Last updated on October 9, 2020
Marquise cut diamonds are unique, elegant and relatively rare. They make only 1.5% of all GIA-certified diamonds available for sale globally. Due to their elongated and narrow shape, marquise diamonds look larger than all other diamond shapes of the same carat weight. If you are interested in buying a diamond that makes fingers look slender, our marquise cut diamond guide is a must-read.
History of Marquise Cut Diamonds
Marquise cut diamonds have a truly fascinating history that dates back to the 18th century when King Louis XV of France requested a jeweller to design a cut that resembled the lips of his mistress, Jean Antoinette Poisson, The Marchioness Madame de Pompadour.
While the narrow design has been perfected into the distinctive shape over time, it is still similar to the original cut.
The name “marquise” refers to a hereditary rank below a duke and comes from the fact that courtiers wore marquise cut diamonds to demonstrate their high rank. Marquise cut is also referred to as navette cut, which means “little ship” in French, due to its boat-like shape.
Marquise Cut Diamond Cut Quality Guide
While the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) provides cut grading for some cuts, such as the round brilliant, it doesn’t provide cut grading for marquise cut diamonds due to their complex and unique structure. However, there are some key features to be considered to have a brilliant and sparkly stone.
Symmetry is extremely important in marquise cut diamonds. The two points should align with each other, and the right and left sides should form a mirror image. Even a slight misalignment in the points can greatly impact the final look, which is why excellent or very good symmetry is strongly recommended.
The chart below serves as a general guideline for evaluating the cut quality of a marquise diamond.
|TABLE %||53 - 63||52 or 64 - 65||51 or 66 - 68||50 or 69 - 70||<50 or >70|
|DEPTH %||58 - 62||56 - 57.9 or 62.1 - 66||53 - 55.9 or 66.1 - 71||50 - 52.9 or 71.1 - 74||<50 or >74|
|GIRDLE||Very Thin to Slightly Thick||Very Thin to Slightly Thick||Very Thin to Thick||Very Thin to Very Thick||Extremely Thin to Extremely Thick|
|CULET||None||Very Small||Small||Medium||> Medium|
|LENGTH TO WIDTH RATIO||1.85 - 2.00||1.75 - 1.84 or 2.01 - 2.15||1.65 - 1.74 or 2.16 - 2.30||1.55 - 1.64 or 2.31 - 2.45||> 1.55 or < 2.45|
Marquise Cut Diamond Colour Guide
Colour of marquise cut diamonds is graded on a scale from D to Z, where D signifies a completely colourless stone and Z means an easily noticeable yellow or brown tint.
Like most diamonds, smaller marquise diamonds hide colour better while larger stones show tints easier. However, as marquise diamonds look larger than other diamond shapes, even smaller stones may appear slightly darker at the points. For this reason, if you want a really colourless diamond, it is best to opt for the D-E-F range.
The colour chart below serves as a general guide for evaluating colour in marquise cut diamonds, based on the carat weight.
|< .50 ct.||D - G||H - I||J - K||L - M||> M|
|.51-1.0 ct.||D - F||G||H - I||J - K||> K|
|1.0-2.0 ct.||D - F||D - F||G - H||I - J||> J|
|> 2.0 ct.||D - F||D - F||G||H - I||> I|
Marquise Cut Diamond Clarity Guide
The GIA grades clarity of marquise cut diamonds on a scale from FL to I3, where IF means a flawless stone and I3 indicates a heavily included diamond.
Evaluating clarity in marquise diamonds is subjective like in case of all other diamond shapes. Let’s not forget that each consumer has their standard for clarity; some feel comfortable with inclusions as long as they are not eye-seen, others prefer to have a flawless stone.
The clarity chart below provides general guidelines for picking a marquise diamond, based on your inclusion tolerance.
|< .50 ct.||FL - VS2||SI1 - SI2||I1||I2||> I2|
|.51-1.0 ct.||FL - VS1||VS2 - SI1||SI2||I1 - I2||> I2|
|1.0-2.0 ct.||FL - VVS2||VS1 - VS2||SI1 - SI2||I1||> I1|
|> 2.0 ct.||FL - VVS2||VS1 - VS2||SI1||SI2||> SI2|
Bowtie Effect in Marquise Cut Diamonds
Due to their elongated shape, many marquise cut diamonds show a bowtie effect. This pattern usually appears across the width of the stone in the centre of the table.
Depending on its intensity and size, a bowtie detracts from the overall appearance of a marquise diamond. However, in most cases, you may not be able to avoid a bowtie, as those without a bowtie effect usually tend to look dull and less brilliant.
Sometimes the bowtie effect in marquise diamonds is easily noticeable, and other times it is hardly visible. That is why you should make sure the diamond you choose doesn’t have a dominant bowtie, meaning it’s not the first thing you see when looking at a marquise cut diamond.
Marquise Cut Diamond Length to Width Ratio
The length to width ratio expresses how relatively long or wide a diamond appears. It is calculated by dividing the length of the diamond by its width.
Each fancy diamond shape has a certain length to width ratio that is considered most appealing for that shape. The optimal ratio for marquise cut diamonds is between 1.75-2.15. However, you should choose the diamond that catches your eye, after all, that is the only thing that matters.