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Costco engagement rings

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Hello,

I am wondering if Costco rings offer great value for what you get? I am looking at this one https://www.costco.ca/Princess-Cut-and-Round-Brilliant-Diamond-Wedding-Set-(1.45-ctw).product.100107185.html and it'll be another $1000 CAD off in a week which brings the price down to $3400 CAD for the set. 

I also just found out that Costco doesn't use GIA grading system but "industry" standard - not sure what that means... If anyone can provide some comments and feedback, that would be most appreciated. I am not able to see this in person so I have to rely on the online photo.

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"Value" is a very slippery concept and it depends very much on what YOU value. If you search for "Costco" in the forum there are some other threads where this is discussed; my summary would be:

  1. You are very unlikely to get cheated in a purely commercial sense (you wouldn't pay a much lower price anywhere else for something that is comparable).
     
  2. You will get practically no expert advice on the gemological properties and jewellery properties of what you buy or any service of the ring - including basic sizing: if you are not a size 5, 6 or 7, you need to get it sized somewhere else.
     
  3. You have NO choice over what stone(s) get set in your ring. And you know practically nothing about it other than weight and some indication on colour and clarity (more about this below)
     
  4. Although Costco has generally got good conditions of sale and return, they are geared to consumer "commodity" type products. For jewellery the absence of a proper lab report and the inability to size the item are (in my opinion) big deals: if you size it, you can't return it, and depending on how it's packaged it might be impossible to inspect it in detail without losing return rights. It's also not clear - since this is not a "stock" item - whether it is considered a "custom" product, and in this case it cannot be returned at all from the start... ask before you commit!

Does any of this matter to you? Only you know.

On to grading. In practice, "industry standard" does not exist. GIA grading is as close as it gets, but different labs will use the same names of colours and clarity as GIA does to mean something different... Costco seems to have elected to use no third party lab; while I understand their decision, as a consumer it leaves you without any (relatively) independent and reliable opinion on what the stone's colour, clarity and cut are like.

Again - big deal? If you trust the seller, no, not really (on a $3,500 piece; on a $350,000 piece it is still a big deal). Do you trust Costco on that? I do not - simply because I have no experience of what their grading standards and processes are like. And small differences on grading standard mean significant differences on fair commercial value. Note: that's different from point 1. above: not being ripped off on a mediocrely cut K/SI2 because it's priced fairly for a mediocre K/SI2 is very different from getting a bargain on a well cut I/VS2...

Final point on cut quality: GIA does not grade princess cuts for cut, and there is nothing in the Costco description that makes me think they do (never mind HOW they would grade them: GIA "gave up" on grading cut on "not rounds" 10 years ago because it was significantly more difficult). However cut is the single biggest factor influencing looks, and you have zero information on this until you see the ring, which you won't until it's delivered to you.

Big deal? For me yes. In fact probably the biggest deal of the lot, especially since you get no choice over what centre diamond is chosen for your ring.

Edited by davidelevi

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Davide has once again given an excellent, eloquent and timely answer.  I would stress a couple of the points he makes but in a shorter format:  1) Costco does not use GIA which means there is no reliable 3rd party grading. 2)  You will not work with a gemologist or anyone who actually understands and knows diamonds, diamond grading and diamond pricing.  You are essentially buying a blind item and relying on their buyers and merchandisers to not rip you off.  It so happens that their buyers and merchandisers are excellent and have a track record of providing excellent value but this does not change the fact that if you buy their jewelry, you do so blind and in the dark.

 

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To echo the above, it depends on what you're trying to accomplish.  Nearly everyone sells a ring that looks about like that.  Costco sells things that are pretty well made, from pretty good materials, for competitive prices and with reasonable terms and conditions.  They're a fine company.  Is that what you want?  Go for it!  There are others who take different approaches.  Better stuff for more money. Cheaper stuff for cheaper.  Worse stuff for more money but with better support.  None of these are specifically better than the other.  As a general rule, nearly everyone who buys things from Costco goes home happy.  Of course, the same is true of Tiffany's. 

To your grading concern, they're claiming this is a 0.70 VS2/I.  There's a pretty good chance that's correct, even on GIA scales.  They don't like to be accused of misrepresentation and it makes them fairly conservative graders. 

Edited by denverappraiser

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Thank you all for your advice! Our budget is 5k and I thought this is our "best bang for the buck". we have gone in and see a few other rings from retailers and some of the lower C's, I can see the "cloudiness" with my untrained naked eyes - for something like that I know it's going to bug me for the rest of my life (or for the time that I'll wear this ring). 

I haven't been able to find something comparable (VS1/I/0.7c/platinum/bridal set) elsewhere online for the same price. it's true that it would have been nice if I could customize it to be a bit different, but I am not sure if the difference in style warrant the difference in price. Alternative for us is to get gemstones like sapphire but even that is pretty difficult to get for $3400 in a bridal set. 

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Without trying very hard, here's a platinum halo from Blue Nile (one of the big online jewelry houses) for $2250.  0.70 pretty good princesses from them are about $1500ish but they vary quite a bit with the details.  Those are all US dollars but I"m sure you can convert.  In some cases there is an import tax at both the national and provential level to consider as well and I have no idea how Costco deals with those. In any case, that's a benchmark to work from.  

https://www.bluenile.com/build-your-own-ring/diamond-engagement-ring-platinum_41104?elem=img&track=product&vtype=sample
 

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2 minutes ago, denverappraiser said:

Without trying very hard, here's a platinum halo from Blue Nile (one of the big online jewelry houses) for $2250.  0.70 pretty good princesses from them are about $1500ish but they vary quite a bit with the details.  Those are all US dollars but I"m sure you can convert.  In some cases there is an import tax at both the national and provential level to consider as well and I have no idea how Costco deals with those. In any case, that's a benchmark to work from.  

https://www.bluenile.com/build-your-own-ring/diamond-engagement-ring-platinum_41104?elem=img&track=product&vtype=sample
 

Thank you! but I thought the price indicated is only for the setting? I'll still need to add diamond to that setting to get the price for the ring? Maybe I am missing something..

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You do. But that's not hard. Here are 35 comps from them alone on that center stone. 

https://www.bluenile.com/diamond-search?track=NavDiaSeaPR

By the way, I'm not particularly endorsing them, they just have a convenient search engine and most people have heard of them. Nearly every jeweler out there has this ring and EVERY dealer can sell you this diamond.

 

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