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In 1968, aboard a yacht on the River Thames in London, Richard Burton unveiled the Krupp Diamond as a decadent gift to Elizabeth Taylor. It was a white, colorless 33.19-carat diamond he purchased at an auction for $307,000 (though its worth is now estimated at over $9 million). It's one of the most fabled diamonds in the history of gemology. However, there's one detail you may not already know by heart: it was an Asscher cut diamond.
What Is the Asscher Cut?
"The Asscher cut is most similar to the Emerald cut but in a square shape," Henri Bar tells Brides. "What makes this cut different is the larger step facets, smaller table, and a higher crown which gives the stone more weight. The corners of the diamond are cropped to give it that unique look."
History of the Asscher Cut
This intricate cut was created in the early 1900s by Joseph Isaac Asscher, who founded the IJ Asscher company in Holland, which was later renamed to the Royal Asscher Diamond Company. The business is still in operation today and counts other legendary diamonds such as The Cullinan Diamond and The Excelsior Diamond as part of its their heritage.
What to Look for in an Asscher Cut Diamond
Its popularity has ebbed and flowed throughout the last century or so, most recently experiencing a slight uptick in interest thanks to its antique, Art Deco-like qualities. "You'll find this style of ring at estate sales or vintage jewelry auctions," diamond expert Henri Bar explains. "Going vintage for an Asscher cut is your best bet since finding a well-cut Asscher cut diamond is quite hard and they can be very expensive." This is because Asscher diamonds have to have a specific ratio in order to retain the square look (the ratio is calculated by dividing the width by the length).
Meet the Expert
The founder of Henri Bar & Co, originally from Antwerp, Henri Bar worked in the diamond industry for 45 years and comes from four generations of jewelers.
Another important thing to consider when looking for your ring is that in contrast to other popular cuts, the Asscher isn't as shiny. "Keep in mind that while these stones do refract light to create color — or as we call it, 'have a lot of fire' — they aren't that sparkly compared to round brilliant stones." Asscher cuts are also more likely to expose inclusions (blemishes) and undesired color due to the open facets, so finding a seasoned jeweler who works with superior diamonds is a must. Additionally, a lower depth is better for Asscher cuts (between 60% and 68%); the shallower it is, the larger the diamond will appear.
As for mountings, you'll most likely want open-prong settings that don't mask the complexities of the cut and that allow more light to enter the diamond. A four-prong setting, for example, would work well. If you want to create more sparkle, a pave or halo setting could be nice, too. At the end of the day, settings come down to personal preference and how you want to emphasize and complement your center stone.
How to Care for Your Asscher Cut Diamond
Once you've settled on your Asscher cut diamond (congrats!) you'll want to make sure it's well maintained. "I would care for your Asscher cut ring just as I would care for any other diamond piece," Bar says. The Gemology Institute of America recommends cleaning your diamonds with "lint-free cloths, commercial jewelry cleaning solutions, and household detergents." Steer clear of abrasive household cleaners, ultrasonic cleaners, and steam cleaners.
Now that you have the low-down on Asscher cut engagement rings, here are five options you’ll fall in love with.
Natalie Marie Asscher Cut Diamond Solitaire Ring
A one-of-a-kind handmade engagement ring featuring a 0.60ct Asscher Cut White Diamond solitaire mounted in a four-claw setting. This ring stylishly blends an antique aesthetic with modern details, making it the perfect choice for someone with a flair for subtle nuance.
SHOP NOW: Natalie Marie Jewellery, $4,505
Ashley Zhang Asscher Cut Engagement Ring
The shank on this engagement ring features six diamonds, adding to the brilliance of the beautiful Asscher Cut diamond in the center. You can custom design this piece, including the metal for the band (rose gold, yellow gold, white gold, platinum) as well as the carat weight. A bold ring with a nod to nostalgia.
SHOP NOW: Ashley Zhang Jewelry, $21,600
Sofia Zakia Cosima Asscher Cut Engagement Ring
For something truly unique, opt for this 0.95ct engagement ring that sits between two rows of baguettes set in 14k yellow gold. It’s the kind of piece that can stand on its own but also mix seamlessly with your other jewelry.
SHOP NOW: Sofia Kaman Fine Jewels, $11,440
Bario Neal Custom Heirloom Asscher Cut Solitaire Engagement Ring
If sustainability is an important factor when searching for your engagement ring, this 0.75ct Asscher cut diamond should check all the boxes. It’s handcrafted from 100% fair mined gold in the company’s Philadelphia workshop and the company also provides a specific quality and origin story for its conflict-free diamonds. On top of that, their packaging is crafted from eco-friendly recycled paper.
SHOP NOW: Bario Neal, $5,700
Neiman Marcus Estate Platinum Asscher Diamond Ring
Go the antique route with this vintage 1.54ct Asscher Cut engagement ring from Neiman Marcus Estate. The center stone is accompanied by baguette diamonds and a polished platinum band, enhancing its sleek Art Deco aesthetic.
SHOP NOW: Neiman Marcus, $27,500