The marquise cut (also known as the navette cut, the eye cut, the boat shaped cut or the football shaped cut) is one of the most distinctive and expensive of stone cuts available. If you were to draw an imaginary rectangle around the edge of a marquise cut stone, it becomes very plain to see just how much wastage is created during the cutting process of each stone – and that is what makes them so expensive to produce.
In basic terms, a marquise cut is essentially a brilliant cut contained within an ellipse. It is an extremely elegant stone which is perfect for elongating a finger, which is why it is so often placed lengthways into solitaire rings. The proportions of a marquise cut stone are crucial, and the length of a well cut specimen should measure approximately twice its width. Once you know this, stones which are not cut to these proportions tend to jump out at you! Good symmetry is essential for a successful marquise stone, as once set it will become painfully obvious if there is any disparity between the opposing tips.
Marquise Cut Diamond (61DM HH01)
Another matter to consider is the lack of strength in these opposing tips. They are by far the most fragile parts of the cut, which is why many settings contain V-end or V-tip prongs to protect them. Another way to achieve this is by enclosing the stone entirely in a halo setting which wraps itself around the exterior shape, making the stone look bigger but also protecting the fragile girdle (the girdle is the thin perimeter dividing the crown, which is the top face from the pavilion which sits underneath).
The origins of the marquise design lay way back in the 18th Century when King Louis XV of France (1710-1774) commissioned a jeweller to design a cut in the shape of the lips of his mistress, who was the Marchioness Madame de Pompadour. From there, the design has evolved and changed into the modern day marquise (largely based on the hugely successful and sparkling brilliant cut) that we recognise today.
Marquise Cut Sapphire (61SA MQ52)
The name itself is derived from the word Marquis, which refers to either the wife or widow of a Marquis or a woman who holds the title in her own right. The title is used for those who are above a Count and below a Duke, and many ladies in a bygone era would wear a ring set with a marquise stone to show off their status.
One of the most famous marquise rings of recent times was the one given to Victoria Beckham by David Beckham in 1998. It was very simply set in yellow gold and weighed an estimated 3 carats. However not everyone likes to follow tradition, and both Catherine Zeta Jones and Portia de Rossi (partner of Ellen DeGeneres) wear their marquise cuts set horizontally rather than vertically, which in essence goes back to the origin of the design being rather reminiscent of a smiling pair of lips!
A marquise stone will make a dramatic statement regardless of the direction it is set, so if you are looking for something a little left of centre it might be something to try.
Cooksongold offer a range of marquise cut stones including diamond, topaz, sapphire and more, giving you plenty of choice if you want to add one to your next jewellery design. Don’t forget to read our blog post on the brilliant cut too, if you want to learn more about another popular cut of stone.