How to Choose a Marquise Diamond - GIA 4Cs

How to Choose a Marquise Diamond - GIA 4Cs

GIA Articles

Are you an incurable romantic searching for an engagement ring with an aristocratic air? Consider the marquise diamond: It’s beautiful. It has a royal pedigree. And it looks fantastic on the finger. But before you shop, learn what to look for.

Pronounced “mahr-keez,” this graceful, elongated diamond has curved sides and pointed ends. Developed in France in the 1740s, legend has it that it was named for the Marquise de Pompadour, a mistress of King Louis XV, because its outline resembled the shape of her mouth.

The marquise diamond is also called a navette (Old French for “little ship”). Similar in shape to the hull of a racing yacht, it was a favorite of early 20th century Edwardians, as sailing was a hobby of Britain’s King Edward VII and his wealthy contemporaries. The marquise diamond was also popular in the 1970s, especially in bridal jewelry, but fell out of favor to the square-shaped princess-cut diamond by the beginning of the 21st century.

Yet the marquise continues to have many advantages. 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.

Putting a marquise diamond in an Art Deco–inspired setting was a masterly stroke of design. The use of simple geometric shapes (a hallmark of the era), a 1.09 carat (ct) center stone, 0.35 carats of lush emeralds, and another 0.21 carats of diamonds add to the ring’s elegant beauty. Courtesy: 1stdibs.com

Anatomy of a Marquise Diamond

A marquise is considered a “fancy shape,” that is, a shape other than round. To pick a beautiful marquise diamond, you need to know its parts.

  • Belly: The central area where the sides curve out the most. This is an important location on a marquise diamond–it’s where the width is measured.
  • Point: Where the two curved sides meet at each end.
  • Wing: The curved area reaching from the belly to the point.
  • Girdle: The intersection of the crown (top of the diamond) and pavilion (bottom facets), which defines the perimeter.
  • Keel line: The bottom of a fancy cut, where the pavilion facets meet. It runs the length of the diamond and sometimes includes or passes through the culet facet in the center.

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