Few unset diamond cuts have as much raw potential to be transformed into beautiful jewelry as marquise stones. Whether you want a minimalist, modern design or something that harkens back to historical sensibilities, marquise diamonds can create any effect imaginable! Originally created in the 1740s for King Louis XV to mimic the shape of Madame de Pompadour’s lips, the marquise cut is deeply sensual.
A Little History
Sometimes called a “navette” - inspired by the Latin for “little ship” - the marquise cut is a diamond cutter’s dream as it typically maintains a high proportion of the original diamond rough. Less overall waste means more savings for you! The prevalence of this cut has both waxed and waned over the years. Most recently, marquises were a highly admired power cut in the 1970's before experiencing a dip in popularity in the latter part of the 20th century. However, the marquise cut has lately made a comeback, with options available on the market in designs for every fashion style.
Let’s explore some of the best attributes of the marquise cut first
To begin, marquise cut stones have nearly as much brilliance as modern round brilliant cut - the gold-standard (or diamond-standard as it were) for overall sparkle. Brilliance is defined as the amount of white light flashes that the diamond reflects. It is ahead of most other diamond fancy cuts in this respect. Secondly, the large face of marquises makes them appear much larger than they actually weigh. Marquises are inherently a thin cut which explains why they look so big compared to stones of the same weight in different cuts.
Cut and Proportions are Key
As always, symmetry and proportions are key when it comes to the overall beauty of individual marquise diamonds. According to the GIA, a good length to width ratio ranges between 1.75-2.5:1, with 2:1 being the ideal. Remember that these proportions are more like guidelines than rules. You should choose stone(s) based on how you want to wear them. For instance, if you are looking to create a ring with the marquise running lengthwise, it is most flattering if the stone(s) mirrors the shape of your finger. By that I mean that individuals with thin, long digits should buy thin, long stones and vice versa. Marquise diamonds can be worn as solitaires just as easily as they can be featured as part of an extravagant multiple-stone design. If you want to set multiple marquise cuts next to each other, find stones that have a similarly rounded shape so that they match. Regardless of the dimensions of your hands, of one the great benefits of wearing marquise cut stones is that it will create a beautiful yet gentle elongating effect.
As with any ring which showcases a stone whose cut has points, marquise cut stones should be set so that these vulnerable parts are protected. V-shaped prongs and encircling bezel-sets are the go-to for many designers creating rings for marquises. Additionally, modern tension settings, which suspend the diamond from its points, are a great option as they engulf the tips but allow light to enter the stone from all other directions. Alternatively, placing a marquise stone in a secure halo setting creates a pleasing roundness that is neither overly narrow nor has budging curves. Finally, the vast majority of horizontal east-west or transverse mountings will cover those delicate points.
If you have your heart set on a design that leaves the points exposed, I recommend that you strongly consider purchasing a stone that is French-Tipped; French tips are a type of faceting arrangement at the point which adds durability while, at the same time, contributing a little extra sparkle. It’s a win-win situation!
The security of the diamond’s tips is much less of a concern for other jewelry types like earrings or brooches which have significantly less inherent risk for the stone(s). When shopping for these kinds of jewelry, you don’t have nearly as many practical considerations to consider. Instead, let your imagination run wild!
Due to the long history of marquise cut diamonds, there are plenty of vintage-looking and genuinely antique pieces on the market. Whether you are seeking a geometric Art Deco setting, a bold Retro look, or an eclectic Mid-Century design, marquise cut diamonds are featured in any historical period that you can dream of!