Emerald & Asscher-Cut Diamonds: Evaluating Quality


Summary
Not everyone’s into the flashy brilliance of a round diamond. If you’re searching for a cut that’s subtle and sophisticated, consider an emerald-cut or asscher-cut diamond for your engagement ring. Judging the quality of these diamonds, with their mesmerizing patterns of light and dark, isn’t too technical. Learn how to find a high-quality emerald or asscher-cut diamond while staying in your budget.
Reading time: 8 min 47 sec
emerald & asscher-cut diamonds - emerald-cut solitaire engagement ring
Emerald-cut diamonds make for simple, elegant, and understated solitaire engagement rings. © CustomMade. Used with permission.

Why Buy Emerald & Asscher-Cut Diamonds?

While most consumers are drawn to round brilliant diamonds for their incredible sparkle, emerald & asscher-cut diamonds have a more subtle appeal. These fancy cut diamonds reflect light in broad flashes, offering a unique and sophisticated style.

emerald & asscher-cut diamonds - asscher-cut solitaire engagement ring
Set in a simple white gold solitaire engagement ring, the clean lines in this 1.00-ct asscher-cut diamond draw in the eye. © James Allen. Used with permission.

Better yet, emerald & asscher-cut diamonds are much cheaper than the ubiquitous round diamond. Take a look at these three 1-ct H-color VS2 diamonds. By choosing an emerald-cut or asscher-cut diamond, you could save 35-40% or choose a larger center stone! With these cuts, you can find that perfect engagement ring without breaking the bank.

What’s the Difference Between Emerald & Asscher-Cut Diamonds?

The cutting patterns for emerald & asscher cut-diamonds have slight differences. However, you’re unlikely to notice these unless you’re a lapidary or gemologist!

The primary difference between emerald cuts and asscher cuts is the shape. Traditional emerald cuts are elongated rectangles with the corners cut out. Asscher cuts are square versions of emerald cuts with more prominently truncated corners. This gives them an almost octagonal shape.

emerald & asscher-cut diamonds - halo ring
This octagonal halo engagement ring accentuates the shape of this 1.5-ct asscher-cut diamond. © James Allen. Used with permission.

Some emerald cuts are square, causing extra confusion. However, their corners are less truncated than a true asscher-cut diamond.

Emerald-cut diamonds have an entrancing hall of mirrors effect, and their elongated shape looks very attractive on the finger. In addition, emerald-cut diamonds appear much larger because of their shape.

emerald & asscher-cut diamonds - east-west set emerald-cut diamond engagement ring
Emerald-cut diamonds are also great for East-West set engagement rings. Emerald accents flank this 0.71-ct emerald-cut diamond. © CustomMade. Used with permission.

Asscher-cut diamonds were first popularized in the 1920s and are perfect for vintage-style engagement rings. Their facets create a mesmerizing pattern that’s seen a recent resurgence in popularity.

emerald & asscher-cut diamonds - kite-set asscher-cut diamond engagement ring with matching band
Kite-set in rose gold, the hypnotizing geometry of this asscher-cut diamond engagement ring is perfect for a matching contoured band. © CustomMade. Used with permission.

Judging Step-Cut Diamonds

The cut quality of step-cut diamonds, like emerald or asscher cuts, is more subjective than it is for round brilliants. While round brilliant cuts are carefully perfected to provide the most sparkle, step cuts reflect broadly, and a number of different angles can create a beautiful pattern of light.

But that doesn’t mean every step-cut diamond looks great! Avoid diamonds that show large, dark areas.

emerald & asscher-cut diamonds - poorly cut diamond
It may seem obvious, but don’t spend thousands of dollars on something that looks like this! © James Allen. Used with permission.

In addition, consider the overall shape appeal. Make sure that the shape is symmetrical.

emerald & asscher-cut diamonds - asymmetrical emerald cut
This 3.01-ct emerald-cut diamond has asymmetrical corners. Combined with poor clarity, it isn’t worth your money. © James Allen. Used with permission.

For asscher-cut diamonds, make sure all 8 facets meet in the middle. Some poorly cut diamonds have corner facets that reach only part way to the center, leaving the diamond looking awkward. These stones lack the mesmerizing “windmill” effect seen in most asscher cuts.

emerald & asscher-cut diamonds - square emerald cut
Notice how the facets from the corners don’t reach the center in this 0.72-ct asscher-cut diamond. © James Allen. Used with permission.

Length-to-Width Ratio

The length-to-width ratio (L/W) greatly affects the appearance of step cuts, especially emerald cuts. Most consumers prefer a L/W of 1.3 to 1.6, with the majority around 1.45. Take a look at these emerald-cut diamonds. What shape do you prefer?

Photos © James Allen. Used with permission.

Avoid the awkward zone of L/W 1.06 to 1.20. These diamonds will look off-square. For asscher-cut diamonds, stick to a L/W of 1.00 to 1.05.

emerald & asscher-cut diamonds - off-square
With a L/W of 1.09, this 1.54-ct emerald-cut diamond simply doesn’t have an attractive shape. © James Allen. Used with permission.

Depth

Unlike in round brilliant diamonds, the depth and angles in step cuts are less important. Instead, for step-cut diamonds, try to find a shallower diamond. Diamonds with more depth will “hide” their weight. In other words, deeper diamonds look smaller than shallow ones!

Always look at the measurements when comparing emerald & asscher-cut diamonds. For example, take a look at these two 1-ct H color VS2 diamonds. The shallower stone is 6.88 x 4.80 mm, and the deeper one is 6.55 x 4.74 mm. That’s a 6% difference in face-up area!

In these asscher-cut diamonds, there is a 10% difference in face-up size — and for the same price!

So, it’s best to keep the total depth percentage at 67% and under. However, it’s not a crucial measurement. Depths of 70% can still be well-cut stones. Above that, just know that you’ll be paying for weight that you can’t see.

Table

Again, there are no strict requirements when it comes to table size. The table is the large facet on top of the diamond that provides a window into the stone.

While it’s best to avoid particularly large tables, as these can impair diamond performance, small tables pose less of a concern. Sticking to tables under 69% will help you find a great diamond.

Check out the tables on these three asscher-cut diamonds. The crown facets (on the top edges) of the diamond with the largest table appear squished, while the smaller tables look great! More importantly, this diamond’s performance isn’t as lively.

Photos © James Allen. Used with permission.

Polish and Symmetry

Although you may be tempted to limit polish and symmetry to “Excellent,” there’s no reason to do this. Stick to polish and symmetry of “Good” or better — you’ll never know the difference!

Clarity

Unlike brilliant cuts, step cuts don’t hide imperfections. Make sure to look for imperfections under the table of the stone, as these are often visible to the eye.

Stick to a VS2 clarity grade (“very slightly included”). These are almost always eye-clean and less expensive than higher clarity grades. Why pay more for something that looks the same?

emerald & asscher-cut diamonds - emerald cut VS2
This 1.10-ct J color emerald-cut diamond has a VS2 rating because of an inclusion in the corner. However, to the naked eye, it appears flawless! © James Allen. Used with permission.

Still, with some searching, you may be able to find an eye-clean stone with the lower clarity grade of SI1 (“slightly included”).

emerald & asscher-cut diamonds - SI1 clarity
The imperfections in this asscher-cut 4.02-ct SI1 diamond are spread out and mostly near the sides of the stone. This means they’d be hard to spot with the naked eye. However, it’s poorly cut and has a low color grade. © James Allen. Used with permission.

For larger emerald-cut diamonds (>3 cts), keep in mind that the imperfections in a VS2 stone may be more visible.

emerald & asscher-cut diamonds - 5.02ct emerald cut VS2
This 5.02-ct K-color VS2 emerald-cut diamond has a large imperfection in the center. With this placement, it would likely be visible even in a smaller stone. © James Allen. Used with permission.

To ensure an eye-clean clarity, check out the laboratory report for a map of the diamond’s imperfections. If you’re using James Allen, take advantage of their experts, who will review the diamond with you and help you determine whether it’s eye-clean.

Color

Fancy cuts also tend to show more color than round brilliant diamonds. For emerald & asscher-cut diamonds, an H color diamond will appear white. Although higher color grades will appear slightly whiter, you’ll never notice the difference in color. However, you’ll notice the difference in the price tag!

If you’ve chosen a halo, side stone, or three-stone setting, try to match the side stones in color grade. A color range for these diamonds should be shown in the ring details.

emerald & asscher-cut diamonds - three-stone ring
If you look closely, the 0.81-ct H color emerald-cut diamond shows a little more color than the F-G color side stones in this three-stone engagement ring. © James Allen. Used with permission.

For rose gold and yellow gold settings, I color diamonds will still appear white.

emerald & asscher-cut diamonds - 1.5ct I emerald-cut diamond in yellow gold engagement ring
The color of this emerald-cut diamond is hidden by the gold reflections in this engagement ring. © James Allen. Used with permission.

Since diamond color is determined by the body color, not the face-up color, you may be able to find a J or K color diamond that faces up white.

emerald & asscher-cut diamonds - 1.5ct J solitaire engagement ring
In spite of its J color grade, this 1.5-ct emerald-cut diamond doesn’t appear off-color in this white gold solitaire engagement ring. © James Allen. Used with permission.

Where Should I Buy Emerald & Asscher-Cut Diamonds?

If you’re buying an emerald or asscher-cut diamond online, always buy from a reputable dealer and review their return and exchange policies. For these cuts, it’s essential that you can review the clarity imperfections and see how the diamond performs. Blue Nile and James Allen both offer high-quality, close-up 360° videos of their diamonds.

In addition, James Allen has diamond experts ready to review your choices with you. They will help you determine if the stone is eye-clean and whether it has surface-reaching imperfections that can weaken the stone. They also offer an extensive selection of ring designs to choose from!  Search James Allen’s diamonds based on our recommendations.

Blue Nile does offer one advantage when shopping for emerald-cut diamonds. They allow you to limit your search by the L/W ratio. If you’re picky about the shape or looking for a replacement stone, this feature will help you narrow your choices.

If you just can’t seem to find what you’re looking for, consider using a custom jeweler such as CustomMade. Their experts will help you design an engagement ring you’ll love with a diamond you’ll cherish for years to come.

About the author
Addison Rice
A geologist, environmental engineer and Caltech graduate, Addison's interest in the mesmerizing and beautiful results of earth's geological processes began in her elementary school's environmental club. When she isn't writing about gems and minerals, Addison spends winters studying ancient climates in Iceland and summers hiking the Colorado Rockies.
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