Do you know how long, on average, couples spend researching diamonds, engagement ring styles and jewellers?
6 months. That’s literally how long it would take you to walk around the moon… twice
If gathering quotes, deciphering them, Googling every question, visiting a ton of jewellers with irreconcilable recommendations and the working through all the slippery sales talk seems daunting - I’ve got some good news. We’ve done 99% of the work and you can save 6 months worth of free time.
Jewellery stores have a vague hazy atmosphere, where pricing is rarely discussed upfront. You don’t want to sound stingy or anything along those lines, but knowing the range you can comfortably browse would really help.
Primarily this blog deals with price research, so let’s get that number out of the way.
The results of our Q1 2018 price survey: our 1,00ct platinum engagement ring quotes were an average of 15% (+/-R25 000) lower than those of our competitors.
Still, I don’t want you to buy your engagement ring at Poggenpoel because our quotes are the lowest. I’d like to be your first choice even if we double our prices.
No jeweller can beat us when it comes to holistic all round value. Stick with me...
Diamond Size Matters.
Larger centre diamonds simply make for more impressive engagement rings. 1,00ct is a stunning size, and compliments close to every possible design. That’s why it’s such an aspirational size - it looks great.
Do you know how precious this engagement ring will be to your future wife?
No future gift will ever get close to this level of significance. This is it.
When you drop to your knee that engagement ring speaks volumes, way more than just a basic question. You love and adore her for who she is, and the engagement ring is a sneak peak into the future you’ll be sharing. She’s understood and cherished, and no effort will ever be too much for you to make her feel special.
You didn’t pick her off a shelf or from a catalog - why would you approach the engagement ring so blandly?
Her brand new engagement ring is about to get some major exposure (with your big announcement) on Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp and… normal life(?). Get it brag worthy and as spectacular as possible. I’ll show you how.
Gathering The Quotes From Jewellers.
I’m looking for a 1,00ct diamond set in a platinum halo. Diamond colour should be H/I/J and clarity VS2 and better.
Please only quote on GIA or HRD certified diamonds.
The push for size is unfortunately where shoppers and sellers blur lines needlessly. If you assume you’ll get more diamond for your money at a cheap jeweller - you might be in for a surprise. Price is important, but it should be far from the deciding factor. After this table we’ll run through non-price issues that need to be in place, before you judge the quotes.
- I lowered every competitor’s quote by a few percent. Trying to be stealthy, you know.
- The diamonds we quoted on were superior in terms of graded specifications.
- Less than half of the jewellers stuck to the GIA request. An omission of the grading laboratory is a guarantee it’s not GIA or HRD.
If these terms are Greek to you please head over to "The 4C's of 1,00ct Diamonds" for a contextual brief.
For extra transparency – my quotes are valid for anyone to accept for a month after this blog is published. So yes, you are more than welcome to order a platinum halo at my prices above.
What’s the purpose of this market research?
I want to be your jeweller of choice.
To get you there (here?) your engagement ring shopping experience should be personal, immersive and a time you’ll look back on fondly.
When it comes to the ring itself; your Poggenpoel engagement ring should be unique, excellent value and scream high-end. We're obsessed with ensuring the quality of our jewellery is top shelf.
We only look good when you look great.
You’ve never seen a Poggenpoel advertisement where our message centres around price, price-matching or a spammy “70% cheaper than everyone else”. That’s not our thing and even though our prices are usually the best in the market we don’t price match quotes. You get our best price first time ‘round, but our prices should be excellent. It’s part of the puzzle.
Not a single corner will be cut on your ring’s quality to drive down costs, your quote, and subsequently the quality of your engagement ring. Never! I’d rather lose your deal.
The Prickliest Pear: Diamond Grading.
About 2 years ago while collecting a rare ruby from our gemstone dealer he commented: “a laminated piece of paper gets you way too far in this industry.” Never has a true word been spoken in that garage.
A diamond’s price is determined by its graded specifications. And as you’ll see the pricing is extremely sensitive to any changes in colour and/or clarity grades.
Let’s use 2 GIA-graded diamonds as an example;
- 1,00ct J VS1 Excellent Cut - R60 000 [GIA CERTIFIED]
- 1,00ct K VS1Excellent Cut - R47 000 [GIA CERTIFIED]
The second diamond is a mere one colour lower than the first and this results into a 22% lower price for the “K”. Quite a difference for one variable.
Unfortunately, there are no set industry standards to which a diamond should be graded. So if you have the same diamond graded by 10 laboratories, I promise you the chances of getting ten identical reports is 0%.
To show how wide standards can vary, the diamonds below were both graded as I-colour. The left one was graded by GIA, the other ... not.
The lack of standardisation is easy to exploit, and many jewellers and grading laboratories couldn't stand the temptation. It’s the biggest win-win situation in history; the jeweller can sell his diamonds at a higher price, and the grading laboratory has a very loyal customer base.
This snowballed, and when the EGL International bubble burst (the lawsuits are ongoing), some certificates turned out to be overstating characteristics by up to 4 grades, and bloating prices by over 500%. For more information head over to; "Not So Independant Diamond Grading Reports."
Do you know what I can do to make that second diamond option the deal of the century?
I drive to a few grading laboratories, and try to negotiate an understanding. I will send them over 100 diamonds per month to grade - big business for them. My only condition… I want “optimistic” gradings. Somewhere I will find a laboratory that thinks stone #2 above is definitely a “J” and will gladly grade it at that to secure the larger deal.
I pay the R500 grading fee, chuck out the GIA report, and up the asking price to R52 000 for my “K” diamond which is now graded as a “J”.
I make an extra R5000 and you’re ecstatic about your deal.
You’re simply overpaying for a “K”-colour diamond. That’s it.
Now imagine the impact of characteristics being overgraded by 4 degrees.
Our preferred grading laboratories are GIA and HRD. If a diamond has to be certified locally we’ve always felt comfortable using, and recommending the DIA. These laboratories are strict, accurate and consistent, but also so large that a single jeweller won’t have leverage to push for better gradings.
It’s a free market and a jeweller can charge whatever he wants for a diamond. What I have an issue with is bona fide shoppers being intentionally misled by over-graded diamond reports.
*All the disclaimers and small print make it clear that each grading report is just an opinion, and not guaranteed in any way or form. So no one is liable and you have no recourse.
Our position on this;
You probably don’t have any experience in diamond grading and can’t compare a diamond to a certificate to gauge its accuracy. You’ll probably blindly trust the professional looking grading report that a jeweller presents.
Obviously the laboratories that over-grade diamonds are at fault, but they can’t stay in business without jewellers stocking and trying to sell these diamonds to people like you.
It’s our responsibility to ensure you buy a high quality diamond that correlates perfectly to the grading certificate.
How to stay on the clear and transparent side of the road.
We’re not the answer to every single engagement ring shopper’s search. We don’t work in 9k gold or silver, we won’t set cubics (fake diamonds), we don’t do after hour house-visits and we charge VAT on every transaction etc.
In all honesty, even if you purchase elsewhere, I want to ensure you’re getting a good deal, on a quality engagement ring.
Price can’t be ignored, but the importance of trust and a jeweller’s reputation can’t be overstated.
Trust and Reputation
There are 100’s of ways someone can take you for a ride in any industry. The absolute best way to ensure your engagement ring order runs smoothly is to pick a jeweller with a great reputation.
We work with hundreds of couples per month. I won’t risk our business and stellar reputation in a million years with anything remotely shady.
Spend some time browsing jewellers on Hello Peter and you’ll see some well known jewellers with extremely bad reviews. Hello Peter is used for complaints, the positive reviews are probably paid for. Some estimates claim that 1 out of 3 positive reviews online are fake and paid for.
All the diamonds we offer have been through these verifications and meet all the requirements I’ve discussed while typing over 200 000 words on this blog...
Faking It: Shady Guarantees
We’re all hard wired to look for a guarantee of sorts to ensure we’re not doomed if we chose the wrong product or service. That’s why jewellers litter their websites with exotic sounding guarantees.
If you’re in website design you’re well aware of the major impact “trust symbols” have on conversion. Visa logos, BBB grades, logos of any media outlet they’ve used for marketing and tons of guarantee banners to ensure you think the jeweller has nothing but your best interests at heart.
There is no larger fakery than the guarantees offered by many jewellers. I think it’s borderline criminal. Whenever you see another guarantee trust symbol on a website head over to the terms and conditions. The terms can be tricky to find (not 1 click away), since they’re not really meant to be read.
You can skip the detail below, but in essence, the terms generally include a line that the jeweller can waive the guarantee at any stage, and has no legal obligation to honour it.
The worst part is that sale items are all excluded from these guarantees. Most jewellers are permanently “on sale” so that banner with the “50% OFF” in the window, also waves all your guarantees.
“Price Match Guarantee”
This is as common as belly-buttons. Jeweller #2 in the table above quoted R56 000 more than our price (70%) higher. Why did they try squeezing an extra R56 000 out of you? They tried playing you for a sucker, and the only reason many of these jewellers are still open for business is the fact that a few times per month, someone pays that inflated price.
Why can’t a jeweller build a business on trust by delivering great products? Why do they only focus on price? Price matching if often the last mayday!, because there’s nothing left to attract customers with.
As mentioned we don’t have a price match guarantee - I promise to give you our absolute best price first time ‘round and not toy around with your hard earned engagement ring budget.
Imagine a reputable brand, say Mercedes, comes out with a price match guarantee that if you find a car with a 3,00L engine for less, they’ll match the price. No decent brand will ever get close to this rubbish.
There’s no way Jeweller #2 can drop their price from R135 000 to R89 000 without dropping quality. No way. They won’t price match by the way...
Please read the specifics of these guarantees, but here are some of the greatest hits;
- The competitor's diamond must be a carbon copy of what the “price match jeweller” is offering. Same colour, hue, grading laboratory, clarity, size, cut, table and depth percentage, polish, etc. Who uses “etc” in a guarantee? Even if the diamonds are exactly the same the jeweller reserves the right to terminate the price match offer whenever they feel like it.
- You have to order a ring from a competitor, and then take the finished product with the invoice to the price match jeweller. If the quality is on their level they’ll price-match. You’ll have to return the ring to the jeweller who helped you, put in hours of work, and pray this jeweller can recreate that piece.
- You can read about fake sales here, but with most jewellery stores permanently on sale, the price match is not applicable if the original quote was issued during a sale period or if discount was offered by the other jeweller.
“Buy Back Guarantee” - Wow, seems like a no risk buy? Nope.
Regardless of what any sales person tells you, I think we’re the only jeweller that actually buys back our rings. Since all our work is custom, the engagement ring will be melted down, and all our labour and design time is out the window. We still on average buy back our jewellery at around 75% of the invoice amount.
Although many jewellers proudly push this “unique” guarantee, the exclusions you’ll see in the fineprint will most probably disqualify your engagement ring.
- Jewellery that was customized in any way - ineligible.
- ANY any jewellery with a centre diamond other than a round diamond - ineligible.
- Jewellery is eligible for the buy-back program after 5 years, and only for a 3 month period after that. So if you buy a product today they’ll buy it back between 12 February 2023 - 12 May 2023. And there’s a restocking fee of 10%.
- If an item was bought during sale, it doesn’t qualify for the buy back program. Mmmm...
Does this seem honest and transparent to you?
If a local jeweller thinks anyone is counterfeiting their products they’re delusional.
This authenticity guarantee often refers to them promising the diamond is a natural diamond. This should be obvious. It’s either a persuasion tool where they assume prospective customers won’t read the guarantee, or maybe people are under the impression they sell fake diamonds every now and then, and this guarantee just gives shoppers some much needed peace of mind.
Just another weird way to instill trust.
Want to get her engagement ring perfect? So do we.
You’re obviously free to shop around, but make us your first stop and save yourself a ton of effort and those 6 months.
Visit one of our studios (Rosebank & Pretoria) and see a variety of diamond shapes, colours and sizes loose and unset. Properly and accurately graded. Your consultant will have one goal in mind: to ensure you get optimal service and value that will secure us as your choice of jeweller.
We also always have designers on site, so you can sit down and run through any details you wish to have in the ring. They’re really brilliant, and you’ll see how much value they add in any discussion. They take rings to the next level.
We’d love to have you over.
In the meantime, head over to our current Top 1,00ct Diamond Picks.
For questions, quotes and consultation bookings please feel free to reach out on firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via your prefered channel.