Dare To Be Square

Asscher Cut vs Emerald Cut Diamonds

When engagement ring shopping, first consider choosing a shape. The most common diamond shapes are: round, pear, marquise, or quadrilateral. What? Taking a step back to 9th grade geometry, remember the quadrilateral, the shape with four straight sides. In diamonds that translates to Asscher and Emerald-cuts. So what is the difference between the two? It’s all about the shape!

The Asscher-cut diamond is a square with cut corners. Named for the founder Joseph Asscher who developed the cut in 1902, the diamond typically has a length to width ratio of 1:1.

However, exceptions exist like the ring featured here from the Early Art Deco period set with a rare elongated Asscher-cut diamond.

This elongated Asscher has the recognizable step facets, smaller table facet, and unique optic properties of an Asscher and the rectangular shape of an Emerald-cut making it truly magical.

In diamond language, the flat top of the diamond is termed the “table” and in an Asscher-cut the table is distinctly smaller than other square or rectangular shaped diamonds.

Step cut facets, three on the top or “crown” and three on the bottom or “pavilion” contribute to the identity of the Asscher-cut. So what does all of this mean? These facets all create the windmill pattern reflection that makes the diamond sparkle. We call this “brilliance.” The GIA, Gemological Institute of America, does not usually use the term “Asscher” but rather sticks to the basics of shape and cut and calls an “Asscher” a square Emerald-cut, step-cut, or cut cornered step-cut depending on the nuances of the stone.

However, not all "square emerald cuts" are Asscher-cuts, this is only the shape.

Asscher-cut diamond rings were most popular during the Edwardian (1901 - 1910) and Art Deco periods (1920’s and 30’s) and were most often set in filigree or geometric platinum settings. The cut had a revival of interest in the 1990’s and continues to be sought after.

The Emerald-cut diamond is a rectangle with cut corners. The “table” shape is a rectangle and most often has an unequal length to width ratio. Like the Asscher-cut, it too has cut corners, but they are much smaller. This cut was developed after the Asscher and became most popular in the Art Deco period. Its popularity continues and Emerald-cut diamond rings are often chosen for their simplicity and purity of line. Due to the large table and the ability to see right into an emerald cut diamond, clarity becomes a more significant factor. The Emerald-cut diamond has nowhere to hide inclusions. Color is very straight forward too.

The choice between an Asscher or an Emerald-cut diamond ring becomes a matter of style and taste. First looking at the outline of the diamond, square or rectangular, and then also considering brilliance and the unique settings that these vintage diamonds are set in. At Erstwhile, we search for the most beautiful vintage rings and each ring that we choose has something that we love and want to share with you.

Above image courtesy of A Few Little Gems. We dish about the jewelry trade and where we find our treasures with them here.

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