Professional Jeweler Archive: Oldies but Goodies

November 2001

Diamonds/New Products

Oldies but Goodies

Subtle, sophisticated cuts intrigue with their beauty

A Renaissance in Antique-Cut diamonds is testament to their not-so-showy loveliness. Cushion, Asscher, emerald and rose cuts have found new life in the past two years. Here’s a review of each and some examples of how they’re used in today’s jewelry.

Cushion Cut

Also known as old-mine cuts, cushion cuts date to the mid-18th century. They are less brilliant than round brilliants, but are more dispersive (the separation of white light into spectral colors). This gives them a sophisticated inner glow as opposed to the fire of brilliant cuts. Antique and modern cushion cuts are virtually the same, though newer technology produces better symmetry, proportions and polish.

Asscher Cut

Abraham Asscher designed this cut in 1902 and it’s been updated and reintroduced by the fourth generation of Asscher diamantaires, Edward and Joop Asscher. Their Royal Asscher Cut, distributed in the U.S. by M. Fabrikant & Sons, is the only authentic successor to the original. It boasts a special arrangement of 74 facets that create more kinetic brilliance than its predecessor.

The original Asscher cut was designed to improve the brilliance of emerald cuts. The Royal Asscher Cut retains the original features (small table, high crown and steep pavilion), but has wider corners and more facets for added brightness and more sparkle in a cut already known to blaze with light.

Emerald Cut

Emerald or step-cut diamonds signify tradition and possess subtle beauty. They don’t return light all at once. But when light refracts from the broad back facets through the table, you see a sudden, broad flash. This hide-and-seek quality intrigues customers. It’s hard to hide inclusions in diamonds with long, broad facets, so cutters try to restrict them to non-reflecting corners.

Rose Cut

Developed in the 16th century, the rose cut has a flat bottom and domed top covered with triangular facets. The outline varies, but rose cuts are most typically round, oval, triangular or pear-shaped. In the 17th century, they gained greater acceptance and their facet arrangement became less random. Variations were always in multiples of six, such as a six-facet rose, an 18-facet rose and the full rose cut, which has a lower tier of 18 facets and upper tier of six facets coming to a point at the apex, which makes it look like a rosebud just starting to open.

The brilliant cut supplanted the rose cut in the 19th century. The rose returned at the turn of the 20th century, when jewelry drew inspiration from 18th century Baroque styling, but went out of favor again after 1910 when styles moved toward Art Deco. For almost a century, the rose cut has been in retirement, popping up only occasionally.

These diamond cuts aren’t for everyone. But if you have indecisive customers who want something unconventional or rare, show one of these cuts and watch their fascination grow.

– by Lorraine M. O’Donnell, A.J.P.

One-of-a-kind platinum necklace comprises 50.29 carats of diamonds, the large ones Asscher-cut. Each link was hand-fabricated with special tooling to create the octagonal bezels. The matching ring holds 5.05 carats. Earrings and a bracelet are available also.

Alan Friedman, Beverly Hills, CA; (888) 489-4545 or (310) 278-4944, fax (310) 278-5449.

Ring features an Asscher-cut diamond held in place by double prongs. Melee diamonds cover the platinum shank.

J.B. International, New York City; (212) 997-3205, fax (212) 997-3209.

Platinum necklace is set with 111.35 carats of cushion- and moval-cut (marquise and oval mix) diamonds. The back of the necklace can be detached and worn as a bracelet.

William Goldberg Diamond Corp., New York City; (212) 980-4343, fax (212) 980-6120,

1.67-ct. cushion-cut diamond is set into a platinum mounting featuring filigree and hand-engraving.

Michael Beaudry, Los Angeles, CA; (877) BEAUDRY or (213) 627-0088, fax (213) 623-2261,

D flawless emerald-cut diamond tops a platinum ring with a diamond pavé shank. Suggested retail, $2.1 million.

Siegelson, New York City; (800) 223-6686, fax (212) 832-2666,,

Designed by Laurie Fish, this three-stone ring contains a 1.97-ct. rose-cut black diamond and two brilliant-cut round diamonds totaling 0.57 carat. Keystone, $3,990.

Philip Wolman & Co., Los Angeles, CA; (213) 628-1336.

In the Elizabethan period, natural diamond crystals were set into rings uncut because the technology didn’t exist to facet them. The rings were used to scrawl love notes in the window panes of the beloved. Drawing inspiration from that time, this Scribble ring features a 0.81-ct. octahedron diamond crystal and 0.26 carat of champagne diamonds in 18k apricot and palladium white gold. Suggested retail, $2,500.

Sasha Samuels, Portland, OR; (503) 232-5422, fax (503) 232-4965.

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications