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Ultimate Guide to the Marquise Diamond

By Stephanie Dore

There’s no denying: the marquise diamond is staging a serious comeback. While its vintage appeal — think 18th century kings for instance — is clear, the marquise has definitely faced some tough times. Often seen as one of the few design choices that should have been left in the last mid-century, marquises are now being flipped on their pretty little points into styles that are truly modern. Everything comes back around, right? But if you’re struggling to understand this diamond shape or how to find one that’s worth its weight, you’re not alone. It’s not easy! Not to worry darling, we have everything you need to know to find an ideal marquise diamond to suit your wishes and your wallet.

What is a Marquise Diamond, Anyway?

First fashioned to resemble the lips of King Louis XV of France’s mistress back in the 18th century, the marquise cut diamond is also known as a “navette” cut or “little boat”. It’s also shaped kind of like an American football, if you’re of the sporty persuasion. No matter what you think it looks like, this shape has been around for a hot minute, but gone in and out of fashion, you know, as things do. It is classically worn pointing lengthwise, north to south, on the finger, or clustered in multiples for a leafy or almost floral look.

marquise diamond rose gold custom engagement ring
The marquise is marked by it’s trademark elongation and points at either end, and looks incredible in a custom setting.

east west marquise cut diamond yellow gold ring

The Shape Up

One of the biggest benefits of a marquise diamond is its elongated appearance and visual spread. What’s that? It means that the stone shape faces up larger than its carat weight. This is due to both its inherent elongated form and its shallower depth. In fact, marquise diamonds can face up about 15% larger than a comparable carat weight round cut diamond. And because they’re less popular (by a long shot) you can also save a pretty penny when it comes to the cost of a marquise diamond.

Marquise Diamond Cut Grade

One of the downsides, however, is that marquise diamonds (along with every other fancy shape besides round) don’t have an industry-standardized cut grade. Which means you’ll find much more variation in their faceting patterns, brilliance, and symmetry. There are, however, some general parameters that most retailers use to assign grades on their sites and these can still help you narrow your search. For instance, a table percentage of 53%-63% and a depth percentage between 58%-62% should be safe for visual appeal and brilliance. You’ll also want to look for excellent polish and symmetry to make sure your facets are sharp and well aligned.

east west marquise diamond platinum engagement ring
When you are looking for marquises, keep in mind the orientation of the stone setting in mind! You may want different proportions for east-west vs. north south.
marquise diamond hidden halo unique engagement ring
The marquise elongation will instantly add length to your finger!

The Pro(portion) Tips

Now, length-to-width ratio is where you’re going to really need to use your personal taste as a barometer. Some folks like a super elongated shape, while others prefer a chunkier, wider marquise cut. 1.75 ratio is pretty classic, while 2 and up is definitely going to give you a longer look. Use your eyeballs to scope out the shape symmetry as well, to make sure that the curves are nice and even, the points are aligned in the center of the stone, and there’s no wobbly weirdness anywhere.

Bow Ties in a Marquise

A natural occurrence in ovals, pears and marquise cut diamonds is what we call a “bow tie” in the diamond industry. What is that? It’s a dark area shaped, well, like a bow tie, horizontally through the center of these shapes. It’s actually caused by the facets reflecting the shadow of your head as you gaze into the stone (no we’re not joking) and can be seen as you rock the diamond back and forth. It’s pretty hard to avoid in these shapes, though you can definitely find stones where it’s a lot less noticeable. How to do that? The only way is by actually looking at the diamond. Or having a good buddy (i.e. us) help you with that. Just know it’s not 100% avoidable.

4 prong custom marquise diamond engagement ring
Every elongated shape will have a bow tie at certain angles, so the key is to find a stone where it shows up the least often!

Color Keys

Because of a marquise diamond’s shallower points, they can show a bit more body color there, but for the most part it won’t be too noticeable. If you want a super icy white looking diamond, then you’ll want to stick with a higher color grade, perhaps an H or higher. But if you’re okay with a warmer look, then we say dive right in and explore some bubbly champagne hues!

east west marquise diamond pendant
Marquises’ brilliant facets hide flaws easily, so you can flex a little on clarity!

Marquise Diamond Clarity

While marquise diamonds do have brilliant facets (which are known for helping hide inclusions) they also have pretty long, open tables. You know, that big flat facet on the top of the diamond that acts like a window into your stone’s soul. So while you can find some fantastic, eye-clean marquise cut diamonds in lower clarity grades, it’s best to look at the stone first, check that there are no noticeable inclusions under the table, or at least check the little diagram on its grading report for things that could be obvious. 

Are Marquise Diamonds Fragile?

Marquise diamonds have major points. And what do diamond points mean? Well, unfortunately they mean danger. Like, prone to catching on your favorite sweaters or snagging and chipping against your super chic marble countertops, for instance. This is why most marquise diamond rings have prongs that securely cover the points of the stone, so nothing too delicate is exposed.

two tone east west marquise diamond engagement ring
You should always, always protect your points on a marquise! The v-prongs on this custom piece do it perfectly.

6 prong east west marquise diamond engagement ring
There are so many unique engagement ring settings for your marquise. Start designing with us!

The Best Setting For a Marquise Diamond

Besides protecting the points of your marquise diamond, today’s engagement ring designs offer so many fun options for this stone shape. Sure, you can go with something that has vintage appeal, but we’re loving the east-west style marquise diamond engagement ring, with the stone set horizontally across the finger instead of up and down. You can also completely customize your engagement ring with a bezel setting, a sophisticated clutch style semi-bezel, or almost any other unique detail you’re after. Our design team is here to help!

Ready to Pop The Question?

Check out our free custom design quiz for a sketch of your marquise dream to spark inspo, or book a virtual or offline appointment at our New York salon to view certified lab-grown and natural diamonds in person. 

If you find one you like, make sure to scoop it up, because in all likelihood, you won’t find one similar again. Not finding what you want? Email us with what you’re looking for at hello@frankdarling.com. We’ll curate a list of 5-7 exclusive stones that are just right for you.