An antique cut does not imply "old." In fact, most "antique" stones have been cut very recently.
By going back to the beginning of the Diamond Era,
we are able to recapture the magic of these magnificent stones.
Modern diamond grading labs (such as GIA) don't use the term Asscher (or Asher as it is sometimes improperly called in the trade) on their reports. Officially, it's called a Square Emerald cut (also known as the modified square Emerald cut). The traditional Asscher cut has 58 facets. The new Royal Asscher cut is square and has a total of 74 facets. It's a trademarked brand of diamond but we have no reason to believe that it is superior to the original.
Conventional wisdom tells us that the total number of facets does not necessarily reflect the beauty of the stone. The Royal Asscher cut is a marketing tool and is not making the stone more or less valuable for the consumer. The Asscher diamond cut was designed to draw your eye to the center of the stone.
Due to this, cut and clarity are very important factors to consider, color is not. Asscher cut diamonds do not show color as much as other cuts. Asscher diamonds below H color still look beautiful and face up whiter than expected. There are some distinct features that make it so special.
Technically speaking, an Asscher cut is a variation of an Emerald cut within a specific range of proportions. An Emerald cut is a type of Step cut, which means that all the facets on the stone except the table have a trapezoid shape and are lined parallel to the girdle.
Another example of a Step cut is a diamond Baguette. The Asscher cut is a step octagonal cut. The Crown is usually very high with a very small Table and a large Culet. The make and finish on the diamond is usually exceptional. Symmetry of the facets is always superb.
The yield from the rough is very low with this type of cut, which makes it a very uneconomical way of treating precious material. That is the reason why the Asscher cut is rarely used today for cutting rough diamonds.
The ideal length-to-width ratio of this diamond cut has been defined to be between 1.00 to 1.05. However, proportions of the corners on a well defined Asscher cut could affect the look to a higher degree. The depth percentage for the true Asscher should range between 65% and 72%, and Table percentage should range from 54% to 61%. Yet, all modern Asscher diamond cuts on the market today will range from 60% to 70% depth and 60% to 65% Table.
Who is Mr. Asscher? The Royal Asscher Diamond Company Ltd. was established in Amsterdam in 1854. Within a short time, the Asscher family established a high reputation for their cutting and polishing of rough diamonds. They even cut diamonds that were considered difficult to cut because of their awkward shape.
The Asscher factory originally consisted of a ground floor with two upper stories. A third story, provided for in the original blueprints, was added later. A total of about 500 diamond employees worked in the factory. They used polishing wheels attached with leather belts to long shafts driven by steam engines. The driving shafts ran the entire length of the building. Even after the introduction of electricity, the original shafts were retained.
The company and its founder Joseph Asscher are famous for work he performed on the two largest diamonds in the history: Excelsior and Cullinan. The Excelsior diamond was the world's largest-known uncut diamond until the discovery of the Cullinan diamond in 1905. It was discovered on June 30, 1893 by a worker loading a truck in the De Beers mine at Jagersfontein, Orange Free State. The blue-white stone weighed about 995 carats. After a long study the Excelsior diamond was cut (1904) by I.J. Asscher and Company of Amsterdam. It was cut into 21 stones ranging in weight from less than one Carat to more than 70 carats.
The Royal Asscher Company was entrusted by King Edward VII to cut the famous Cullinan Diamond. Joseph Asscher examined the enormous crystal for around six months before determining how to divide it. At 3,205 carats, the Cullinan is the largest diamond ever found. Joseph Asscher split the diamond into three stones.
The stones cut from the Cullinan diamond, all flawless, are now part of the British regalia and form the main part of the exhibition of the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London. The two largest parts are the largest cut diamonds known. The larger of these is the Great Star of Africa, or Cullinan I, a 530.2 Carat, pear-shaped gem set in the English scepter. The other is the most valuable stone in the imperial state Crown, the 317 Carat Cullinan II, sometimes called the Second Star of Africa.
Antique Cushion Cut
The old Miner cut is a precursor of the Antique Cushion Cut. It was designed in an era when candlelight was the main source of lighting under which diamonds were viewed. With candlelight (and later gas light) being the primary light source used to bring out the diamond's scintillation and fire, the old Miner cut fell out of favor by the end of the 19th century.
The traditional Antique Cushion cut diamond is a beautiful and timeless jewel. Most consumers are unaware that the cushion cut diamond at one time was the most popular cut in existence. Starting from 1830 and lasting for over 70 years, most diamonds were cut in this fashion. The traditional cushion cut has the outline of a rectangular, or square, “pillow" with rounded corners, an open Culet, and larger facets to maximize Brilliance under candlelight.
Cushion cuts are wrongly considered to be less brilliant than the modern round diamond. The fact is that they show Brilliance in a different way. Antique Cushion diamonds display more Dispersion and fire, making this diamond perfect for the connoisseur who seeks a cosmopolitan yet traditional look as opposed to the plain vanilla presentation of a boring circle.
The Antique Cushion cut of a diamond is a historical cut that has a classic and romantic appeal. Very similar to the old Miner cut, it features large facets and rounded corners, designed to catch the beauty of candlelight. The cushion cut diamond typically contains 58 facets.
When viewing a stone that is mounted, what is most noticeable is the Crown of the diamond. Antique Cushion cuts have a significantly higher Crown compared to most other stone shapes. The high Crown at that angle gives the Antique Cushion an imposing look that has the presence of a much larger stone. It tosses off reflected light at more angles. It has an outline that is clearly visible from across the room, extracting "o-oohs" and "a-aahs" from the unsuspecting observer.
There are several visible differences between the modern, or modified cushion cut when compared to the Antique Cushion cut. When looking at an Antique Cushion cut you see the high Crown, small Table, and large facets that sparkle with fire. Modified/modern cushion cuts have a larger Table, shallower Crown, and smaller facets which result in a more fragmented Brilliance. This often gives the modified Cushion a "crushed ice" look.
Look through our fine selection of True Antique Cushion by following this link: True Antique Cushion inventory
The Jubilee diamond cut is reserved for large diamonds and empowers stones to shine spectacularly. Compared to the 58 facets found in round brilliant diamonds, the Jubilee diamond has a total of 88 facets (sometimes 80). Because there is no culet and the stone is not cut as deeply, it gives a glittering effect. It is one of the brightest cuts you can find in a diamond.
Watch the video below to see this very rare cut diamond sparkle in the light.
The name "French cut" does not imply that they were produced in France. The reference is to their shape and faceting pattern. They can be recognized by the typical diamond shape outline of the table. French cut stones are square or rectangular multifaceted stones. They were created to optimize the use of a rhombic dodecahedron of the diamond crystal.
To cut the Crown of a French cut diamond, one of the tops of the crystal is ground down to create a Table that sits diagonal to the sides of the crystal. At this point, the remaining crystal faces form natural facets that only need slight modeling to make it a symmetrical cut (as can be seen in the image on the left).
The outline is squared and the Pavilion is cut to 4 plain facets adjusting the angle of the original faces to allow a high light return. Varieties where the facets described above are divided in half to create more facets are common. French cut diamonds date back to the beginning of the 1400's but they came into fashion during the 17th century and have been favored by royalty and nobility.
The name is probably derived from the fact that it was more popular in France than anywhere else. Many older diamonds have been re-cut to French cuts. The scissor cut is a slightly more elaborate variety of a French cut.
Invented in the late 14th century, the single cut diamond (also known as eight cut) has the addition of corner facets to the earlier point cut. This creates an octagonal girdle, an octagonal Table, eight bezel or Crown facets, and eight Pavilion facets.
Historically poorly cut single cut stones were used as full cut replacements for smaller stones. Modern single cuts have a round outline and are used in the finest jewelry pieces and luxury watches.
A great majority of single cut diamonds are consumed by the watch industry for use in dials and hands of expensive upscale watches. In sizes smaller than 1.20 mm, single cuts produce better scintillation and fire due to their larger facets. They are precision cut and command a relatively high price.
Single cut diamonds are commonly used in finest micro pavé pieces. Single cuts were mostly used in jewelry as substitutes of full cut stones. Every full cut diamond has a stage in the cutting process when it is a single cut. Therefore, it's possible to refer to single cuts as an unfinished full cut.
Old European Cut
Where the Old Miner cut was an antecedent of the Antique Cushion cut, the old European cut was the direct forefather to the modern round brilliant. It was the old European cut that was studied for the development of the proportions that would allow the creation of the measurements for the ideal cut diamond.
Rounder in shape than the old Miner cut, and cut with a circular girdle, the Old European cut is similar to (but still far from its direct descendant –the round brilliant cut). Like the old Miner cut, the old European cut is a rounded, hand faceted diamond cut. The old European diamond is cut with 58 facets in an effort to maximize Brilliance and fire.
However, it was developed before the perfection of the diamond saw. Therefore, in the past, it was primarily hand faceted. This lead to the old European cut being cut and polished with a small Table, high Crown, deep Pavilion and an open Culet. The deep, faceted Pavilion and small Table in the old European cut is designed to bring light in, and reflect its inner fire of color back to the viewer's eye when looking down upon the Table.
It is important to note that candlelight and gaslight were the main sources of lighting for gemstones prior to the early 20th century. Each of these is much dimmer, and far more forgiving of flaws, than modern electric lighting. Under the softer lighting of the 19th century the hand faceting, deep Pavilion, open Culet and small Table resulted in a scintillation that had been unseen in diamonds until then.
While the old European cut demonstrates greater attention to the effect of light Dispersion on the diamond, it was nevertheless cut for maximum Carat weight retention. The diamond was still cut and polished in accordance with the shape of the rough diamond. Regardless of the old European cut's’ lapse in popularity, the current proportions for the ideal cut of diamond owe a debt to the timeless charm of the old European cut.
It was this diamond shape that Marcel Tolkowsky and Henry Morse, among others, used in experimentation for developing the angle and facet parameters for the ideal cut diamond. Due to the hand-faceting nature of this cut, there are no ideal measurements.
Rose cut diamonds were introduced as early as the 1500's and were popular until the early 1900's when the cutting technique improved to allow for more complicated and precise cuts. To some the shape of a rose cut diamond resembles the petals of a rose bud - hence the name.
The bottom is flat. The Crown is dome shaped and the facets meet in a point in the center. The number of facets varies from 3, 6, 12, 18, to 24. A rose with a large table facet on the top would be called a portrait diamond. The Rose Cut Diamond's facets are often in two rows - with "star facets" (often six triangles) in the center and a proportional number of facets in the second row.
Some of the large antique rose cuts featured more than two rows of facets. The basic rose cut has a flat base (no Pavilion) and a Crown composed of triangular facets (usually 12 or 24) in symmetrical arrangement. These rise to form a point. They are usually circular in outline. Variations include: the Briolette, Antwerp rose (hexagonal); and double Dutch rose (resembling two rose cuts united back-to-back).