We can all agree that most retail jewellery stores in South Africa do a great job in the industry. There are some reputable chain stores that you’ll find in all regular shopping malls, and there are many great independent jewellers too. Often, customers love being able to go into a store, see and try rings on in person, then make an immediate purchase. It satisfies our human need for instant gratification.

The evolution of online shopping has hit retail jewellery stores hard and Covid-19 hasn’t helped their situation. People are often surprised at how much money they can save on bespoke jewellery by working with a predominantly online based jeweller like Katannuta Diamonds. The reasons are simple, and multi-fold and we’ll touch on these in a future blog post.

Today, we’re going to focus on one of the half-truths and misconceptions you might hear should you pop into a retail or chain-brand jewellery store. It’s important to note that not every retail jewellery store should be tarred with the same brush, there are many excellent stores doing a great job, but sometimes you should take what you’re told with a pinch of salt.

Jewellery display

Retail jewellery stores allow for instant gratification when shopping, but don’t necessarily offer the best or most accurate advice.

You should also understand that many retail stores have staff that don’t necessarily have a comprehensive knowledge of the intricate details of gemstones, or the technical aspects of jewellery manufacture. Many of them are hired as salespeople and as such, are given sales targets to focus on and achieve. As a result, it’s sometimes not about the salesperson taking the time to find out what gemstone, ring or piece of jewellery is best for you as an individual and is aligned with your needs. Instead, it’s sometimes simply about making the sale to hit target numbers.

Last year we had a client who came to us after visiting a famous brand-name jewellery store in Johannesburg. With a particular budget in mind, he’d enquired about setting a half carat diamond in a 9ct white gold ring. The sales assistant at the jewellery store told him that it was the store’s policy not to set any diamond larger than 0.30ct in 9ct gold, because “9ct gold is not strong enough to hold a 0.50ct diamond”.

Say what??

Whilst that might be store policy, it’s a factually incorrect statement of massive proportions. There is nothing wrong with setting a 0.50ct in 9ct gold; indeed, it’s the most cost-effective option if you want to stick to a tight budget. What we do suggest is keeping the value of the gemstone proportional to the value of the metal and whilst it might not make sense to set a top quality 1ct diamond in 9ct gold, there is nothing wrong with setting a 1ct sapphire in 9ct gold. It’s all about what works best for you, the valued client.

In Episode 1 of The Grumpy Geologist, Katannuta Diamonds founder Clare Appleyard talks about the half-truth of setting a 0.50ct diamond in 9ct gold. Find the full episode below:

We’d love to hear any stories you’ve been told in a retail jewellery store. Drop us a line and maybe we can discuss it in an upcoming episode!

In the meantime, if you’re looking for straight-talking, honest, and ethical advice when it comes to gemstones, diamonds and jewellery, you know who to call. Drop us a line via our contact page and let the Katannuta Diamonds experts help you.