Knowledge Centre > Gemmology > Cuts

Deco Diamonds: The Emerald-Cut and Beyond


Art Deco step cut diamond flanked solitaire ring hatton garden
Art Deco step-cut diamond flanked solitaire ring, circa 1930.
Ref: 28150

Deco Diamonds: The Emerald-Cut and Beyond

Boldness, modernity, and drama, wrapped up in sleekness and sophistication defined the Art Deco era. Art and architecture alike brought geometry and symmetry to the fore, and jewellery design also sought to create pieces in this highly desired aesthetic, symbolic of all the freedoms of a post-war world. Timelessly elegant, and with an innate beauty, today we are exploring the world of step-cut diamonds.

We first start to see diamonds cut in a linear fashion in the 1920s, as jewellers sought a geometric and dramatic cut to mirror the forward-thinking fashions of the day. Thus, we see step-cut diamonds dazzle people for the first time!

Step-cut diamonds showcase a rectangular or square outline with parallel stepped facets, with the most popular being the emerald-cut, which displays truncated corners. These cuts were reserved for stones of the finest quality, as owing to the large table facet, which acts as a window in the stone, low clarity and colour appear far more noticeable to the eye.

Art Deco diamonds were set in precious white metals, most commonly platinum, which accentuated the icy and monochrome look that was in vogue, whilst also emphasising the brightness of these fine quality gems! In an era when all diamonds were cut and faceted by hand, the level of skill required to cut a step-cut diamond simply cannot be understated, especially when one takes into account the exacting levels of symmetry and proportion required to bring this incredible cut to life!

Step-cut diamonds became very popular for engagement rings, particularly in a solitaire form, or often flanked by smaller baguette cut diamonds, as they provided an effortless and elegant, yet dramatic look, exhibiting linear flashes of light. We also see these cuts take centre stage in bold cocktail designs, perfect for every occasion!

Another variation of the step-cut that came to the fore during this time was the Asscher cut. Designed by Joseph Asscher in 1902, this cut is characterised by its square outline, parallel lines and fifty eight facets, displaying what has been called a ‘hall of mirrors’ effect! The first diamond cut to ever be patented, the company held the exclusive rights to produce this cut until World War II.  In 1940, the Asscher Diamond Company’s assets were seized and the company dissolved. As a result, the patent for the cut expired, and other companies began to utilise this cutting style, though not necessarily according to the specific proportions of the Asscher patent. Thus, any pre-war Asscher cut is highly sought after, and an incredible rarity!

Are you in love with step-cuts, but find that platinum is not for you? Fear not! We also see the emerald-cut in vintage jewellery, when the 1950s saw a resurgence of the Art Deco diamond rings style, which continued through to the 70s. At this point, the fashion for yellow gold saw this previously icy gem gain some warmth and take on a stunning new aesthetic.

From the dazzling emerald-cut, to the rarity that is the Asscher cut, delve into Berganza’s collection online, or in our showroom, to find the perfect ring for you!

Cartier diamond cluster ring, circa 1935 hatton garden
Cartier diamond cluster ring, circa 1935.
Ref: 28172
 vintage emerald cut diamond ring berganza hatton garden
Emerald-cut diamond solitaire ring, English, circa 1950.
Ref: 23296
front view Art Deco diamond ring, American, circa 1935. berganza hatton gar
Art Deco diamond cluster ring, American, circa 1935.
Ref: 25913
Art Deco diamond full eternity ring berganza hatton garden
Art Deco diamond full eternity ring, circa 1925.
Ref: 25210
Asscher cut diamond flanked solitaire ring hatton garden
Asscher cut diamond flanked solitaire ring, circa 1925.
Ref: 26001
Asscher cut diamond flanked solitaire ring hatton garden
Asscher cut diamond flanked solitaire ring, circa 1950.
Ref: 26996
Vintage emerald cut diamond ring, circa 1970 hatton garden
Vintage emerald cut diamond ring, circa 1970.
Ref: 27637
Emerald cut diamond flanked solitaire ring, circa 1970. Hatton Garden
Emerald-cut diamond flanked solitaire ring, circa 1970.
Ref: 28055
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Updated 29/05/2024 at 2:48PM

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