Top 7 Tips on choosing a marquise cut diamond

At a glance:

Pros – Classy, sophisticated and unique. Makes the diamond appear larger and ellongates your finger. Has a romantic and historic connection that makes it a perfect choice for an engagement ring.

Cons – Not as brilliant as round cuts. Can have the bow-tie effect. Can chip at the ends if not in a protective setting.


Known by a number of names, including football-shaped cut, boat-shaped cut or navette (which means little ship in French) the marquise cut is a unique vintage design that stands out on your finger. While not quite as popular as the round or princess shapes, the beautiful marquise design is a statement cut that is for the non-traditional couple and should not be overlooked. In fact, there is a lot to love about this cut!

Marquise diamond cut length to width ratio explained

Marquise diamond cut length to width ratio

One of the major benefits of the marquise cut is that it maximizes the carat weight and makes the diamond appear much larger than it is. Featuring 56 facets, it is an elliptical-shaped design that is pointed on either end. The outline and appearance of the marquise cut can vary depending on the length to width ratio. Choosing how narrow or wide you want your marquise cut diamond to be depends on personal preference. The classic marquise cut, however, has a ratio of 1.75 to 2.25. While the marquise cut cannot match the brilliance and sparkle of Round Diamond cuts, it has a unique luster that gives it an edge in terms of class and beauty. These diamonds are often used for other types of jewelry, but are most commonly chosen for engagement rings.

The marquise has royal beginnings, having originated in the 18th century French court of King Louis XV. The king, out of love for his mistress Madame de Pompadour, ordered a diamond to be cut in the shape of her lips. The name ‘marquise’ (which refers to a rank at court) was eventually attributed to the cut as diamonds were often worn by the marquise to show their rank. The cut morphed into its distinctive present-day shape over time and is widely used not only for diamonds but also for other popular gemstones. This connection with love and royalty has given the marquise cut its sophisticated aura.

If you think a marquise cut could be for you, then make sure you check for the following aspects before you make your purchase. Using our top 7 tips will help you decide on your marquise cut diamond!

bow tie effect in marquise cut diamond

bow-tie effect in marquise cut diamond


Tip 1 – Watch out for the ‘bow-tie’ effect!

All elongated fancy cut diamonds, such as the marquise, pear and oval cuts, are susceptible to having a bow-tie effect. This is when there is a darkened area in the shape of a bow-tie that runs across the center of the diamond. A bow-tie effect is caused by misaligned facets, which results in light moving out of the pavilion rather than being reflected from the surface. Due to the lack of light reflection, the dark area is created. This doesn’t mean that the diamond lacks clarity or that the diamond itself is dark. The bow-tie can be very light in which case you probably don’t have to worry about it. If, however, the bow-tie is the first thing that catches your attention when you look at the diamond, then you probably shouldn’t purchase that stone. Make sure that your marquise diamond has been expertly cut to bring out its best sparkle.

Tip 2 – Beware of chips

Due to the shape of the marquise cut, its pointed ends can be in danger of chipping. For this, you have to choose a ring setting that will protect the diamond. A setting that has prongs with a V-end or V-tip will be your best bet in ensuring the highest protection for your diamond. Remember, one of the most critical aspects of a marquise cut diamond is the quality of its sharp points.



Tip 3 – Make sure there is perfect symmetry!How to choose marquise diamond cut

Symmetry is critical in a marquise cut diamond. The two ends should have perfect alignment with each other while the left and right sides should mirror each other closely. If there is any defect in the symmetry, however slight, it will affect the overall equilibrium of the diamond and the final setting of the ring will not have an ideal balanced look. When selecting your marquise cut diamond, ensure that the symmetry is in the excellent or very good range for the best appearance.

Tip 4 – Choose your color preference

Choosing your diamond’s color is often based on individual preference. The D-F (colorless) diamonds are the most popular choice. Due to the laws of supply and demand, D-F color grades are the priciest as shoppers are prepared to pay a higher price for them. The difference between the grades are often negligible and can hardly be perceived by the naked eye. Because larger marquise cut diamonds can appear darker at the points, you can choose a lower color grade and still have a gorgeous colorless stone.

For an Excellent grading for color in a marquise cut diamond, look for these specifications:

  • If the diamond is less than .50 carat, a color grade of D-G is considered Excellent. Avoid grades L-M for a Fair-Poor rating.
  • If the diamond is between .50 - 1.0 carats, choose grades D-F for an Excellent grading and avoid grading K onwards which will give you a Fair-Poor grade.
  • If your diamond is between 1.0 to 2.0 carats, D-F will is Excellent but avoid grading I onwards.
  • If the diamond is over 2.0 carats, choose D-F but avoid H onwards.

Tip 5 – Consider your fingers

If you have short fingers, a marquise cut diamond may just be the thing for you. Its elongated shape makes your finger appear long and slender.

Tip 6 – Choosing the clarity grading for your marquise cut diamond

When choosing the clarity grade of your marquise diamond, consider your preference. Most inclusions are invisible to the naked eye and as long as this does not bother you, it should be fine. No one will be the wiser and you will save on your stone.

It is likely that inclusions can be located at the two end points of the diamond. This is because these points were the closest to the outer edge of the uncut diamond and the likelihood of there being flaws are high. The points will, however, be covered and protected by the V-shaped prongs which will render any inclusions located there invisible.

For an Excellent grading for clarity, here is what you need to look for:

  • If the diamond is less than .50 carat, a clarity grade of FL – VS2 will give you an Excellent rating. Avoid a grade over I2 as this will give you a Fair to Poor rating.
  • If the diamond is between .50 - 1.0 carats, choose grades FL – VVS1 for an Excellent grading and avoid I1 and above.
  • If your diamond is over 1.0 carats, choose FL –VVS2 for an Excellent rating. Avoid grades past I1.

Tip 7 - Evaluating your marquise cut diamond – know what to look for

When grading the quality of a marquise cut, a number of factors determine if it has an Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair or Poor grading. The following is a list of aspects that you will need to consider when evaluating a marquise diamond:


Excellent Grading ( % )


53 – 63


58 - 62


Very Thin – Slightly Thick

Pavilion Depth

42. 8 – 43. 2

Length to Width Ration

1.85 – 2.00




There are many technical aspects to buying a diamond. Most consumers only focus on the appearance of the stone but knowing what affects the appearance can help you to zero in on exactly what you want and what to avoid.