What are Marquise Cut Diamonds?

September 17, 2023

The elongate and elegant marquise diamond shape evokes the lavish luxury of old world Europe. Its dramatic pointed ends and brilliant faceting create a unique interplay of light. Learn about the marquise diamond's history, cutting style, grading factors, settings pairings, and FAQs in this comprehensive guide.

History of the Marquise Diamond

The marquise cut is one of the earliest diamond shapes on record. It was developed in the 18th century as a custom cut for French royalty.

According to lore, King Louis XV commissioned the marquise cut to mimic the enchanting smile of his mistress, the Marquise de Pompadour. Jewelers designed an elongated brilliant-cut stone tapering to two points that resembled her upturned lips.

The new marquise shape became highly fashionable among French and English aristocracy as a stone that evoked luxury, femininity, and romance. It remains a symbol of tradition and opulence today.

Marquise Cut Facets and Shape

The marquise cut elongates and tapers the outline of a round brilliant diamond. Skillful faceting creates the illusion of greater size.

Cut specifications:

  • Oval outline with pointed ends
  • 58 facets
  • Football-shaped girdle
  • Culet on one end
  • Crown and pavilion like a round brilliant
  • Length-to-width ratio of 2:1

The long, narrow shape requires precision cutting to maximize brilliance and fire. Well-cut marquise diamonds exhibit a "bow tie" effect from the concentric meeting of light patterns in the center.

A bow tie that is too intense or dark can make the stone appear thinner. Ideal marquise diamonds will show a soft shimmering bow tie through the table when viewed face up.

Marquise Diamond Quality and Value

Like other shapes, marquise diamonds are graded by the 4Cs:

  • Cut - A length-to-width ratio between 1.75-2.25 is ideal. Look for Excellent or Very Good cut grades.
  • Clarity - SI1 or better is recommended to avoid inclusions in vulnerable tips.
  • Color - H-J grades provide excellent value while appearing near colorless.
  • Carat - 1 carat or higher optimizes the elongated shape.

Well-cut marquise diamonds over 1 carat magnify perceived size by up to 25% compared to a round due to the elongated outline. This makes marquise a budget savvy shape.

Marquise Diamond Settings

The marquise cut maximizes its dramatic allure when set in simple solitaire or halo settings:

  • Solitaire - Classic 4-prong or 6-prong setting
  • Side stones - Paired with baguettes, trillion or pear cuts
  • Halo - Single or double pavé halo frames the center marquise
  • Three-stone - Elegant with pear or trillion side stones

Prongs at the tips help protect the points from chipping. Avoid oversized, ornate settings that detract from the marquise shape itself.

Marquise Cut Prices

Price averages for 1 carat marquise diamonds:

  • D color, VVS2 clarity, Excellent cut - $7,000
  • G color, VS2 clarity, Very Good cut - $3,800
  • J color, SI1 clarity, Very Good cut - $2,500

The marquise offers reasonable value, with the elongated shape giving the illusion of a larger diamond.

Marquise Diamond FAQs

How does marquise sparkle compare to other shapes?

With proper proportions, marquise diamonds exhibit superb brilliance. The shape diffuses light across the center with exceptional flash in the tips. Overall fire surpasses emerald cuts.

Should I choose marquise or oval cut?

The marquise appears larger visually. Its ends add more accent. Oval has a more understated elegance. Choose marquise for presence or oval for versatility.

Do marquise diamonds wear well daily?

Select a protected setting with prong protection at the tips. Avoid thin girdles to reduce chipping risks. Durability is lower than round but similar to other fancies.

Does a marquise cut hide inclusions well?

Its elongated shape and brilliant facets disguise inclusions reasonably well. But extra clarity in vulnerable points is recommended. An SI1 or VS2 clarity is ideal for maximizing sparkle and value.

Can I resize or reset a marquise later?

Yes, skilled jewelers can reshape the girdle as needed to resize a marquise ring. Resetting must be done carefully to protect vulnerable points.

For those desiring an elongated diamond with old-world allure, the marquise cut conveys distinctive style. When expertly proportioned, marquise diamonds exhibit a wonderful interplay of light unique to their shape.

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