Bow Tie Effect in Marquise Diamonds – A Gentleman’s Predicament

It’s inevitable. Whenever we deal with fancy shapes where the length of the diamond is greater than its width, it is hard to maintain an even distribution of light within the stone. This results in a phenomenon which manifests itself as a bowtie (dark looking patches) across the diamond’s mid-section.

The bow tie effect is most noticeable when the diamond is observed from a 90 degrees head-on view and is usually pronounced in diamonds with shallow depths (since it is largely influenced by proportions of the pavilion main facets).

epic fail in many aspects

An ugly marquise that is dark and lifeless throughout.

Is Having a Bowtie All That Bad?

It depends. I find that having some degree of a bow-tie can actually be a good thing as it adds contrast to the diamond’s scintillation pattern. On the other hand, if the bowtie is too pronounced, it can be detrimental to the diamond’s appearance and make it unappealing.

marquise recommendation
slightly large culet in a marquise

Which would you choose? I think the choice is pretty clear!

The only way for you to determine whether a marquise diamond has a bowtie issue is to see the stone in motion. I want you to visit JamesAllen.com and put what you learnt into practice. See if you can correctly identify any bowtie issues in their marquise diamonds today!


marquise diamond with dark bow tie
blended bowtie in marquise cut
faint bowtie in a nice marquise

In the examples above, we can see varying intensities of the bow tie effect from a face-up view. Obviously, a dark black bow-tie is undesirable and the example on the far left is what you want to avoid.

While the ones in the middle and the right looks OK in the photographs, it still doesn’t tell you the full story about the diamond. To me, passing a check for bowties is a prerequisite but it doesn’t automatically qualify the diamond as a keeper. We will talk more about this on the next page.

3 dark bands

Poor light distribution within this diamond results in many dark looking areas.

You Need to See It With Your Own Eyes!

At the end of the day, bowties are a subjective issue in which you have to make decisions yourself. It is best to observe diamonds physically where you can tilt and examine the stone at different angles to see how the bow-tie interacts with light.

With that said, I am sure the following questions are probably on your mind now:

1) My local store only carries 2 marquises in stock. How do I make good comparisons and come up with a sound judgment when I am only limited to two choices?

2) The marquises I see in stores are usually above 1 carat or out of my budget range. Where can I find one that is beautifully cut and falls within my budget?

Here’s an industry fact: more than 90% of fancy cut diamonds have dismal light performance and proportions. For a diamond shopper, the odds of finding a well cut diamond from 2-3 choices are stacked against your favor.

That’s why the best method of buying fancy shaped diamonds is to shop online. The reason is simple. Online shopping is the only method where you can easily access thousands of diamonds for cherry picking and a great place to start is JamesAllen.com.

On the next page is a concise step by step process which many of our readers had successfully used to buy a diamond online. If you are in the market for a fancy cut diamond, I guarantee this will be the most important page you’ll ever need to read.

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