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Marquise and pear cut diamonds are brilliant cuts often used as the center diamond on an engagement ring.
Their strong sparkle draws attention to the ring because its facets are designed to collect and reflect light.
The main difference between marquise and pear cut diamonds is marquise cuts are pointed on both ends, while pear cuts have a rounded and pointed end. Unlike a pear cut, a marquise cut narrows on both sides and is widest in the middle.
We’ll detail marquise versus pear cuts, including an overview of each, how they’re different, buying tips, and ways to decide which is right for you.
What is a Marquise Cut Diamond?
Marquise cut diamonds have an elongated shape with a point on each side. It’s wide in the middle and narrows as it approaches both ends.
Take note of those qualities in the image below, and rotate it 360 degrees on the vendor’s website to view it at every angle.
They’re also referred to as eye- or boat-shaped diamonds because of their shape.
The ideal length to width ratio for marquise cut is between 1.75 and 2.15.
Any ratio outside of this range may result in the diamond appearing stretched or condensed.
Marquise cuts often have 58 facets. Thirty-three are on the crown and 25 are on the pavilion.
It’s a modified brilliant cut, so the shape of its facets are comparable to a round cut. Each is triangle- or kite-shaped and captures and reflects light better than step-cut diamonds.
You’ll often see marquise cuts as the main diamond on an engagement ring. But they’re also used as accents placed around the main gem or on its shank, like in the example below.
In this stunning three-stone marquise engagement ring, two diamonds surround the center one, but they’re positioned at a different angle.
This allows you to add scintillation to the piece without increasing the size of the center diamond.
What is a Pear Cut?
Pear cut diamonds, also called tear-drop diamonds, are brilliant cuts that have one rounded end. The other comes to a point.
It’s a combination of the shape of a marquise cut on one end and a round cut on the other.
Check out the example below in high-resolution.
Zoom in on its facets and rotate the gem to learn how it appears at multiple angles.
Notice that in contrast to a round cut, it has an elongated shape.
The 58 brilliant cut facets excel at reflecting white and colored light back to the viewer, which means it works as an engagement ring diamond.
Most pear shaped diamonds have a length to width ratio between 1.5 and 2.0. On the lower end, the diamond is condensed and appears more rounded, while on the other end, it stretches thin.
The ideal ratio is between 1.6 and 1.7 because it strikes the balance of accentuating its elongated look without stretching it too far.
You can’t determine its exact shape from a grading report, so you could discover the diamond has an awkward one.
For example, the edge that’s supposed to be rounded may be flat. In some cases, the curved section is too wide and has to make a sharp cut to reach the pointed end.
In fact, only a small percentage of pear cuts have ideal proportions, so it’s important to view the diamond in person or through a high quality image online.
Pear cuts are immediately identifiable as such. Other cuts, such as cushion, radiant, and emerald, can sometimes be hard to distinguish from a distance.
A friend of mine recently proposed with a pear cut and rose gold band, like the one below.
Before his fiancé even showed me the ring up close, I’d already noticed it was a pear cut.
How are Marquise and Pear Cuts Different?
The story goes that marquise diamonds were named after the Marquise of Pompadour in the 18th century when King Louis XIV of France had a cut made to resemble her lips.
It then became a status symbol worn by courtiers to display their rank.
The cut is also called a “Navette”, meaning “small ship” in French.
The modern marquise cut is also used in cutting sapphires, rubies, and emeralds.
Pear cuts date back to the 15th century to a diamond cutter named Lodewyk van Bercken.
Known for his insights into the concepts of diamond symmetry and the placement of facets, he invented the polishing wheel.
This new way of placing facets onto a rough diamond led him to create a version of the pear cut.
Modern diamond cutters have advanced van Bercken’s techniques to optimize the length to width ratio and facets of pear cuts.
Pear cuts are often less expensive than marquise cuts when all other qualities are equal.
There is higher demand for marquise versus pear cut diamonds, which explains some of the price difference.
I compiled prices from online diamond retailer James Allen, where I bought my wife’s engagement ring, to provide examples of what you should expect to pay for each cut with the following qualities:
- Carat weight: 1.00
- Color: F
- Clarity: SI1
For a marquise cut with those qualities, the average price is $4,366, with a range of $4,030 to $5,140.
For a pear cut with identical grades from the GIA, the average price is $4,608, and the range is $4,140 to $5,340.
That’s only a one percent difference in average price, and there were many pear cuts more expensive than marquise cuts.
These examples show you can often find pear cuts at a lower price than marquise cuts, but in other cases, they’re prices are similar.
Both cuts sell for less than round cut diamonds with the same qualities.
Brilliance and Fire
Brilliance is the term used to describe the white light that reflects off the facets of a diamond.
One advantage of marquise cuts and pear cuts is they exhibit strong brilliance when exposed to light. Their facets are specifically designed to minimize the loss of light and instead return it to the viewer.
They strike a balance of offering an alternative shape to traditional round cut diamonds while not sacrificing too much brilliance.
This is in contrast to step-cut diamonds such as emerald, baguette, and Asscher cuts.
Fire refers to the colored flashes of light that result from light being dispersed from the diamond at different speeds.
Marquise and pear cuts also show high amounts of fire because of their brilliant cut facets. In the image below, I’ve placed the cuts side by side.
Notice how they’re facets are a similar shape and size.
Now compare them to this round cut.
Again, they mimic each other.
When each cut is twirled under light, you’ll notice red, green, blue, and yellow flashes.
Together, fire and brilliance create scintillation. It creates the illusion the facets are turning on and off with motion.
To retain strong fire and brilliance, marquise or pear cuts should have:
- An quality cut
- Excellent polish and symmetry
- Minimal inclusions
- An optimal length-to-width ratio
Additionally, keep the diamond free of dirt and debris, which can block or distort light.
The GIA grades the color of a diamond based on the presence of yellow or brown tints.
On one end of the scale are colorless diamonds, which have no visible yellow. On the other end, light diamonds graded S-Z show strong amounts of color.
Some cuts hide shades of color better than others because of their facets.
Both pear and marquise cut diamonds tend to show more color than other brilliant cuts such as round or princess.
This is especially true on the pointed ends of a marquise cut because the tips have less depth. A marquise cut with a J color grade may look more like a K color round cut.
For a marquise cut that appears colorless to the naked eye, I recommend an H color grade or higher.
As an example, view this H color marquise cut.
Even in high-resolution, it’s difficult to identify shades of yellow. To the naked eye, it’d likely appear colorless.
You’ll avoid premiums charged for ones with colorless grades, but without magnification, it won’t look much different.
Pear cuts show color in the same place as a marquise cut — the pointed tip. For a pear cut that appears colorless, I also recommend choosing a G or H color grade.
The clarity of a diamond is graded based on the presence of inclusions. These flaws in a diamond can appear as white, transparent, or black blemishes.
The GIA grades clarity on a scale of flawless to I3, where each step down from flawless indicates more impactful imperfections.
There are some diamond inclusions to avoid, but others have minimal impact on its appearance, durability, and brilliance.
In general, I recommend starting your search for a pear or marquise cut at SI1 clarity, but you may have to move up the scale to VS2 or VS1 to find one that’s eye-clean.
For my wife’s ring, I landed at VS1 clarity.
Brilliant cuts such as pear and marquise diamonds hide inclusions better than step cuts, but they’re susceptible to a particular flaw.
The bow-tie effect in diamonds refers to black squares and triangles that span across its facets.
It’s a result of a poor cut. It’s best to avoid diamonds with bow-tie effect if it’s visible to the naked eye.
To illustrate, here’s both cuts exhibiting the bow-tie effect.
While the flaw likely wouldn’t appear that obvious when viewed in a normal setting, you should still aim for one without it.
You can’t tell whether a pear or marquise cut has a bow-tie unless you view it in-person or through a high-quality photograph.
Don’t rely on the clarity grade from a grading report to learn whether it has this issue.
Types of Settings
Don’t overlook a diamond’s setting.
The way you display the main diamond, such as the type of metal and the addition of smaller gems, can enhance the piece.
To illustrate, check out this classic solitaire design holding a marquise cut.
We’ll compare to others with sidestones.
Marquise and pear cut diamonds pair well with many types of settings, but there are some aspects to consider because of their unique shapes.
The pointed ends on marquise cuts, and the single sharp point on a pear cut, are more susceptible to chipping than rounded edges.
They require extra protection from the setting that guard them from hits, bumps, and drops.
It’s important to have a prong or bezel grasping its points.
For example, this marquise cut diamond is held by a pave shank with prongs.
The V-prongs on both ends wrap around the points to hold it in place.
Bezel-set marquise diamond rings have even more protection.
The bezel setting encircles the entire diamond, so it’s protected on all sides.
The marquise cut below is wrapped by a 14K yellow gold setting.
The same principles apply to settings for pear cut diamonds.
The most popular ways to hold pear cuts are with a five- or six-prong setting, but bezel settings improve durability.
Buying Tips for Marquise and Pear Cuts
Marquise and pear cut diamonds share several qualities, so buying tips often apply to both.
The first tip for finding the right marquise or pear cut is to view the actual diamond online or in person to avoid making your decision based on the grading report.
This is the route I took shopping for an engagement ring.
Although I viewed several options in person, I decided to buy it online because I could see the diamond in high-resolution and had the GIA grading report to verify its quality.
Issues with length to width ratio, the bow-tie effect, and straight edges often aren’t noticeable on the report alone.
Instead, examine the grades and measurements for key areas such as symmetry, polish, and clarity but then assess how the diamond appears to the naked eye.
The second buying tip for a pear or marquise diamond involves how they accentuate your fingers. Both cuts tend to make your fingers look longer and slimmer.
This is a desirable effect for some buyers, but others don’t prefer this feature.
Try on a ring with both cuts, and see how it fits.
If you don’t want it to make your fingers appear longer, you could try a pear or marquise cut with a smaller length to width ratio or even set it horizontally.
How to Decide Between Marquise and Pear Cuts
Marquise and pear cut diamonds can both be the right style for your diamond ring.
They’re brilliant cuts and have a shape that differs from standard round cuts without losing too much of its light performance.
If you’re deciding on a marquise versus pear cut, here are some guidelines to help you choose.
Consider a marquise cut if:
- You prefer the elegance of two sharp points on both sides
- You’re willing to choose a setting that protects both ends
- You don’t mind paying a higher price per carat compared to a pear cut but still want to save compared to a round cut
Opt for a pear cut if:
- You’re looking for a lower cost per-carat than a marquise or round cut
- You want a diamond that appears larger to the naked eye than many others
- You choose a setting that protects its pointed end
- The contrast between the rounded and pointed end is appealing
Explore both cuts at online and in-person retailers. Pair each with different types of settings to learn which combination fits your style.
Once you’ve assessed several options for both cuts and learned what makes each one unique, you’ll be ready to choose the right marquise or pear cut diamond.