The First Marquise Cut

Most people today would look at a marquise diamond and think it resembles a football, or a boat, or an eye. However, when the first diamond was cut as a marquise, it was designed to look like a different part of the body: the lips.

The lips in question belonged to a woman named Jean Antoinette Poisson. While at a masked ball in Versailles, these lips caught the attention of King Louis XV. The French king was so drawn to this woman, that he awarded her a place in his court as Madame du Pompadour (which is essentially the king’s mistress, but that was a respected and important position at the time), and he commissioned a royal jeweler to cut a diamond into a shape that would resemble her beautiful lips.

The marquise cut diamond quickly became a hit with the nobility in France. Back then, it was known as a “navette”, which translates to “little boat”. The name marquise stems from the French ranking of “Marquise” which falls between a count and a duke. This name change stems from French courtiers who would wear these navette cut diamonds to showcase their rank, thus associating the navette cut with royalty.

The Modern Marquise

The modern marquise cut has evolved quite a lot since its inception almost 300 years ago. The long design provides a large look, which simultaneously makes the fingers appear slender. The modern marquise cut diamond has between 56-58 facets, with 58 being the most common. The symmetry of the shape tends to be one of the most important features in determining the attractiveness of the cut. The ideal length to width ratio for a marquise cut diamond is 2:1.

Much like other elongated diamond cuts, the marquise does have a tendency to produce a bowtie effect. The extent to which this occurs is dependent on the cut. Every stone is different, some show the bowtie more than others, and some barely have one at all.

Protecting a Marquise Diamond

Diamonds are the hardest substance known to man, but they still have the ability to break, especially at a tip. Because the marquise cut diamond has two major points at each end, they are most often set with “V-prongs” to ensure each end is capped and protected from breaking.

Famous Marquise Diamonds

The most famous marquise diamond in modern history most likely belonged to one of the most storied and stylish women of the 20th century: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Jackie Kennedy’s engagement ring, when she was first lady, was a unique emerald and diamond moi-et-toi design. After her husband’s untimely death, she would later remarry a Greek billionaire, Aristotle Onassis. When Aristotle proposed to the former First Lady, he did so with a massive 40.42ct marquise cut diamond ring. This diamond, named “Lesotho III” was one of 18 faceted diamonds cut from the famous 601ct rough Lesotho diamond.

Other celebrities who have worn marquise cut engagement rings include Victoria Beckham, Catherine Zeta Jones, Ashlee Simpson, and Portia De Rossi, who wears an east-to-west set marquise engagement ring.

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