I.J. Asscher Diamond Company, named after son Isaac Joseph Asscher, was founded in 1854 by the Asscher family. The company has cut some of the most famous diamonds such as the 997 ct. Excelsior diamond in 1903 and the 3,106 ct. Cullinan diamond, the largest diamond ever found, in 1907. The headquarters was located at Tolstraat 127 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands as it is today. The Asscher family also has locations in New York City and Tokyo and is still run and owned by the sixth and seventh generation of Asschers. The I.J. Asscher Diamond Company became the Royal Asscher Diamond Company in 1980. The company was given the “honor of a Royal Prefix from Queen Juliana of Holland in recognition of the company’s stature both in Holland and across the world”. In 2011, Queen Beatrix continued the Royal Prefix for 25 more years.
The Asscher Diamond Company was run by Joseph and Abraham Asscher, son of Isaac Joseph Asscher. In 1902, the original Asscher cut diamond was designed. It was a square step cut diamond with cropped corners almost octagonal in shape. It was the first signature cut for the Asscher family that was patented.
In 1903, Joseph Asscher was asked to cut the 997ct. Excelsior diamond. Abraham Asscher made the first cleve to the diamond and ultimately created 10 diamonds from the original stone.
In 1907, Joseph Asscher was asked to cleve the largest diamond ever found, the Cullinan diamond weighing 3,106 cts. It was cut into 9 diamonds, the largest being 530.20 ct.
The cleving took place in February 1908 in front of a crowd of people. On the first strike, the blade broke. “The stone remained intact”. The following week, with only the notary in the room and new tools, he successfully cleved the diamond. Later, the Cullinan I was placed in the head of the Royal Sceptre with the Cross. Two of the other diamonds cut from the Cullinan diamond, the Cullinan II and the Lesser Star of India, (the fourth largest diamond in the world), are currently with Great Britains Crown Jewels.
During World War II, the Nazis seized all of the company’s diamonds and the Jewish family was deported to concentration camps along with nearly all the company’s diamond polishers. After the war, 10 Asscher family members and 15 out of 500 polishers survived the Holocaust but the diamond industry was wiped out.
In 1946, Joop and Louis Asscher started a new company in New York.
In 1980, Queen Juliana of Holland gave the Asscher Diamond Company a royal title for its tireless work in the diamond industry. The Asscher Diamond Company became the Royal Asscher Diamond Company.
In 2001, Edward and Joop, Louis Asscher’s sons, introduced the Royal Asscher Cut giving the diamond 74 facets instead of the original 58. The Asscher family has an international design patent on the diamond. Each diamond is lazered with an identification number and the Royal Asscher logo.
The fifth and sixth generation of Asschers still operate the company. The president is Edward Asscher.