There's a mesmerizing allure to Asscher cut diamonds that's hard to put into words. Is it the symmetrical steps of its facets, reminiscent of a mirrored maze? Or perhaps the way it captures and refracts light?
Whatever it is, the Asscher cut is not just a diamond shape; it's an experience, a journey back to the luxurious days of Art Deco and timeless elegance. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of this distinctive diamond cut, discovering its history, defining features, and why it continues to captivate hearts worldwide.
History and Origins of the Asscher Cut
The Asscher cut diamond, with its mesmerizing allure and distinct geometric elegance, has a rich history that transports us back to the early 20th century. Tracing its lineage, we find ourselves amidst the bustling lanes of Amsterdam, where its story begins.
The Birthplace: Amsterdam
Amsterdam, often termed the "City of Diamonds," has been a prominent hub for diamond trading and craftsmanship for centuries. Amidst this backdrop, in the early 1900s, the Asscher cut made its debut, introducing a fresh and innovative perspective to diamond cuts.
The Asscher Brothers' Legacy
Joseph Asscher, a renowned diamond cutter of his time, together with his brother, Abraham Asscher, founded the Asscher Diamond Company (now the Royal Asscher Diamond Company) in 1854. Their combined expertise and passion for diamonds led them to craft a new diamond cut that was unique, intricate, and stunningly beautiful.
In 1902, they patented the original Asscher cut. This cut was characterized by a square shape with deeply truncated corners, resembling an octagon. It boasted a series of parallel steps that created a mesmerizing hall-of-mirrors effect.
Joseph Asscher was renowned for his diamond cutting expertise. His skills were so esteemed that he was chosen for the monumental task of cleaving the Cullinan diamond in 1908. While the primary cuts of the Cullinan diamond were not in the Asscher style, Joseph's involvement in this historical event highlights the significance of the Asscher family in the diamond industry during that era.
Evolution and Revival
The Asscher cut gained immense popularity during the Art Deco period, from the 1920s to the 1930s, as its geometric precision and vintage charm perfectly complemented the era's aesthetics.
However, as decades passed, its popularity waned, only to be revived in the early 21st century. Recognizing the growing demand and the need to modernize the design, the Asscher family introduced a new version of the cut in 2001, which they named the "Royal Asscher cut." This revamped version has an additional 16 facets, enhancing its brilliance and fire.
As we journey further, this diamond's geometric intricacies and the passion behind its creation will reveal why the Asscher cut remains one of the most revered choices for those with a penchant for vintage charm and modern brilliance.
What is an Asscher Cut Diamond?
The distinctive Asscher cut diamond serves as a timeless representation of both historic craftsmanship and modern elegance. Let's explore its unique features.
- Shape and Corners: The Asscher cut primarily takes a square form. Its deeply truncated corners, however, give it an octagonal appearance from certain angles. This design doesn't just elevate visual appeal but also accentuates the diamond's depth.
- Proportions: One of the standout features of an Asscher cut diamond is its balanced proportions. The ratio of depth to width is crucial in achieving its hallmark brilliance and clarity. An ideally proportioned Asscher diamond has a depth percentage (height of the diamond relative to its width) of about 60% to 70%, ensuring optimal light performance.
- Facet Arrangement: The facets of the Asscher cut are arranged in parallel to the diamond's girdle in a step-like pattern. This arrangement creates a distinctive play of light, resulting in its renowned hall-of-mirrors effect.
- Light Performance: Asscher cuts are known for their ability to capture and reflect light in a way that creates deep contrast and vivid patterns. This is a direct result of its unique facet configuration and depth. When light enters the diamond, it interacts with these facets, producing a mesmerizing interplay of reflections and refractions.
- Depth: A critical characteristic of the Asscher cut diamond is its depth. The deep pavilion, combined with the overall design, pulls the observer's gaze inward, offering a sense of immersion and depth that few other cuts can match.
Delving into the Asscher's Facets
The Original 58 Facets
The traditional Asscher cut diamond is defined by its 58 facets. This configuration maximizes light reflection, leading to its signature brilliance. Each facet is meticulously crafted to work harmoniously, creating a consistent and captivating sparkle.
The Modern Upgrade
Recognizing a need to bring a touch of modernity to the classic design, the Asscher family introduced a new iteration in the early 21st century. Dubbed the "Royal Asscher cut diamond," this version adds an extra 16 facets to the original design, bringing the total to 74. These additional facets enhance the diamond's fire, giving it an even more vivid play of colors and reflections.
Comparing Asscher with Other Diamond Cuts
Asscher vs Emerald Cut Diamonds
The Asscher cut diamond often strikes one as a neat square, but those deep corners? They give it a unique twist, making it look almost octagonal from certain angles. In contrast, the emerald cut stretches out, adopting a more rectangular stance. One thing that caught my eye early on: despite having the same carat weight, an emerald cut can sometimes look larger than its Asscher counterpart due to its elongated shape.
In terms of brilliance, the Asscher has this captivating play of light, thanks to its depth and facet design. It sparkles in a way that's hard to ignore. The emerald cut, meanwhile, presents a calmer, glassier surface. It's a more muted kind of elegance, but believe me, it has its moments of allure.
Now, if we're talking corners, the Asscher cut diamond's pronounced ones give it that octagonal feel I mentioned earlier, while the emerald cut diamond stays true to its rectangular essence, with just a hint of softening at the corners.
When I see them set on rings, the Asscher, perhaps due to its depth, can sometimes seem a tad smaller. But paired with the right setting, especially vintage styles, its character truly shines. The emerald cut, with its elongated form, has a way of making fingers look more graceful. It exudes a modern charm that I find hard to resist.
Asscher Cut vs Princess Cut Diamonds
The Asscher cut has step-cut facets that create a hall-of-mirrors effect that is oh-so-mesmerizing. The Princess cut, on the other hand, is known for its sharp, uncut corners and brilliant-cut facets. If vibrant sparkle is on your wishlist, Princess cut might just tick that box.
The depth of the Asscher cut plays a pivotal role in its light performance, leading to a distinctive interplay within the stone. Conversely, the Princess cut, with its brilliant facet arrangement, disperses light in a way that radiates sparkle and fire. For those after a bold statement, the Princess cut seldom disappoints.
A practical note on settings: the pointed corners of the Princess cut can be somewhat vulnerable. They sometimes need a bit more care and are often placed in protective settings to guard against chipping. The Asscher, with its softer edges, tends to be more forgiving in day-to-day wear.
The Asscher cut reminds of a timeless vintage piece, echoing tales from the Art Deco era—a classic beauty. The Princess cut, meanwhile, feels bolder, more modern, and unapologetically radiant. It's for those moments when you want your diamond to shout, not whisper.
Asscher Cut vs Cushion Cut
When juxtaposing the Asscher and Cushion cuts, it's almost like comparing two art forms, each with its own flavor and appeal. Though both have their charm, understanding their nuances can guide you in picking the perfect gem.
While we're familiar with the Asscher's geometric precision, the Cushion cut brings a softer touch to the table. Named for its pillow-like shape, it features rounded corners that lead to a gentler, more approachable look. It's less about stark angles and more about a gentle embrace of light.
Speaking of light, the Cushion's brilliance is where it truly differentiates itself. While the Asscher's step-cut facets offer a deep, reflective interplay, the Cushion cut, with its mixed facet pattern, scatters light beautifully. It often produces a vivid display of colors, making it a popular choice for those seeking a diamond that possesses both warmth and fire.
Historically, while the Asscher reminds us of the Art Deco era, the Cushion cut carries legacies from centuries past. Its enduring nature is a testament to its timeless allure. It’s a diamond cut that has withstood changing fashion trends, marrying the old with the new effortlessly.
When considering settings, the Cushion cut's versatility is evident. While the Asscher finds harmony in structured settings, the Cushion cut adapts beautifully across designs. Whether it's a minimalist solitaire or a grand halo setting, the Cushion complements with grace and poise.
The Asscher Diamond Cut and the Other C's
When evaluating diamonds, the Four C's — Carat, Color, Clarity, and Cut — are paramount. While we've already explored the unique attributes of the Asscher cut, understanding its relationship with Carat, Color, and Clarity when you're buying a diamond with this cut style.
Carat Weight in Asscher Cut Diamonds
Asscher cut diamonds might present a slightly smaller appearance from a top view compared to other cuts of equivalent carat weight due to the cut's inherent depth and design. This visual difference becomes especially pronounced in larger stones.
As with all diamonds, the price of an Asscher cut rises significantly as the carat weight increases, especially at half-carat and whole-carat milestones. Given the intricate facet structure and depth of the Asscher cut, it's often chosen in larger carat weights, usually above 1 carat, as its beauty and detailing become more pronounced and appreciable in bigger sizes.
Color in Asscher Cut Diamonds
The depth and step-cut facets of the Asscher cut diamond can emphasize the diamond's intrinsic color, making slight tints more visible than in some other cuts. Those aiming for a near-colorless appearance without stretching their budget might find diamonds in the G-H range to be an ideal choice.
However, for aficionados desiring a completely colorless gem, gravitating towards the D-F range would be optimal. Additionally, the choice of metal for the setting can play a pivotal role in the diamond's perceived color. For instance, warmer toned diamonds, especially those in the I-J range, can benefit from complementary settings in yellow or rose gold, which can mask and blend with the diamond's warmth.
Clarity in Asscher Cuts
The large table and open facets characteristic of the Asscher cut make inclusions and blemishes more discernible compared to busier, brilliant-cut diamonds. Thus, clarity becomes an especially vital consideration.
It's generally advisable to lean towards an Asscher diamond with a clarity grade of at least VS2 or higher. At these grades, inclusions tend to be microscopic and challenging to spot without magnification. Given the cut's unique demands and the heightened visibility of imperfections, consulting with a gemologist or diamond expert before making a final choice can provide invaluable insights.
Setting and Style Ideas for Asscher Cut Diamonds
The Asscher cut diamond, with its deep allure and geometric elegance, lends itself beautifully to a variety of settings. Whether you're a minimalist seeking a timeless piece or a connoisseur with a flair for the intricate, there's an Asscher setting that resonates with your style. Let's delve into some of the most captivating settings and styles for this unique cut.
Classic Solitaire Settings
The beauty of a solitaire setting lies in its simplicity, and with an Asscher cut diamond, this choice is evergreen. By placing the diamond on a singular band without additional stones, the Asscher cut's distinct facets and depth become the highlight. It's about allowing the diamond's grandeur to take the spotlight, unadulterated and magnificent. It's a setting that whispers, rather than shouts, making it a classic choice for those who appreciate understated elegance.
When I think of the Roaring Twenties and the grandeur of the Art Deco era, the Asscher cut immediately comes to mind. It's as if this diamond was carved for vintage settings. With baguette side stones, Asscher cut becomes the crowning jewel. The combination of an Asscher diamond with a vintage setting evokes nostalgia, making it an exquisite choice for those enchanted by the charms of yesteryears.
While the Asscher cut has historical roots, modern jewelers have found innovative ways to weave its charm into contemporary designs. Think of bezel settings with clean lines, or perhaps a halo setting where the Asscher is surrounded by brilliant-cut diamonds, contrasting its step-cut facets.
There's also the possibility of pairing the Asscher cut diamond with colorful gemstones, making it the centerpiece of a vibrant tableau. These modern interpretations are where the legacy of the Asscher cut meets the innovations of today, offering a fresh take on an old classic.
How to Choose the Perfect Asscher Cut Diamond
Selecting the ideal Asscher cut diamond goes beyond mere aesthetics; it delves into the intricate dynamics of light, proportions, and symmetry. This unique diamond, with its distinctive play of depth and angles, requires careful consideration to truly bring out its inherent beauty. Here's a guide to help you navigate your choices and find that perfect Asscher gem.
The Significance of Symmetry
Symmetry in an Asscher cut is paramount. Given its geometric design, even the slightest misalignment or discrepancy can be evident and detract from its beauty. The way each facet aligns and reflects light is critical in producing that captivating hall-of-mirrors effect unique to step-cut diamonds.
When choosing your Asscher diamond, ensure that its symmetry is graded at least "Very Good" or, ideally, "Excellent" by recognized gemological institutions. This ensures that the diamond's facets are perfectly aligned, maximizing its reflective qualities and inherent beauty.
Recommended Table and Depth Percentages
The table and depth of an Asscher cut play crucial roles in its overall appearance and brilliance. They determine how light travels within the diamond, influencing its sparkle and fire. For the Asscher cut, here's a general guideline:
- Table Percentage: A table percentage between 60% and 70% is generally recommended. This range ensures a balanced spread and adequate surface for light reflection.
- Depth Percentage: Aim for a depth percentage between 60% and 68%. Within this range, the diamond achieves an optimal balance between its depth and table, allowing for maximum light return and creating that sought-after brilliance.
It's essential to remember that while these percentages provide a guideline, individual diamonds may vary. Always view the diamond in person, if possible, or through high-resolution imagery to gauge its visual appeal. (You can read about my favorite diamond retailers here.) Often, the diamond's overall look, feel, and the way it interacts with light will be the deciding factor.
FAQs on Asscher Cut Diamonds
How does the price of an Asscher cut compare to other cuts?
Typically, Asscher cut diamonds can be slightly less expensive per carat than their round brilliant counterparts due to the shape of the rough diamond and the lesser demand for them. However, the price can fluctuate based on clarity, color, and, most importantly, cut quality.
Why is the Asscher cut sometimes referred to as the "square emerald cut"?
The Asscher cut shares some similarities with the emerald cut, mainly its step-cut facets. However, its square shape with distinct corner truncations and deeper pavilion make the Asscher stand out.
Are Asscher cut diamonds suitable for all types of jewelry?
While Asscher cuts are most commonly used for engagement rings, their geometric beauty suits various jewelry pieces. They make stunning earrings, especially studs and solitaires, and can be a centerpiece in necklaces or even tennis bracelets.
How do Asscher cut diamonds fare in terms of durability?
All diamonds, regardless of their cut, rate a 10 on the Mohs hardness scale, making them the hardest known material. However, due to its truncated corners, the Asscher cut can be less prone to chipping compared to some pointed cuts, like the princess.
What's the ideal carat size for an Asscher cut diamond?
There's no one-size-fits-all answer, as preferences vary. However, because of the Asscher cut's depth and design, it can appear slightly smaller than other diamond shapes of the same carat weight. For those wanting a prominent look on an engagement ring, considering a slightly larger carat size might be beneficial.
How does the Asscher cut's color retention compare to other cuts?
The Asscher cut diamond's depth and large table can sometimes emphasize the diamond's color. If opting for a larger Asscher diamond, it's often recommended to choose a higher color grade to ensure the diamond appears white and doesn't show noticeable color.
Is the Asscher cut a good choice for eco-conscious buyers?
Asscher cuts, like other diamond shapes, can be sourced from both traditional mining and lab-grown methods. For eco-conscious buyers, choosing a lab-grown Asscher cut diamond can be a more sustainable choice without compromising on the diamond's quality or beauty.
The Timeless Allure of the Asscher Cut
The Asscher cut, with its geometric precision and deep hall-of-mirrors effect, holds a special place in the world of gemstones. It's a dance of light and angles, reminiscent of times gone by, yet ever relevant in modern jewelry designs.
Whether gracing a classic solitaire ring or paired in an intricate vintage setting, its allure remains undeniable. In a sea of diamond shapes, the Asscher stands as a testament to timeless elegance and enduring charm. Its unique character ensures it will continue to captivate hearts for generations to come.