The ever weakening South African Rand has caused engagement ring prices to increase quite a bit over the last few years. By “a bit” I mean they have pretty much doubled. Whatever your friend paid 5 years ago – you’ll be paying double that today.

Prices have changed so much that we decided to sit down and write a mini guide to;

a.) act as a starting point to base your budget and expectations on.

b.) show you what we recommend at different price-points. 

The prices below are everyday prices.

Budget: R15 000

To maximise a R15 000-ish budget we always recommend using a gemstone other than diamond. Ruby, sapphire and alexandrite are stunning (and durable) gemstones that we wholeheartedly recommend for use in everyday jewellery. Kate Middleton, Penelope Cruz and Jenny McCarthy are just a few big names walking around with sapphire engagement rings. 

Since your chosen gemstone didn’t gobble up your whole budget you’ll be able to take your pick from quite a few engagement ring designs.

For those that insist on using a diamond as main-stone; stick to a solitaire design and spend the bulk of your budget on the diamond.  

R15 000 tips:

  • Use ruby, alexandrite or sapphire for the main stone. 
  • Avoid cubic zirconias and other soft gemstones. They’re not durable enough for everyday wear. 
  • Stick to palladium as metal. 
  • If you’re adamant on using a diamond – consider shapes other than round and stick to J/K/L colours. 
  • Be weary of diamonds graded by laboratories other than the GIA. 

Budget: R30 000

Although your options open up nicely at the R30 000 mark, a little bit of extra effort will get you further than you would imagine. 

First of all – try to find a visually appealing stone of around 0,50ct. It’s a decent size. 

Design wise I can’t think of anything more striking in this price range than the evergreen halo setting. The circle of diamonds around the main stone creates the appearance of a larger centre stone. 

Yes, the choice of design is completely up to you, but bear in mind that some extravagant designs will need a centre diamond larger than 0,50ct. If your design of choice calls for a much larger centre stone… we’ll tell you right away and make some suggestions. 

Lastly, do yourself a massive favour and ask your jeweller to show you a few cushion cut diamonds. They’re absolutely stunning and offer tremendous value at this price-point.

R30 000 Tips:

  • Recommended metals: palladium, rose gold and yellow gold. 
  • Recommended diamond colour range: I – M.
  • Recommended diamond clarity range: VS2 – SI3.
  • Stick to diamonds graded by the GIA. 

Budget: R50 000

Most run of the mill designs you see on the internet can be manufactured for R50 000 in one way or another. The majority of designs you see online sport massive centre stones – but even if you have to use a slightly smaller diamond the basic design should be executable. 

Since most of your budget will be allocated to the diamond, it’s of paramount importance to get a good grip on the 4C’s of diamonds to ensure you maintain a smart balance between size, colour and clarity. 

Look for a nice 0,70ct – 0,89ct diamond. Avoid the urge to buy a larger diamond of compromised quality. You can always upgrade later. We offer full credit for your initial Poggenpoel diamond purchase when you upgrade at a later stage. 

R50 000 Budget Tips:

  • Recommended metals: palladium, rose gold and yellow gold. 
  • Recommended diamond colour range: H – M.
  • Recommended diamond clarity range: VS1 – SI2.
  • Stick to diamonds graded by the GIA.

Budget: R80 000

Your budget still won’t get you an audience with the queen, but smart shopping should leave you with a custom designed ring sporting a decent 1,00ct+ centre diamond. 

You’ll find there’s a large jump in price (premium) the moment a diamond’s weight tips the scale over 1,00ct. If you prefer top colours and clarities consider the 0,90ct – 0,99ct range. 

The choice of metal is really now down to personal preference. Platinum won’t wreck the budget – go for it if you feel the urge to. Personally I’ll stick to palladium regardless of budget. 

Around 80% of your budget will go towards the diamond itself. Don’t take chances with weird or in-house grading certificates. Stick to G.I.A graded diamonds and enjoy the peace of mind of knowing your diamond of choice has been certified and graded by the most credible independent diamond grading laboratory in the world. 

R80 000+ Budget Tips:

  • Recommended metals: whatever you prefer. 
  • Recommended diamond colour range: G – K.
  • Recommended diamond clarity range: VS1 – SI1.
  • Stick to diamonds graded by the GIA.

Hope you enjoyed the read! If you have any questions you can reach me on or simply leave a comment below.

Unless this is your tenth engagement ring purchase you’ll get some great advice in our e-book “Top Ten Engagement Ring Mistakes” Grab your free copy here