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Costco diamonds

Discussion in 'RockyTalky' started by ksomerville, Mar 29, 2005.

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  1. ksomerville
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    by ksomerville » Mar 29, 2005
    Does anyone have an opinion good or bad on diamonds available at Costco? They seem reasonable but I''m wondering if you are sacrificing the cut which isn''t as advertised as the color and clarity. Also, I''ve seen a lot of postings about Whiteflash.com. Are they pretty reputable and would you still have an idependent jeweler take a look at the diamond?
     
    


    


  2. moolman
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    by moolman » Mar 29, 2005
    I have a friend that bought his engagment diamond at costco. For straight forward diamond buying without the hassles, it''s the way to go. Everything about the diamond at costco is good, the color, clarity, and cut. Now they may not be the best per say. But you''re getting a very good diamond without looking around much.

    You do have to buy the diamond in their setting, if you like it, then it''s fine but if you have another setting in mind, you need to pay for the setting that you aren''t using. Still the prices are very good.

    So costco is above average and you know you''re not getting ripped off.

    Now the internet diamond dealers, you''re getting the cream of the crop but you are paying for it.
     
  3. Dancing Fire
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    by Dancing Fire » Mar 29, 2005
    how do you know about their cut quality? do they come with a sarin report? my local costco sells 1ct rb I vs2 IGI cert with a 14k wg ring for $4700.
     
  4. moolman
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    by moolman » Mar 29, 2005
    No sarin or anything like that but in their brochure they talk about how their cut is very good. Costco is a very reputable company, if they claim that they sell decent cut diamonds, I''ll tend to believe them. Their return policy speaks for itself, you can return any item beat up and abused and they will still take it back, that''s customer service. He did have the diamond appraised, the independent appraiser said it was a very good diamond especially for the price paid.

    To me the diamond looks very sparkly for what it''s worth. Look at a couple of diamonds and then go see the costco diamond, see if it sparkles as much.

    I''m not saying it can compare to the internet perfect cut diamonds but at the same time, I don''t think you can go wrong with the costco diamond.
     
    


    


  5. lostdog
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    by lostdog » Mar 29, 2005
    "Now the internet diamond dealers, you're getting the cream of the crop but you are paying for it."

    This one I'd definitely take issue with. "Paying for it" as in a premium to some other source? Not in my shopping experience. Online sure seems like paying less than most sources yet getting better (and better documented) quality. You can also get less than best of the best for a pretty decent price, too.

    The little looking I did at Costco left me unsure as to quality being offered by them, so it was a little hard to compare. Now is it a good option to buy an average sort of thing there for a lower price? Maybe.

    But how do you know what sort of bargain you are getting? What's the apples to apples comparison to online, for example?

    " in their brochure they talk about how their cut is very good."

    What would a retailer say, if not that?

    Vague retailer talk about "good cut" could mean anything.

    Not sure what you mean to say about color and clarity. What do they stock in these respects that sets them apart from anybody else?

    It seems like this could be boiled down to "they sell sparkly diamonds at low prices", which is not the world's most ringing endorsement for quality, super-ideals aside.

    I don't mean to give anybody a hard time, but without some sort of benchmark as to quality in relation to price, none of the above credibly puts Costco into perspective.

    Whitehall Jewelers also has some pretty sparkly stones, too, and low prices, and they talk about how good the cut is. So is that just as good an option as Costco?
     
  6. valeria101
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    by valeria101 » Mar 29, 2005
    Now... do you think they'd say their diamonds are BAD in any way ? Or even less than "good" ?

    It is quite clear that Costoco provides lack of hassle and it is not possible to tell much about the merchandise before actualy holding the ring. If that's this first one you see, chances are it will look quite nice. That's often the case with merchandise bought sight unseen, unless you know what to look for.

    There are plenty of diamonds listed here with no details available at all. It may take some persuasion to obtain one drop shipped without any quality check from the retailer's part, but if this is what you want... All it takes is to persuade the seller that no matter how the diamond looks, you will be happy with it. [​IMG] Costco already knows that! [​IMG]

    It shouldn't be a problem to obtain a no-hassle bargain anywhere as long as you admit you do not care for more. If the respective shop only sells no-hassle bargains, those just "sound better" because of lack of comparison.

    Just my 0.2.


    [​IMG] Looking on Costco postings...

    They seem to guarantee color and clarity as "I or better / VS or better"... and provie IGI reports with everything (some rings also have GIA certs, but no copies are posted). Now, IGI's "I/VS" is not the same as GIA's , so it would nt be fair to consider those stones a bargain if the price is less than some GIA I/VS. Without as little as copies of the lab reports and not very detailed pictures (there is no mention whether those are of the actual items or stock photos of how the model should look like ideally)... what remains to establish if the price is ok at all ?
    I can't see why "I/VS or better" could possibly mean any better than I/VS unless the shop is making consistent losses. Sure they do not.
    Paying a few thousand $ for a picture doesn't sound quite right. Even if the pictures are nice and the website trustworthy-looking.

    What is the return policy ? You could just get a ring and try to identify what is that you have got later (assuming an appraiser will tell you without sugar-coating the facts). [​IMG]
     
  7. moolman
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    by moolman » Mar 29, 2005
    Personally I would not buy a diamond from costco. I didn't but I'm just telling you an experience someone else had.

    Costco says that they sell only VS2 or higher, and I and higher.

    The reason I can easily believe costco when they claim that their diamonds are cut well is because of their reputation. Costco is not a shady jeweler, they are a well respected store who's business practice is to sell decent quality items at a good price. I think one can safely assume that it carries over to their diamonds too. Am I saying their Kirkland brand is the best, no, but it's good product at a good price. That's what someone who shops at Costco for anything expects, good products at a good price. I'm sure the people on pricescope want the best of the best diamonds but many are satisfied with costco diamonds. My friend was and his diamond looks great and he got a good deal.

    So take it for what it's worth, just an opinion.

    I still say you can't go wrong buying a diamond at costco.
     
  8. valeria101
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    by valeria101 » Mar 30, 2005
    Well, perhaps the previous post sounds sarcastic. But so does Costco!

    They say: I/VS or better and prices say "at most I/VS" on a good day for a good bargain.

    One may choose to look for GIA I/VS at that price (Costco doesn't say ideal cut anywhere, so if it is to match that why worry) or believe Costco hoping that his diamond is that one in a hundred that happens to match the seller's claim to a tee.

    Anyway, diamonds might not know they get grades: J/K-SI look great too. Sometimes those lab papers make things "sound bad". Avoiding the lab name-calling (i.e. strict gradin) restrores some of the mistique at the cost of keeping pricing factors blurred.

    Is this scenario what is called "good product for good price" ? [​IMG]


    There are all sorts of diamond talked about on this forum: D to M and IF to I2 (as much as I remember) and any sort of cut. Some hunting for "the best of the best" (not too often) and some hard-core bargain hunting. Labeled as such though...
     
  9. Garry H (Cut Nut)
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    by Garry H (Cut Nut) » Mar 30, 2005
    Dirt Cheap have this 1ct GIA stone at $3918 per/ct and have good return policies etc.

    If you read the fine print at costco I expect you will find that 1ct is anything between .95ct and 1 something (like Amazon, who are also big and reputable)>
     
  10. denverappraiser
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    by denverappraiser » Mar 30, 2005
    Costco is a pretty good company. I shop there regularly although I’m not much of a diamond customer. I did look into the diamond deal and I’ve had the opportunity to examine a fair number of stones that they’ve sold.

    The lack of education on the part of their employees can be irritating but actually it can be seen as a feature as well. Don’t expect them to know anything more than what is written on the price tag and the lab report and you’ll be fine. They don’t usually pretend to know anything they don’t but it's less frustrating for both of you if you just don't ask. All of their workers are well qualified to give you directions to locate the jewelry counter if you get lost in the produce section. As has been pointed out above, they do use second tier labs for some of their grading and it’s almost certainly worth your trouble to hire an outside expert to help you analyze the stones. Ignore the 'appraisal' that they provide. They can order in GIA graded stones if you request it through their special order department although I would still encourage you to get an independent appraisal. Actually, so do they…

    They will also sell loose stones through the special order department but there is a minimum size. I think it’s 1.0cts. but I don't remember. I’m sure they will be happy to discuss it with you. Their website is useless, which is weird for such a big company. Go to the warehouse, pick up the brochure, call the special order people and do the deal by phone and email.

    Their telephone ‘experts’ can be pretty knowledgeable although they don’t usually have the stone in their possession, which makes it difficult for them to answer certain kinds of questions. This also makes it pretty difficult to get real cut information. I haven’t noticed them to be especially responsive to special information requests but they’re very nice about it. Their return policy is bulletproof - 100% forever. You can’t beat it. This is probably their strongest point. The ability to see and handle the stones before you have to shell out the money is also kind of nice but you should notice that the warehouse is an especially bad environment for this. It’s not really very helpful for comparison-shopping purposes but the immediate gratification of walking in the door, handing over your credit card and walking out with a stone in hand is pleasant. The lack of return shipping in the case of a return is also kind of nice if a tad inconvenient.
    Comparative pricing is something I'll let others discuss. Don't forget to include the 'rebate' associated with using the right brand of credit card and your participation in their various levels of membership. The rules are slightly complicated but it's enough money to be worth reading and complying with them.

    Neil Beaty
    GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
    Independent Appraisals in Denver
     
    


    


  11. MINE!!
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    by MINE!! » Mar 30, 2005
    Just another of my .02 cents.

    This is an anology, so keep it in mind.

    Let''s use Pottery barn for exmaple. Most people love the look of Pottery Barns furniture. They are a ''reputable'' company and those that buy it, love it. (so everyone assumes) Here are a just a few facts to remember.

    PB furniture is made of pine from Mexico... soft pine, has center drawer glides and carries a hefty price tag... very hefty. For exmaple, you pay 999 for a twin bed. There is a company called MY room furniture that makes it''s beds from Southern Pine, and they look just like the PB beds. (and were actually the original makers of that cottage bed everyone loves) But you only have to pay 499. Hmmmm.. But PB is a reputable dealer right, I mean they are on the Internet and they have stores and catalogs and are well known.

    Just because a company is well known and highly publisied, it does not mean that you are always getting higher quality for a reduced price. It just means that they can use a lower quality and sell it with a name. I know it is a far comparison, but name does not = value no matter what business it is, diamonds or furniture.

    Just my .02 cents.. hope it made sense.
    [​IMG]
     
  12. MINE!!
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    by MINE!! » Mar 30, 2005
    I am in complete agreeance... ( I wonder if I will ever spell that word correctly.....) Anyway, I was told (although I am not 100% sure) that there is some sort of law on the books in N Va. about Wal-Mart NOT being allowed to build a Super Walmart there for those exact reasons.

    I was doing research in a small Southern town a few weeks ago and it was wonderful... they had all of the warm little shops and personable stores.... UNfortunately, on the way out of town we saw a Super Walmart under construction, another small town, rich with history and character... bites the dust. IT is sad....[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  13. fire&ice
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    by fire&ice » Mar 30, 2005
    I wouldn''t put Costco in the same league as Walmart/Sam''s club. They sell a different product. I can not think of one product that I have stopped buying elsewhere because of price. I buy at Costco because they have good quality stuff offered at a fair price. Our Costco (Price Club) has been open for about 10 years. I see the same employees from the inception. Their turnover rate seems to be VERY minimal. I''ve been told it''s a great place to work. I''ve been told the pay far above average for retail. And, always found their employees helpful & rarely grumpy. They honestly seem happy. Some remember my name. Most remember my face - enough to know what items are bound to be mine.

    And, I agree w/ nearly everything Neil wrote about Costco diamonds. It''s an accurate shopping experience.

    Do they have the very best diamonds at the very best price? No - but they do offer a moniker of quality offered at a fair price. I''ve yet to see a round stone with a 65 depth or table. Most fall squarely in the cut chart for "ideal". Will you be getting PS"ideal" - maybe not. But, chances are your not going to get a dog either.
     
  14. lostdog
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    by lostdog » Mar 30, 2005
    "From a purely local perspective they are wonderful at destroying smaller, mom and pop shops.. They tend to rip apart one section of a local economy while maybe improving another.. All in the name of the ''lowest price''.. I just can''t bring myself to shop in any of them.. I may be naive, or even a bit crazy, but I would much rather spend a few more dollars in a small shop that I know will keep my money in the local economy than dump it into a national congolmerate.. "

    I look at those prices and first think, "wow!" and then think, "I wonder what supplier employee''s daughter doesn''t have health insurance just so I can save an extra few pennies or more on the product."

    I make the same decison all the time as you do, Feydakin. "Hmm, if I shop the friendly local place that stocks everything, maybe they''ll be around when I need them."

    A hardware store where knolwedgable people offer to help you or a home warehouse place where IF you can find an employee MAYBE they know what aisle to point you towards. That doesn''t take too long to figure out.

    As for warehouse club diamonds, hopefully the slogan can be something more than "It''s not junk." Are people really getting what they think they are?

    I had somebody reccommend Costco to me before they even knew I was looking. They were thrilled with what they got. I checked it out, and though I wasn''t even a Pricescoper yet, what seemed to be available as far as color and clarity tended way from the range I was looking. Pricing was attractive. Drawing conclusions as to cut from the certs wasn''t too easy, either.( How to understand cut enough to make an informed comparison to other options? ) Nothing made me want to keep considering that option.

    Low price + warehouse store = great diamond isn''t exactly a self-evident arrangement, and there wasn''t much else to work on there.

    A store''s reputation gives me just about no peace of mind as to how good a particular diamond might be, or possibly more accurately, no peace of mind about how bad it could possibly be while they are still willing to sell it. So it''s not just repuation, it comes down to stone by stone. That some diamodns a company sells are great means little about the one you are looking at. (Let alone that they sell a expensive premium champagne ("ideal" or "super-ideal") or that unlike the competition they stock name brands.)

    Look, maybe Costco sells great diamonds. Or at least good ones. Or at least not bad ones. Maybe the feeling that you bought it from them reassures you. More power to you.
     
  15. codex57
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    by codex57 » Mar 30, 2005
    I'm trying to remember my Costco jewelery memories. I seem to recall that some (not all, but some) of teh diamonds have more info than a regular GIA cert would. Not a full Sarin, but something in btw. It can help. Pricing seemed to be good. Not the absolute best, but I'm comfortable in saying that the average uninformed consumer is better served buying a diamond from Costco over the typical maul store.

    I have no problems with Costco's in SoCal. What business are they taking away from a local mom & pop? Groceries? They're competing against giant grocery store chains. Furniture? Again, giant chains typically (and they don't have that much either so those chains are actually still safe). Office supplies? I don't think Staples and Office Max are mom & pop. There's a mom & pop restaurant thing in my office building. They're doing all right. I can see their supplies. Bought from Costco. Costco isn't necessarily a mom & pop store killer IMO.

    They pay well which is why their workers seem so cheerful. This isn't Walmart. I never liked Walmart anyways. Place just has an odd, slightly depressing feel to it. Not as bad as KMart which was just about as poorly run a corp/store as can be, but it just makes me feel kinda sad when I shop in there. I stick with Target if at all possible.
     
    


    


  16. fire&ice
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    by fire&ice » Mar 30, 2005
    Codex, I agree with you on your Costco take.

    Maybe someone should start a "Big Box" vs "homestore" thread on Hang out since we obviously have opinions on it. [​IMG]

    I don''t buy into the big box killing the locals - I think it''s more complicated than that. First - I know plenty of locals who have survived - because they offer something special (like my local grocery store that take your groceries to your car). Are they a little more expensive - yes I can deal with that. But, when I can buy a Miakita drill that I already KNOW is quality & already KNOW how to operate at 40% less, it''s a no brainer where I''m going to shop. To top it off - the local store employee I talked to was less knowledgable than people milling around Costco so - mom & pop doesn''t mean that mom and pop have more knowledge (I give you that I''ve seen plenty that do though). Second - people aren''t as interested in price as they are convenience. Downtown parking can be difficult. You can''t run in and run out. I have to admit. I needed 15 switchplates in a certain size. I headed to the local place & thought - they aren''t going to have 15 switchplates in this certain size - maybe they did - but I couldn''t afford the time if they didn''t. I ended up going to home depot and was in and out with my items in less than 10 minutes.

    I do shop at walmart for certain things. I''ve even bought some great clothes there.[​IMG] And, I don''t put anything on my back that isn''t of good quality. The thing is - when you went to a local nice shop - you were somewhat guaranteed something made nicely. Now, anywhere you go - be it Walmart, Target or Talbot''s (or the local place) - it''s all made the same place w/ much of the same fabric. It saddens me about the demise of the local "place to shop". But, I don''t think they have all disappeared because of the big boxes.
     
  17. Dancing Fire
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    by Dancing Fire » Mar 30, 2005
    i don''t mind buying a $500-$600 jewelery from costco but, anything more than that well.....i don''t know.
     
  18. moolman
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    by moolman » Mar 30, 2005
    If someone didn''t know anything about diamonds, which aren''t the people on pricescope obviously, if they walked into costco for a diamond and a mall store for a diamond, where do you think the person will get a better diamond for the price. I''d tend to favor costco.

    The obvious is that their diamonds are not the top of the line but from what I''ve seen they are good diamonds that many people will be happy with, sure the pricescoper will see them as junk but they are good diamonds better than one might find at a mall store.

    Costco is not competing against online perfect cut vendors, they compete against the mall stores for the average person who shops around locally.

    Also a refund policy that can''t be beat, ever.
     
  19. ksomerville
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    by ksomerville » Mar 30, 2005
    Thank you all who responded. I have looked at some rings at the local Costco in addition to online. I will say that we looked at an ideal cut diamond at Fred Meyer jewelers that was super sparkly and went to Costco right after and their diamonds weren''t nearly as sparkly but better than some I''ve seen (this is what led me to question the cut). The ring at Fred Meyer was also double the price. I also notice a difference when I try on an "I" color versus a "G" color at Costco. This initially led me to believe that I wouldn''t be happy with an "I" color, but maybe it''s just the quality of "I''s" at Costco and that I''m for the most part comparing G and I side by side. I''ve also experienced the frustration about their employees knowing nothing about the diamonds, but what really frustrated me is when the employee told me she knew nothing about the cut and I asked where the reports are so we could see what the cut is she didn''t seem to know.

    We found someone selling a diamond with the following specs from an IGI certificate. I''d attach the certificate but I am having the worst time uploading anything to this website. It won''t upload any .jpg''s and now it won''t upload the pdf. We are trying to decide if we should even bother looking at this diamond so advice would be great. Again, there are pictures of the diamond too but I can''t get those to upload (any suggestions would be appreciated). The diamond seemed a little yellow in the picture but I wonder if that has anything to do with the gold setting. The seller has not given specifics on what he would sell it for other than 50% of what he paid for it. We would require that it be inspected by a local jeweler.

    Shape & Cut: Round Brilliant Cut
    Measurements: 6.68 - 6.74 x 4.05 MM
    Carat Weight: 1.11 CT
    Clarity Grade: SI(1)
    Color Grade: I
    Cut Grade: Excellent
    Table: 59.5%
    Crown Height: 14.5%
    Crown Angle: 35.5
    Girdle: 3.3%
    Pavillion Height: 43%
    Pavillion Angle: 40.7
    Cutlet: None
    Est. Retail Replacement Value: $8,750.00
    Comments: One 18K gold ring, containing one natural diamond, graded prior to mounting. The diamond described above has been girdle laserscribed. This A.S. is for insurance purposes.
     
  20. moolman
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    by moolman » Mar 30, 2005
    Remember that costco doesn''t have the big lights shining down on you like Fred Myers, also costco diamonds are already set on the ring so it''ll also look less sparkly. I think you may have to special order the diamond from costco, usually they don''t have much in stock. When you get to Fred Myers, look at the stone away from the lights.
     
  21. valeria101
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    by valeria101 » Mar 30, 2005
    The yellow setting would add some tint (especially if the prongs are yellow or low). IGI''s "I" might be a bit more tinted than GIA''s understanding of the grade. If the stone will be inspected out of the setting by a jeweler or appraiser... the point is moot though.
    The "Tools" on top of this page say that the proportions of the diamond are promissing.

    I am intriguided by the 8.7k appraisal. Half of that (and the appraisal value is usually higher than the purchase price) falls neatly withing the range of comparable things listed here (and that range goes from 4k to 6.7, if that makes allot of sense). The local "ideals" come at about 5k - and that would be AGS''s understanding of I-SI1.

    That''s pretty much all that comes to mind. [​IMG]
     
  22. Christy42
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    by Christy42 » Mar 30, 2005
    I''ve seen the diamonds in Costco, but never bought one. I think it''s pretty simple. You normally get what you pay for, except in a mall (overpriced for poor quality).

    My biggest problem with a place like Costco is that they are a "jack of all trades, master of none." I agree that I wouldn''t buy anything very expensive there. Would I buy a pair of small studs or a small ring or bracelet? Absolutely. Would I buy a $15,000 rock? H*** No!

    It all depends on what you want. Do you want a high quality diamond? Or do you want to save money? Or do you want a high quality diamond at the best price? This may sound obvious but many people could care less about color and clarity let alone cut. Some people are looking for a diamond that they can see (bigger than a chip) and one that they can afford, period...Does it look pretty, like most do, does it fit my budget and can I get it today? The average Joe doesn''t spend months on PS learning depth, table, crown, etc.....And they don''t go to a whole lot of trouble. Just think, I can grocery shop and buy my gf the ring of her dreams! One stop shop! Sorry, not meant to be mean. My first wedding set would have come from Montgomery Ward''s if they had had one that I liked 18 years ago........[​IMG]

    Diamonds in a mall are grossly overpriced and if you know what you''re looking at you can see that readily when you look at the certs. They all look gorgeous and the sales people seem knowledgable until you find PS. Then after a couple of sessions on PS, ask them a question about cut or fluorescence. You''ll get to see the funniest expression and hear the lamest reason why those things don''t matter when you have great polish and symmetry.

    The internet vendors imo are much less expensive and you are getting higher quality, more info so you can be assured of the quality and salespeople that can answer a question. Basically, sorry to ramble, there is no comparing the two. It''s all about what you want and what your priorities and limitations are. [​IMG]
     
  23. Christy42
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    by Christy42 » Mar 30, 2005
    Costco, for sure. Even if the quality of the stones were equal, I would think that Costco would be more reasonably priced. [​IMG]
     
  24. Garry H (Cut Nut)
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    by Garry H (Cut Nut) » Mar 30, 2005
    HCA 2.4
     
  25. bluedawg
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    by bluedawg » Mar 30, 2005
    Around Valentine''s Day, CNN''s Anderson Cooper did a piece on diamond vendors, and the gist was that the quality of diamonds at Costco was about the same quality as you get from Tiffany & Co. Cut wasn''t discussed at length, as I recall. I think the main point was to illustrate that you are paying extra for the special touches at a store like T&Co... the box, the name, etc.

    I looked online to find a transcript but I''m not having any success. I will post it if I can find it.
     
  26. bar01
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    by bar01 » Mar 30, 2005

    May we ask - what did you find?



    Were the cuts typically - ideal- excellent - Very Good - Good - Fair? Was the color and clarity as sold?. How about the appraised retail prices – did they get a fair deal?
     
  27. valeria101
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  28. valeria101
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    by valeria101 » Mar 30, 2005
    And the cert.

    The ring photos were really "red" (hence color corection) and GIF format which spoiled resolution. But they do show a respectable diamond allright.

    IGI deliveres several different kinds of certs (as any other lab). I am not sure if their standards are as good (for better or worse) across all the range of services. I would have liked to see a clarity plot given the SI1 grade. Of course, it is not important that I see it - you have (or will) looked at the stone for inclusions and "eye clean" is a good thing about Si1.

    As much as I know...

    IGICERT.JPG
     
  29. fire&ice
    Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    7,828
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    by fire&ice » Mar 30, 2005
    How much can you secure this diamond for? 1/2 the replacement value (inflated) or 1/2 half the intial cost?
     
  30. ksomerville
    Rough_Rock

    Messages:
    38
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2005
    by ksomerville » Mar 30, 2005
    He initially said half the purchase price, so I''m holding him to it. Of course I don''t know what the purchase price is, but since it''s typically lower than the replacement value, I''d like to shoot for $4,000. I''m going to ask him right now, but do you think it''s insulting to ask for $3,700 to $4,000? I want to leave some bargaining room since we really want to pay $4,000.
     
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