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 on the round brilliants, the Jubilee diamond has a total of 88 facets (sometimes 80).
Because it has no culet and it is not deep, the Jubilee gives a glittering effect that is second to none. It is one of the brightest cuts you can find. It is also extremely rare.
Watch the video of this extremely rare diamond cut sparkling under our studio lights.
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 all the way back in the XIV century, the single cut diamond was created by adding corner facets to the primitive Point Cut preceding it. It has an octagonal girdle, an octagonal table, eight bezels or crown facets, and eight pavilion facets. Because of that, the single cut is called sometimes an Eight Cut.
Later only the smallest diamonds were left off with only 17 facets, the larger stones were fashioned into full cuts - either a European cut or a modern round brilliant. In fact, every round diamond at the early stage of faceting has 17 facets and technically speaking can be called a single cut.
Old style single cuts were not uniform, they had poor symmetry, varied in proportions, and were off-shape. They are often found in antique jewelry, usually filling up tight spots in pave pieces.
This is not the case with modern single cut diamonds, they are not substitutes for full cut stones anymore. Today, the great majority of single cuts are consumed by the watch industry to be used in dials and hands of luxury watches.
Single cut diamonds smaller than 1.2 mm are more brilliant than the full cuts of the same size because their facets are larger in comparison. They are cut with high precision by robots and command premium prices.
Old European Cut
The first brilliants, known as "Mazarins" each had 17 crown facets. They were introduced in the XVII century. Until then there was no uniform diamond cut, each diamond had a highly irregular mixed step- and brilliant-faceting patterns.
The European cut was developed before the perfection of the diamond saw. A single piece of rough was yielding only one stone, so in order to maximize the yield, the European cut typically has a high crown, small table, and an open culet.
The modern round brilliant is the direct descendant of the European cut, both have the same round shape, but the proportions and angles were drastically changed. Both have 57 facets or 58 facets if the stone has a culet.
The main source of the illumination in XIX century, the candlelight gives the dim, flickering, and very warm light. The newly developed European cut was designed to produce the maximum brilliance and fire under this lighting, the fire that was never seen in diamonds until then.
The current proportions of the modern ideal cut owe a debt to the timeless charm of the good old European cut, the cut that inspired Marcel Tolkowsky, Henry Morse and others to experiment with angles and facets in their search for the Ideal Cut.
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).