Costco Wholesale Corporation (Costco) is one of the largest wholesale retailer in the world with a reputation for generous return policies and unparalleled pricing for goods.
From fresh seafood, travel packages, baby wipes and even to a brand new car, this warehouse retail giant offers an amazing range of products to their members under one-roof.
Interestingly, Costco also has a growing business segment in jewelry and luxury products. And when we are talking about diamond rings worth thousands of dollars, any “potential savings” or “discounts” may easily run into the 4 figures range.
However, does Costco really provide you with the best engagement ring value? Are their diamonds as good as those offered by the traditional brick and mortar jewelry stores? Our indepth review of Costco’s engagement rings will reveal some shocking findings you probably didn’t know…
In my opinion, there’s only a one benefit of buying a diamond ring at Costco – their return policy. Believe it or not, Costco has one of the most liberal and generous return policy in the industry. The ease and convenience of being able to return a product to any of their 600 warehouse locations worldwide is unparalleled when you compare them to other mainstream jewelry stores.
That said, I always believe in the philosophy of doing things once and getting it right the first time round. This is especially true when it comes to buying diamonds. You should bear in mind that diamonds aren’t like groceries and very often, there emotional values attached to a piece of jewelry.
Anyways, a good return policy is just a safeguard and it doesn’t guarantee the jewelry quality being sold. Think about this, isn’t the whole point of a purchase to be satisfied and never having to undergo the hassle of a return/refund?
Brace yourself for a long read because there are many serious issues I want to highlight about diamond jewelry shopping at Costco.
Now, I want to go on the record saying that Costco is a great outfit and a highly respectable business. However, they are NOT jewelers and what they can offer pales in comparison to other jewelry stores.
#1 – Costco Doesn’t Offer Any Form of Customization
One of my biggest gripe about Costco.com is that they do not sell loose diamonds or semi-mount settings. In fact, Costco doesn’t offer any form of customization for their diamond jewelry. This means you can’t buy a piece of jewelry in a different type of metal (e.g. white gold, palladium) or cherry pick a diamond for your ring. Instead, you are expected to buy the jewelry as-is and this can make finding the right ring extremely difficult.
#2 – No Ring Resizing Or After-Sales Services
Personally speaking, the lack of service is a huge deal breaker. Costco doesn’t offer ring resizing services nor any after-sales services like cleaning or re-polishing. Since all of Costco’s rings come pre-set, it is very likely for you to face problems with the correct sizing of the jewelry.
If this happens, you are expected to go through the hassle of sourcing for another jeweler after buying a Costco diamond ring, fork out extra cash to perform the re-sizing modifications and in the process, voiding any warranties.
#3 – Lack of Knowledgeable Staff
Based on my experience, the sales personnel over the jewelry counter won’t be able to give you any indepth information about a purchase. The best they can do is to “parrot” the details from a grading report. Instead of blindly relying on what the salespeople says, I recommend doing your own research prior to hitting the stores.
#4 – Extremely Limited Selections Available
To say the least, the available selections for diamond jewelry is pathetic. If you are looking for a specific diamond size/color/clarity, you better pray that all the planets and stars align when you visit the store. In fact, you can count yourself super lucky if you manage to find a piece of jewelry that’s close to your desired specifications.
Ok, what about shopping online at Costco.com? Would there be more choices available? Unfortunately, you will face the same problem of having limited options to choose from. Here’s a screenshot that shows you a total of only 263 rings available in their inventory.
In contrast, online jewelers like James Allen can offer more than 10,000 diamonds with full HD videos. On top of that, you can make better purchasing decisions with the indepth information provided instead of shopping blindly at Costco.
#5 – Costco Engagement Rings Aren’t Sold at the Best Prices Or Quality
Here’s the final nail in the coffin. You probably think that Costco offers the lowest prices for buying jewelry. However, the truth is that you can get better quality diamonds and enjoy lower prices at jewelers who also offer better policies. I will go in-depth and show you some side-by-side comparisons in a moment.
Costco claims to sell diamonds with clarity ratings better than VS2 and I color. To be honest, I’m actually surprised to see Costco implementing some form of quality control in their diamond inventory. While such practices are common in high-end boutique stores like Tiffany & Cartier, I never expected a wholesale operation like Costco to be doing something similar.
In fact, I expected Costco to be selling diamonds in the lower tiers of color (J-K) and clarity quality (SI1-I1). That said, the devil is always in the details. While Costco may seemingly be selling “high” quality stuff, the caveat here is that Costco’s standards are based on their “Industry Grading Guide” and may NOT be based on GIA’s grading standards.
Buyer beware! As an industry expert, I always warn shoppers about the dangers of getting ripped off when buying diamonds with “suspicious grading documents”. In a recent case study, other experts in the industry also feel the same way and cite the importance of having a reliable grading report when buying diamonds.
Now, not all Costco diamonds have accompanying GIA reports and this is a huge pitfall you want to avoid because there’s no way for you to know the real quality of the diamond. I did a check and found that most of the diamonds under 1.00 carat do not have grading reports from GIA.
This begs the questions: why does Costco selectively offer diamonds with GIA grading reports? Why are some diamonds in their inventory not graded and only have an appraisal document? Why is there no consistency in the use of grading laboratories?
In the industry, GIA is recognized as the most reliable grading lab in the world because of their consistency and accuracy. Jewelers know this and the choice of grading documentation for a diamond is never random. In fact, it is a result of shrewd manipulation to market low quality diamonds in better light and to maximize their profits.
An appraisal report is NOT THE SAME as a grading report. In order to accurately grade a diamond, the diamond needs to be loose and NOT mounted on a setting. In these appraisal documents, the entire piece of jewelry is sent to the lab pre-mounted for an appraisal.
There’s NO WAY an accurate grading of the diamond’s qualities can be performed on mounted diamonds. On top of that, IGI’s grading standards aren’t on par with reputable labs like GIA or AGS. If you completely trust what the IGI appraisal document says, I’m sorry to say this – but you are a fool and will believe apples are gold in color if I told you so.
The problem with these appraisal documents is that the “worth” of a jewelry piece is grossly inflated only to make you feel good and as a marketing tool to lure unsuspecting customers into making a purchase. The truth is, the valuations listed in these appraisal documents are totally unrealistic.
Apart from insurance purposes, the “Summation of Appraisal” document is just a worthless piece of paper. If you ever tried selling your jewelry with the appraisal document claiming it’s worth $XX,XXX, I can assure you that nobody will buy your jewelry at 1/2 or even 1/4 of the ridiculously inflated “valuation” price.
In fact, you shouldn’t even be using these inflated values for your insurance policy because you’ll end up paying a significantly higher premium. In the event of a loss, you will NOT be compensated for the amount stated in the appraisal report and you will be shocked to find out that your jewelry isn’t worth as much as you think it is.
The bottomline is, don’t be fooled by the nice looking figures listed in any appraisal documents. You should only buy diamonds that had been reliably graded by GIA (Gemological Institute of America) or AGS (American Gem Society) because this ensures the quality of diamond will be as described.
While Costco may seemingly be selling “high” quality diamonds with good color and decent clarity grades, I can’t say the same in terms of cut quality. When buying diamonds, CUT IS KING. Cut has the biggest impact on a diamond’s beauty and sadly, the cut standard at Costco is mediocre.
You see, Costco allows GIA “Very Good” cut diamonds in their inventory and this means you might end up buying diamonds that aren’t cut well. Here’s an example of such a stone you should avoid. The corresponding GIA certificate for the Costco diamond can be downloaded here.
In the grading report, I want to bring your attention to following section seen below.
Did you notice the statement: Cut grade affected by brillianteering? This indicates a problem that occurs during the final polishing steps when the star, lower, upper half facets are added to the diamond. As a result of improper facets proportions and placements, the final face-up appearance of the diamond had been negatively impacted.
If this diamond managed to pass the standards of Costco’s in-house gemologist checks, this speaks a lot about their inspection process which they claim to be the “strictest quality standards in the industry in cut“.
To be fair, you may be able to find GIA excellent cut diamonds at Costco if you put in enough effort to dig through their entire inventory. That said, you need to understand that GIA’s excellent cut rating spans across a wide range of variations in cut quality and you need to be extremely knowledgeable in order to pick out a truly well-cut diamond.
The lack of images for their online listings and lack of product knowledge of their sales people means you have to depend on yourself when choosing diamonds. I don’t recommend shopping there but if you must, make sure you bring along an ASET scope or an Idealscope to help you review diamonds at Costco for their cut quality.
Given Costco’s reputation of being a wholesale operation, you would probably expect them to offer lower prices for their diamond rings than anywhere else. Unfortunately, that’s not true. In fact, once you start making comparisons, you will find that their prices are typically 20-30% more than other online vendors.
I found a 1.15 carat D color VVS1 GIA certified solitaire diamond ring at Costco and it costs an astounding $21,999! The GIA grading report can be downloaded here.
In stark contrast, a slightly larger 1.232 carat loose round diamond with similar color/clarity specifications only costs $16,901 at WhiteFlash.com.
Even after adding in a solitaire platinum setting, the total cost of the ring only amounts to: $16,910 + $427 = $17,337
That’s about $5,000 cheaper than the Costco diamond ring! Besides significantly lower prices, White Flash also offers better sales policies like ring upgrades and after-sales services. And mind you, the diamond from White Flash is a super ideal cut diamond and is larger as well.
If you are looking for better value and ways to spend your money, it’s obvious who the better choice is.
The next example I found at Costco.com is a pave set engagement ring with a 1 carat center stone that’s cut to mediocre standards.
In this listing, the round diamond is graded as an E color, VS1 clarity and “Very Good” cut by GIA. For your convenience, the grading certificate from GIA can be downloaded at this link. Frankly speaking, I’m not a fan of this diamond nor Costco’s criteria of selecting diamonds.
Instead of focusing on better cut (the main factor that determines a diamond’s beauty), Costco chose to focus their selection criteria based on “better” color and clarity ratings. When buying GIA graded round brilliant cuts, “Very Good” just ain’t good enough. I personally recommend nothing less than “Excellent”.
To show you another example that Costco engagement rings are actually more expensive than other vendors we recommend, I did another comparison against a different vendor. With a quick search at James Allen, I managed to find a well-cut diamond with similar color and clarity at significantly lower prices.
At James Allen, I selected a ring setting with 0.32 ctw of side diamonds to match the one found at Costco. The James Allen ring is also made in 950 platinum and the total cost of the entire ring is: $8,970 + $1,125 = $10,095.
In this particular example, the James Allen ring is roughly 40% less than the Costco ring. Bear in mind that, you are also getting a diamond with better quality (Excellent cut) at James Allen.
In my opinion, Costco’s market positioning in the diamond industry is a little awkward and they please no one except shoppers who believe they are getting a “deal” when they actually aren’t.
If you are a value-seeking shopper, Costco is not the ideal place for seeking out deals because they can’t beat the traditional online jewelers in terms of pricing, quality and selections.
If you’re a shopper who’s looking for the prestige of a brand, Costco is probably not a brand on the same levels as Cartier or Tiffany.
When it comes to shopping at Costco, I believe that shoppers should stick to buying regular groceries like sausages and baby diapers instead of purchasing big ticket items like diamond jewelry. Given their limited product selections and service standards, it really doesn’t makes sense to purchase diamond jewelry from Costco.
I’m from the UK and was shopping at Costco for a pair of diamond earrings. I came across a pair of studs with certificates from AnchorCert® and was told by the sales person that they are as good as GIA. Have you heard of anchor cert before and do you think it is safe to purchase from http://costco.co.uk?
I had never heard of the Anchor Cert gemological lab before and if Costco is using them to certify their diamonds, I would be wary. Because of varying grading standards used by different labs, there’s no way you can be sure that what you are buying is what is exactly listed on the certificate.
I have no love for other gemological labs other than GIA and AGS because these are the 2 labs that grade diamonds to the highest standards. I would trust what GIA and AGS says about a diamond and if you do intend to buy from Costco, stick with diamonds with GIA/AGS reports.
Read this link for more details: https://beyond4cs.com/grading/difference-between-gia-ags-egl-igi/
What can you tell me about this 1 carat diamond ring with a radiant cut with 63.1% table size and 65.1% depth? It seems to be cheaper than anywhere else I looked and it is certified by IGI.
You can’t judge the beauty of a radiant cut by numbers alone. You need to get an ASET image of the diamond and compare it against the references found here: https://beyond4cs.com/grading/aset-reference-charts/
Also, download our free ebook by signing up to Beyond4cs.com.s newsletter. You’ll find more information to your question about the IGI appraisal documents in the ebook.
I’m came across a pair of studs today and it was listed as 0.30 ctw. There are no grading reports for the diamonds but I was told that jewelers don’t grade diamonds below a certain size. Would you recommend buying earrings if they didn’t have certificates?
I found another pair of certified princess cut yellow gold studs on eBay with a Costco Wholesale appraisal form for a very great price.
What the jeweler say about grading reports for small diamonds is true. Melees (small diamonds) aren’t graded because the cost to grade them is higher than their value and it doesn’t make economic sense to do so.
If you are buying jewelry that’s solely made up of small melees, grading reports may not be necessary. This is one of the rare scenarios where you can go ahead to make purchases without certification if they are small ticket items.
With regards to the eBay listing, I can’t offer any concrete advice without looking at details. If the princess cut diamonds are larger than 0.30 carats each, then the Costco wholesale appraisal document definitely isn’t good enough. You need to look out for grading reports for each diamond. If it’s smaller and the price is right, then it may be an OK deal.
Can you tell me what you think about this particular costco 2 carat diamond ring listing? It costs about $30k and the GIA certificate is 2126914973 and the IGI report is 33842149. It’s a 2 carat D color VS2 cushion with proportions that fall under your recommended values here: https://beyond4cs.com/shapes/cushion/
Other 2 carat engagement rings I seen in Zales and Jared cost a lot more. I hope you can get back to me soon because I need a ring urgently.
The pricing for a 2 carat D color cushion cut with VS2 clarity lies in the range of $22,000 – $30,000. I would say that the ring you are looking is priced fairly. If you are really interested in the diamond, get an ASET scope and check out the cut quality of the diamond before buying.
great article! do you have any reviews written about Costco wedding rings and bands? I’d love to hear your opinion about their craftsmanship and quality.
I think the wedding bands offered by Costco are decent. As long as it isn’t diamond related jewelry (just precious metal jewelry), I don’t see why not if the price and design suits your taste. One thing you need to know is that they don’t do ring resizing nor any follow-up service.
Excellent Costco engagement rings review that is very comprehensive and convincing. What can you say about estate sales?
I am looking at a 1.08 VS2 D Very good cut Tiffany Estate Sale ring, from a reputable jewlery store. It comes in a set as with a wedding band. Both setting and band also have small diamonds, and are set in platinum.
The set is $12,000 Canadian Dollars. Has all certificates…
First of all, I won’t even consider buying a “very good” cut diamond anywhere regardless of prices. Secondly, for estate sales, it is best to work with a reliable appraisal who can offer you a better idea of value as well as services to check out the current conditions of the piece. Also, you may want to read this guide on buying a twelve thousand dollars diamond ring to help you in your shopping process.
I am in the process of engagement ring shopping and was hoping you could help me out. I really like and was about to buy this ring, but I came across your article. Do you know where I could find a similar ring for a better price? The link below is to the ring I am talking about. Thanks!!
There are many other places that offer better terms and policies compared to Costco. This article is probably what you are looking for: https://beyond4cs.com/best-place-to-buy-engagement-ring/
When buying a fancy shaped diamond, make sure you get to see images and indepth cut information prior to making decisions:
In your case, I recommend James Allen and Blue Nile.
Why are you such a hater, I bought a 5k dollar ring at costco and it’s beautiful , I went to Shane co , and even them said the quality of the diamond is outstanding, they said they didn’t have anything like it for the price I paid, so for you to come here with all your bullshit and telling people not to buy from costco is stupid. I bet you work by ripping people off at the traditional stores.
First of all, I don’t hate Costco. I just feel that there are many other places who can offer better prices and quality to the readers. In fact, I had mentioned that it is possible to find well-cut diamonds at Costco. However, that involves doing a lot of legwork and being somewhat knowledgeable in the selection process. Anyway, it’s pretty easy to do your own comparisons and research on the Internet nowadays to see if what I posted here was right.
Secondly, I do like to hear about success stories from readers. Would you like to share details about your purchase and how your Costco shopping experience with the rest of our readers? Credible information like the type of grading report for your ring (if your diamond didn’t come with a reliable report from GIA/AGS, you won’t know exactly what you are buying and most likely be overpaying), ring design, diamond details, images and etc… would be great and be a big help to other readers!
Lastly, we don’t sell jewelry. So, your assumption that we work to rip off people in jewelry stores is wrong.
Having read some of the comments on this thread, all I can say is buyer beware. My ex-husband bought a diamond ring at Costco for $6399.99 and the ring was appraised by IGI with an “estimated retail replacement value” of $13,440.
2 years down the road, we split and went our separate ways. I’m trying to sell the ring now and that’s when I realized why it’s a foolish idea to buy any form of jewelry from Costco. The local jewelers around my area would only give me a maximum of $2,000 for the ring and cited that the diamond didn’t have a GIA report.
Even though I had the receipt with me which clearly stated the purchase amount, another jeweler would only offer me $1,800 for the ring stating that the diamond had been “grossly” over graded. Clearly, my ex overpaid for the ring and didn’t know about it. Anyway, I’m just happy to get the ring out of my sight.
Hi Paul, I just read your article and was wondering if you have a list of where to buy loose diamonds? Preferably in the Seattle area or Portland area? Hopefully, reputable ones also?
If you are looking for loose diamonds, this write up should provide more information you are looking for: https://beyond4cs.com/best-place-to-buy-engagement-ring/
What do you think about round modified brilliant stones ? They seem to have excellent light performance, but no cut grading in the Gia report. Is this stone one that should be considered if it has great aset and ideal scope images?
The modified brilliant cuts are a mixed bag. I know many vendors tout their own brand of signature diamond cuts and that they offer better sparkle. I’m pretty sure you heard jewelers say stuff like “This diamond has more facets and that’s why it has better sparkle!”.
That’s just marketing bullshit. Personally, I would need to look at ASET/Idealscope images of such diamonds before even laying my money down. That said, there are certain types of modified rounds that appeal to me in the market.
Read this webpage: https://beyond4cs.com/shapes/round/solasfera-vs-star-129/
On the other hand, the Leo diamond is one of the modified round brilliant cuts that I recommend readers to give a miss.
You can read this webpage for more details: https://beyond4cs.com/reviews/leo-diamond/
Just recently purchasing a Platinum solitaire 1 Carat diamond ring VS1 clarity from Costco, it has come with GIA valuation documents and certificates. Makes me wonder if you actually know what you are talking about?
Seeing as you are saying NEVER buy without GIA certification it has actually come with this?
……Hmmm really Paul??
Costco sells a range of diamond products (some with reliable GIA grading reports while most don’t). You will know this if you bothered to read through the entire review. And I reiterate, I don’t recommend buying diamonds without a proper GIA report.
I’m looking to purchase a diamond. The jeweler showed me a facsimile of the GIA report. Should I insist on seeing the original report? Also, if the Additional Grading Information section indicates:
Inscription(S): GIA ##########
Does that mean that the above number is indeed inscribed (laser) on the diamond girdle?
Also, please verify: should jeweler give me the original report when I purchase?
A facsimile of the GIA report is fine. From what it sounds like, your jeweler doesn’t have the diamond on hand and you are buying blind (which makes it significantly worse than buying online). The more important question is, do you have more concrete information of the diamond before committing to any deposits or purchase?
The GIA report number should be inscribed on the diamond and the jeweler should give you the original report during the purchase.
I’m a little confused. What kind of ratings should I be looking out for when buying a diamond ring from Costco? I don’t see any details you laid out in your costco engagement rings review.
When you mean ratings, I’m assuming you are referring to the 4Cs? Buying based on the 4Cs or a grading report isn’t enough because there are details that can’t be glimpsed from it.
Follow the steps here: https://beyond4cs.com/step-by-step-guide/
This guide is designed to help you find a well cut diamond regardless of where you shop.
I am looking for something similar to this:
Cushion Cut 1.99 ctw VVS2 Clarity G Color Diamond Platinum “Diana” Ring
Is costco jewelry a good deal? Is costco a good place to buy loose diamonds and engagement rings? Is this a good value for the ring or is there any other place you think that can beat this? The ring is priced at $13,499 with a center stone of 1.5 carats.
Unfortunately, there’s no way I can tell you whether it is a good buy just by looking at a report alone. It could be an awesome diamond or a dud.
Read this: https://beyond4cs.com/buying-diamonds-blind/ and use the guide here to educate yourself on pricing: https://beyond4cs.com/diamond-prices/
Just came across your website as I continue to educate myself on gemstones. I work at Costco Wholesale in our Majors (electronics/jewelry) department. I found your article on Costco interesting to read. I will say that because we tend to cut costs where possible, I would assume it’s why we don’t have several hundred dollars GIA reports on all the diamonds.
Also, you’re talking about an instore experience vs buying online. In addition, if your looking online, skip looking on there. Call the help line at 877.864.8695 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. They actually pull online inventory and as well as any inventory a store has. Last resort, they can communicate with the diamond buyers from what I understand. Now, this is unconfirmed but I believe every ring with a solitaire over 1.25 ct has a GIA report but I would have to check at work. Cheers!
Thanks for taking time to leave a comment.
If cost cutting is the main reason why Costco doesn’t offer GIA reports for their diamond jewelry (I’m not referring to pieces where melee diamonds are used), why is it that Costco selectively offer GIA reports for some diamonds and not the others?
This inconsistency shouldn’t be there.
Also, the cost to get a diamond graded by GIA isn’t as expensive as you think it is. The information is publicly available here: https://www.gia.edu/gem-lab-fee-schedule
FYI, the cost to grade a 0.50 carat diamond is only $64 which is almost equivalent of what you would expect to pay for an appraisal at another “unknown/unreliable” lab.
Also, what’s the value add for the customer service to pull in online inventory from the stores? Can shoppers get tangible information like magnified photographs or ASET/idealscope or videos for the piece they are looking at?
When I personally mystery shopped Costco a few months back, the customer service contact that you mentioned can’t even provide a simple documentation of the jewelry piece prior to a purchase.
Basically, I ended back at square one and wasted my time.
And I quote the reply from the email I received when I requested to see a scanned copy of the IGI appraisal document for the ring:
“The item includes an IGI appraisal however we are unable to provide this for viewing prior to shipment. The reason is because this is a stock item meaning that we have more than 1 available under this item# and the IGIs are unique to each ring.
The actual pictures of the ring are available online 8 different views.
Let me know if I can answer any other questions.
Round Brilliant 2.10 ctw VS2 Clarity, I Color Diamond Platinum Wedding Set
999 Lake Drive, Issaquah, WA 98027”
This is really excellent information and write up for costco jewelry reviews! Are costco diamonds gia certified a better choice than their IGI certified options? Any opinion about the credibility of Blue Nile or Brillance?
Hello – you mention not using the appraisal report for insurance purposes because we would end up over paying for the insurance premium. I agree, the appraisal amount listed on my report was a lot higher than expected, however the insurance company requires it to insure the ring. I tried to have them insure if off the actual cost of the ring, but they said they couldn’t do that since the actual cost vs the appraisal amount differed by a large amount (~$9k). What else would we use to insure the ring, so not to overpay? Thank you!
It depends on the type of insurance coverage you intend to get. Read this section for details: https://beyond4cs.com/care-and-maintenance/insurance/
I am a long time member of Costco and a student of Gemology. It has always been a hobby of mine.
Will you get the cheapest stone at Costco? No.
Will you get the most expensive stone at Costco. No.
Since they claim to be a wholesale outfit should their prices be lower? Yes.
Would I purchase from them? Yes. Why? Because what they say you are getting is actually what you are getting. This is rare in the jewelry business. Very rare!
No jeweler I know of has ONLY GIA certified stones for sale. None. Also, return policy is HUGE when making such a major purchase. Just ask someone who has spent thousands and tried to make a return at a regular jewelry store. They will give you pennies on the dollar and that is no fun!
That said, never buy anything without an appraisal from a well known independent lab. Never buy anything from a jeweler who only gives you an appraisal from themselves. LOL! I don’t care if they are a Graduate from the GIA. That does not make them honest or mean they have the proper equipment to give you a fair appraisal.
You can send your stuff into GIA yourself. Check their website. It is not that expensive or time consuming. Just think about how long it took you to earn the money you are spending in comparison?
Well said. There are some points that I do not necessarily agree with. Costco do sell diamonds that comes with “appraisals” and NOT GIA grading reports. Doesn’t that contradict with what you said?
Also, diamond pricing is a tricky issue. You need to compare exact apples to apples: https://beyond4cs.com/diamond-prices/
Paul, I have been in the market for an engagement ring for some time now. Looking at local retailers, national retailers, and even looking online, I really feel at a loss. There is so much to this, and I really want to get a great ring for the money. My girlfriend and I were recently at Costco, and were looking at their selection, and She instantly saw this guy: http://www.costco.com/Emerald-Cut-%2526-Round-Brilliant-1.23-ctw-VS2-Clarity%2c-I-Color-Diamond-Platinum-Ring.product.100114386.html
Would I be better off buying online and just piecing together a ring versus buying one through costco? Thanks in advance for a clueless shopper.
Unfortunately, there’s really nothing much that I can tell you about the ring at Costco except that it doesn’t seem to have a GIA grading report. As I mentioned earlier, if you are making a big ticket diamond purchase at Costco, do ensure that it comes with a GIA report.
Buying online enables you to cherry pick the best diamond and you get exactly what you see. It gives you full control and enables you to cherry pick your stone. That’s the approach I recommend to readers who want to get a better deal for their money.
When I bought my wife’s diamond from Costco I was able to email Costco’s diamond dealer and tell him exactly what my wife wanted. Our requirements were between 1 – 1.25 carats, round brillant cut, depth and table within ideal proportions, excellent polish and symmetry, faceted girdle, clarity VS 1 or 2, color d-f. He was able to send us a list of stones, ALL within these parameters, ALL with GIA certs. I was able to request which stones be shipped to my local Costco store to look at and have appraised. So yes, if you did not do due diligence, then yes, I would not recommend Costco. However, if you do your research before purchase, my experience is Costco can save you a bundle on a quality stone.
Hi! What do you think of Zoara online diamonds? They’re prices seem to be very good in comparison to the online dealers you recommend. They seem to be more worth it than Costco’s offerings. I’m considering buying a loose GIA graded 2.20 diamond, “eye-clean”, with cut, symmetry, and polish grades of “Excellent”, color – J, clarity – VS2, for about 10 grand.
Pricewise, Zoara is pretty much on par. You think certain diamonds are cheaper but the thing is, you aren’t making comparisons correctly.
I purchased a rather stunning engagement ring at Costco for approx. $15K. I called the team in their Seattle Office and they sent me several GIA certificates to review, based on the ring I was looking for. The ring is stunning and jewelers always gaze at it when we bring it in for a ‘tune-up’. I would never take chances dealing with NYC’s Diamond District!
Great to hear about your success story. I think you made a smart decision to go with a GIA report instead of IGI or some other internal appraiser documents. The potential pitfall based on what you described is that you had nothing more than a piece of paper to make decisions from.
First of all, thank you for this article and everyone’s comments. I did some research when my fiancee showed me a diamond and white gold wedding set from Costco’s flagship store in Kirkland, WA that he liked. We were already big Costco fans, since we live in Kirkland and know people who work there. Their reputation in the community is excellent, of course. But both of us having been married before and having purchased diamond rings before, we felt well-informed and were cautiously optimistic. We did purchase the set, as we could find nothing like it in local jewelry stores that I loved as much, and we certainly couldn’t beat the price! I would have had to settle for much smaller diamonds for the same budget in all the places we looked, including online. Luckily, Costco has an excellent return policy and we know a local jeweler who we trust, so we were confident we could return the rings if the quality was not as advertised on the summation of appraisal document that Costco provided. Our jeweler was very impressed! He could not believe that we had purchased the rings from Costco. They turned out to be the VS2 and I color that Costco described, and he appraised them at $1700 more than we paid. He was impressed with the cut, as they have major sparkle! The rings were only available in a size 7, so he sized them down for me to a 6.5 and now they fit perfectly. We paid $30 per ring for the appraisals, and $60 per ring for re-sizing. No one has asked me where my rings came from, and I wouldn’t be ashamed to say they were from Costco anyway! All that being said, if you don’t have a local jeweler you can trust to service your rings and appraise them for you, or you need a lot of assistance and advice in finding what you want, maybe Costco is not the best place to make such an important purchase. However, we are completely satisfied with Costco, and thrilled with my rings.
Hi Paul and everyone else here with decent comments.
Thank you kindly for your inputs.
I have only 1 question. Is it better to buy a premade ring from shops including a dealer or get a jeweler to custom make for you?? Better in terms of bang for buck. Should I source ring straight from Africa and get it made by a local jeweler? Or second hand?
Either way could work. I would say it is unlikely for you to find diamonds that are cut to high levels of light performance and precision in your country though.
I found a princess cut ring with 1 carat center stone and 1 carat accented on the band for 6k at Costco. Although advertised at IGI only, the center came with a GIA report, the side diamonds IGI. GIA report says 1 carat VVS2, color grade I, polish and symmetry Very Good, Fluorescence none. I understand from reading you would not buy a cut less than excellent but keeping in mind that some peoples standards are not as strict as yours, is this a good value?
You better do your research and read up again. I said no such thing about “excellent” laboratory ratings or “GIA excellent” cuts with fancy shaped diamonds because any such claims is misleading.
Are costco diamonds good if I am buying engagement rings with small sized diamonds? Also, I seem to recall that Not all GIA certified diamonds CUT are graded. Why is that?
If they are fancy shaped diamonds, there is no cut grade offered in the GIA certificate. https://beyond4cs.com/where-to-buy-fancy-cuts/
Now, as for whether are costco diamonds good, I would generally discount what they claim the specifications of a piece of product is. For example, if they are saying that they use VS clarity and G/H diamond melees, I would assume that they are going to be 2-3 grades worse.
Paul, your response to me proves you didn’t read my post. You said you would never buy very good cut diamonds then you responded to me with something completely off base. Not sure if I value your opinion anymore. Here is a quote from your previous post:
February 27, 2015 at 8:04 am
First of all, I won’t even consider buying a “very good” cut diamond anywhere regardless of prices. Secondly, for estate sales, it is best to work with a reliable appraisal who can offer you a better idea of value as well as services to check out the current conditions of the piece.
Did you even ready my post 2 questions above? Seriously wonder your credibility now.
With your reply, it just proved to me that you didn’t bother to read and understand the content here on Beyond4cs.com.
For round diamonds, a Very Good cut is basically telling you to stone is mediocre. The SAME RULES CANNOT BE APPLIED TO PRINCESS CUT DIAMONDS (it’s a fancy shaped stone). I REPEAT. GIA DOES NOT ASSIGN CUT GRADES TO FANCY SHAPED DIAMONDS. Whatever “cut rating” assigned by the vendor should be taken with a grain of salt unless they back it up with tangible cut data.
Of course, you don’t have to listen to good advice. You can choose to trust whatever the vendor tells you or claims about the stone.
I was right on the verge of purchasing a diamond ring from Costco, but had a nagging feeling I would be making a mistake. So happy I found this article. White Flash is right down the street from me in Houston. I’ll be checking them out.
Hope I remember your 4c’s but I’ve been following all the posts. We are considering purchasing a round brilliant 3.50 ct VS1 clarity I color diamond solitaire ring from Costco .it has a GIA cert. And is currently on hold for a short period of time . (59k)Before taking the plunge however we are shopping around and have been to Tiffany where we have seen similar ring for about 70k and a local highly reputable jeweler who offers us these stones with similar setting (platinum) 3.50 I/VS1 AGS ex / ideal/ideal $63,250 also 3,52 I/VS21 Gia EX/EX/EX 59,995 . Unfortunately due to the ring on hold I do not have the cut particulars and to analyze if the costco diamond good. We are aware of the return policy at Costco and thought if we do purchase it we would get an independent appraisal before sizing . If we did would that ( the appraisal) be a waste of $$ given the Gia cert ? Any advice ( hope this question isn’t as confusing as I feel ) not in a hurry so there’s no pressure as this is not an engagement thing . Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated . It has been an informative read so far , thanks
Thanx -we read that link over and over and I am more confident our decision , whatever it may be , will be well informed . Appreciate it !
Hello I read your whole article and have been doing much further research beyond that. What I have found is a few places after doing further research that they have a “GIA certified gemologist.” Specifically one thats all over ebay called fascinating diamonds. Not sure if you have heard of it. But can people that are GIA certified grade their own diamonds? Also as far as costco rings. I completely agree that their “high end” rings are very overpriced. But their “lower end” 3-5k rings are very hard to beat from what I have found. I am still tempted to go that route. But the most important question is if you get a ring thats GIA certified say from an online source is that a pretty much full proof way of getting a good ring? Thanks in advance.
Nope. It’s an elaborate scam designed to mislead customers that diamonds they sell are as good as those with a GIA report. Read my ebook for more details.
Hi paul. Im thinking of buying a diamond band from Costco with 11 diamonds and a total of 0.69 ctw. I’ve been searching other jewelers and they seem to be more expensive given Costco’s price for a 14kt white gold is only $789. Do you think this is a decent buy or should I look somewhere else with diamond certificates and all that.
Plus, i was also interested with a pair of diamond earrings 0.23ctw 14kt white gold priced at $349. Same question as above.
I believe these jewelry are said to be I VS2. Thanks a bunch.
For jewelry made up of melees, there isn’t a need for individual certificates for each diamond. It isn’t practical nor feasible. Eyeball the piece and if it looks eyeclean and good to you, it’s fine as long as the price is right.
I hope you don’t read the following statements the wrong way.
You are buying a really cheap ring under a thousand dollars. What kind of quality do you really expect to receive? Personally, I wouldn’t fret too much over a low-end purchase.
I think you neglect to take a few things into account.
Firstly, MANY (myself included) have had serious issues buying online. Yes, you CAN get a good deal online from a number of online retailers but you take on monetary risks with it. If you live in another Country (since MOST reputable online retailers are in the U.S), you stand to fork out additional hundreds of dollars on taxes, duties and import fees which are never refundable. Then you run the risk that the ring isn’t what you thought it would be, or it was appraised differently than reported on the site.. You have to deal with possible return shipping which is a MASSIVE headache and can be a HUGE blow to the pocket book. Also with online retailers, sure, you get a better deal, but you STILL have to find a local jeweler to do work, unless you enjoy shipping your item back and forth to the retailer (in assumption they have warranty and do the work).
I’ve gone through 9, yes NINE, diamond rings in my lifetime. Some purchased at big chains that are clearly inferior quality, but still aren’t cheap in price. Which brings me to my next point – depending where you live, Costco may actually be the best choice for quality and budget. Where I live, one of the biggest jewellery retailers in the COUNTRY is closing it’s doors for good. Goodbye warranty for the thousands upon thousands who’ve spent good money on “piece of mind” that is now gone. The biggest high “end retailer” in our city also closed its doors, which is quite convenient because those who spent there $15,000 on their engagement ring now need to travel 4 hours to the nearest location for work/warranty claims. Nice. What’s left? Questionable ‘mom and pop’ independant jewellers who you can’t trust (I’ve been hosed by 2 that were apparently reputable and both committed fraud)..And your final choice are the “Zales” and “Kays” which have crap service, poor quality, mass produced run of the mill rings.
I just got a ring from Costco – There was a one of a kind and wasn’t available online – We bought it in store and were able to inspect it prior to purchase. I did have to pay to have it resized at a reputable jeweler here. They carry extremely high end jewellery but nothing attainable for the “common man”. Even they were awestruck with the ring I brought in – they thought it was one of theirs! That should tell you something!
Anyways the biggest thing to take away from this is, when most people have a humble budget, Costco is a GREAT option. You get better quality than what you would get at a place like Zales. You have the piece of mind of the return policy, and the fact Costco does sell better than average quality jewellery! NO jewellery store is guaranteed to last forever (except maybe Tiffany’s) so thinking you’re “further ahead” getting that lifetime warranty is naive. Get the Costco ring if you see one you like, get it independently appraised and if it’s not what you paid for, return it. Simple. If it is, or better than expected, great!
I agree with your assessment against other mom and pop retailers. That said, if you want to make the most out of your budget and get a diamond that’s cut for the best light performance (if you care about getting the best sparkle out of your diamond), you are going to have a tough time finding it.
Costco, I believe, upped their game. Are costco diamonds gia certified? They are if you asked for it. Are costco diamonds good quality? They can be if you are selective.
I bought a round ring (1.43 ctw) platinum (950) (center piece was 1 ct) for roughly 7,000 USD.
It came with the GIA certification and was rated 1.01 ct.
-cut , polish, symmetry are all labelled “excellent”
-clarity was VVS2
I checked Blue Nile to do a comparison and, after factoring in the band, Costco came out on top–easy.
Also agree with Chris–the great thing about Costco is its return policy. If you don’t like it, simply return it without hassle (you do have to wait a bit longer than usual as they must inspect the diamond).
When it comes to performing a price comparison, you need to make sure you are comparing apples to apples. GIA triple excellent is really broad and encompasses lots of mediocre stones.
Perhaps Costco was really bad at the time you wrote this post (seems like 2 years ago), but I certainly think they’re more competitive now.
Chris’ post above always seems to support my opinion as well and they seem to offer good deals as well.
Nothing much changed if you looked at a potential diamond purchase with objectivity. There is still a severe lack of tangible data for the everyday consumer to base a purchase on. Other vendors offer similar policies (semi-standard in the online industry) had already moved on and upped their game with videos and better service.
If you want to cherry pick a decent diamond from Costco, you better go in fully educated and know exactly what you are doing if you are looking for quality. Of course, if cut quality (sparkle) doesn’t matter and isn’t your priority, shopping at Costco or anywhere else really doesn’t matter.
I think there’s no way in there world Costco would give you best bang for buck for diamonds when they can’t even give best sangers for buck. Consistently seeing better discounts in other places for groceries hardwares etc. Costco just sells things in bulk but price per kilo is shit. This is coming from Costco Australia but I’ve been to Costco Stateside. So I agree with you 100% Paul re. Costco and its crappy shitty values for everything! But I do give credit for their cheap ass pizzas and hot dogs with all you can eat onions (I take container worth each time I buy da dogs)
Thanks for sharing. I’m personally not sure how the Costco Australian operations would differ from that in the United States but I do feel that their prices are very competitive for grocery goods.
For our 50th anniversary my husband gave me a budget and said I could buy any ring I wanted. Looking for the most bang for my buck, I shopped far and wide but for the best deal bought from Costco. I got 1.5 cts. – 5 princess cut diamonds set in platinum for 3k. It is blindingly brilliant and I enjoy looking at it. I don’t care about the quality of the stones as long as they are visually colorless and sparkle. Comparable rings anywhere else cost twice as much.
The problem is, you are not most likely not making “comparable” comparisons. Once you start digging into details, you may feel otherwise.
Do you have any jewelers to recommend in Houston, Texas? Have you heard of the houston diamond district company?
This would be what you are looking for: https://beyond4cs.com/reviews/houston-diamond-district/