Johan Poggenpoel, Co-Founder.
Engagement rings are expensive regardless of what you spend and where you spend it.
There’s no way around that.
The price of a 1,00ct diamond engagement ring usually has some sticker shock to it. But it is a good starting point if you’re unsure about your budget, pricing or preferences.
When you start out looking at engagement ring options, talking about your budget in a jewellery store can feel uncomfortable.
And you’re right: out there in the wild, sales talk and treatment are tailored to your budget.
Getting crisp, unbiased pricing information isn’t a simple task.
So, “What’s the price of a mined 1,00ct diamond engagement ring in South Africa?”
Based on the average of 27 quotes from local jewellers…
A certified Round Brilliant 1,00ct H/I/J-colour diamond, VS-clarity set in a simple platinum setting will cost you R130 354.
We came in at R106 800.
Should you opt for a laboratory-grown diamond, the very same ring will set you back a mere R30 000. Amazing value.
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 of jeweller and diamond should come down to much more than the price. But, more on that in a few paragraphs.
I did my best to suffuse this post with clear recommendations, actionable tips and sound general advice to ensure that you get the most diamond engagement ring for your money. (Whatever size centre stone you eventually decide on.)
Gathering 27 Quotes From Local Jewellers.
I’m in the market for a diamond engagement ring.
The diamond specifications I have in mind are:
- Shape: Round
- Colour: H – I – J
- Clarity: Vs2 or Vs1
- Size: 1,00ct +
*I’ve attached the design.
Why did I Choose These 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.
Diamond specifications can be understood with the simple 4C model, which provides insight into the four main variables that determine the price and appearance of a diamond: cut, carat, clarity and colour.
These four variables need to be in a fine balance to ensure a high-quality and valuable diamond.
The diamond specifications I enquired about are a great value-centred combination that uses well-balanced diamond specifications to get the most diamond for your Rand without any compromises. I freely recommend this range all day.
Shape – Round Brilliant
Round diamonds, also referred to as Round Brilliants, 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
Ladies generally prefer a diamond to be free from inclusions and impurities visible to the naked eye. VS1 and VS2 clarities are a safe choice to ensure a 1,00ct diamond is free from any visible blemishes and impurities.
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 lustrous 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.
*As well as Ideal when it gets to lab diamonds.
Colour – H, I and J
Diamond colours are graded by descending alphabet letters, starting 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: H, I and J colours. They set up beautifully white and don’t have an obvious yellow tint to them.
Carat (Size) – 1,00ct (6.5mm)
At approximately 6.5mm in diameter, a 1,00ct diamond is an imposing, striking size and complements close to every possible design.
Larger centre diamonds make for more impressive engagement rings.
That’s why it’s such an aspirational size – it looks great.
*The 1,00ct size has also become very attainable, with lab-grown diamond prices starting at +/-R20 000.
When considering white (silver-hued) metals, platinum is a superior metal to gold for use in engagement rings.
It’s stronger, less prone to scratching and has a much more hefty and luxurious feel to it.
For more information on choosing the best metal for your engagement ring, click here.
The 27 Quotes.
The quotes tricked in over a week, and here they are, averaged out and sorted in descending quality of specifications;
On average, our quotes came in at a savings of R24 000.
I’m not quoting overly optimistic from our side. You’re more than welcome to take me up on the quotes above for a month after the publication of this post.
What About Lab-Grown Diamond Engagement Ring Prices?
I had a very challenging time gathering quotes for the same ring set with a lab-made diamond rather than their mined counterpart.
After I received a quote on my initial mined diamond request, I prompted each jeweller for a quote on a similar ring set with a laboratory-made diamond.
Of the 27 jewellers I requested pricing from, 20 replied that they don’t stock or sell lab diamonds for various reasons ranging from bizarre to valid.
Four jewellers promised to revert to me with pricing… but it’s been more than a week with no feedback.
The three quotes I received for the identical ring made up with a laboratory diamond averaged out to just over R50 000.
I can supply the platinum ring, including a stunning 1,00ct H VS1 lab diamond for R30 000.
I’m sure you can see the lure of lab diamonds in 2022.
Very Important Issues To Consider When Comparing Diamond Quotes (Mined and Lab Diamonds)
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.
Across the board, the only issue I had with feedback and information about jewellery was the opinion some jewellers held towards lab-grown diamonds.
I’ll wager my beautiful dog all these jewellers will be selling lab diamonds in 5 years’ time.
I’d love to have your business, but wherever you buy for whatever reason, I still want you to have a great experience.
The following information will hopefully help you sift through the pool of jewellers and quotes.
Who issued the quoted diamond’s grading certificate?
I once heard a semi-precious gem trader say:
“A piece of laminated paper gets you too far in this industry”
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 some diamonds in our quotes above;
- 1,00ct I VS2 Excellent Cut – R100 700.
- 1,00ct J VS2 Excellent Cut – R86 100.
The first diamond is a single colour higher than the second, and this results in a R14 600 higher asking price.
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 ten laboratories, I promise you the chances of getting ten identical (cut, colour, clarity) reports are nil.
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.
When it comes to lab diamonds, IGI is doing a great, consistent job.
Don’t fall for “great deals” on diamonds that might be greatly overstated on their specifications.
A jeweller’s responsibility;
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 unsuspecting folks.
It’s our responsibility to ensure you buy a high-quality diamond that correlates perfectly with the grading certificate.
Two more issues to consider and look into.
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, we don’t do after hour house-visits, and we charge VAT.
The price can’t be ignored, but the importance of trust and a jeweller’s reputation can’t be overstated.
Trust and Reputation
There are an infinite number 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.
Someone with more to lose than your order.
We work with hundreds of couples per month. I won’t risk this business we’ve spent decades building on a dodgy deal. Never.
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 with their professionalism and knowledge. You’ll also get to see some products which are of paramount importance.
Apart from seeing customer feedback, I would go out of my way to see if a jeweller is churning out fake online reviews.
Did you know that current estimates say that 1 out of 3 reviews you read online is fake?
It’s at least that number in the jewellery industry.
An honest and reputable jeweller will not be reviewing their own business weekly or paying a marketing company for a bunch of made-up reviews to trick folks into trusting them.
Here are a few pointers to spot fake reviews;
- Extremely over-the-top language like “the best jeweller in the known universe”.
- Poor grammar in all reviews usually hints at review spamming that’s outsourced to non-English speaking countries like India and Pakistan. Both are review mills.
- A focus on irrelevant detail like “they even do free engraving”.
- Mainly 5-star reviews without any description.
- Similar wording in most reviews.
- The profile of the reviewer. On both HelloPeter and Google reviews, you can see how many reviews a profile has left. Fake profiles are usually created to leave a single review.
If you think a jeweller is making use of fake reviews: avoid.
Food for thought on price match guarantees
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.
I’ve read close to every guarantee offered by jewellers, and I don’t think even half can be reconciled to the mere name of the guarantee.
As with fake reviews, you need to know if a jeweller is being actively misleading and manipulative with their guarantees, promises and policies.
One guarantee is as common as belly buttons: the Price-Match Guarantee.
During my price research, a jeweller quoted R60 000 more than us for a 1,00ct J VS1 diamond.
Same cut grade, same grading laboratory. Apples to apples.
Why would someone try to charge you R60 000 more for a similar product and then paste “Price-Match Guarantee” all over their website?
This is smoke and mirrors cast in the dire hope you assume their prices are fair and extremely competitive.
Many, mainly mall-based jewellers, are still in business solely for the reason that a few times per month, someone actually pays that inflated price.
And if you do take up a jeweller on their price-match offer, you have no idea where corners will be cut on your ring to drive down the cost on the jeweller’s side.
It’s risky business.
We don’t have a price match guarantee – I promise to give you our absolute best price the first time around.
Want to get her engagement ring perfect? So do we.
You’re 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 to 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.