To me, diamonds are all about the numbers: the equations formed by time and substance that create each unique stone.

The expressions of facets that transform the rough stone to polished gem, coaxing it to come to life with either fiery vivacity or restrained incandescence.

The price tag that puts a piece within reach, the pricelessness and sentimentality that ensure special pieces remain family heirlooms for generations or centuries.

So many equations and sensibilities, both mathematical and metaphysical come to mind when you look at a cut diamond with either a jeweller’s loupe or the naked eye, be it loose in the palm of your hand or set in a fashion that tickles your fancy.


What transforms a matrix of crystallised carbon into an Emerald Cut or an Emerald Cut to an Asscher?

Why are we drawn to and enthused by the stones we favour and choose to mark anything from goal achievement to marital engagement?

The large concentric steps and high crown of the Asscher Cut that highlight truest colour and minute flaws resonate with me on levels both stylistic and soulful.

When looking into the table of an Asscher Cut stone, it is always a radiant moment of meditation.

As my eyes descend a staircase of facets that refract a web of rich history and brilliant evolution across time and continents, I ruminate on the equations and alchemy that transforms a rough stone to the ultimate conduit of style and “What makes the diamond man a master of substance?”

To me, it is definitely a combination and development of Time, Facets and Spirit.

hi5c.1907 unSEEN Peek™ – The Asscher brothers discuss a polishing strategy for the Cullinan diamond

The Asscher Cut was a 1902 innovation of the Dutch Asscher brother Joseph who was part of a renowned and masterful family of diamond cutters.

The Asschers were famed in their time for cutting the then largest rough diamond – The Cullinan – into polished stones.

The most brilliant and bold of the stones were set into the British crown jewels.

The Cullinan I, also known as the Great Star of Africa was cut in a pendeloque weighing 530.2 carats and set at the apex of the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross.

The Cullinan II or Second Star of Africa was cut in a cushion shape with 66 facets weighing 317.4 carats and magnificently set within the Imperial State Crown.

REGAL unSEEN Peek™ – HRM Queen Elizabeth II wearing the  94.4 carat pear-cut Cullinan III in combination with the 63.6 carat square-cut Cullinan IV set within a brooch.

The original Asscher Cut featured 58 facets and has evolved to feature 74 facets in its contemporary successor the Royal Asscher Cut which has mathematically enhanced the cut with perfect symmetrical proportions and accurate faceting parameters.

The Asscher Cut is the epitome of Art Deco elegance, but it was in fact favoured by the crème of high jewellers from the early Twentieth Century.

From 1968 until her death in 2011, Elizabeth Taylor kept the cut in the spotlight with her bold profiling of the 33.19 carat Krupp Diamond purchased as gift by Richard Burton.

Taylor wore the renamed Taylor-Burton Diamond with a spirit of radiance, resplendence and reparation as it once belonged to a scion of the German Krupp family who supported the Third Reich and employed forced labour during World War Two; Elizabeth was Jewish by her 1959 Las Vegas temple marriage to the singer Eddie Fisher.

923864_1613234688932965_1047882460_nunSEEN Peek™ – The Royal Asscher Company (Koninklijke Asscher Diamant Maatschappij) was founded in 1854 and remains headquartered at Tolstraat 127 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

During the Second World War battle of the Netherlands, the Amsterdam headquarters of the Asscher Diamond Company was invaded by the Nazis.

The Asscher family members and most of their polishers were Jewish. They were deported and interned in concentration camps. The company’s diamonds were seized and during the war the Asscher family’s patent to the diamond cut that bore their name expired as it could not be renewed.

As the family were in no position to defend their human rights let alone proprietary rights, other diamond companies began to use the Asscher Cut.

Many cuts produced by those outside the Asscher patent did not adhere to Joseph Asscher’s precise proportion parameters. Some used the Asscher name to describe their diamonds and others declared them square-emerald cuts.

After WWII ended in 1945, only ten members of the Asscher family and fifteen of the Asscher Diamond Company’s five hundred interned polishers had survived the Holocaust.

The illustrious company no longer existed and the diamond industry moved from its historic global capital of Amsterdam to Antwerp which is now a nucleus of the diamond polishing world.

The Asscher Diamond Company rose from the historic ashes of its Amsterdam home in 1946.

There is nothing new under the sun, but it can be born anew under the spotlight of public opinion if it is truly brilliant: the Asscher Cut underwent a phoenix-like renaissance in the early Twenty-First Century.

A fervour for vintage and estate jewellery swept the upper echelons of Hollywood’s red carpet icons at the beginning of the new Millennium, with actresses Jessica Alba, Zoey Deschanel and Kate Hudson all showcasing Asscher cut engagement rings.

Gwyneth Paltrow set herself apart with a cut above the rest: her own Asscher was cut with a slight elongation of the normal height.

The Asscher trend soon trickled down to the discerning masses who too sought out antique cut pieces and purchased the more modern incarnations whether generic or the refreshed and patented Royal Asscher Cut which once again returned legacy and quality control to the Amsterdam branch of Asscher family members.

The Asscher Cut not only transmits a tremendous sense of individuality and good taste, it also tells a story that brilliantly reflects pivotal moments of Twentieth Century social and style history.

SEE: Celebrity Asscher Engagement Trend

HEAR: DJ Koze ‎- Royal Asscher Cut 

© W. O. Adeyemi/ AFRICA: Seen & Heard Ltd and, 2016. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to W. O. Adeyemi, AFRICA: Seen & Heard and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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