agree that they are worth the trouble.

How do you find the Asscher diamond that’s right for you? We have assembled our best intel here. Using our education and experience, we hope to assist you on your journey to find the diamond you will adore.  

The 4 C’s for Asscher Diamonds

Color in Asschers

Asscher diamonds, like most fancy shapes, show their color. Compare an Asscher shape to a round, both H color, the round will appear more colorless.

Image showing the relatively color difference between an Asscher cut and a Round Brilliant.

Quick tip — if considering a setting with multiple stones, make sure they are “color matched.”.

Read up on the science behind fluorescence if you are so inclined. In person, you will find it undetectable to the naked eye. Fluorescence does not affect a stone’s integrity. Diamonds with fluorescence typically cost 10% to 20% less. In addition to cost savings, fluorescence can improve the appearance of a diamond’s color by up to two shades in color grades H through K.  We suggest allowing up to medium fluorescence in grades E-G, and up to very strong fluorescence in color grades H-K.

Diamonds are graded for color with their top side facing down. Because of this, you may come across the term “face up.” This is used to explain that a stone’s color may appear different than it was graded.

Example: An I grade Asscher diamond can appear as light as H face up, and even closer to G if it has strong fluorescence.  In the J, K, and onward grades the recipe is less dependable.

Side by side comparison of a J color diamond set in a platinum setting vs. a J color diamond set in a yellow gold setting. The J color diamond set in yellow gold appears more white.
Quick Tip — yellow gold can actually make a warmer, more yellow diamond  appear whiter.
Here, the same J colored diamond set in yellow gold appears whiter.

Clarity in Asscher Diamonds

Asscher diamonds are not great at hiding inclusions, so we recommend a VS clarity or better. Within the diamond trade, there is a saying that a stone may be “eye clean” to which most gemologists would inquire, “who’s eyes?”. The industry defines “eye clean” as “inclusions that cannot be seen with normal vision from a distance of 6-12 inches”.  

Diamonds are reflective by nature, that’s why they sparkle. This also means that a single inclusion can appear in multiple areas, like a hall of mirrors. Not great news — we know — but try your best to determine the likelihood of this possibility using the certificate and your eyes.

Clarity grades are based on the size, location and number of inclusions. Inclusions can disrupt light interaction. Think of them as roadblocks. When choosing an Asscher shape, avoid large black crystals that can be seen without magnification. Small black crystals in large numbers can make a diamond look gray. Mother Earth did manage to make some crystals colorless and they are acceptable. Feathers, also colorless, are tolerable as long as they do not reach the girdle and if they are not running across the table. If you are not sure, ask. Twinning wisps can be discrete and are no problem when there are just a few. Pinpoints are fine, as long as they appear in small numbers. Needles are typically small and undetectable.

Avoid any diamonds with the following: cavity, knot, chip, laser drill hole, etch channel, indented natural and certain feathers.

Need help understanding what you’re looking at? See our inclusion guide.

These inclusions could impact the integrity of the diamond leaving it vulnerable. Diamonds are hard, not tough. You wouldn’t think twice about cutting something with a sharp knife on a ceramic plate but think how careful you are when placing it in the sink.

Occasionally we are able to hide an inclusion under a prong. It would be our secret.

Bottom line, it may take some hunting but it’s what we love doing every day.

Cut, Symmetry, and Polish in Asscher Diamonds

The GIA and most other diamond grading laboratories do not grade the cut of fancy shapes. If you see cut grades online, it is likely they were estimated by the seller.

Unlike round diamonds, Asscher diamonds do not sparkle… but rather flash! Almost like a wink. Think of the flash seen when taking a picture. We suggest you select your Asscher with a grade of Very Good or better in both Symmetry and Polish. This is not an area we recommend you try to economize. Our gemologist is happy to assist because on rare occasions you can find a winner with Good grades.

If you get frustrated, there is an alternative. A Radiant Cut (shape) has the outline of an Asscher diamond, within the lower ratios offered, with a faceted underbelly. This translate to more freedom with inclusions, symmetry and polish grades. All other rules apply.

Carat Weight and it’s Relation to Cut

No one should pay for carat weight they cannot see. Understanding the relationship between carat and cut is essential. Girdle and total depth (pavilion) areas are prone to unnecessary bulk. Since diamonds are sold by weight the practice of leaving extra behind to increase cost without any benefit to performance has been one of the industry’s best-kept secrets. Our reference guide will help you avoid this.

There are several ratio and facet options available for the Asscher diamond. It comes down to personal preference and the ultimate look you are aiming for.

Diamond of the three main Asscher diamond ratios: 1:1, 1:1.05 and 1:1.08.
Diagram of Asscher faceting patterns. Image on the left showcases smaller facets resulting in smaller flashes of light. Image on the right showcases larger facets resulting in larger flashes of light.

Typically, the condition of the original rough diamond will determine the number of facets cut. You are the ultimate judge on the diamond’s overall appearance, so don’t be vexed by this.

Side by side comparison of two Asscher diamonds. The diamond on the left has smaller facets. The diamond on the right has larger facets.
Left: Broad Right: Slender

Asscher Diamond Proportion Recommendations

Quick Tip — Total Depth can be frustrating, Be patient.

Diagram of a diamond depicting the girdle. The long thin piece that divides the top from the bottom.

Girdle

Accept: Thin – Thick

Avoid: Very Thin & Extremely Thick

Why: Very thin girdles can chip or crack. Very thick means you are paying for weight you can’t see.

Diagram of the table of a diamond. The flat long part on top.

Table

Accept: 53 – 69

Avoid: < 53 or > 69

Why: Light should bounce off the table like sun off of a window.

Diagram depicting a diamonds overall depth. The point from the top of the diamond down until the culet or bottom of the diamond.

Total Depth

Accept: 59 – 63, 65 Max

Avoid: < 59 or > 65

Why: The less “junk in the trunk” the more weight where it can be seen!

It’s a lot to keep in mind, we know. When you’re ready, we’re here to help. We do the digging for you — it’s our humble contribution to your special story — and it’s our pleasure to lend a hand.

Ready to get started? See that window in the bottom right? Send us a note and while you’re waiting, check out these oval cut styles from our collection. No pressure, diamonds have enough of that.

Not sure? Sure. Consider an Emerald, the Asscher diamond’s slim, elongated cousin.