0.49 cts stone, modern setting - marquise-cut diamonds
0.49 cts stone, modern setting - marquise-cut diamonds

Marquise-Cut Diamonds Buying Guide: Vintage & Modern


A beautiful and versatile shape, marquise-cut diamonds are perfect for unique engagement rings. Learn how to pick the stone that’s best for you.

6 Minute Read

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Why?
The unusual shape of a marquise-cut diamond makes it a striking choice for a ring stone. However, finding one that looks great can take some effort. Learn the pros and cons of this unique diamond shape so you can choose the best one for your engagement ring.
0.49 cts stone, modern setting - marquise-cut diamonds
Marquise-cut diamonds are a great choice for vintage styles, but this curvy engagement ring is all modern. © CustomMade. Used with permission.
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at CustomMade

What is a Marquise-Cut Diamond?

Marquise-cut diamonds feature an elongated shape that many refer to as an "eye" or "football" shape. Marquise diamonds vary in shape from gem to gem which makes each one special and unique.

Marquise-Cut Diamonds: Pros and Cons

Before choosing any diamond shape, first and foremost, you must consider the shape itself and whether or not it appeals to you. Marquise-cut diamonds have a unique look — an elongated ellipse with pointed ends. If that's not right for your style, there are still plenty of other diamond shapes you can pick.

Think about the style and type of ring you'd like. A marquise looks great in intricate vintage styles and halo settings but can also work as an eye-catching solitaire. Marquise-shaped diamonds are also great for trendy East-West settings and double band rings.

  • vintage engagement ring - marquise-cut diamonds
    Vintage-style rose gold engagement ring with 1-ct marquise-cut diamond.
  • halo engagement ring - marquise-cut diamonds
    Engagement ring with a 0.90-ct marquise-cut diamond in a halo setting.
  • twisting shank engagement ring - marquise-cut diamonds
    Twisting shank engagement ring with 0.90-ct marquise-cut diamond.
  • east-west engagement ring - marquise-cut diamonds
    East-West engagement ring with 0.80-ct marquise-cut diamond.

    Images © James Allen. Used with permission.

    If a marquise shape fits your style, you'll be happy to know it will offer significant savings when compared to a round diamond of the same carat weight. Marquise-cut diamonds also have a lot of face-up area and appear 15% larger than an equivalent-carat round. Furthermore, the elongated shape makes fingers appear longer and thinner and makes diamonds look absolutely huge. At one carat, most marquise diamonds are over 1 cm long.

    However, the pointed ends of a marquise-cut diamond can snag and chip. Make sure these ends are secured and covered by prongs in their setting. The marquise's unique shape can also make it a challenge to find one that's well-cut and symmetrical without a ghastly bowtie region. Finding the perfect marquise shape may take some time, especially if you're searching for larger sizes or have a tight budget.

    marquise-cut brown diamond
    This marquise-cut fancy brown diamond engagement ring has prongs that cover the stone's tips. © CustomMade. Used with permission.
    Find this Ring
    at CustomMade

    Marquise-Cut Diamonds Ideal Cut Quality and Shape

    You can't evaluate the cut quality of a marquise diamond the same way you evaluate a round brilliant. In fact, the cut quality of a marquise, like all fancy-shaped diamonds, is largely subjective. You absolutely have to get a good, close-up look at a marquise-cut diamond before you buy.

    Shape Appeal

    You'll want to choose a diamond with great shape appeal. If a diamond's appearance seems a little off, it's likely due to poor shape or asymmetry.

    A marquise shape should have pointed tips. The areas on either side of the tips are called "wings." Make sure that these aren't too flat or bulging. The middle area, called the "belly," should also have a gentle curve, neither flat nor bulging.

    • good shape - marquise-cut diamonds
      Good shape appeal
    • Flat wings - marquise-cut diamonds
      Flat wings
    • bulging wings - marquise-cut diamonds
      Slightly bulging wings
    • bulding belly - marquise-cut diamonds
      Bulging belly

      Images © James Allen. Used with permission.

      Symmetry

      Visibly poor symmetry is detrimental to a marquise-cut diamond. To evaluate symmetry, draw an imaginary line down the diamond from tip to tip. Then, see if the tips, wings, and belly appear symmetrical. Next, draw another imaginary line across the center of the belly. Make sure that the diamond is symmetrical in this direction as well.

      asymmetrical bulge - marquise-cut diamonds
      This diamond has subtle asymmetry, with a slight bulge in the belly on the top side of this image. © James Allen. Used with permission.

      Asymmetry really stands out in marquise-cut diamonds because of their elongated shape. If you end up with an asymmetrical marquise, you'll notice it.

      asymmetrical points - marquise-cut diamonds
      This fancy yellow diamond is very asymmetrical, with the points going off-center. © James Allen. Used with permission.

      Note that this "shape symmetry" isn't the same as the "symmetry" on a diamond grading report, which only refers to facet symmetry. A facet symmetry grade of "Good" or better can get you a beautiful marquise-cut diamond.

      Marquise-Cut Length-to-Width Ratio

      Largely a matter of preference, the length-to-width ratio (L/W) dramatically changes the look of a marquise diamond. Lower ratios make shorter diamonds, and very short diamonds may look chubby. On the other hand, very long diamonds may have poor performance, since cutting a very long marquise without sacrificing brilliance can be difficult.

      Most people prefer marquises with L/W from 1.7 to 2.2. Take a look at these stones set in engagement rings to see which L/W ratio you prefer.

      • 0.97ct LW 1.76 - marquise-cut diamonds
        Somewhat squat L/W 1.76
      • 1.03ct LW 1.86 - marquise-cut diamonds
        Slightly squat L/W 1.86
      • 1.02ct LW 1.94 - marquise-cut diamonds
        Mid-range L/W 1.94
      • 1.08ct LW 2.06 - marquise-cut diamonds
        Slightly elongated L/W 2.06
      • 1.00ct LW 2.15 - marquise-cut diamonds
        More elongated L/W 2.15
      • 1.03ct LW 2.25 - marquise-cut diamonds
        Very elongated L/W 2.25

        Images © James Allen. Used with permission. Click here to compare these diamonds side-by-side.

        Marquise-Cut Table and Depth

        In order to weed out some poorly cut diamonds, you can limit the table to 53-63% and the total depth percentage to 58-62%. While this won't remove every poor performer, you won't have as many diamonds to sift through.

        small table - marquise-cut diamond
        With a small (50%) table and a L/W of 2.60, this yellow diamond certainly lacks appeal. © James Allen. Used with permission.

        Marquise-Cut Bowtie Effect

        Because of the faceting pattern, every marquise-cut diamond will have a bowtie — a dark band across the center of the stone. However, some will be more prominent than others. Avoid large bowties. Most importantly, remember that a diamond that doesn't show sparkle in the middle of the stone isn't worth your money.

        • bad bow tie - marquise-cut diamonds
          Unattractive bowtie
        • good bow tie - marquise-cut diamonds
          Great bowtie

          Images © James Allen. Used with permission. Click here to compare these diamonds side-by-side.

          Marquise-Cut Clarity

          Marquise-cut diamonds have great brilliance and will hide inclusions even with a low clarity grade. For this cut, an eye-clean SI1 diamond will give you the most for your money. Nevertheless, marquise diamonds with inclusions near the sides are preferable to those with inclusions near the center. Large, dark imperfections near the center will likely be eye-visible, but other types of imperfections may not be.

          si1 not eye-clean - marquise-cut diamonds
          Notice the crystal inclusion toward the left side in the middle of this diamond. As you can see in the video, even when zoomed out, the inclusion in this SI1 diamond certainly shows. © James Allen. Used with permission.

          If your budget is tight, try to find an eye-clean SI2 or I1 diamond. The imperfections in many of these diamonds won't be visible to the eye, especially at sizes below two carats.

          si2 eye-clean - marquise-cut diamonds
          The imperfections in this SI2 diamond are small and distributed throughout the stone, so it still appears flawless to the naked eye. © James Allen. Used with permission.

          Marquise-Cut Color

          Like other fancy shapes, a marquise-cut diamond will reveal color more easily than a round diamond. Color usually shows most near the tips.

          K color - marquise-cut diamonds
          Notice the color at the tips of this K color diamond. © James Allen. Used with permission.

          If you're pairing a marquise diamond with white gold or platinum, stick to a color grade of H or better. An H color diamond will appear white and cost less than a higher color grade.

          For yellow and rose gold rings, a marquise diamond will still look colorless all the way down to K color. Since the metal will reflect some of its color in the diamond anyway, the slight warmth in a K color diamond will still look white against colored metal.

          Time Saving Shortcuts

          See all marquise cut diamond rings at...

          James Allen
          Ritani
          Blue Nile

          Where Should I Buy a Marquise-Cut Diamond?

          For marquise-cut diamonds, it's essential to see its shape and performance before you buy. If you're shopping online, stick to vendors with closeup videos so you can see what the actual diamonds look like.

          Both Blue Nile and James Allen offer high-quality, closeup 360° videos of their diamonds. However, James Allen has a major advantage over Blue Nile. They have many more ring styles to choose from, including plenty of vintage options for marquise diamonds. Still, if you're picky about the shape — if you're looking for a replacement stone for an existing setting, for example — you may prefer to use Blue Nile. Their website lets you filter your searches by L/W, a feature James Allen lacks.

          Marquise-Cut Summary

          • 1. A marquise looks great in intricate vintage styles, halo settings, as a solitaire, East-West settings or double band rings.
          • 2. The elongated shape makes fingers appear longer and thinner and makes the diamond look absolutely huge.
          • 3. Be careful! The pointed ends of a marquise-cut diamond can snag and chip.
          Best Budget
          Best Budget
          Best Value
          Best Value
          Best in Show
          Best in Show

          As an alternative, you could design a completely unique ring with CustomMade. Their experts will help you find the perfect marquise for your tastes and budget and place it in a ring made just for you.

          FAQ

          1. Are marquise cut diamonds more expensive?

          Marquise cut diamonds are less expensive than round cut diamonds of the same carat weight. This is because their shape uses up more of the diamond's rough, allowing gem cutters to make bigger cuts out of the same amount of raw material. They are also less in demand than round cut diamonds, which can fetch a higher price for their popularity.

          2. Is marquise a good diamond cut?

          Marquise diamonds are a great cut if you are looking for a nontraditional diamond cut with an elongated shape. Marquise cut diamonds are very versatile, and their unique shape makes them perfect in vintage styles and as stunning solitaire gems. Marquise cut diamonds also have a noticeably larger face-up surface area than round cut diamonds, giving you a larger-looking gem for the same carat weight.

          3. What is special about a marquise diamond?

          Marquise diamonds are special for their unique, elongated shape and the variation of shape from gem to gem. Not all marquise diamonds will look the same, as differing length-to-width ratios can create many different looks and further personalize your gem.

          4. Which cut of diamond looks biggest?

          Elongated cuts such as marquise, oval, and pear often appear larger than round cut diamonds of the same carat weight because they appear longer on your finger. These cuts also have a larger face-up surface area compared to rounded shapes because they have a more shallow cut, so the diamond's visible size will actually be larger.


          Addison Rice

          A geologist, environmental engineer and Caltech graduate, Addison’s interest in the mesmerizing and beautiful results of earth’s geological processes began in her elementary school’s environmental club. When she isn’t writing about gems and minerals, Addison spends winters studying ancient climates in Iceland and summers hiking the Colorado Rockies.

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