…Asscher Cut diamond, that is. Asscher cuts have been making waves since the early 1900’s. If you’re not familiar, the name refers to stunningly beautiful, modified square-cut diamonds. They sort of speak for themselves, don’t you think?
What is an Asscher Cut and what makes it special?
Asscher cuts have a wonderfully rich history. The Asscher brothers were diamond cutters in Amsterdam around the turn of the 19th century. Their cutting house became quite known for their skill and precision. In 1902, Joseph Asscher developed a variation of the classic emerald cut. This new cut was square, versus the rectangular emerald cut, with proportionally larger blocked corners, forming an almost octagonal outline. The bottom was scissor-cut with symmetrical parallel facets, ending in a single central point, instead of the standard keel-line of the emerald cut. The symmetry of this new style, combined with the greater depth of the stone, resulted in such radiant brilliance that people were really dazzled. The design was patented, and a number of Asschers were cut and set into the Art Deco style of the times until World War II.
A bit of Asscher history:
If the Asscher name sounds familiar, you might be interested to know that in 1907, Joseph Asscher cut the Cullinan, a 3106 carat rough diamond. The largest cut diamonds from the Cullinan are part of the Crown Jewels of Britain. Diamond cutting at the time was totally done by hand, and the first cut made had to be accurate to split the crystal atoms correctly, or the world’s largest diamond would become the world’s most expensive pile of diamond dust. Legend has it that ol’ Asscher struck the first blow to cleave the stone (successfully, obviously), then promptly passed out. (The family refutes that, but I’m sticking with it.)
A Note About Size and Quality of Asscher Cuts
Color can concentrate in the corner facets of this cut, plus you can see inclusions through the clear step facets, so I recommend going a little higher quality with this cut: G or higher color, VS2 or higher clarity (click here for a diamond quality overview). If you are in love with an Asscher cut, you should know that they face up quite small for their carat weight due to their depth relative to their diameter. If you have a modest budget, or you prefer a diamond under 1 carat, you really should see a mounted stone and try it on for size. A “halo” mounting, one with diamonds micro-paved around the center stone, will add a lot of volume without the same expense of going with a much larger carat weight Asscher center stone.
Modern Asscher Cuts
Sometime in the late 1990’s, coinciding with renewed interest in estate-looking mountings and platinum designs (plus mentions in Sex and the City and celebrity wearers like Kate Hudson), consumers rediscovered the Asscher cut. In 2001, Edward and Joop Asscher updated the design slightly, adding more facets and a slightly larger table to increase brilliance. Now you can purchase authorized Asschers from Royal Asscher.
Other diamonds are cut into a similar style. They may not all have the actual “Asscher Signature”, but there are a lot of gorgeous modified-square brilliants out there, in some equally stunning mountings.
With their clean outline and sophisticated brilliance, Asscher Cuts manage to be very modern and very classic at the same time.