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Emerald Cut vs. Asscher Cut – What’s the Difference and Which is Better?

Girl wearing emerald shape diamond very happy

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The Asscher and the emerald cuts are two popular diamond cuts featuring a square shape. In recent years, they’ve surged in popularity as more people turn towards shapes other than the classic round. However, there’s some misconceptions about these two shapes with many people thinking that the Asscher is simply a square emerald cut.

Let’s take a look at Asscher and emerald cuts and how they differ.

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Emerald or Asscher – Which to Choose?

Diamond Asscher cut
Emerald shape diamond

Emerald vs. Asscher Diamond Cuts

Both these cuts have their unique beauty and pros and cons. In terms of price, there’s not much difference between an Asscher or an emerald of similar specifications.

Choose the emerald cut if the following are important to you:

  • A larger looking diamond
  • An older cut steeped in history
  • Beautiful hall of mirrors effect from the interaction with light
  • More options for ring designs. For example, for a nonconventional east-to-west look, place the emerald horizontally on your ring.
  • A less busy, clean and clear looking diamond
  • Calmer light performance
  • Makes the fingers look elongated

Choose an Asscher if the following are important to you:

  • More brilliance and light performance
  • A more modern looking cut
  • A deeper diamond
  • Excellent for Art Deco ring styles
  • A more octagonal looking stone with almost equal sized corners

Asscher vs. Emerald – Origin and History

Emerald cut vintage engagement ring

Vintage emerald engagement ring featuring the open long facets typical of emerald cuts.

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The emerald cut has been around much longer than the Asscher cut. Its origins can be traced back to the 1400s, when early versions of the cut were first created and used. The cut was originally used for emerald gemstones and was found to bring out the color and clarity of the stone to maximum effect.  Over time, it was adapted for diamonds and quickly became a standard diamond cut.

Asscher diamond ring

Asscher diamond ring featuring the brilliance and busy look of the cut.

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The Asscher cut, on the other hand, is relatively recent, only appearing on the scene in 1902 when it was created and patented by Joseph Asscher (from whom it gets its name). Pronounced ash-shur, the cut was highly popular during the Art Deco period of the 1920s as it evoked the image of the times – geometric shape, clean lines and an austere, stylish look.

Asscher vs. Emerald – Cut Type

Both the emerald and the Asscher cuts are known as step-cuts, in that they feature long open facets cut in parallel lines to the diamond’s sides. While both cuts can be either rectangular or square based on alterations of the length to width ratio, the emerald cut is typically elongated while the Asscher is typically square.

To appreciate the difference in the cutting style, compare the step cut to the diagrams of the round brilliant with the emerald and Asscher below.

  • Round diamond diagram
  • Emerald shape diamond

Emerald cut, Asscher cut and Round Brilliant cut

Round shape diamond

Round Brilliant

The round brilliant features facets set in a complex fashion at various angles to maximize the refraction of light. The step cuts, on the other hand, are more organized and laid out in straight lines.

Asscher vs. Emerald – Cut Specifics

Both the emerald and Asscher cuts have the same number of facets – 58, however the Asscher also has a variation known as the Royal Asscher Cut which features 75 facets. While they may appear similar at first glance, the Asscher cut is known to be more brilliant with greater light performance than the emerald cut. And no, the Asscher is not a square emerald. As you’ll see, there are several differences between the two cuts.

For a quick comparison, check out this square emerald cut and this similar Asscher cut. Watch the diamonds rotate and note the differences in appearance. You’ll see that the Asscher is deeper and more brilliant, with a rounder looking shape from the side view.

A main difference between the emerald and Asscher is that the Asscher looks almost octagonal because of the sides being almost equal in length due to the corners being deeply cut, whereas the emerald cut is a fuller square or rectangle with short cuts at the corners. Both cuts feature 8 sides, instead of 4 as most people typically assume.

Top image: Asscher engagement ring, Bottom image: Emerald engagement ring

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One benefit of the emerald is that it tends to look larger than an Asscher of a similar carat weight because it’s a shallower cut. The Asscher has a lot of the carat weight underneath the surface, as it’s a deep cut. What this means for you is that if you want a larger looking diamond and thereby more bang for your buck, opt for an emerald cut.

Both emerald and Asscher cuts can show windowing (large white spaces in the diamond) and extinction (dark areas in the diamond) both of which occur due to poor cutting and misaligned facets. When you buy one of these diamonds, look at images and videos of the actual diamond from all angles, to see how it interacts with light. If either the dark or the empty spaces are all that you notice, then pick a better cut stone.

Both these cuts emphasise the color and clarity of the diamond, meaning that you’ll need to invest in a higher quality stone if you decide to opt for either of these cuts. Unlike brilliant cuts like the round, princess, cushion or radiant, step cuts can’t hide the diamond’s flaws and color tints with their facets. Instead, they highlight these features.

Brand Name – A Major Difference

One main difference between the two cuts is that the Asscher is a patented cut belonging to the Royal Asscher Company. Only this company has the right to produce authentic Royal Asscher Cut diamonds. The emerald cut doesn’t have this prestigious status but it does have a longer history and wider use.

Wrapping Up…

The differences between a square emerald and an Asscher are subtle but they are there. The Asscher is cut to maximize its light performance while the emerald cut exhibits a calmer brilliance. Which you choose depends on your stylistic preference.