Last updated on June 15, 2021
Diamond buyers often compare cushion cut and Asscher cut diamonds due to their similar outlines. Although these two cuts share some traits, several features set them apart. Let’s discover the differences between cushion cut vs Asscher cut diamonds and see what aspects to consider when choosing between the two.
What Is a Cushion Cut Diamond?
Although the cushion cut may seem to have a contemporary design, its history traces back to the 19th century.
At the time, a diamond with a square shape and rounded corners was referred to as the mine cut after Brazilian diamond mines. Later, when diamonds were discovered in South Africa, the mine cut became known as the old mine. Being the most popular cut in the 19th century, it was not limited to diamonds. The mine was the de facto shape, and most gemstones were cut into it until the early 20th century.
As the name suggests, the cushion cut usually has a soft square or rectangular shape with curved corners resembling a cushion. The modern cushion cut has been modified over time thanks to the evolution of diamond cutting and cleaving processes.
Usually featuring 58 facets, the cushion cut is a combination of the classic old mine cut and the round brilliant facet pattern. It has several variations, which differ in the number of facets, their arrangement and shape. Due to these variations, some cushion cut diamonds exhibit more brilliance than others. Although cushion cut diamonds have less brilliance than round cut diamonds, they often have a better fire, making them so attractive for buyers.
What Is an Asscher Cut Diamond?
The name of the Asscher cut originates from I.J. Asscher Diamond Company, established by Joseph Isaac Asscher in Holland in 1854.
The Asscher cut was created in 1902 by Joseph Isaac Asscher, the grandson of the founder. This was the world’s first patented diamond cut protected from replication. The Asscher Diamond Company held its exclusive patent until World War II and saw extremely strong sales internationally, especially during the Art Deco period. The peak in popularity in the 1920s is one of the reasons people see Asscher cut diamonds as antique and vintage.
Although the Asscher cut looks similar to the square emerald cut, Joseph Asscher modified certain criteria, so Asscher cut diamonds produce more brilliance than emerald cut diamonds. These criteria include larger step facets, a smaller table and a higher crown, which result in a signature look and more carat weight.
The original Asscher cut diamond features 58 step-cut facets and an octagonal square shape with an ideal length to width ratio from 1 to 1.04.
After declining in popularity in the latter part of the 20th century, in 1999, Asscher cut was perfected by Edward and Joop Asscher and presented to the world as the Royal Asscher cut.
Preserving signature look and brilliance, The Royal Asscher cut was created using modern cutting techniques and features 74 ideally symmetrical step-cut facets. The Royal Asscher cut is patented by the Royal Asscher Company.
Cushion Cut vs Asscher Cut Diamonds
Like many other diamond cuts, the cushion cut and Asscher cut diamonds may look similar at first glance. However, at a closer look, the difference in design becomes apparent.
Cushion cut diamonds have slightly rounded, curved sides that create a pillow-like appearance. Meanwhile, Asscher cut diamonds have cropped corners typically at a 45° angle, giving them an angular shape.
Asscher cut diamonds always feature a square shape. They differ visually one from another in terms of size but almost never in shape, whereas cushion diamonds may have a square or elongated shape depending on their length to width ratio.
Cut and Facets
One of the key differences between the cushion and Asscher diamonds is the way they are cut. The cushion cut belongs to the brilliant-cut group, while the Asscher cut is in the step cut group, which means they have a different face-up outline.
The step cut stones feature parallel facets, which give them a clean and sleek look, making it easier to see their pattern. For this reason, it is important to purchase Asscher cut diamonds with higher clarity and colour grades.
In comparison, the brilliant-cut stones have more fire, brilliance and scintillation, but their facet pattern is not that easily distinguishable for an untrained eye.
Brilliance and Sparkle
Since the cushion cut belongs to the brilliant-cut group, its facets are arranged to maximize a stone’s brilliance and sparkle. In classic Asscher cut diamonds, facets are not cut with this goal in mind. They are cut to emphasize the stone’s clarity, but they also tend to have wider and more dramatic flashes of light.
If you compare these two cuts in terms of brilliance and sparkle, the cushion cut will exhibit more brilliance and sparkle than the Asscher cut.
It is worth mentioning that not all cushion cut diamonds have the same level of brilliance. The classic cushion cut stones exhibit less sparkle than modified variations. The same is true for the Royal Asscher cut, which exhibits an excellent amount of brilliance due to the higher number of facets.
Colour and Clarity
Diamond sparkle directly affects colour. If you compare two diamonds with visible yellowish tints, the more sparkly diamond will look less coloured as the higher level of brilliance makes the tints less noticeable.
Since cushion cut diamonds belong to the brilliant-cut group, they exhibit more brilliance and sparkle, having an advantage over Asscher cut stones, which tend to show visible colouration.
The difference in brilliance between the Asscher and cushion cuts also leads to the difference in the visibility of their flaws. Since the cushion cut diamonds show more sparkles, their inclusions are less visible than those in Asscher cut diamonds of the same clarity grade. That is why if you are considering an Asscher cut diamond, you will want to pay special attention to the size and location of its inclusions.