Updated September 20, 2019

Marquise Diamond

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Marquise diamonds are unique and offer more value for your buck. But there are some things to watch out for when choosing a quality marquise. Read on learn about this rare cut.

What Is a Marquise Diamond?

Marquise diamond in thin French-cut pave band
Marquise diamond in thin French-cut pave band via James Allen

The marquise diamond resembles a football with its oval cut and pointed ends. It has the standard 58 facets that you find on other cuts.

Typically, marquise diamonds have:

  • 33 facets on the crown
  • 25 facets on the pavilion (bottom)

A common nickname for the stone is the "navette," which means little boat in French. Indeed, these diamonds resemble the features of a small boat.

Fun Fact: The marquise diamond originated in the 18th century when King Louis XV of France wanted a diamond that resembled the shape of his mistress's lips. The word "marquise" is also the name of a royal hereditary rank.


Here are some reasons you may like the marquise cut:

  • It looks huge: A marquise diamond appears the largest of all cuts (of the same carat weight). It has a larger surface area compared to other diamond shapes.

  • More affordable: Marquise diamonds usually cost less compared to round diamonds. Combined with the larger appearance, this means you can get a bigger-looking diamond for less.

  • Flattering: Because of its shape, the marquise diamond elongates the fingers. It's flattering on those with small or short fingers.

  • Hide flaws: The brilliant cut of the marquise diamond allows it to hide certain flaws, or inclusions. So you can save some money by purchasing a lower clarity diamond.

  • Unique: The marquise cut is unique and rarely seen on the ring fingers of brides. It's good if you want to stand out. Plus, it's versatile and looks good in a variety of ring settings.


Here are some things to watch out for if you're considering the marquise shape.

  • Dark spots: Marquise diamonds often exhibit a "bow tie" effect. This is a black or grey shadow in the shape of a bow tie right in the center of the diamond. This effect is due to the shape and uneven distribution of light.

    Darker and larger shadows in the diamond can detract from its beauty.

  • Yellow tips: Marquise diamonds tend to trap more yellow tint at the pointed tips. Even more so with larger carats. This means you may not be able to sacrifice too much on color.

  • Chipping: The pointed edges of the diamond are more susceptible to chipping if hit just right. It's best if the diamond has V-shaped prongs to protect the tips.

Inclusions at the points on a marquise diamond:
If your marquise diamond has inclusions at the points (particularly internal cracks), they can weaken the diamond.

But V-shaped prongs at the tips can help hide the flaws and give your diamond the protection it needs.

Marquise Diamond Prices

Are marquise diamonds more expensive?
Marquise diamonds are cheaper than round diamonds. It can cost as much as 20% less for a diamond of the same carat, color, and clarity.

For example, a 1-carat round diamond with color H and VS2 clarity costs around $5,500. The same specs in the marquise shape cost around $4,300.

But out of the other non-round fancy shapes, the marquise cut is more expensive. Other cuts such as princess, cushion, emerald, and oval usually cost less than marquise.

What is the least expensive diamond cut?
Typically, the order of the least expensive to most expensive diamond cuts is:

  • Emerald & asscher
  • Radiant
  • Cushion
  • Oval
  • Heart
  • Princess
  • Pear & marquise
  • Round

Ideal Marquise Diamond Proportions

Marquise diamonds are not given a cut grade by the GIA, so it may be hard to know what to look for. Here are our recommendations:

The marquise shape should be completely symmetrical. You should be able to "split" the diamond in half, with each side appearing identical.

Length to Width Ratio:
The ideal length-to-width ratio of a marquise diamond ranges from 1.75:1 to 2.15:1. The greater the ratio, the "skinnier" the diamond. Everyone has different preferences, but look for a length that fits well on your finger.

Ideal Proportions:
Here are our recommended proportions for the best light performance and minimal dark spots:

  • Depth percentage: 58% - 62%
  • Table percentage: 53% - 63%
  • Crown height percentage: 12 - 15%
  • Girdle: Very thin - slightly thick
  • Cutlet: None

Girdle Thickness:
If the girdle is too thin, the diamond can more easily chip. However, if it's too thick, too much weight is in the girdle, where you can't appreciate.

Some Terms of the Marquise Diamond

  • Belly: The area of the diamond with the most curve on its side. This is the area used to measure its width.
  • Wing: The curved area of the diamond starting at the belly and ending at the point.
  • Point: The 2 points at each end of the marquise diamond.
  • Keel Line: A vertical line that travels from the top of the diamond to the bottom.
  • Girdle: The edge where the top of the diamond (crown) and the bottom (pavilion) come together.
  • Cutlet: The pointed tip at the bottom of the pavilion.

Color & Clarity for Marquise Diamonds

Remember that marquise diamonds tend to trap more yellow tint at the tips. We recommend color H if you're setting the diamond in a white gold or platinum ring. This offers the best balance of price while still looking colorless.

If you're setting it in a yellow gold or rose gold ring, then it's safe to go down to a J in color. These slightly warmer-toned diamonds will beautifully complement the golden band and seem colorless in comparison.

For larger diamonds around 2-carat, consider upgrading to color G (for white gold and platinum rings) to ensure that it appears colorless against a cooler-colored band.

For larger diamonds in a yellow or rose gold ring, an I color diamond willi appear fairly colorless. However, you can stay at J if you want an overall warmer look.

All that matters is that the diamond is eye-clean, which means that you don't see any flaws with the naked eye. VS2 diamonds are usually a safe choice and offer great value.

You may want to inspect the diamond for flaws at the points, including the type of flaw. Internal cracks at the points will put the diamond at risk for chipping. But if it's just other small flaws like a surface scratch or black crystal, you can hide those with prongs.

The Best Setting for a Marquise Diamond

Marquise diamonds are unique, and the setting should show that off. Here are some settings that work best with the marquise cut.

A solitaire setting will really put the diamond at the center of attention. The setting should have 6 prongs to hold the diamond securely in place. Ideally, the pointed tips should be protected with V-shaped prongs.

A bezel setting has a metal rim around the diamond, protecting the diamond from all sides. This setting is contemporary and good for active women or those who work with children.

Side stones:
The marquise diamond also looks great with smaller sidestones on either side, especially triangular trillion stones. They can even be colored gemstones to make the center stone pop.

A halo setting surrounds the diamond in a "halo" of smaller diamonds. The marquise is quite a vintage cut and this style adds a little bit of that feel. Plus, the halo gives the ring major sparkle.

Marquis diamonds can be set vertically or horizontally, depending on the look you desire.

How to Tell if a Marquise Diamond Is Real

Not sure if you have a genuine diamond? There are some simple at-home tests to see if your diamond is real or fake.

  • Fog test: Breathe directly onto the diamond. In a real diamond, the fog from your breath will dissipate right away. With a fake diamond, the fog will stay for several seconds. If you keep breathing on it, a real diamond will always stay clear, while a fake one will get foggier.

  • Water test: You'll need the loose stone (out of its setting) for this test. Fill a tall glass of water nearly to the top. Set the stone in the water. If it floats (either on top of the water or just beneath the surface), it's not a diamond. Diamonds are denser than water, so they should settle at the bottom of the glass.

  • The read-through test: Again, you'll need a loose stone. Open a book or anything with printed text. Lay the diamond flat on the page. If you can read the text through the stone, it's almost certainly a fake. A real diamond refracts light so strongly that you cannot see through it.

Read our more detailed article on how to tell if a diamond is real for more ideas.

Bottom Line

The marquise diamond is great if you want to stand out with something more unique. The elongated shape is flattering and attention-grabbing. Plus, the larger size and cheaper price are definitely major pros.

Shopping for the ideal marquise diamond can be difficult since they're not graded like round diamonds. We hope you now have more of a guideline on what to look for. All marquise diamonds are different and all that's important is that you pick one you love.

Write to Kim P at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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