The Rise of the House of Asscher

The history of the Royal Asscher Diamond Company begins in 1854 with master cutter Isaac Joseph Asscher (1843-1902) and his firm, the I.J. Asscher Diamond Company. In the mid-1800s, diamonds cut in Amsterdam were mined in Brazil, then the leading source of diamonds. Brazil had produced 25,000 to 100,000 carats annually since 1730, but by 1870, production was tapering off, and by 1880, it was only 5,000 carats. Scant supplies of rough to the Amsterdam trade caused chaos in the market and forced some cutters out of business. In 1870, a major diamond strike in South Africa led to the founding of De Beers Mining Company by Cecil Rhodes. Thousands of carats of diamonds flowed into Amsterdam for cutting. I.J. Asscher stayed in business and became one of De Beers' original sightholders. Excelsior! When the Excelsior diamond, a rough crystal weighing 995.2 cts., was discovered on June 30, 18
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