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Marquise Diamond Buying Guide

By Mike Fried,

The marquise cut diamond, with its elongated and pointed ends, offers a distinctive and elegant appearance. The marquise cut’s unique shape not only maximizes carat weight, making the diamond appear larger, but also flatters the finger with its elongated design.

When selecting a Marquise diamond, it’s essential to ensure symmetrical proportions and be aware of the potential “bow-tie” effect in the center. The most popular length to width ratios are 1.70-21.5. We recommend looking for a S1 or S2 for the best clarity and value in marquise diamonds.

Marquise diamonds have traditionally been significantly less expensive than round diamonds. However, the marquise cut has gained some serious traction in the last couple of years and their prices have gone up in relation to other diamond shapes. A one carat marquise now costs around $4,000, almost as much as round diamonds.

In this article we will discuss everything you need to know about the marquise cut characteristics and how to get the best bang for your buck when purchasing one.

Here is what we’ll cover in this article:

What is a Marquise cut diamond?
How to choose the best cut for a marquise cut diamond?
What is the best length to width ratio for a marquise cut?
What clarity should I choose for a marquise cut diamond?
What is the bowtie effect?
How to choose the right color for a marquise diamond?
Should I buy a certified marquise cut diamond?

Elegant and top quality custom made marquise earrings by Abe Mor
Elegant and top quality custom made marquise earrings by Abe Mor

Bottom Line Recommendation

A marquise diamond is a unique direction to go when selecting a shape for your engagement ring. A stunning marquise diamond like this from Blue Nile will add an element of angles and asymmetry that you wouldn’t have with a standard round diamond.

Due to their fancy, elongated shape, it’s tricky to determine cut quality of a marquise diamond. Depth % and table % vary from diamond to diamond, and length to width ratio preference is dependent on personal appeal.

For diamond color, we generally recommend an H or better. For clarity, we suggest looking for an S1 or S2, like this exquisite SI2 marquise in a 14K white gold pavé setting from James Allen.

To find a magnificent marquise diamond that’s high in quality and priced for its value, contact us directly for advice and assistance.

To help you with the diamond buying process we lean on our expertise and experience. The author of this article, our CEO, Mike Fried has over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. Mike started from the bottom, sorting and evaluating hundreds of thousands of diamonds to learn every facet (pun intended) of diamond quality and value. Mike followed that up by spending years buying and selling diamonds on the wholesale market as well as selling tens of millions of dollars worth of diamonds to diamond retailers.

The Marquise Diamond History

Marquise diamonds have a long and fascinating history.

In the 18th century, King Louis XV of France requested a diamond be cut to resemble the lips of his mistress, the Marchioness Madame de Pompadour, Jean Antoinette Poisson. While the narrow design has been refined over time, it maintains similarities to the original.

In the years following the initial cut, the diamond was named marquise, which referred to a rank just below duke. Prestigious individuals would don marquise diamonds to demonstrate their rank. Marquise diamonds are also occasionally called Navette, meaning “small ship” in French. The marquise’s shape is similar to a boat, an elongated eye and an American football.

What is a Marquise Diamond?

“Pronounced “mahr-keez,” this graceful, elongated diamond has curved sides and pointed ends.” “Because of its shape, a marquise diamond will look larger face-up than a round diamond of the same weight. Many brides also appreciate the fact that a marquise will make their fingers appear longer and more slender.” Gemological Institute of America (GIA)

A marquise diamond boasts 56 facets in a longer shape that ends with a point on each side. This impressive and distinct appearance makes a marquise diamond a unique choice for those who want something different.

Thanks to the elongated shape, a marquise cut seems larger than other diamonds of the same carat weight and often cause the wearer’s fingers to look thinner.

Check out recently purchased rings from our top rated retailers for your inspiration.

The marquise diamond is an exquisite choice for those looking to stand out from more common diamond shapes like the round brilliant or cushion cut. It’s always been a popular choice, but — as jewelry industry magazine Rapaport explains — has recently experienced a resurgence as part of the ongoing vintage diamond cut revival.

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Marquise Cut Diamond – Cut Quality

Largely affecting the overall beauty and value of any diamond is the diamond cut. If you spend your budget on any of the 4 C’s (cut, color, clarity and carat), cut should be at the top of the list. Even if you end up decreasing your carat weight to get a better cut, it will pay off in the diamond’s beauty and appearance.

Selecting a marquise diamond is tricky because what makes an excellent cut is less defined. Even though the GIA grades marquise diamonds, it only issues cut grades to round brilliants. Thus, it’s impossible to know if a marquise will be dull or stellar without looking closer.

Common Marquise Diamond Cut Problems

While many cut elements can make a marquise diamond undesirable, we’ve highlighted common problems in the images below and compare them to an ideal cut Marquise.

1. Bowtie

Marquise cut with a bowtie

This diamond contains a distinguishable bowtie: the dark area running across the diamond’s center. We expand on the bowtie effect later in this article, but all in all, it takes away from the diamond’s beauty and becomes the unwanted point of attention. This diamond is also cut slightly too wide, making it more broad than elegant.

2. Slender Football

Marquise cut too narrow

The diamond is cut like a narrow football and lacks strong eye appeal. Its table is too small and its crown is too high (the portion above the diamond’s girdle). These elements limit both white and colored light reflection, making the diamond less than radiant.

3. Ideal Marquise Diamond

Ideally cut marquise cut diamond

While length to width ratio depends on personal preference, this diamond has an appealing shape at a 1.90 ratio. It is cut with a sizeable table, allowing for ample light reflection. There is no distinguishable bowtie (dark space running across the diamond) and it’s noticeably more beautiful than the other two diamonds.

If you need help identifying problem marquise cut diamonds, contact us.

To give incredibly rough guidelines for cut quality in a marquise, we’ve compiled the chart below. Please note that we always recommend having a diamond expert work alongside you when reviewing marquise diamonds for cut and other qualities.

Marquise Diamonds — General Cut Guidelines

 ExcellentVery GoodGoodFairPoor
Table %53-6352 or 64-6551 or 66-6850 or 69-70<50 or >70
Depth %58-6256-57.9 or 62.1-6653-55.9 or 66.1-7150-52.9 or 71.1-74<50 or >74
GirdleVery Thin – Slightly ThickVery Thin – ThickVery Thin – Very ThickExtremely Thin – Extremely Thick
CutletNoneVery SmallSmallMedium>Medium
Length/Width Ratio1.85-2.001.75-1.84 or 2.01-2.151.65-1.74 or 2.16-2.301.55-1.64 or 2.31-2.45<1.55 or >2.45

In addition to selecting a well cut marquise, ensure the diamond is set properly—with two prongs securely holding the pointed ends. This prevents chipping and stabilizes the diamond within the ring.

To prevent breakage, some diamond cutters use French Tips. They exchange a large bezel facet at each tip with several smaller facets, often making the diamond’s end look like a star. With the points being less acute with French Tips, they’re less likely to chip.

Marquise Cut Diamond – Length to Width Ratio

When it comes to choosing a length to width ratio for your marquise diamond, remember this decision is primarily based on personal preference. Above all, you want the diamond to look stunning to the naked eye and match the style of the wearer.

Popular length to width ratios for marquise diamonds range from 1.70-2.15. Length to width ratio can be determined by dividing the length of a diamond by its width. For instance, if a diamond maintains a length of 5mm and width of 3mm, the length to width ratio is 1.67.

To represent how various marquise diamonds appear—depending on their length to width ratio—we’ve included three examples.

marquise cut diamond length to width ratios

The marquise with a ratio of 1.75 is slightly stockier and may offer a bit more durability than those with the higher ratios. The 1.95 diamond is more slender and maintains ample stability. The diamond with a 2.15 ratio is further elongated and may have slightly less durability than the others.

Overall, no marquise shape is fundamentally better than another. Choose what most appeals to you and ensure the diamond is well cut and well set in the jewelry.

In addition, watch for the marquise’s pointed ends: they should align nearly perfectly with each other. Symmetry is critical, as even the slightest difference can take away from the stone’s beauty and elegance.

If you’d like assistance with evaluating marquise diamonds, reach out to our diamond experts.

Marquise Cut Diamond – Clarity

Selecting any diamond should include thorough consideration of each of the 4 C’s (cut, clarity, color and carat).

Clarity is specifically measured based on how many inclusions and blemishes are present in the diamond. The GIA grades diamond clarity on the following scale:

  • I2 – Inclusions
  • I1 – Inclusions
  • SI2 – Small Inclusions
  • SI1 – Small Inclusions
  • VS2 – Very Small Inclusions
  • VS1 – Very Small Inclusions
  • VVS2 – Very Very Small Inclusions
  • VVS1 – Very Very Small Inclusions
  • IF – Internally Flawless

While differences exist between grades, it’s imperative to realize these differences are slight—and usually unnoticeable—to the naked eye. For example, this VS1 marquise from James Allen costs $4,800, while this SI1 marquise also from James Allen costs $3,550—both appear to have no blemishes to the naked eye.

Because the difference is nearly indistinguishable without a microscope or expert eye, we recommend reviewing a diamond carefully rather than making a decision based solely on a grade report. James Allen offers the best tool for evaluating diamond clarity, because they utilize ultra-high quality diamond photography. Through their technology, you can view up-close photographs for each diamond. If you’re not confident in making a selection, contact our experts. They’ve reviewed thousands of diamonds for clarity.

As a general guideline, we suggest looking for a S1 or S2 for the best clarity and value in marquise diamonds—but remember each diamond needs to be reviewed on its own merit and appearance to the naked eye. You’ll also want to consider how the diamond will appear after it’s set in the jewelry. For example, inclusions are easily hidden by the prongs securing the two corners of the marquise, while they’re harder to hide if in the center.

Bowtie Effect in Marquise Diamonds

Due to their elegant and elongated shape, nearly all marquise diamonds contain a bowtie effect. The dark space, referred to as the bowtie, stretches across the diamond’s center and can impact the beauty of the stone. Bowtie severity differs across marquise diamonds. In some cases, the bowtie is noticeable to the naked eye, while other times it’s nearly invisible.

Look for a marquise diamond without a dominant bowtie, as this will detract from the magnificence of your stone. We highly recommend a diamond expert review any marquise before purchase.

In the images below, notice the significant difference between a bowtie and non-bowtie diamond.

Difference in bowties in a marquise shape diamond
Difference in bowties in a marquise shape diamond

Marquise Cut Diamond – Color

When it comes to the marquise diamond, color is similar to clarity: more weight should be placed on the actual appearance of the diamond, rather than a specific grading given by a lab entity.

The GIA grades diamonds for color from D to Z. A grading of D represents the most colorless while Z diamonds contain easily noticed yellow or brown tint. The visible difference between two adjacent grades, such as G and H, is often non-existent to the naked eye.

For marquise diamonds, we generally recommend a G or H which will give you the greatest value while still maintaining a diamond that looks colorless to the naked eye. G and H marquise diamonds usually look as colorless as an F or E, but cost far less.

Take this stunning H marquise in an 14K white gold pavé setting from James Allen, for example. It’s colorless to the naked eye and radiates clear light reflections. Note that it also looks white in relation to its setting—something you’ll want to watch closely for when selecting any diamond for a ring. You may be able to lower to an I, J or even K color, for example, if you’re using a yellow gold setting.

For more assistance and information on marquise diamond color, contact our experts.

Size and Carat Weight Comparison

Imagining how big certain carat weight is can be difficult. We decided to make it easy for everybody and made this side by side comparison to a US quarter.

difference in size between carat weights marquise

Marquise Cut Diamond – Certification

A number of lab grading entities issue reports for diamonds of every shape, yet all entities are not created equal. In particular, there are several labs that grade diamonds inconsistently and inaccurately.

To ensure you end up with a diamond that matches what’s described in the report, choose GIA. We strongly recommend only purchasing a diamond that accompanies a report from this entity. Diamond sellers that offer these certificates include James Allen and Blue Nile.

It’s important to note, however, that a decision should never be made simply by reviewing or comparing reports. A certificate does not indicate how the diamond actually appears. Marquise diamonds should be reviewed thoroughly and carefully.

Shop for marquise cut diamond engagement rings here.


If you’re looking for a diamond with extraordinary character and plenty of sparkle, be sure to consider the fancy marquise diamond. This shape allows for ample personalization and unique settings—capturing hearts since the 18th century.

For assistance in finding an exquisite marquise at an exceptional price, contact our diamond experts today.

Here are more specific diamond shape topics to browse:

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  • Lifetime Warranty
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  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
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  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
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About the author

Mike Fried Mike Fried Mike Fried has over 25 years experience in the diamond industry working with Leo Schachter Diamonds, Moshe Namdar Diamonds, and joining The Diamond Pro in 2007. He is recognized as an industry expert and has been quoted in publications such as Us, People, Page Six, The Next Web and more.

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