A cut above: the legend behind the exclusive Ashoka diamond

By Rebecca Doulton

If you are after a rare and extremely exclusive engagement ring, a ring very few other women will possess – unless, of course, you are Reese Witherspoon – then Ashoka diamonds are for you. Available exclusively at Boodles in Britain, what, you might well ask, is so special about this diamond cut?

The four “Cs” – cut, clarity, colour and carat – are the benchmark for diamond grading and many consider cut to be the most significant of the mix. This is because the right diamond cut makes the best possible use of the diamond’s carat weight, and showcases its colour and clarity. Unlike the more traditional diamond cuts – including round brilliant, cushion, oval, pear, marquise, emerald, Asscher, radiant, princess and heart – there is a whole new world out there of patented diamond cuts developed by individual brands, offering their clients something truly unique.

Read more about patented diamond cuts

Ashoka-cut diamonds fit into this category and were in fact perfected and patented, but not invented, by William Goldberg, the American diamantaire who was fond of saying, “you shouldn’t cheat a diamond of its right to be beautiful”. The Ashoka cut, with its elegant, elongated rectangular shape and rounded corners, is not for every diamond. Fewer than one in five stones make the cut, which requires the rough to be larger and longer than average. According to Goldberg’s descendants, it can take up to six months for a diamond to emerge from the rough. In essence, a modified cushion cut with a rectangular shape and rounded corners, the Ashoka cut has 62 facets – compared to the 57 found in a regular round brilliant cut – which conspire to make the stone appear larger than it really is. The ingenious symmetry and angles of this diamond cut allow the light to reflect through the facets, giving a sensation of movement and a magnificent shot of radiance.

Find out what gives a diamond its brilliance

Beyond the technical specifications of this exclusive and patented cut comes a wonderful story about how it got its name. Goldberg was inspired by the famous Ashoka diamonds found centuries ago in the Golconda mines of India, which were said to have the power to banish sorrow. Ashoka the man was a 3rd century B.C. Indian warrior-turned-pacifist. Having spilt a lot of blood along the way, the ruler came to believe that the true path to enlightenment could only be achieved through tranquillity, and encouraged his subjects to practice Buddhism. When a stunning 41.37 carat D Flawless Ashoka diamond came to light, it was christened after the enlightened leader.

Our selection of Boodles engagement rings set with Ashoka diamonds show how versatile this cut can be, with contemporary proposals ranging from the Pas de Deux ring, with its obliquely set diamonds, to the highly romantic New Vintage ring, with a stunning Ashoka-cut diamond escorted by a frill of round brilliant-cut diamonds.

Whichever of these spectacular Boodles engagement rings wins you over, rest assured you will be one of very few brides to own one of these very special diamonds.

  • An Ashoka-cut diamond

    The exquisite Ashoka-cut diamond is exclusive to Boodles in Britain. With an angular and modern feel, it features 62 scissor facets that create clean lines, which disperse light to captivate the eye.

  • Boodles double Ashoka-cut diamond ring from the Pas de Deux collection

    This double Ashoka-cut diamond ring in platinum, set with two Ashoka-cut diamonds, is from Boodles’ recently launched Pas de Deux collection.

  • Boodles Ashoka diamond ring in platinum

    This Boodles Ashoka diamond ring in platinum, from the new Pas de Deux collection, is set obliquely with two Ashoka-cut diamonds in platinum.

  • Boodles Ashoka diamond ring

    Boodles 8.34ct Ashoka-cut diamond engagement ring.

  • Boodles New Vintage Ashoka diamond ring

    New Vintage Ashoka diamond engagement ring in platinum


    £ 6,300

  • Boodles Harmony Ashoka diamond ring

    Harmony Ashoka diamond engagement ring in platinum


    £ 3,950

  • Boodles Trilogy diamond Ashoka ring

    The Trilogy Diamond Ashoka ring in platinum from Boodles’ new Pas de Deux collection, set with an Ashoka-cut diamond framed by two kite-shaped diamonds.