“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” - Probably Albert Einstein.
Although comparing engagement ring quotes is certainly not rocket-science it's generally more complicated than most people make it out to be. The critical information you need to make a proper and informed decision is often omitted from quotes, and unless you know exactly what additional information to ask for you’ll be taking a shot in the dark when accepting a quote.
1.) Apples With Apples
Diamond prices vary greatly according to the weight, colour, clarity, and cut grading of the diamond. Sound's straight forward enough? Nope. Here's your problem: the lack of consistency and quality of diamond grading. Unfortunately not all diamond grading laboratories are equal and some certificates are often outright misleading and wrong. If the diamond’s certification is erroneous you are basing a comparison on unreliable information. To level this playing field it’s best to stick with well recognized grading laboratories such as DIA (South Africa) and the international powerhouse GIA. With these laboratories you'll be sure to get your money's worth. “GIA Certified” diamonds sell at a slight premium - but the extra peace of mind you’ll get from buying a diamond that has been properly graded will be worth it. If the diamond at stake has been graded "in-house" by the jeweller your countdown to being ripped off has begun. Honest jewellers have diamonds graded independently.
Although the choice of metal is usually not the main cost element, the metal choice does affect the quote. Make sure that the exact same metal is quoted on by the jewellers you are comparing quotes from. Especially when using gold, make sure that both quotes state the same gold content, be it 18ct or 9ct. 9ct gold is significantly cheaper than 18ct gold. By the way, white gold is not a good metal choice. If you are looking for a white/silver metal do yourself a favour and read this.
It might seem obvious but make 100% sure that all jewellers in your comparison chart are quoting on the exact same design.
If you are using any small diamonds in your design please pay special attention to this paragraph! Make sure that the jewellers are using the same quality small diamonds. Ask for "fully faceted" diamonds to be used. You want to hear that all small diamonds are perfectly colour matched to your main diamond and of at least SI2/SI3 clarity. Jewellers can trim down a quote by using extremely poor quality "smalls". Make sure this is not the case.
2.) The X-Factor
Please remember that you are not buying a bottle of milk. Your diamond engagement ring will need to be checked, cleaned and maybe even repaired (God forbid!) from time to time by your jeweller over the next few decades. You want to work with someone who is knowledgable, willing and fully able to assist with all practical matters down the road. If you don't get absolutely stellar service with a sales query how do you think after sales service will be?
3.) Lets Talk About The Perks
Some jewellers offer fantastic and valuable long term support to all their customers. Basic jewellery maintenance can get expensive over the years. It really does add up. Rings need to be cleaned, resized, checked for loose diamonds, polished up for special events, revalued and and and. It’s unfair to compare hit and run jewellers (no after sales support) to jewellers that offer comprehensive after sales services. Clear up the following with your jeweller before you confirm your order.
- How much will it cost to have the ring resized?
- If I am not 100% happy with the end product do I have a full money back guarantee?
- How much will general maintenance (yearly check-ups, polishing, etc) cost?
- Are full valuation certificates included in the purchase price?
- Is there a charge for having valuation certificates updated yearly?
- If you opt for white gold (please don't)... how much does rhodium plating cost?
For what it’s worth; Poggenpoel.com offers free valuation certificates (updated as often as you need ‘em), free polishing of your Poggenpoel jewellery, free check-ups and a full money back guarantee with every order. Beat that!
A Little Tip On The Modern Methods Of Manufacturing
You are probably not a jewellery expert and therefor at risk of buying sub-par jewellery without even knowing it. Times have changed, and technologies like 3D printing have drastically improved the quality of jewellery manufacturing.
Don’t fall in love with romantic stories about hand-made jewellery. Your jewellery will not be made by some eccentric artisan from Germany who has dedicated his life to the art of gold smithing. The era of Master Goldsmiths is over. They are gone, just like the dragons. Proper jewellers are using 3D technologies to better their art. To improve your odds of buying top quality jewellery make dead sure the jeweller is using computer aided technologies (3D).
Please keep in mind that there is way more to jewellery than just the price. Sometimes in life your search for the cheapest might turn out to be a very expensive journey.
I know it can all feel a bit overwhelming at first - an engagement ring is a large purchase. We’d love to answer all your questions so please don’t hesitate to get in touch. For more information check out our other blog posts, and if you are completely new to diamond buying a great start might be our e-book: “Buying A Diamond Like A Diamond Dealer”. Have a great day!