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Blue Nile/ Mondera vs. Costco

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wannabsure

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 23, 2002
Messages
10
Hi everyone,

First time posting here, but I have been lurking for awhile. I have been checking prices on the net for loose stones on Blue Nile and Mondera. I have also been checking prices at Costco, both online and at my local store. It seems that Costco sells set diamond rings for a bit less than loose diamonds with relatively the same specs on Blue Nile and Mondera.

Is there something I am missing here, or am I better off to buy a ring from Costco and have it reset if the future fiance doesn't like the setting? I know that Costco generally is a safe buy, but is it a BETTER buy??

Also, another question for any Canucks out there. Am I better off to buy my loose diamond in Canada, where I can inspect it before I buy it, and pay the GST/PST, or am I better off buying the diamond in the U.S. with the high exchange rates?

Any advice would be helpful...

Thanks All!!!
 

Jess

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 20, 2001
Messages
91
1st of all, I would look at the other vendors. The 2 you mentioned have great reputations, but are generally higher than other online vendors. Do a search from the front page and see what you come up with. I would assume that the cut quality of the rocks at Costco are much much lower than those you can find on pricescope for the same $$. You may be able to find the same Carat, color, clarity, but it won't be as sparkly or firey as some here. Good luck!
 

pricescope

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 31, 1999
Messages
8,266
BN is not the cheapest diamond e-tailer. However, people might feel comfortable with them.

You might want to post ALL diamond data from BN and Costco here for comparison. Keep in mind that Costco sells IGI graded stones while BN and many other internet brokers deal with GIA, AGS reports.

Re: buying in Canada. It depends of course… However, some internet brokers will send your diamond for inspection to David Atlas before you pay for it.

Importing diamonds to Canada will cost you extra 25% though (10% excise tax + GST&PST) :((
 

wannabsure

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 23, 2002
Messages
10
Ok, well then that leads me to another question leonid.

Are there any Canadian web dealers that sell diamonds online? All of my research thus far has been according to American prices. How differently are prices in the Canadian diamond market as compared to the U.S. market? Are there any websites I should check that can tell me some of this information????
 

wannabsure

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 23, 2002
Messages
10
Yeah, I have tried to navigate his site several times. Unfortunately a lot of the links take me off the site. The Canadian link just takes you back to the homepage. Talk about impossible to navigate!!! Grrr.

Oh well, guess I just need to keep hunting.

I have just been converting diamond prices from U.S. to Canadian dollars to have an idea. However, I would love to be able to research Canadian diamond prices, as I'm sure the market prices are structured somewhat differently. It seems though, that the dealers keep a pretty tight lid on the pricing scheme up here in the great white north!!!!!
 

jamesd

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 8, 2001
Messages
106
In addition to the IGI mention, I'll clarify that IGI effectively means I'll Grade Inconsistently with GIA. Inconsistently meaning several grades higher. I'd assume an IGI grade is at least two grades higher than GIA would grade it. You can sort out exactly how consistent it is with an expert but for now it's a fair way to compare.

You might also look for gotchase like "diamond weights are approximate and may be within 0.2 carats of the specified weight" and if you see that, assume that a diamond is 0.98 or 0.73 or 0.48 to avoid the price rise which happens if the diamond is exactly as described in the big print. Those 0.2 carats can mean thousands of dollars in market value.

For EGL I assume one grade over what GIA would grade. For AGS I assume exactly the same as GIA.

Up to you to decide whether the allowances I use are reasonable or not - they are no more than the ones I use.
 

fire&ice

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
7,828
..wondering if the EGL grade is always 1 grade Under (color EGL=I GIA=J). Recently I have seen two stones graded by GIA trained gemologist grade the same in color as EGL. They were appraisals by someone who had nothing to gain. I asked about it and this person said that of recent he has seen more consistency w/ EGL - however he always checks them w/ scutiny. I'm starting to wonder if I should expand my options by looking at EGL graded stones (with an independent appraisal by a GIA trained Gemologist) Any thoughts?
 

pricescope

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 31, 1999
Messages
8,266
EGL New York is considered more consistent than EGL Israel or Belgium. So this could be a good option to safe some $$.

You actually can consider any diamond (even non-certed one) as long as you can check it with independent expert and return if it is not as represented.
 

tr65

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 26, 2002
Messages
17
Hey wannabsure:

Just call martin on the phone via his 800 number and he will walk you through the site.
 

jamesd

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 8, 2001
Messages
106
fire&ice,

Those are the rules of thumb I personally use. There is significant variation and even GIA and AGS do sometimes disagree.

The main reason I use them and mention them is that it provides some protection to people who might otherwise be fooled into thinking they are getting a deal when they aren't. Alerts them to the need to double check the EGL and IGI grades so they get an accurate value comparison with a diamond graded by GIA or AGS.

It's certainly unfair much of the time. It's certainly generous a significant amount of the time. That's the nature of inconsistency. For your own purchase, if the price is high enough to merit it, there's the world of independent appraisers who can confirm that yes, a particular EGL or IGI graded diamond relaly does appear likely to be graded in a specific way by the GIA or AGS.

If you're spending $20,000, those grading differences and heir effect on value can easily justify getting a real GIA or AGS grade to make sure that you're not spending money for a gradeyou're not getting.

On the other hand if the diamond costs $1,000, it's not worth an expensive appraisal and you aren't going to lose much money if the grade is a little off. So a GIA second opinion isn't really likely to be worth getting. Odds are that the appraisal will cost more than you'd save even if the grade was wrong.

Throughout this remember that you're really buying appearance, not a grade. The grade just helps to set the price you have to pay to get that appearance.
 

swift

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 10, 2002
Messages
10
I've never done business with Blue Nile or Mondera so I can't comment on them, however I recently checked out some diamonds at my local Costco. They do not sell loose stones, only jewelry, and their selection of engagement rings was limited - mostly variations of the tiffany-set solitare, also some rings with side stones.

The solitares that I asked to be shown all had GIA-GTL grading reports plus IGI appraisals. The IGI appraisals said "based on GIA report # xxxx, graded prior to mounting" and it was for the whole piece of jewelry, the GIA-GTL report was just for the diamond. The appraisal price was more than double Costco's asking price. Of course, there was no disagreement between the two documents in the particulars of the diamond.

Costco says that all their diamonds are I color or better and VS2 clarity or better. They do not say anything about cut but the diamonds that I saw on display, as well as the ones that I was shown, were sparkly and bright. Even if they do not evaluate cut separately as a quality factor, they do not seem to sell anything obviously badly cut from what I could see. If you are concerned about cut quality, perhaps Costco is not the place for you. However, their diamonds were visibly better than the typical jewelry store goods and they emphasize value pricing.

Perhaps their system is the best of both worlds, you get both the GIA-GTL report on the diamond and the IGI appraisal which gives you a dollar value and description of the jewelry (which your insurance company needs).
 

fire&ice

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
7,828
I posted on another thread about my end experience w/ EGL cert. They were generous on the clarity and color was correct if not less color than stated (H rather than the I grade) I feel that in general EGL certed stones were less expensive. If you have someone who can check your stone using GIA standards, than they can be a good buy.

Regarding Costco, I looked there and found their stones to be of decent quality, but not the best of buys. I did listen to a sales pitch to a young couple contemplating a 1 carat stone. The person encouraged them to get the stone appraised and if they were unsatified for any reason, they could return to item. Costco seemed to be a better venue to buy than the run of the mill jewelry store; but you can find a better buy with a trusted jeweler or the better on line e-tailers. JMHO. At the end of the day, I would encourage getting an independent appraisal.
 

Rayzor1127

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 18, 2003
Messages
2
Hi Wannabsure,

This is my first time to this site and I registered just to reply to you.

I'm a Canuck in the same situation; I've been searching and researching information to get the most for my money and the best quality I can afford. Here's the Just of what I've found:

It started off with me talking to a friend from one of the top jewellers. He said that his store specializes in the top 1% of diamonds and if you can't or won't afford one from them, buy from Costco. Costco diamonds are guaranteed to have a minimum rating of VS2 and I or better in colour. I had researched Bluenile and found their prices very attractive. So I printed of the GIA certificate for one of their diamonds and took it to my friend (he got his gemological degree/education from them). He explained that even though they include this certificate, which is completely valid, it is not the full inspection certificate available. GIA will include a mapping certificate that explains each cut and angle for very little more. Depending on the diamond and the seller, this may be too much info on the diamond, in turn reducing the value.

I felt more comfortable buying something I can take to have appraised and return the same day if I choose.

After buying a ring from Costco, I took it for an appraisal...

Guarantee vs. Appraisal
VS2 VVS1
Colour: I Colour: H
Cut: Good Cut: Very Very Good

The appraiser said that the Girdle was even all around and any inclusions weren't visible under magnification. I was able to examine it under magnification as well and compare it to similar diamonds he had. I was amazed at how beautiful and flawless this diamond seemed under a microscope.

I also compared prices at numerous reputable local stores and found them consistently higher in price by 40 – 70%.

My Advise:

Buy the Costco diamond because you can take it back anytime without reason. They guarantee VS2 / I or better and that the value is 1.5 times the purchase price.

I know that “opinions are like bellybuttons, everyone has one”. However, I hope this helps you make your decision.

Rayzor1127
 

twinkly

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 17, 2003
Messages
34
Hello!

I have a question for your Rayzor.
Does Costco do sizing or send away for sizing? ...or is it just luck that they have the size of ring you need?

Just curious,
Twinkly
 

Rayzor1127

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 18, 2003
Messages
2
Hi Twinkly,

Unfortunately, Costco neither offers a variety of sizes, nor will have it sized for you. However, they can usually recommend a place. You can take the ring anywhere and have it sized for a small fee. It's definitely worth it…

Regards,
Rayzor
 

jlim

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 29, 2003
Messages
250
I would like to add for more expensive diamonds, Costco does give you the GIA cert and it will also tell you the clarity and color instead of the generic better than I VS2.

Check out some of their diamonds online.

Also, the appraisal will almost always come out to be at least twice as much. Unless of course you bought a dud.

From reading the posts on this forum, it seem everyone who gets an appraisal on a diamond bought here always report back a value of twice if not more than the purchased price. Appraisal, to me, is just to that you get money from your insurance company in the event you loose the diamond.
 
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