IGS may receive customer referral fees from the companies listed in this page. Learn more.

Guide to Emerald-Cut Diamonds & Asscher-Cut Diamonds

Save Money on Your Jewelry With These Sales and Coupons
  • Bluenile.com SAVE UP TO 30%  Find Your New Heirloom. Certain things are made to be cherished for a lifetime - now’s the time to save on your forever piece.  SHOP JEWELRY, SHOP ENGAGEMENT
  • Jamesallen.com Early Black Friday SAVE 25% THRU OCT 25 SHOP THE SALE
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 diamond 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 the pros and cons for emerald-cut diamonds and asscher-cut diamonds and how to find a high-quality diamond while staying in your budget.

By Addison Rice 8 minute read
[hdcro-slider id=”502728″ wrap_class=”” width=”full” callout=”View +3,400 Emerald Cut Diamonds” link=”https://link.gemsociety.org/looseemeraldcut50345/5ee7ef3ce9963-hdcroslider-450928″ cta_arrow=”true”]

Pros and Cons of Emerald-Cut & Asscher-Cut Diamonds

emerald & asscher cut diamonds - emerald-cut solitaire engagement ring
Find this Ring at CustomMadeEmerald-cut diamonds make for simple, elegant, and understated solitaire engagement rings. © CustomMade. Used with permission

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
Find this Ring at James AllenSet 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 diamond 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 an Emerald Cut and an Asscher Cut?

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.

Find this Ring at James AllenThis octagonal halo engagement ring accentuates the shape of this 1.5-ct asscher-cut diamond. © James Allen. Used with permission.

Some emerald-cut diamonds 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
Find this Ring at CustomMadeEmerald-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
Find this Ring at CustomMadeKite-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.

poorly cut emerald-cut diamond - emerald-cut & asscher-cut diamonds
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.

asymmetrical emerald-cut diamond - emerald-cut & asscher-cut diamonds
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-cut diamonds.

square emerald-cut diamond - emerald & asscher-cut diamonds
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 in emerald-cut diamonds. 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.

off-square - emerald-cut & asscher-cut diamonds
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.


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-cut & 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.

Time Saving Shortcuts

See all asscher cut diamonds at…

White Flash
White Flash
Blue Nile
Blue Nile
James Allen
James Allen


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!


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?

 vs2 clarity emerald-cut diamond - emerald-cut & asscher-cut diamonds
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”).

si1 clarity asscher-cut diamond - emerald-cut & asscher-cut diamonds
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.

5.02ct vs2 emerald-cut diamond - emerald-cut & asscher-cut diamonds
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.


Fancy cuts also tend to show more color than round brilliant diamonds. For emerald-cut & 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.

Find this Ring at James AllenIf 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
Find this Ring at James AllenThe 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
Find this Ring at James AllenIn 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.

Emerald-Cut and Asscher-Cut Summary

  • 1. The primary difference between emerald cuts and asscher cuts is the shape.
  • 2. These cuts are perfect for vintage-style engagement rings.
  • 3. An H color or above will appear white.
Best Budget
Best Budget
Best Value
Best Value
Best in Show
Best in Show

Where Should I Buy Emerald & Asscher-Cut Diamonds?

[hdcro-slider id=”502728″ wrap_class=”” width=”400″ callout=”View +3,400 Emerald Cut Diamonds at James Allen” link=”https://link.gemsociety.org/looseemeraldcut50345/5ee7eee246c5b-hdcroslider-450928″ cta_arrow=”true”]

If you’re buying an emerald-cut 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.