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A Guide to: Marquise Diamonds

Large marquise shaped diamond being held by tweezers against black background

The marquise diamond is a stellar choice for those who want a unique shape in their engagement ring. The marquise shape can be compared to that of a boat, an eye, or a football – it features two pointed ends and an outward bowed middle. Due to an elaborate history featuring King Louis XV of France, the diamond was named “marquise” after the rank just below a Duke. 

Cut: Thanks to their narrow and elongated shape, the marquise diamond features 56 facets. This number makes this shape appear larger than other diamonds of the same carat weight. There is no defined cut quality for marquise diamonds, so it can be tricky to determine based on data alone. The quality of the cut is based almost solely on personal appeal, no so much set industry standards. It’s all in the eye of the beholder! 

Diagram of a marquise shaped diamond from the top and bottom

Common cut issues with marquise diamonds include: the “bowtie” effect and being cut too narrow. Much like the oval diamond, the marquise diamond can also have a dark spot running horizontally through the middle of the stone – this is called the bowtie effect. The more noticeable this bowtie is, the larger the impact it can have on the diamonds overall worth. It’s always recommended to shy away from marquise diamonds displaying a dark and prominent bowtie. When a marquise diamond is cut too narrow, it can give the diamond an unsatisfactory appearance. The table can be too small, and the crown can be too high, limiting light reflection and making the diamond look dull. 

A loose marquise cut diamond displaying a severe bowtie, or dark section, in the middle.
This marquise diamond displays a severe "bowtie" or dark section, through the middle of the diamond.

Clarity: A diamonds clarity is measured by the number of inclusions that are present within the stone. Marquise stones tend to hide inclusions well, especially if they’re in either of the two points or if they can be covered by prongs. Inclusions in the center of the stone, based on their size and severity, can be more difficult to hide. The GIA grades diamonds on a 9-point scale: 

  • IF – Internally Flawless

  • VVS1 – Very Very Small Inclusions 1

  • VVS2 – Very Very Small Inclusions 2

  • VS1 – Very Small Inclusions 1

  • VS2 – Very Small Inclusions 2

  • SI1 – Small Inclusions 1

  • SI2 – Small Inclusions 2

  • I1 – Inclusions 1

  • I2 – Inclusions 2

GIA clarity scale

Color: The industry standard for grading diamond color ranges from a D grade (colorless) and increases in color to a Z grade (light yellow). This standard applies to all diamond shapes! Diamonds are color graded by comparing each stone to one in a master set. To an untrained eye, small differences in color between diamonds is imperceptible. Unless compared side by side to a diamond with color, it is very difficult to see a distinct difference. A diamond will always look different in a setting, so take care to choose a mounting in a color that will complement the stone, or vice versa.

GIA color scale

Carat: Marquise cut diamonds tend to appear larger when viewed from the top compared to other shapes of the same weight, much like oval diamonds. This illusion is due to their extreme elongated shape and their width. 

Marquise diamonds are the go-to shape for a ring that screams elegance, sophistication, and uniqueness. Their long, fancy shape can make the finger look slimmer in a simple setting, and for a bit of extra fun, try turning the diamond on its side! An east-to-west setting can instantly turn this diamond from elegant to contemporary, a popular look for engagement rings today! 

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