Engagement Rings

The Marquise-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring Buyer’s Guide

Pros/Cons of Marquise-Cut Diamonds: Looks bigger than its carat weight, but flaws in clarity and cut can appear to be more pronounced compared to other diamond shapes.

Tip 1: Make sure the stone is highly polished for maximum bling.

Tip 2: Spend more on clarity, and less on carats.

Tip 3: It’s pronounced “mar-kees.”

Marquise is a diamond shape for brides who prefer something a little different. This cut can look ultra-modern or quaintly antique depending on the design. It appeals to women who have their own distinctive style.

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History of the Marquise-Cut Diamond

It’s said that the cut was named for the Marquise de Pompadour, mistress of King Louis XV when the marquise was introduced in 1740s France. Madame de Pompadour was herself trained in gem engraving by the engraver to the king. Legend has it the first marquise cut was shaped like her mouth.

The marquise has also been known as a “navette,” which is French for “small ship.” Its ship shape may have something to do with the cut’s popularity in Edwardian times when yacht racing was a favorite pastime of the elite. The marquise took on the brilliant faceting perfected in that era and remains one of the more scintillating cuts.

Its shape also resembles leaves and petals. Thus, the marquise often turns up in rings with a stylized floral motif. In short, it’s a shape that takes on many different looks depending on how you set it. While not among the most common choice for engagement rings, you will find an amazing range of rings designed around it.

So she wants a marquise-cut diamond? Go to James Allen or White Flash to see what kinds of ring designs work best with that shape (and others). Their selection spans from vintage to modern — and across all budgets

Famous Marquise-Cut Diamond Rings

Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ashlee Simpson and Portia de Rossi all wear marquise-cut engagement rings, but they are wildly different. Zeta-Jones and de Rossi both wear theirs turned sideways. Michael Douglas’s bride sports a sleek 10-carat solitaire, while De Rossi wears a modest 3 carats on a twisted band with tiny pink diamonds (pictured below). Simpson’s marquise is mounted old school with a vintage-style ruby and diamond halo.

The “Sideways” East-West Marquise

Zeta-Jones’ east-west mounted marquise ring got a lot of paparazzi attention after her betrothal to Douglas was announced in 1999. Since then, the sideways marquise is nearly as common as the traditional mount. (Photo courtesy of Norman Jewelry)

Photo of Catherine Zeta-Jones' engagement ring courtesy of Norman Jewelry

You don’t have to spend millions to get a scaled-down version of this eye-like setting. Here’s an example by Forevermark and another handcrafted by Sethi Couture in black rhodium-plated gold.

Vintage Marquise-Cut Diamonds

Ashlee Simpson’s marquise engagement ring from husband Evan Ross was designed in 2014 by Neil Lane, Beverly Hills jeweler to the stars and collector of antique jewels. Her 5-carat marquise is at the center of a ruby halo surrounded by 140 diamonds. (Photo courtesy of Ashlee Simpson)

Photo courtesy of @ashleesimpson

Kwiat offers a similar style with sapphires instead of rubies, price upon request. (Photo courtesy of Kwiat)

Marquise Diamond and Sapphire Engagement RIng. Photo courtesy of Kwiat.

Alternative Marquise-Cut Diamonds

Luana Coonen uses antique marquise diamonds for her Fleur de Marquis rings, starting at $825, with hammered petals of recycled 14K gold. For $3,125, you can get a convertible marquise with your choice of a 5mm or 7mm long diamond. (Photo courtesy of Luana Coonen Jewelry)

Photo courtesy of Luana Coonen Jewelry

Maria Mas’ hinged pink gold “Swinging Marquise” has a diamond that flips over to a pink tourmaline. (Photo courtesy of Swoonery)

Swinging Marquise Diamond V Ring. Photo courtesy of Swoonery

British designer Rachel Boston sets the marquise atop double gold bands in her Anaya ring. (Photo courtesy of Rachel Boston)

Anaya Ring. Photo courtesy of Rachel Boston

How Much Does a 1-Carat Marquise-Cut Diamond Cost?

A simple solitaire with a one-carat marquise diamond starts at about $2,300 for a diamond solitaire with eye-clean (SI2) clarity and J color in 14K gold at James Allen. (Photo courtesy of James Allen)

Go from zero to hero in five minutes: At James Allen’s or Blue Nile, you can adjust price ranges and other characteristics to see how many carats your budget buys. Their search tool is great. Their highly competitive pricing is too.

1.09 Carat Marquise Cut Solitaire Engagement Ring. Photo courtesy of James Allen.

At Aaron Faber, $5,400 gets you a 1.45-carat diamond (I color, VS1 clarity) in a sleek platinum setting with baguette side stones. (Photo courtesy of Aaron Faber)

Marquise Diamond Solitaire. Photo courtesy of Aaron Faber.

A similar quality 1.35-carat marquise diamond in platinum with six marquise side stones surrounded by 54 round brilliants can be found at Costco for $3,900. (Photo courtesy of Costco)

Marquise Cut & Round Brilliant 1.35 ctw VS2 Clarity, I Color Diamond Platinum Ring. $3,899. Photo by Costco.

What to Watch Out for in Marquise-Cut Diamonds

Check first for a dark band in the faceting across the center “belly” of the marquise. A subtle bowtie reflection is typical with this cut but it should blend in with the rest of the faceting. You want to avoid a distracting one caused by a stone cut too deep or too shallow. You should be able to spot this without a loupe.

Shape is a matter of personal preference, but the industry standard is to avoid cuts that are too narrow or too wide. The ideal marquise should have a nice curve on each side and measure about twice as long as it is wide.

Look for symmetry in contour and facets. An ideal marquise should have crisp points and gentle curves from point to point. Visually divide the diamond in half vertically and then horizontally. Check to see that the outer curves and pavilion cuts match up on either side.

This is a brilliant cut and should have maximum sparkle. It needs enough depth to reflect light back from the many intricate facets in its pavilion, but not so much that the light passes right through.

Pros and Cons of the Marquise-Cut Diamond

Pros: The elongation makes a diamond look bigger than it actually is. It can also make the fingers look longer.

Con: Given an engagement ring is meant to last for the long haul, it’s worth noting the marquise has a history of going in and out of style. Marquise-cut diamonds were big in the early 20th century, then fell out of favor, made a comeback in the 1970s and 1980s, but dropped in demand by the turn of this century. It’s starting to come back again.

Of course, you can always trade it in. David Beckham proposed to wife Victoria with a $70,000 marquise cut in 1998. She later traded it for a pear cut and has appeared with other rings on that finger since.

Bottom Line: The marquise shape stands out in a crowd. Does she want that?

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