A diamond can be a significant investment; and when you’ve made the decision to make a purchase, you want the best diamond possible for that special someone.

When shopping for fine jewelry and rare stones and gems, it is important to know what you are looking for, and how to identify quality. Without such knowledge you may not get the most diamond for your money. We here at the Diamond Authority believe in getting the most shine for your dollar.

The following is a comprehensive guide to the marquise diamond to enable you to make a purchase with confidence, should this particular cut be what aligns with your preferences or expectations of the recipient’s. The marquise diamond is a luxurious cut, and knowing which ones to purchase and mount atop your chosen setting will make the piece truly shine.

The 4 C’s (Cut, Color, Clarity, Carat)

4C's for diamond

Before moving into the specifics on the marquise diamond, let’s consider the 4 most important characteristics of any diamond. Cut is the style chosen, such as the marquise. The color is the color of the diamond, and if it is clear, the level of clarity determines whether the diamond is crystal clear, or has some degree of cloudiness. Lastly is carat, the size of stone.

Marquise Diamond Cut Guide

Marquise Diamond Cut Guide

The marquise diamond is a modified version of the brilliant-cut. The most significant characteristic of the marquise diamond is the shape, which is like that of a football, an oval that comes to a point at either end. The diamond gets its name according to legend from the Marquise of Pompadour, a woman whose mouth and the shape thereof left such an impression upon King Louis XIV of France that he commissioned a jeweler to fashion a stone that resembled it. What words she may have spoken to him to lead to such a gesture is unknown, but the brilliance of the marquise cut shines into the modern era.


The long and narrow shape of the marquise diamond is versatile, and can create the illusion of greater size due to their shape. Of the many diamond shapes that are available, carat-for-carat the marquise diamond shape affords us one of the largest crown surface areas of any diamond shape. This makes the marquise cut a wise choice when seeking to maximize the perceived size of the stone upon being set.


An additional benefit of the marquise cut is the way that it accents the wearer. Due to the long and lean shape of the marquise diamond, it can help to create an elongated appearance of the fingers of its wearer. This can add a bit of mystique to the style of the wearer, making their fingers appear longer and slimmer. Should this look be desired, the marquise is a fine choice to infuse more style to the ring.

Marquise Diamond Clarity Guide


Clarity is measured based upon the number of inclusion and blemishes that are present in the diamond. The GIA grades diamond clarity based upon 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 inclusion
  • IF – internally flawless

The scale ranges from I2 at worst to IF at best. The difference may not be entirely visible to the naked eye, however will ultimately affect the price of the diamond significantly. For example, an identical pair of diamonds with the same cut and carat but one with a difference in clarity can be significantly different. Therefore, a VS1 marquise priced at $4,800 would be priced at $3,550 if it were SI1 instead. Two increases in the grade of the clarity can lead to an increase of over $1,000 in cost.


The difference between the grades of clarity on diamonds, marquise or otherwise, is often indiscernible to the naked eye. Generally an expert eye is necessary, often aided through the use of a microscope or other magnifying tool. The grade report that accompanies the diamond is also not always accurate. This an another reason to engage the assistance of a professional third-party appraiser. You might find a marquise diamond graded at VS1 priced at $4,800 is in fact an IF with a value over $7,000, but the appraiser who’d made the report under-estimated the clarity grade.

Marquise Diamond Color Guide

Marquise diamond color guide

The colors that you may choose for your marquise diamond are on the same spectrum as any other diamonds. A recent trend in diamonds is that of chocolate diamonds, with a distinctive and lush cocoa coloring not unlike your morning espresso adding a lushness and depth to the diamond. This particular color is useful as an accent piece, with its glimmer shining especially bright at dinner parties and evening galas.


If you’re looking for a particularly rare color of diamond for your marquise cut, then pink diamonds may the answer. Pink diamonds are some of the rarest jewels on the market today. Their properties are similar to those of the colorless diamond in terms of reflectivity and shine, but with the added uniqueness of a rosy hue that can range for nearly vacant to lush and bright. Using a pink diamond will add cost to the raw jewel, but the marquise cut does present the largest possible surface for the diamond, so can be a wise choice to maximize the appearance of size on your pink marquise diamond.


There are many other colors from which to choose, including clouded and smoky, red, and a variety of amber and violet hues. The color you pursue may drastically reduce or increase the value of the stone depending upon rarity. Consult with your jeweler ahead of time to determine what is within your price range before setting your heart on one color or another, as if you desire a one carat diamond clear compared to pink could be a sizeable difference.

Pro-Tip: Watch Out For The Bowtie


The marquise cut of diamond can at times possess some degree of the appearance of a bow-tie. The degree to which the bow-tie appears, if at all, will vary from diamond to diamond and can range from minor to relatively severe.

The greater the amount of bowtie that is visible, the lesser desirable the diamond is. It is important to look out for this feature, as it is rarely included on the diamond certificate and is not reflected in the dimensions. Thus, you could purchase a diamond with a strong bow-tie that devalues it should it not be properly inspected prior to purchase.

Pro-Tip: Inspect Before Purchase


A diamond is a significant investment, with the traditional cost of an engagement ring often advanced as being equal to three months’ salary. When making such a sizeable investment, it is important to know what you are purchasing, and to make sure that the certificate matches the diamond. This is not to question the honesty of your local diamond vendor, but anywhere on the chain of title the diamond could have been altered. Professional assistance guards against error.

For example, three marquise diamonds of the exact same size can have an entirely different appearance. One may have a bowtie which reduces its value and distracts one’s eye from the brilliance of the stone. The table may be cut too close in height to the crown, reducing the reflectivity of the diamond and adding a graying effect as opposed to the white and bright brilliance of a correctly cut marquise diamond. Do your research ahead of time and compare and contrast photos of well- and poorly-cut diamonds to get a feel for what looks right.


To ensure the quality of the diamond and its match with the certificate, hiring a diamond consultant is always a wise move. The consultant will independently evaluate the diamond to validate your purchasing decision. The grades that the third-party appraiser provides may validate the purchase by revealing the diamond to be of greater value than the asking price, or may improve your negotiating position by undervaluing it. For wildly divergent values, an additional appraiser may be necessary from whom to determine an average.

Conclusion


When making the decision to purchase a diamond, the marquise diamond cut is excellent to maximize the surface area of the cut, and to add to elongate the fingers of the wearer for an added dash of luxury. A marquise diamond is a classic look that can be altered to meet your personal preferences and those of the recipient if a gift. The width and length of the shape can be elongated for shortened to suit your preference, adding length or heft to the cut depending upon what style you’d like to grace the ring with.


To help make informed decisions when making significant purchases in jewelry and rare stones and gems, check back to The Diamond Authority, your source for information on diamonds, jewelers, and ideas for engagement rings and other gifts.

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