Should I Get An Engagement Ring In Dubai Or Antwerp?

Antwerp is well known as the city of diamonds while Dubai is known as the city of gold. Both are famous cities in the world where the rich flock to purchase exquisite jewelry pieces. If you are hunting for a engagement ring, where is the ideal place to do your shopping? This was the question that one of our readers posed to us.

dubai city

Hi Paul, I found your online guide a very useful read. Great work! I am in the market for an engagement ring and wanted to gauge your thoughts on whether it is best to buy one in Dubai or Antwerp? I currently live in London and will be in Dubai for a holiday till end of this week. Are there any particular stores that you would recommend?

Mustafa Ashraf

Hi Ashraf,

Thanks for your email. What kind of diamond shape are you looking for? Apart from round diamonds, most stores in Dubai will have very limited selections of fancy shapes. It is best that you do a little shopping and understand the local retail prices in UK before you go shopping overseas. This way, you can have a better understanding and comparison of prices to see if you are really getting a better deal.

The only good thing about buying in Dubai is that they are tax free and can be a potential bargain if you know what you are doing. You need to be prepared for some hard bargaining with the vendor. Somehow, this is a way of life there and you shouldn’t be paying the full price which is stated up front.

With that said, pricing is just one of the factors for consideration. More importantly, the quality of Dubai’s diamonds (in terms of cut) are way inferior and are usually based on unreliable certifications like HRD or IGI.

Please read the following link for more details:

Dubai Isn’t a Great Choice. What About Antwerp?

antwerp diamonds

Unfortunately, shopping in Antwerp poses similar issues to that posed by shopping in Dubai. I personally cannot recommend any physical places in both Antwerp and Dubai to buy diamond rings because it’s a shark tank out there. It is unlikely you will come out unscathed if you head in without any prior knowledge in diamonds.

If you decide to go ahead with buying a diamond ring overseas, here’s my best advice for you. Ignore stores that offer “special discounts” or deals of a lifetime. These offers don’t exist in the diamond market and are hawked by dealers who want to get rid of unwanted or low quality stones. The adage; you get what you pay holds true.

To access cut quality of a stone, you need to invest in an idealscope/ASET scope and ONLY buy diamonds with GIA or AGS lab reports. Anything else the jeweler says about their diamonds is just bulls*** and just marketing fluff. Don’t fall for the classic trick about all certificates are equal and that you can save more money by going for a stone with an in-house report.

Also, you need to be prepared to haggle for prices and never pay anything for its full listed price in Dubai. Be firm but not rude. Make sure you do tons of research on being familiar with diamonds; is a perfect place to start doing some reading. In terms of pricing and quality, the USA internet market is one of the most competitive and most online vendors offer good return policies.

No physical stores can come close to having the inventory size of an Internet retailer (e.g. James Allen). One great thing about going online is that you can analyze and cherry pick the best diamond for your budget. I also highly recommend if you are interested in ideally cut round diamonds.

Even if you don’t intend to shop online, it is still a good idea to visit the sites listed above to get a rough idea of costs and prices. Using online prices as a benchmark, you can easily figure out whether you are paying a fair price for a purchase. In my opinion, it is normal and justifiable for local stores to charge 10-15% more because of their higher overheads.

Hope this helps! If you have any further queries, please feel free to ask.


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  1. Alexis-
    April 6, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    During my vacation, I visited the world diamond center of Antwerp for a 1 day stop-over. I managed to check out a couple of stores that claimed they were offering wholesale prices for their loose diamonds.

    What a disappointment I had! Antwerp was widely considered the best place to buy diamonds in the world (that’s what the tourist brochures stated) but what I found were overpriced goods that were low in quality. You can expect to pay similar prices for GIA diamonds compared to other major cities around the world. The only upside was the huge variety of selections available.

  2. Wajid Mahrus Qureshi-
    September 21, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    I visited the Dubai diamond exchange together with a colleague today. The experience was horrible and jewelers were extremely pushy. You would be better off visiting the souks in other parts of UAE.

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