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Marquise Diamond History

by Hunter Kemp
Last updated on October 18, 2023
Marquise Diamond History

Though the marquise cut diamond isn’t as common nowadays as something like the round brilliant cut, its elegant, distinctive silhouette has captured hearts for centuries. And today, the marquise cut diamond remains a beautiful choice for the non-traditional bride. It has several other names and nicknames, including the football-shaped diamond, eye-shaped diamond, or navette cut diamond. Navette translates to “little boat” in French, which refers to the boat-like shape of this diamond. The marquise cut features an elliptical-shaped outline with pointed ends, and it boasts a high length-to-width ratio. This means that the stone is long and slim, giving your fingers a longer, more slender appearance. The elongated shape of the marquise diamond is also responsible for creating the illusion of a larger carat size. So marquise diamonds with a certain carat weight will look bigger than round diamonds with the same carat weight, allowing you to save a little money on carat if size is important to you. Read on to learn about marquise diamond history and discover what makes this diamond shape so special.

Origin and History of the Marquise Cut Diamond

The marquise cut certainly has a long and rich history, dating all the way back to the 18th century. At the time, King Louis XV of France hired a jeweler to create a diamond shape that looked like the lips of his mistress, the Marquise de Pompadour. Insisting that hers were the most perfect lips he had ever seen, Louis XV wanted a diamond shape that reminded him of them. The final product was the first ever marquise cut diamond. For centuries, this diamond cut was almost exclusive to royalty, but by the 1970s, it began to gain some traction among everyday consumers as well. The marquise cut has even spread to other stones besides diamonds, such as sapphires and rubies.

Since its origin, experts have modified and perfected the marquise cut into the shape we see today. Diamond cutters learned how to maximize light reflection in diamonds, and the marquise cut now features 56 or 58 precisely placed facets. According to the International Gem Society, light performance in the modern marquise cut diamond is almost as perfect as it is in a round brilliant cut diamond.

Duchess Cut

If you’re looking into something even bolder than typical marquise cut diamonds, you may want to consider the duchess cut. Also known as an antique or modified marquise cut, this diamond cut is quite rare and sure to turn heads. Instead of having rounded sides that come to a point at each end, the duchess cut has flat sides. This gives the stone a sharp and dramatic look.

Famous Marquise Cut Diamonds

For engagement rings, the marquise cut diamond has never reached the level of popularity of a round diamond, for instance. The marquise shape tends to be more popular in cocktail or right hand rings, but it also makes for a beautifully unique engagement ring. Marquise cut diamonds are dramatic and eye-catching, and they’re becoming especially popular among those looking for a less traditional ring. But these aren’t the only people that the marquise cut has captivated. A number of celebrities have chosen engagement rings that feature marquise diamonds, too:

Catherine Zeta Jones

Catherine Zeta Jones took the drama of the marquise cut to another level with her show-stopping engagement ring. It features a ten-carat marquise cut diamond that sits alongside 28 smaller diamonds. The ring is also unique because of the diamond’s east-west setting, which means that the stone sits horizontally instead of vertically.

Victoria Beckham

Soccer star David Beckham proposed to his wife with a three-carat marquise diamond set on a yellow gold band. Since then, Victoria has worn a total of fourteen different engagement rings, but the marquise was her first.

Ashlee Simpson

Ashlee Simpson’s unique marquise cut diamond ring is one of our all-time favorites. Twelve glittering rubies and 140 accent diamonds surround her five-carat marquise diamond, making for a truly one-of-a-kind Art Deco look. Simpson’s gorgeous engagement ring shows just how creative you can be with this diamond cut.

Things to Keep in Mind with a Marquise Cut Diamond


Engagement ring settings are always important, but they’re especially vital for a marquise cut stone. This is because the shape of the marquise diamond cut makes it particularly susceptible to chipping. The sharp, pointed ends need a setting that will protect them from damage. A bezel setting would protect the tips well, but a prong setting is more commonly used for a marquise cut diamond. “V-tip” prongs in particular are often considered the most secure setting for marquise diamonds. To prevent chipping, it’s also smart to make sure the depth of the stone stays within the recommended range. This will keep the tips from being too thin and fragile. 

The Bowtie Effect

Like most diamond shapes, the marquise cut diamond has a range of ideal proportions that create the most visually pleasing stone. When marquise diamonds deviate too much from these ideal standards, an undesirable “bowtie effect” often results. This refers to a darker-colored, bowtie-shaped area in the center of the stone where light isn’t reflected back. It’s not uncommon for a marquise diamond or any other elongated shape like an emerald cut diamond to display a slight bowtie effect, but if it’s too visible, that could detract from the beauty of the stone. 

The Importance of Symmetry and the Length to Width Ratio

Even a small amount of asymmetry will be quite noticeable in marquise cut diamonds– the two pointed ends of the stone need to line up perfectly. Experts typically recommend to get a marquise diamond with either Excellent or Very Good symmetry to ensure it looks visually appealing. The length to width ratio is also an important element of marquise diamonds in order to ensure a balanced appearance. The typical recommendation is to stay within the 1.75 to 2.25 range, but there’s some room for preference within that. A length to width ratio of 1.9 to 2 is considered the most ideal, but choose the proportions that look the best to you!

North-South vs. East-West Settings

Marquise stones can either be set in a north-south or an east-west setting. These names just indicate whether the diamond sits vertically (north-south) or horizontally (east-west) in relation to the band. The north-south setting is most traditional, but today, more and more jewelry designers are opting for east-west settings. This modern look is perfect for showing off a diamond with a larger carat size, but it may be as ideal for a smaller stone. Since marquise diamonds tend to be quite narrow, a diamond that is too small won’t extend far enough past the sides of the band to stand out as much as you might want it to. You want your beautiful marquise cut diamond to take center stage, after all!

Vida Marquise Cut Halo Promise Ring

Buying Your Marquise Cut Diamond

If you’re interested in a marquise cut diamond for your engagement ring, know that it’s a beautiful and striking choice! While it isn’t the most common diamond shape, the popularity of the marquise diamond cut is increasing due to the fact that it appears larger than its actual carat weight. As long as you take steps to protect the stone by choosing a secure setting and checking the diamond’s depth percentage, you’ll have a gorgeous ring that you can pass down through generations. A marquise diamond also offers you so many possibilities for customization. From a unique metal like rose gold to an extravagant halo setting to an intricate, vintage-inspired design, you can really make your ring into something special. 

Regardless of your preferences, you’ll find the ring of your dreams at Clean Origin. We offer a vast selection of the highest-quality lab grown diamonds, including a variety of marquise stones to choose from. Browse loose stones or engagement rings on our website, or visit one of our showrooms in a city near you!