Costco Engagement Rings vs James Allen - Round 2!
Costco Engagement Rings vs James Allen - Round 2
After recently performing a comparison between Costco and James Allen, a number of issues came to light. You can read our first attempt at this comparison here (Costco vs James Allen Rd. 1), and see how a general lack of information regarding our Costco sourced diamond impeded a full apples-to-apples judgement. After that first round we posted a separate article (The Truth Behind Costco Engagement Rings) detailing the practices and wording that Costco utilizes which may confuse or lead astray a potential customer. After all this though, we still don’t have a full on “if the diamond’s are essentially equal, who is cheaper” result.
That’s what Round 2 is for!
We’re going to jump right into this, and unfortunately to perform this comparison we need to pick a very expensive diamond so that it brings a full GIA Certification from Costco. We tend not to go with rings that are so expensive since they are beyond the means (and sanity) of most. But, we need to get to the bottom of this, so here we go.
Costco Engagement Ring
We went ahead and pulled up a very attractive Round Baguette Engagement Ring from the Costco website which has a full dossier. This beauty chimes in at $36,000, so you’d better hope she brings with it all the bells and whistles.
Costco’s Engagement Ring retails for $35,699.99 and features the following specifications:
Carat: 2.02 ct
Clarity: Very Very Slightly Included (VVS2)
Color: Colorless (F)
The ring’s mounting is a bit more involved than a simple Solitaire setting featuring 2 tapered Baguette diamonds with a total weight of .45ct and a VS1-VS2 Clarity with a G-H Color. Knowing all this we should be able to duplicate it at James Allen.
James Allen Engagement Ring
Since the diamond in this Engagement Ring is the primary cost driver, we started by choosing the exact same specifications at James Allen and came up with 2 Round Diamonds. Prices for these range from $31,790 to $32,290.
Why do we see a $500 range? These diamonds are so expensive that any slight imperfection can affect it’s pricing. While they all have a VVS2 rating, the exact location of the inclusions can have an effect. In this case the slightly more affordable diamond has a few more surface inclusions than it’s more expensive counterpart. That being said, we would recommend the cheaper diamond, as the inclusions are less pronounced. Both the James Allen diamonds have a perfect 1.00 ratio. In comparison, the Costco ring has a .99 L/W ratio. With this in mind, we feel this would put it on par with the the $31,790 offering from James Allen.
I digging through James Allen’s mountings we weren’t able to perfectly duplicate the Costco ring, but came very close with James Allen’s PLATINUM THREE STONE TRELLIS DIAMOND ENGAGEMENT RING (TRAPEZOID). We actually feel this is a slightly nicer setting than the Costco piece and features slightly larger side-stones.
The Final Result!
Finally we can do a full apples-to-apples comparison between these two. The Costco Engagement Ring comes in at $35,670, while the James Allen ring comes in at $35,590. Almost a dead heat with $80 separating the two. So, should you go out and get the Costco ring?
No… And here’s why.
Sizing: Costco’s ring only comes in one size, a 7. Why? It’s the only one they have. This tends to be the case with Costco Engagement Rings as their higher end offerings will come mounted already. While this can be resized, Costco makes it clear that it is out of their hands. James Allen however, offers hundreds of mounting options. The particular one we chose can be ordered anywhere between a size 3 to a size 9.
Taxes: This is a big one folks. Remember that Costco has locations throughout the United States. As such, you’ll be paying taxes on that $36,000 ring. James Allen, as an online retailer is able to offer its buyers a tax-free experience in all but a select few States. So how much are the taxes on a $36,000 ring? Right around $2,500.
All of a sudden that $80 difference on an Engagement Ring that might be the wrong size turns into overpaying by $2,500, That, in our book makes buying at James Allen the more prudent and wise decision.
In summary, Costco shouldn’t be overlooked when shopping for an Engagement Ring. They offer very competitive pricing and by all accounts are an excellent retailer with consumer friendly policies. However, as we detailed in our first two installments (Round One & The Truth About Costco Engagement Rings), there are pressing issues that must be addressed. You, as a price conscious buyer, need to know these details so you go into this transaction with eyes wide open.
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!