The Marquise cut, or Marquise Brilliant cut, is also sometimes referred to as the “Navette” shape, which means “little boat,” since the shape of the diamond is thought to mirror the hull of a small boat. The Marquise cut is normally comprised of 58 facets, consisting of 33 facets on the crown and 25 facets on the pavilion. The number of pavilion facets may range between 4 and 8. In addition, Marquise shapes can sometimes be cut with a “French tip,” which replaces the large bezel facet at the point with star and upper girdle facets.
The optimal ratio of the Marquise cut is 2:1, however the shape is more traditionally cut with ratios ranging between 1.85 and 2.10 depending on personal preferences.
Like the Heart shaped cut, the Marquise can sometimes suffer from the so-called “bow-tie effect” where light passing through the diamond casts a shadow across the central facets of the stone. This “bow-tie effect” shadow can be reduced by altering the depth of the pavilion, as well as by adjusting the angles of the table and facets so as to better diffuse light in the central area.
The Marquise cut was first introduced in Paris around 1745 and its history can be traced back to the height of the French monarchy, when King Louis XV commissioned his court jeweler to create a diamond that resembled the smile of his beautiful mistress, the Marchioness Madame de Pompadour.
The Marquise shape continued to be developed and modified throughout the 20th century, evolving into the Marquise Brilliant cut as it is known today. It saw a large rise in popularity between the 1960s and 1980s.