Johan Poggenpoel, Co-Founder.
Regardless of what you spend, and where you spend it, engagement rings are expensive. There’s no way around that.
The price of a 1,00ct engagement ring usually has some sticker shock. But it is a good starting point if you’re unsure about your budget, pricing or preferences.
When you just start out looking at engagement ring options, talking about your budget in a jewellery store can feel uncomfortable.
And you’re right: different budgets get different treatment and sales talks. Getting crisp, unbiased pricing information isn’t a simple task.
“What’s the price of a 1,00ct diamond engagement ring in South Africa?”
Based on the average of 32 quotes from local jewellers…
A Round Brilliant 1,00ct I/J-colour diamond, VS-clarity set in a simple platinum solitaire…
We came in at R86 125.
These numbers, although correct, are an oversimplification to the point that you’ll have to Read. This. Whole. Blog.
I’ll be the first to say your choice should come down to much more than price. But, more on that in a few paragraphs.
I stuffed this post with recommendations, tips and general advice to ensure that you get the most diamond engagement ring for your money. (Whatever size centre stone you decide to run with.)
*I’ll also explain the 3 main red flags to be on the lookout for.
Yes, 1,00ct Diamonds Do Look Great.
At 6.5mm in diameter, a 1,00ct diamond is an imposing, striking size, and compliments close to every possible design.
Larger centre diamonds simply make for more impressive engagement rings.
That’s why it’s such an aspirational size – it looks great.
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 (0,50ct-1,00ct).
Gathering 32 Quotes From Local Jewellers.
Choosing the best value diamond specifications.
Diamond engagement ring prices differ vastly according to the specifications of the main diamond and from one jeweller to the next.
Increases and improvements in size, colour and clarity can drive prices up exponentially.
If you’re unfamiliar with the 4C’s, this section is a one minute guide. For more information, you can head over to HERE.
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’ll freely recommend this range all day. Any day.
Shape – Round Brilliant
Round diamonds are always in demand and the safest bet. It’s been the most popular diamond shape since they figured out how to cut a gemstone into a perfectly round profile.
Clarity – VS1 & VS2
Close to 90% of ladies prefer a diamond to be free from inclusions and impurities visible to the naked eye. VS1 and VS2 clarities are eye-clean and offer good value.
Cut-Grade – Excellent and Very Good
Cut refers to how well a diamond was cut and polished from its rough origin to the beautifully finished gemstone. Every facet and angle needs to be made to predetermined angles and ratios to ensure optimal light reflection and refraction.
Stick to Excellent and Very Good cut grades.
Colour – I and J
Diamond colours are graded by descending alphabet letters with D as completely colourless, and incrementally gaining colour as you move down to Z which appears prominently yellow.
As with clarity, I went for the goldilocks-zone; I and J colours. They are set up beautifully white and don’t have an obvious yellow tint to them.
Carat (Size) – 1,00ct (6.5mm)
Platinum is a superior metal to the gold for use in engagement rings.
It’s stronger, less prone to scratching and has a much more luxurious feel to it.
For more information on choosing the best metal for your engagement ring click here.
So it happened. I’m in the market for a simple Tiffany-style platinum ring.
What I gather from 6 minutes of research on diamond specifications;
1,00ct size. I or J colour and VS1 or VS2 clarity.
I’m open to any recommendations.”
*The attached image:
The 32 Quotes.
The quotes were averaged, and sorted in descending order of specifications;
|Shape||Weight||Colour||Clarity||Average Price From 32 Jewellers||Our Price|
*Note; In this quarter’s research (Q3 2021) the price hike from I to J does seem overly steep – but those were the averages.
Although not always the cheapest per category, I think our average saving of R12 000 isn’t nominal.
Still, I don’t want you to buy your engagement ring at Poggenpoel simply due to our low quotes. We’re obsessed with trying to make the best engagement rings and don’t cut corners to slim down quotes.
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 in 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.