The Marquise Cut

Learn all about the marquise cut diamond

Karly B. (GIA Gemologist) avatar
Written by Karly B. (GIA Gemologist)
Updated over a week ago

The Marquise Cut

Boat. Football. Smile. All of these words have been used to describe the shape of a marquise diamond.

History of the Marquise

Essentially an oval with pointed ends that has brilliant facets, the marquise first came about in the 18th century when French King Louis XV commission his court jewelers to fashion a diamond matching the smile of his main squeeze and mistress, Jean Antoinette Poisson aka the Marquise de Pompadour. Weird story, yes, but by giving the diamond the name marquise the King was showing the world that it's one aristocratic diamond shape. The term marquise (feminine form of marquess) referred to a hereditary rank midway between a duke and an earl. Pretty cool, huh?!

Just like any diamond shape, the marquise has come and gone out of style. It was all the rage back in the, though, not so much. So if you're looking for a unique center stone shape, the marquise has got you covered!

Marquise Upsides

Just like ovals, they are flattering to the finger (even the chunkiest of digits), as they elongate the fingers and make them look positively regal.

Next, they do tend to look slightly bigger than round stones of the same weight, so you can definitely get more bang for your buck with a marquise shape (they also tend to be cheaper!).

Finally, they are very unusual. If you are looking to break the mold a little with your choice of stone, the marquise is a good path to go down.

Downsides of the Marquise cut

All of that being said though, there are three important things to note when buying a marquise, and they all involve Goldilocks. Yes, you read that correctly. The chick with the porridge. Intrigued? Read on.

Marquise Diamond Length to Width Ratios

First, let’s discuss length-to-width ratios. As we have seen in other cuts so far in this series, a poor L/W ratio can mean the difference between a diamond that looks like it’s spent too long on a juice cleanse, and a diamond that’s been to an all you can eat buffet.

marquise l_w.webp

It is no different with a marquise – and in fact, I would argue that it’s even more important. I believe that sticking with a ratio of 2:1 is the Goldilocks state, in that it’s ‘just right’. Anything over 2.2:1 is going to look starved, anything below 1.8:1 is going to look chubby. Now, of course, if you like either of those looks you are welcome to go for them, I just think they are not as appealing to the eye;

Marquise Diamond Bow Ties

Next, we must talk about bow ties. For those of you who have read my take on oval cuts, you will know that the dark specter of the bow tie is never too far away, ready to ruin our day. Bow ties are those dark shadows that fall across the face of the diamond if it has been cut too shallow.

marquise bow tie.webp

To counteract this bow-tie, diamond cutters will attempt to cut the diamond a little deeper in the hope of diminishing the bow-tie effect as much as possible. The problem with this is, when a marquise diamond is cut too deep, you just end up getting a drab diamond.

Ideal Marquise .webp

Stick with the Ideal Proportions above to avoid a very pronounced bow tie. It should be noted again though, that in most cases the bow tie is merely diminished not eliminated completely. It’s the nature of the beast, unfortunately.

Marquise Diamond Girdles

Finally, on the Goldilocks front, I want to discuss girdles. Not the women’s boned undergarments that are designed to make you look fabulous while at the exact same time making you feel utterly miserable.

I’m talking about diamond girdles; the thin ‘belt’ that separates the crown (the top) from the pavilion (the underneath). We have a serious Goldilocks situation going on here with girdle thickness. A girdle that is too thick for example, will mean a lot of wasted space inside the stone (as well as a lackluster finish).

A girdle that is too thin on a marquise however, is even more dangerous. This is because the tips of the marquise diamond are extremely fragile (just like the princess cut), and with a weak girdle this can spell disaster for your precious stone, leaving it open to breaking and chipping. Your Goldilocks girdle thickness is as follows: you want a range of ‘thin’ to ‘thick’ only.

Marquise Color and Clarity

Next, let us touch on clarity and color. With clarity, feel free to pop down to the ‘VS2-SI1’ range, as marquise cuts (just like our ovals and cushions) are very good at hiding small imperfections. As usual though, you need to be careful about the positioning of these inclusions, as a dirty black mark sitting smack right in the center of your table could really burst your bubble.

marquise color comp.webp

Color is a little bit trickier, however. In general, we have learned that these modified brilliants (fancy cuts) tend to hold on to their color more than their round counterparts. This can be even more pronounced with the marquise cut, with the color looking even darker at those pointed tips. For this reason, I would suggest that you go for ‘G’ or above for a stone of about 1 carat, and even higher (‘D-F’) if going for a stone over 1.5 carats.

Still not sure the Marquise Cut is right for you?

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