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  • Writer's pictureWedding Day Diamonds

It’s Hip To Be Squared

The Difference between Emerald, Asscher, and Princess Cut Diamonds

Rectangular cut diamonds may just be the unsung hero of the diamond world.

They are less popular than round or cushion cut stones. In fact, while you may be familiar with Princess cut diamonds, Emerald cuts, by comparison, make up only 3% of the world’s diamond supply!

Asschers, which are actually a subcategory of Emeralds, are even more rare! In our eyes, that makes these shapes the perfect cut for someone looking for something a little different in their engagement ring.

But just because you’ve decided you want a square or rectangular shaped diamond as your center stone, doesn’t mean you’re done making decisions… there are big differences between Princess, Emerald, and Asscher cuts.

Here, we’ll break down the need-to-know for each, so you can be sure to choose your perfect center stone.

Emerald Cut

Emerald cut diamonds are one of the oldest diamond shapes. They date back to the 1400’s. Because of their antique pedigree, they have what is called a “step-cut.” This means that all the facets on an emerald cut diamond run parallel to the diamond’s edges.

As a result, emerald cut diamonds aren’t actually cut for maximum sparkle. Instead, the emerald cut is really designed to showcase the splendor and quality of the actual stone. Emerald cuts exchange fire for the regal, understated elegance of a quality diamond.

Because most modern diamonds have “brilliant” cuts rather than step cuts, a lot of people are used to thinking of diamonds only in terms of dazzle and flash, which might explain why emerald cut diamonds, and their offspring, Asscher cut diamonds, have lost popularity since their heyday in the Art Deco era. People have forgotten what to look for in these splendid stones!

While brilliant cut diamonds reflect light, Emerald and Asscher cut diamonds offer a window right into the center of the stone. The result is a diamond that draws you in, one which practically glows with luster.

The clean lines of an Emerald cut mean that these diamonds don’t mask flaws. Inclusions will be more apparent. So will yellowish tinges to the stone. Therefore, Emerald cuts are most striking when the raw quality of the diamond is high.

However, because they are less popular then round brilliant diamonds, that extra quality may not equal extra cost.

In fact, because of the longer rectangular shape and broad, uninterrupted table, emerald cut diamonds actually appear large for their size.

In other words, a one carat emerald cut diamond will often look larger than a one carat round brilliant diamond, which means you can get all the wow at a smaller carat weight.

Like other elongated shapes, the emerald cut also helps to make a finger appear longer and more slender.

The main difference between the Asscher cut and the emerald cut is that emerald has four sides, (a basic rectangle) while Asscher cuts have lopped off corners and so, technically, don an octagonal shape.

However, these corner cuts are small, and once mounted in a four-prong ring, they aren’t visible at all. Therefore, once mounted, an Asscher cut will look square while an Emerald cut will look rectangular.

Both are exquisite and unusual. They offer an honest view straight into the heart of the diamond, and on a quality stone, it’s a view you will never tire of.

Trust me. I wear an Asscher cut engagement ring.

Because these cuts afford such an honest look into the composite of the diamond, it is important to see these stones in person, and only buy them from a true diamond expert.

We don’t recommend buying emerald cut stones from jewelers who sell all types of jewelry…

Instead, go to a diamond and engagement ring specialist to be sure you are getting the quality deserving of this cut.

Princess Cuts

If you want a square shape, but are all about the sparkle, princess cuts are the diamond for you.

Princess cuts are relatively new to the diamond world, and yet in a few short decades of existence, they have risen to become the second most popular choice for engagement rings, comprising about 30% of the total engagement ring market! In fact, only round brilliant stones are more popular than the princess.

Princesses are a form of brilliant cut, which means they have numerous facets, all designed to play with light and optimize the diamond’s sparkle. A lot of people think of princess cuts as the square modification on a classic, round brilliant diamond.

If Emerald and Asschers look like windows, then Princess cuts look like crushed ice (in a really good, exciting way).

Because this cut has such frisky, refractive qualities, it can definitely hide flaws better than emerald cut diamonds.

A princess cut with a slightly lower color grade and a lower clarity score can still appear startlingly bright and dazzling because of the cut’s many, artful facets. This means princess cut diamonds can offer spectacular fire at a price point that’s attractive, too.

Another joy of Princess cut diamonds is the flexibility they offer in mountings. While Emerald cuts are typically mounted lengthwise, princess cut diamonds look equally as gorgeous in straightforward mountings as they do turned diagonally in more modern designs.

If you do opt for the overtly feminine look of a Princess cut diamond, be sure whichever mounting you choose will protect the sharp corners of your stone.

Princess cuts, unlike emeralds and Asschers, actually come to a perfect pyramidal shape underneath, and while that does wonders to play with light, it also makes this cut more prone to chip than other square shapes.

Therefore, you’ll want to be sure your diamond is mounted in such a way as to protect those corners.

While rectangular and square shaped diamonds may not be as popular as round and cushion cut stones, they are every bit as marvelous. Whether you prefer a demure, timeless style, or are bowled over by buckets of dazzle, be sure to check out rectangular shapes for your engagement ring.

With diamonds, it seems, it really is hip to be square.


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