The Truth Behind Costco Engagement Rings

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The Truth Behind Costco Engagement Rings

A few weeks ago we did a quick online comparison between Costco Engagement Rings & James Allen. The result? While we love Costco as a wholesale price club, their diamond selection and advertising raised a number of questions. The issues raised stemmed from general lack of knowledge to perhaps deceptive wording.

So before you go Engagement Ring shopping at Costco, make sure to read the following points so you know what your getting into.

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Things Clearly Missing from Costco’s Engagement Rings

The issue with Costco engagement rings, which we hope to shine a light on, is that there are things clearly missing, and things that are hinted at, but not spelled out.

We’ll be referring to Costco’s website (as detailed here!), so feel free to follow along.

Costco’s Position on GIA Certificates

Per Costco’s website, their position on GIA Certificates is as follows:

  • Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Diamond Grading Report - All items with a 1.00 carat or larger diamond center stone will include a GIA Diamond Grading Report detailing the center diamond.

  • Gemological/Jewelry Report - All items with a 1.00 carat or larger diamond center stone will also include a Gemological/Jewelry Report describing the article of jewelry. This report will not have a monetary value listed. You can contact the the company that issued the report and request an insurance appraisal, in which case your Costco purchase price will be documented as the insurance replacement value.

What’s Missing From These Statements

Diamond Certifications are essential when buying a ring. I was rather disappointed in this because at first you might think that Costco will only sell rings that are GIA Certified. Unfortunately, that is only true of diamonds with an individual weight of 1.0ct and larger. 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. Given that 99% of buyers cannot accurately judge a diamond’s condition themselves, even if you happen to have a jeweler’s loupe on you, this means that you must rely on the diamond’s rating for a proper assessment. By Costco limiting the amount of information available to you, they are exposing the buyer to potentially grossly overspending on an inferior diamond.

Don’t be Mislead When Purchasing a Costco Engagement Ring

While the glaring issue regarding GIA Certifications are at the very least up front, Costco uses additional wording that can skew their buyers’ perception.

Costco’s Diamond Sales Pitch

Per Costco’s website, you can also find the following declarations:

  • Costco offers our members high quality jewelry at an exceptional value. Our team of GIA Graduate Gemologists inspect every diamond to ensure it meets Costco's strict quality standards. We only sell natural and untreated diamonds.

  • Costco Article of Description - A detailed article of description will accompany diamond items with center stones less than 1.00ct.

What Does That Mean Exactly?

The statement that truly catches out attention is “Our team of GIA Graduate Gemologists inspect every diamond to ensure it meets Costco's strict quality standards”. There are two things here that raise our eyebrows.

First, by advertising that you use GIA Graduate Gemologists, you are giving the impression that your internal ratings are as good as a GIA certification. If you have any doubt that these are not the same, simply try selling a ring without a GIA Certification and you will quickly realize that prices can drop as much as 50% or more. Secondly, why even mention that you use GIA Graduate Gemologists unless you are trying to piggy-back on this designation and thus purposefully mislead your customer base?

Then we have the “Costco Article of Description”, which means nothing at the end of the day. This is basically a paper describing what you bought from Costco’s point-of-view. If that point-of-view is not signed, sealed, certified, official, etc… then it’s just a paper.

Other Things To Look Out For

Costco’s 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. However, by utilizing this mounting style, they can maximize the number of diamonds under 1.0ct used, thus maximizing the number of non-Certified diamonds.

Costco has precious few Cut ratings available. In fact most of their Round, Princess and Cushion diamonds have no Cut rating at all. It is only when selecting the absolute most expensive rings that Costco will provide you with a Cut. Since, as we’ve said before, Cut is perhaps the biggest indicator of a Diamond’s quality, this will have an extreme effect on its pricing.

Costco Engagement Ring Summary

In summary, you’re probably better off purchasing your engagement ring somewhere else. If you want to see how some of our favorite online retailers compare to Costco, see our two part Costco vs James Allen comparison. This should leave no doubt as to what choice is best.

Now that you’ve learned more about Costco’s Engagement Rings, 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!