Costco Engagement Rings vs James Allen
Costco Engagement Rings vs James Allen
Recently I’ve had a couple questions come across regarding Engagement Ring offerings from Costco. First, in the spirit of open disclosure, I totally love Costco. In fact I love both Costco and BJ Wholesale. People tend to bookmark them solely as warehouse stores, but they truly offer a lot of value beyond ungodly amounts of food. From gas stations to gift cards, you’ll be surprised at the type of things and savings that can be found at each of these respective wholesale clubs.
But does this extend to Engagement Rings? Well, maybe there’s a line to be drawn.
Don’t just take our word for it though. Let’s go ahead and pull one of Costco’s better selling engagement rings and see how it stacks up.
Costco Engagement Ring
We went ahead and pulled up Costco’s Engagement Rings from their website and filtered by customer reviews. Needless to say, there are a lot of four and five star reviews showing that people are generally very happy with their purchases. We narrowed things down a bit by looking solely at 5-Star reviews and started to notice a few things:
Their Most Popular Rings: Tend to all be Halo mounts. We can see the logic in this since it is safe to assume the individual purchasing this ring is probably price conscious and a Halo setting will provide a more dramatic presentation while utilizing smaller diamonds.
Diamond Certifications: I was rather disappointed in this because Costco uses a bit of verbal gymnastics to give the appearance that all their rings are GIA Certified. So much so that we will be writing a separate article to detail this in depth. In the meantime, note that only diamonds with an individual weight of 1.0ct and larger are GIA Certified (as detailed on their site). Any smaller, then it is simply not. Remember, the individual weight of the diamond must be 1.0ct, not the total carat weight of the ring.
Few Cut Rating: Possibly the most glaring omission from the Costco rating is that of Cut. Only their most expensive rings will have a Cut rating, making a comparison for most people almost impossible. As we’ve said before, Cut is perhaps the biggest indicator of a Diamond’s quality, and will have an extreme effect on its pricing.
Realizing this 1.0ct barrier is essential for a proper apples-to-apples comparison, we pulled their highest reviewed solitaire ring, which at this time had a 4.6-Star rating from 10 reviews.
Costco’s Engagement Ring retails for $10,999.99 and features the following specifications:
Carat: 1.50 ct
Clarity: Very Slightly Included (VS2)
Color: Near Colorless (I)
Since this is a simple Platinum solitaire setting, it should be easy to duplicate at James Allen.
James Allen Engagement Ring
We started off by choosing a solitaire setting that closely mimics Costco’s, from there it’s just a matter of filtering out our needs. Hitting all the exact qualities as the Costco diamond, James Allen has 20 Round Diamonds with a Cut rating of Very Good to Ideal. Prices for these range from $7,820 to $10,670.
That range, which is equal to $2,850 between Very Good and Ideal, is why it is so important to know all the specifications of a diamond. Factoring the mounting, an equivalent engagement ring from James Allen can cost anywhere from $8,500 to $11,300. Clearly in one instance you are saving nearly $2,500 when compared to Costco, and in the other instance Costco is about the same price. Considering that you’ll have to pay taxes when purchasing at Costco, you are basically rolling the dice that perhaps… Perhaps! the ring you chose is only a few hundred dollars more expensive.
More often than not Costco diamonds have shown to be of less than Ideal Cut diamonds, so there is a significant chance that you are severely overpaying by as much as 25%.
In summary, by purchasing your engagement ring at Costco we’re left with a situation where you don’t know if you’re getting a good deal and saving a couple of hundred dollars, or if you’re overpaying by $2,500. It is unfortunate that Costco does not provide any additional information on their website, because their pricing really does seem competitive at first sight.
For the time being we’re going to have to leave this as-is. Our next step will be to choose a far more expensive diamond with a Cut, Polish and Symmetry rating. While we basically know how this will end, it would be an injustice to not follow through with our assessment. We’ll also be releasing a more thorough explanation on Costco’s grading system and how you can navigate through it and feel safe that you’re making equitable comparisons.
Until then, would you like us to help you with your diamond ring search? Contact us and we will provide you with a one-on-one service that will get you the best diamond available!