A Comprehensive Guide to Marquise Cut Diamonds (2022)

Diamond shapes with longer silhouettes are all the rage, and the marquise diamond is no exception. Marquise stones offer soft curves as well as edgy points to suit all tastes, making it a versatile cut.😎 While this diamond shape has been around for centuries, its recent spike in popularity means we need to give you all the information we can before you run to buy your own marquise stone!

So, let’s discuss:

  • Marquise diamond basics and popularity
  • Things to consider when shopping for a marquise-shaped diamond✔️
  • Marquise diamond shape variations
  • The bow-tie effect
  • Pricing for marquise stones
  • Top marquise diamond ring setting styles
  • Pros and cons of marquise diamonds
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Basics: What is a marquise diamond?

The marquise diamond shape can be traced back all the way to France in the 1740s, and the origin of the design may surprise you. It’s said that King Louis XV took the Marchioness Madame du Pompadour as his mistress, and he commissioned the marquise shape to match the outline of her lips!

Sharing a name with the title of "Marquise", the shape became popular with the nobility who wanted to show off their high rank.📺 Another name for this shape is the "navette", which is Old French for “little ship” and signifies the shape’s resemblance to the hull of a boat.

Today, marquise diamonds are steadily rising in popularity as longer gemstone silhouettes become the norm, and many shoppers choose this shape because it appears larger than other cuts of similar carat weight due to its elongated form.

The marquise cut generally features 56 facets with a point at each end of the stone. Here are some important terms to understand when shopping for a marquise cut stone:

Marquise Cut Diamond Anatomy

FeatureDefinition
BellyThe middle of the stone and the point at which width is measured
WingThe four curved areas that reach from the belly to the points
PointThe 2 tips of the stone (one at each end)
GirdleThe edge where the crown (top of the diamond) and pavilion (bottom of the diamond) meet
Keel LineThe place at which the pavilion facets meet, creating a line that runs the length of the diamond
Marquise Diamond Anatomy

Marquise diamonds: Popularity and aesthetics

As we mentioned, the marquise diamond’s star is rising, and it’s also a favorite among celebrities. Here are just a few of the big names who have chosen the marquise style for their own stunning engagement rings:🤩

  • Jennifer Lopez’s first engagement ring was a marquise cut ring reportedly worth $100,000.
  • Portia de Rossi sports a gorgeous, east-west marquise diamond with pink accents.
  • Although she’s switched rings over the decades, Victoria Beckham started her marriage with a hefty, marquise-cut diamond on a yellow gold band.
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones still wears the marquise diamond her hubby proposed with, but she’s opted to rotate the stone for an east-west setting in recent years.
  • Jas Prince gifted Christina Milian a marvelous marquise engagement ring with a double French pavé band.
  • Ashlee Simpson proudly wears a vintage-inspired marquise ring with ruby accents.

What does selecting a marquise diamond say about you?

Some people feel a diamond’s shape reflects the wearer’s personality, and marquise diamonds are no exception. With its royal origins, marquise-cut stones are glamorous but sophisticated, carrying an aristocratic beauty that is perfect for the marquise-lover’s bold and lively taste. The shape is said to be a favorite of nonconformists, who prefer individuality and uniqueness to blending in with the crowd.💃🏻🩰

Comparing marquise diamonds to similar shapes

Two shapes that share features with marquise diamonds are ovals and pears. While they may seem similar, let’s look at how these shapes differ so you can make an educated decision regarding which one is right for you:

Marquise vs. Oval

Although marquise and oval cut diamonds have the same basic silhouette, there’s one major difference in their shapes: marquise diamonds have pointed ends, whereas ovals have rounded edges. Overall, an oval stone looks more like a stretched round diamond and has a wider, fuller belly and broader wings.

Because they have pointed ends, marquise diamonds are also considered slightly more fragile than ovals. Points are a soft spot on diamonds, as they’re susceptible to chipping, cracking and snagging. If you choose a marquise over an oval diamond, be sure to use v-prongs, double prongs, or a bezel to protect these weaker points!📝

Both cuts tend to appear larger than they are, but a marquise diamond looks slightly larger than an oval cut due to its shallower pavilion and crown as well as its pointed edges. Additionally, because of their elongated silhouettes, both shapes often fall victim to the bow-tie effect.

Oval diamonds do have one distinct advantage over marquise cuts: they’re more common and, therefore, more affordable. The price difference isn’t crazy, but the few hundred dollars can mean everything to someone working on a budget.

Marquise vs. Pear

A pear-shaped diamond almost looks like a hybrid between marquise and oval cuts, with one rounded edge and one pointed edge! As such, both shapes provide curves and points, but a pear silhouette can appear less proportionate due to its teardrop form.

Similar to the oval, pear cuts have a slight strength advantage over marquise stones, since they only have one pointed edge. Both cuts can also fall victim to the bow-tie effect, meaning shoppers should make sure they view all potential diamonds in person (or at least view 360° videos!).

Finally, pear cut diamonds cost more than marquise cut stones, and on average shoppers pay $300 more for a pear cut of comparable size and quality.

Things to consider when shopping for a marquise diamond

Shopping for a quality diamond can be daunting, but arming yourself with information is the best way to ensure you pick the right stone for your needs. That’s where the 4Cs come in handy:

Cut

As a fancy cut, marquise diamonds don’t receive a full cut grade. Instead, shoppers are encouraged to look for certain quality parameters regarding symmetry and polish, length-to-width ratio, and depth and table percentage.🔍

Length-To-Width Ratio

Because it is an elongated cut, marquise diamonds come in all shapes and sizes! But, according to the GIA, the ideal length-to-width ratio for marquise stones is 1.6:1 to 2.2:1. This means that the length from tip to tip of the diamond is roughly double the width of its belly, and this ratio produces a brilliant sparkle and brightness without the overall silhouette appearing “stubby” or “narrow”.

Despite this, it’s important to remember that even a longer or shorter marquise diamond may catch your eye! There’s nothing wrong with choosing a stone outside the “ideal” ratio, and preferences can change based on personal taste, finger size, etc. What matters most is that you love your diamond, and as long as it’s well cut it will sparkle just like any other marquise stone.

Symmetry and Polish

Symmetry and polish are super important categories for elongated shapes like the marquise, as you want to ensure the points of your diamond line up! As such, we recommend Excellent or Very Good grades for both categories.✍🏻

If you draw an imaginary line through the center of a marquise stone, both points should line up perfectly. Furthermore, the wings of the marquise silhouette should look like mirror images, both well-proportioned with gently sloping curves. Symmetry and polish are crucial to a diamond’s face-up appeal, and so a high grade for both is the best way to ensure a shapely diamond.

Depth and Table Percentages

Speaking of well-proportioned diamonds, depth and table percentages also play a large role in how well a diamond sparkles. Here are the recommended percentages for marquise diamonds in the Excellent, Very Good, and Good range*.

*Please note: ranges can vary depending on the diamond's other features—such as its length-to-width ratio—and you should seek the advice of a diamond professional when exploring these details to find the best specifications for your chosen diamond shape/size.

Depth and Table % and Girdle Thickness for Marquise Cut Diamonds

 ExcellentVery GoodGood
Table %53-6352 or 64-6551 or 66-68
Depth %58-6256-58 or 62.1-6653-56 or 66.1-71
Girdle ThicknessVery Thin - Slightly ThickVery Thin - ThickVery Thin - Very Thick

You’ll notice we’ve included girdle thickness in the chart as well, and that’s because there is a direct correlation between girdle thickness and durability when it comes to marquise cut stones. A sufficiently thick girdle lessens the likelihood of damage to the already somewhat fragile marquise cut. In fact, marquise diamonds receive special allowances in their girdle grading to accommodate their fragility, since a thicker girdle near the points of this shape can reinforce these weak points.

French Tips

On your diamond buying journey, you may notice some marquise-cut diamonds look somewhat off. Their facets may appear more complex, and that’s because the gem cutter implemented “French Tips” to reinforce the diamond’s shape. 👉🏻French Tips feature modified star and girdle facets near each point of a marquise diamond rather than relying on the flat, bezel facet you’d normally find in this particular shape.

The several smaller facets help prevent breakage, though some wearers prefer the look of the larger bezel facet. Both versions are completely suitable for daily wear, but you may want to consider a marquise stone with French Tips if you don’t plan on choosing a v-prong or other protected setting for your stone!

Color

Much like with other elongated diamond shapes, shoppers should focus on the overall color appearance of a marquise diamond rather than its actual color grade. We recommend a grade of H or better for marquise shapes to avoid discoloration, but this is really subject to each diamond’s characteristics.

For instance, in larger marquise diamonds, color may visibly pool in the points of the stone. In these cases, it’s best to buy at least one color grade higher than anticipated to avoid visible yellowish hues.💡

Or, if you’re on a budget, you may want a smaller marquise diamond that can mask color more effectively. Diamonds around the 0.5-carat weight can still appear colorless at I grade!

It’s also important to remember that color is subjective and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you prefer diamonds with warmer tones, then save yourself some money and go for a lower color grade. As long as the diamond still sparkles, that’s all that matters!

Clarity

Marquise diamonds have two of the best features for hiding inclusions: a brilliant cut and an elongated silhouette. As such, you can get away with a grade of SI1 or above when shopping for eye-clean marquise stones and save a little money in the process.

But, if you want a large diamond, you may need to shell out a bit more cash to ensure it’s eye-clean. A larger diamond means a larger table facet, so it’ll be much easier to see any inclusions and more likely that they may appear under the stone’s table. For diamonds above 1 carat, stick to VS2 or higher grades to avoid visible inclusions!😊

Keep in mind that cut quality, length-to-width ratio, and other factors can impact whether a marquise diamond is eye-clean at any clarity grade. Be sure to do your research and inspect each diamond you’re considering for visible inclusions or blemishes.

Carat Weight

Because marquise diamonds present as larger than other shapes of similar carat weight, you can actually purchase a smaller stone for a greater value! For instance, if you don’t want to shell out the cash for a 1-carat stone—full carats are always pricier—then try a 0.75-carat gem instead. We doubt you’ll notice the size difference!😛

We recommend a marquise diamond between 0.5 and 1.25 carats depending on budget, hand size, finger length, etc. In this range, marquise stones are large enough that you can enjoy their best features without breaking the bank.

Understanding shape variations in marquise diamonds

Not all marquise cut diamonds are created equal! Gem cutters don’t always cut diamonds into the ideal marquise silhouette, and variations in shape can distort the elongated form, pointed ends, and other iconic features. Look for these less desirable attributes to ensure you’re getting a quality, shapely marquise diamond:🙌🏻

Feature Variations in Marquise Diamonds

CharacteristicDefinition
Bulged WingsPlump wings that bulge outward for a more robust shape and less defined points
Flat WingsThe wings have less curvature, creating a slimmer, flatter silhouette and more defined points
Uneven WingsOne or more wings are curvier than others (misshapen cut)
Undefined PointsOne or both points do not have a defined tip and, instead, have a rounded edge

Marquise diamonds and the bow-tie effect

Like other elongated diamond shapes, the marquise cut is susceptible to the bow-tie effect, which can impact a stone’s sparkle. The bow-tie effect is a result of poorly cut facets that cause light blockage, forming a bow-tie-shaped dark spot in the belly of the stone.

Bow-ties aren’t inherently a problem, as they don’t impact the durability of a diamond. Instead, some people actually prefer a diamond with a bow-tie, seeing it as a classy edition to an already refined diamond shape! At the end of the day, buying a diamond with a bow-tie comes down to whether or not it bothers you, and you should inspect each diamond to see if you’d prefer one with or without.

How much do marquise diamonds cost?

As far as diamond prices go, marquise cut stones are not the most expensive cut, but they’re certainly not the most cost-friendly shape either. In short, you can expect to pay roughly $3,500 to $6,000 for a 1-carat marquise diamond of good quality, and the IGS suggests an average price of $5,596 for this shape. The price can increase or decrease depending on the 4Cs, the presence of the bow-tie effect, and the seller.

Here’s the average price of a marquise diamond compared to other shapes, according to the IGS:

Average Price for 1-Carat Diamond Shapes, G Color VS2

ShapeAverage Price
Round$7,291
Princess$4,799
Oval$5,362
Cushion$4,229
Pear$5,802
Radiant$4,443
Emerald$4,476
Asscher$4,137
Marquise$5,596
Heart$5,536

As you can see, round brilliant diamonds are the most expensive shape, and there’s a significant gap between #2 (pear) and #3 (marquise). However, the marquise is still a top 3 shape when it comes to price, so you may have to balance your wants with your budget to find a diamond that suits your needs.

Best setting styles for marquise diamond engagement rings

While all marquise diamond ring settings look fabulous, there are some styles that help this edgy gemstone cut shine its brightest. These setting designs compliment the finer features of marquise stones:

Solitaire

There’s nothing more brilliant than a marquise solitaire, as this cut was meant to be the center of attention!

In addition to standard white and yellow gold, many shoppers like to pair a marquise diamond with a rose gold setting for a feminine, romantic aesthetic. The color combo is a big hit currently, and you can pair it with an equally rosy wedding band for a polished bridal set.😍💋

If you’d still like a sparkling band, consider adding accent stones, such as pavé diamonds, for a hint of brilliance. Micropavé stones are also lovely and great for wearers who don’t want to detract from their center stone.

East-west

One of the best things about cuts with elongated silhouettes is you don’t have to stick to one orientation when setting your diamond. Marquise diamonds look just as beautiful set in an edgy east-west position as they do in the traditional orientation!

East-west marquise settings cover more surface area, protecting your finger and making it look a bit broader (which is great if you have thin digits!). What’s more, the east-west orientation offers more security for your diamond, since the edges point to the side rather than outward where they can snag.

Three-stone

Consider a three-stone arrangement if you want to really amp up the glam! You can try a three-stone with a marquise triplet or opt for other shapes that can compliment the marquise’s unique silhouette.

We love when couples pair a marquise diamond with pear accent stones, as the points of both shapes add an air of refinement to the overall setting.😻 You can add colored gemstones to your marquise three-stone engagement ring as well, which will bring a fun pop of color to the setting.

Halo

Decadent yet understated, a marquise halo engagement ring is a sight to behold. Marquise diamonds have a thinner build than other shapes, meaning you can add a halo of diamonds without creating a “girthy” setting that looks gaudy or overdone.

We also adore halos on elongated shapes because you can produce some really creative settings! This vintage-inspired double halo is positively stunning, and this ballerina setting with a marquise at its center is fit for a queen.

As side or accent stones

If you’re not sold on a marquise center stone, try adding marquise diamonds as accent stones instead.👋🏻 Whether you opt for marquise side stones or a band that features the marquise silhouette among the accent stones on your band, you’ll love how this delicate shape adds a touch of vintage beauty to any setting. A marquise diamond wedding band is always a showstopper as well!

Prong style

Regardless of which setting you choose, we can’t stress this enough: the dual-pointed edges of your diamond need to be protected. Despite their sharp appeal, these are the most vulnerable parts of the diamond, so proper prongs and protection can help secure your stone against cracking and chipping.

The best setting option for added security is v-prongs, which surround the points of your diamond in an L-shaped metal prong. You can also add double claw prongs on each point, or a bezel is always a great option to protect the entire perimeter of your diamond if you don’t mind sacrificing a little bit of sparkle.

Summing up: The pros and cons of marquise diamonds

Got all that?🎃 If you didn’t have the time to read our full review of the marquise diamond, we’ve summed up the pros and cons of this highly sought-after shape below:

Pros

  • Marquise diamonds are moderately priced, and you get more stones for your money.
  • Their elongated shape helps marquise diamonds appear visibly larger than their actual carat weight.
  • Marquise diamonds are versatile and complement all other diamond shapes, and they are good as both center stones and accent diamonds.
  • Thanks to their brilliant cut, you can save money on color and clarity with marquise diamonds, and it’s easier to find eye-clean versions of this shape.
  • Many view wearers of marquise diamonds sophisticated and regal.👸🏻
  • They can suit both vintage and modern settings to accommodate the needs of any bride.
  • Their marquise shape looks great set in any orientation, such as north-south, east-west, and even on an angle for an edgier appeal.

Cons

  • The two points of a marquise diamond are somewhat fragile, so you’ll want to secure them with a protected setting or additional prongs.
  • Because they have a longer silhouette, marquise diamonds can suffer from the bow-tie effect.
  • Much like other elongated shapes, marquise diamonds can also suffer from other cut issues, such and misshapen wings and flat points.
  • Marquise diamonds are only rising in popularity, which means they’ll seem less unique in the next 5 years. However, that shouldn’t stop you if you love their shape!

Make it a marquise diamond

Marquise cut diamonds are timeless and elegant, creating a striking silhouette that has all the soft beauty of a round stone with the edgy tips of a pear or princess cut gem. ✅However, there are several things that can throw off this delicate silhouette, so it’s crucial to observe each marquise diamond individually and compare them to find the right ratio for you.

It’s also a little costly, so you could always opt for a slightly less expensive oval. But, if you can strike a balance between what you can afford and what you actually want, a marquise diamond may be right for you. We also have a 1-carat diamond buying guide for more tips on how to save money during your diamond journey.

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