Thursday, April 23, 2009

The thing about buying diamonds from Costco

Costco was my favorite store to buy anything and everything... till the day I started looking out for a diamond. With their 100 % return - no questions asked policy you could be sure of buying the best of everything from Costco. But read on to get the real picture.

With the search of 'the perfect ring' while helping a friend, I went into Costco, picked up the jewelry pamphlet which described their diamonds as select pieces and that they carry only the higher ranges in the 4 Cs.

Now for anybody who would be least interested in the 4 Cs of a diamond, these are the 4 basic description of the properties of a diamond namely, Clarity, Color, Cut and Carat.

Clarity: Describes the 'internal inclusions' in a diamond and runs from the grade of F (Flawless), IF (Internally Flawless), VVS (Very very slightly included), VS (Very Slightly included), SI (Slightly included) and I (Included). Costco claims that the diamonds that they sell range from VS and above. This is very much above average clarity grade.

Color: The whiter the diamond, the more colorless it is and hence more expensive. The color range of diamond ranges from D (being the best) to Z onwards to fancy colors. Costco uses diamonds from the range of near colorless or the color "I" and better which is good.

Carat: This is the weight of the diamond and can start from anywhere from 0.005 in round brilliant cuts to ~. Costco starts the sale of loose round brilliant cut from 1 ct and bigger something that relies upon your personal preference and budget.

Cut: Now this is usually the most neglected and yet an integral of the 4 Cs of a diamond. The cut of a diamond is that which describes the quality of cut of a diamond as Signature Ideal, Ideal, Excellent, very good, good, poor or very poor. A well cut diamond with appropriate proportions is probably the most important factor that determines the final brilliance, fire and scintillation produced by that diamond. The difference between the price of a poor cut diamond vs an excellent cut when all other parameters are the same, can be as much as 4 times lower.

Unfortunately, in my observations of the diamonds for sale on Costco many of them do not acknowledge the cut of the stone that you are looking at.
As I dwelt further into the concern, I realized that several stones at Costco have a GIA certificate which clearly indicates the 4 Cs and other important factors describing the worth and describe the value of those diamonds, but several others have no such indication.

Instead, the jewelry brochure of Costco clearly states that they use round brilliant cut diamonds of very high standards but no real mention of exactly what is that cut.

Shape: This describes the peripheral shape in which a diamond has been cut/ polished. It can be a round brilliant with 51/52 facets, princess cut (square), baguette (rectangle), trillion (triangle), cushion cut, heart shape, oval, emerald (rectangle step cut), or other fancy shapes. This is something that Costco just as any store tells the customer with pride... round brilliant cut.

Currently I await a reply from the customer service at Costco about this concern. But where my own judgement comes into play, I feel sort of cheated with partial information from costco. The thing about buying a diamond is that there are 2 parts to it... identify the worth of your diamond by judging the 4 Cs and other physical characterstics of the individual piece and then getting finally getting it for a good value. I am very sure Costco gives you value, but what I want is also to know whether or not the product is worth it.

Read more.. Comparing Tiffany diamonds with Costco
Silver Jewelry from Costco a Good Value?
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