We had a gent, Sean from Australia, 2 years ago that enquired on a 1,00ct platinum ring.
I put together a nice quote for him and sent it off to his inbox.
My phone rang shorty after and Sean turned out to be 2 things;
- Actually a South African.
- Unsure about my quote.
I asked him why he was hesitant about the quote, and what he was quoted in Oz. Could prices be better in Australia?
“Let me do this;” he said “Once I receive the ring from you guys, in tip top shape, as quoted, I’ll tell you what I was quoted this side”.
We did what we do and manufactured the ring and sent it off to Australia with Brinks Transport.
The moment I saw the shipping update page was finally changed to “Delivered” I had to call Sean.
“They quoted me 4 times more (R320 000), and this ring is amazing, thank you.”
I have no idea what jeweller Sean was dealing with in Australia, but a price difference of 4X does seem odd, and I understand why he was kind of caught off-guard initially.
Even today, after doing this research more than 10 times, I’m still amazed at how much prices vary from one jeweller to the next.
There is often a correlation between price and quality, but I hope you agree with me that there is a reasonable price range for an item from one jeweller to the next. Prices don’t differ so drastically locally than in the Sean scenario, but you’ll still find them all over the place.
This post will give you a lot of pricing information to help set a budget, and deal with a few key issues to ensure you get what you paid for when shopping for a 1,00ct engagement ring.
Regardless of what you spend, engagement rings are expensive.
I don’t see it as trying to simply save money; you need to get the most ring/diamond for your money. As simple as that.
Talking about your budget in a jewellery store can feel uncomfortable.
And you’re right: Often different budgets get different treatment and sales talks. Getting crisp pricing information is not a simple task.
Let’s get right into the numbers.
We surveyed South African jewellers methodically (including us) and the average price of a 1,00ct H-I colour, Vs-Clarity diamond ring in South Africa is R115 000. I’ll give you a full breakdown in a few paragraphs.
I’m proud to say that when doing comparative quotes, our matching 1,00ct platinum engagement ring quotes were an average +/-R29 000 lower than those of other local jewellers who sent quotes over.
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.
I’ll be the first to say your choice should come down to much more than price. Stick with me...
Yes, 1,00ct Diamonds Do Look Great.
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 significant this engagement ring will be to your future wife?
This is really the most precious material gift you’ll ever give to her.
Don’t wreck your finances, but if you’re lucky enough to be able to afford it, a 1,00ct+ engagement ring is really spectacular and to be frank: brag worthy and larger than average.
How I Gathered The Comparative Quotes.
The diamond specifications I enquired on is a great value combination that really uses well balanced diamond specifications to get the most diamond for your Rand without any compromises.
I’m looking for a 1,00ct diamond set in a platinum solitaire. Diamond colour should be H/I and clarity VS2 and better.
Please only quote on GIA certified diamonds.
This is the image I included;
Just a quick note before the pricing: After this table we’ll run through non-pricing issues that also need to be in place, before you judge a quote. There are very helpful sections ahead.
*Less than half of the jewellers stuck to the GIA request. This is a big deal as you’ll see in the next sections.
If these grading terms are Greek to you please head over to "The 4C's of 1,00ct Diamonds" for a proper non-salesy explanation. Otherwise just know these diamonds all appear white and are free from impurities visible to the naked eye.
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 solitaire at my prices above.
Very Important Issues To Consider When Comparing Diamond Quotes
Although the next sections might seem a bit critical, in the larger scheme of things you’re fortunate to have great jewellers in South Africa.
I’d love to have your business, but wherever you buy for whatever reason I still want you to have a great experience. This is just information to help you sift through the pool of jewellers.
Please check who issued a diamond’s grading certificate.
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.” Scary as it sounds - it’s a fact.
A diamond’s price is determined by its graded specifications. Pricing is extremely sensitive to any changes in colour and/or clarity grades.
Let’s use 2 diamonds as an example;
- 1,00ct J VS1 Excellent Cut - R71 000
- 1,00ct K VS1 Excellent Cut - R57 000
The second diamond is a mere one colour lower than the first and this results into a 20% lower price for the “K”. Quite a difference for one variable.
I just want to emphasise this: If a diamond’s colour increases by one grade according to the certificate issued by an “independent” grading laboratory you pay R14 000 extra in this scenario.
That’s the price you pay for a higher colour, right?
Unfortunately, not necessarily. There are no set industry standards to which a diamond should be graded. If you have the same diamond graded by 10 laboratories, I promise you the chances of getting ten identical reports is 0%. Yet, the impact on pricing is massive.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is by far the best, most consistent, honest and accurate laboratory in the world. That’s why it’s seen as the gold standard. It’s almost the only laboratory we use to grade our diamonds.
Here's a great image just to show you how much standards can vary between grading laboratories:
The diamonds above 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 (since the certificates are inflated over real characteristics) 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 400%. For more information head over to; "Not So Independant Diamond Grading Reports."
The surest way to know if a diamond you’re buying is accurately depicted on the grading certificate is ensuring it’s graded by the GIA.
Don’t fall for great deals on diamonds that are greatly overstated on their specifications. Cheap diamond can become expensive very quickly.
Our moral high ground 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.
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.
A few more issues to look out for on your quotes.
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.
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 this business we’ve spent decades building on a few dodgy deals. Never.
Did you know that current estimates say that 1 out of 3 reviews you read online is fake?
That number is surely accurate in the jewellery industry too.
Here are a few ways to research jewellers you might wish to deal with:
- Read online reviews and take it all with a pinch of salt. You’ll be able to spot some paid reviews that are over eager.
- Talk to couples who recently got engaged. They’ll be able to tell you where they received good prices and service and places they would avoid.
- Visiting a jeweller will give you first hand experience of their professionalism and knowledge. You’ll also get to see some products which is… helpful.
Some Guarantees Are Misleading
We’re all hard wired to look for a guarantee of sorts to cover our backs when buying any product of value. That’s why jewellers litter their websites with exotic sounding guarantees.
That’s all great, but I’ve read close to every guarantee offered by jewellers and I don’t think even half are living up to the name of the guarantee.
And as sad as it is, some of these guarantees are so misleading they anger me.
Please read the small print. Especially on these policies and guarantees:
“Price Match Guarantee”
This is as common as belly-buttons. Jeweller #2 in the table above quoted R53 000 more than our price. You should ask yourself why they tried squeezing an extra R53 000 out of you?
And now he tries to “match any price”. That’s really not transparent.
Many of these, mainly mall based jewellers, are still in business solely for the reason that a few times per month, someone pays that inflated price.
We don’t have a price match guarantee - I promise to give you our absolute best price first time around.
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.
This is often where the lesser diamond grading certificates also surface.
“Buy Back Guarantee”
You’ll be surprised to learn how hard it is to actually sell a ring back to a jeweller after some time has passed.
Unfortunately some engagements don’t work out, and we always offer a great buy back price when the need arises.
Although many jewellers proudly push this guarantee, the exclusions you’ll see in the fine print will most probably disqualify your engagement ring.
Some of my favourite disqualifiers;
- Jewellery that was customised in any way - ineligible.
- 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 in a 3 month period in 2024.
- If an item was bought during sale or where discount was involved, it doesn’t qualify for the buy back program.
I hope you see it’s a great idea to read these guarantees before they inspire a purchase.
Want to get her engagement ring perfect? So do we.
You’re obviously free to shop around, but if this post has been helpful please make us your first stop.
Visit one of our studios (Rosebank & Pretoria) and see a variety of diamond shapes, colours and sizes loose and unset. Properly and accurately graded.
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.
Please get in touch today, and in the meantime you can take a look at our great diamond specials HERE.