Costco Jewelry Review: These pages may reference products from companies that help to support PriceScope.
Jewels, Prescriptions and Rotisserie Chicken
Costco is one of the top 10 retailers in the world. Specifically, they rank among the largest worldwide sellers of organic foods, beef, rotisserie chicken and wine. If you’re seeking a one-stop shop with dozens of departments where you can pick up various items ranging from jewelry to tires, groceries, eye-exams, pharmaceuticals and family portraits Costco fits the bill. They’re a billion dollar global retailer with “warehouse club” operations in more than a half dozen countries and over 100 million members. The company employs 250,000+ people and is reportedly a great place to work. Is Costco a great place to buy jewelry? We invite you to decide.
Costco at a Glance
- What is the Costco story?
- What is most appealing about Costco?
- What diamond and jewelry products does Costco offer?
- What sets Costco apart from others?
- Are you the ideal Costco customer?
- What does Costco’s packaging look like?
1. What is the Costco Story?
It started in an airplane hangar
The Price Club warehouse, opened by Sol Price and his son in 1976, was the first iteration of Costco. The operation was opened inside a series of airplane hangars in San Diego, formerly owned by Howard Hughes. Originally designed to serve small businesses, the company found it was more lucrative to expand to a far larger audience of individual members. In 1983 the first Costco warehouse location opened in Seattle. The company became popular quickly and was the first business in history to grow to more than $3 billion dollars in revenue in less that six years. While their best selling products are more pedestrian (the #1 product they sell is toilet paper), included in their stores are jewelry departments offering an assortment of bridal, fashion and gift jewelry.
2. What is most appealing about Costco?
Costco is a tremendous volume buyer (and seller) with an efficient model which allows them to offer products at attractive prices. Unlike many independent jewelers, who must charge higher prices for diamond jewelry to sustain their operations, you can walk into a Costco and see, hold and try on jewelry which is offered at prices near what you see on the internet. Costco’s buying power also gives them access to large diamond and jewelry pieces. They regularly list pieces with 3.00, 4.00 and 5.00+ carat center diamonds. Be advised, however, that their competitive pricing seems to become far less competitive as pieces get more expensive. In some cases, even 2.00 carat diamond solitaires we examined cost a notable percentage more than comparable diamond solitaires available online.
Costco offers diamonds graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Be advised, they have had an off-on relationship with the laboratory, however. In some cases they have historically issued their own certification. Our research shows that they were not guilty of egregious over grading, but many jewelers and gemologists feel they did not reach the standards of the top-tier laboratories. For this reason it’s prudent to be sure any diamond jewelry you consider from Costco is accompanied by a GIA report, or have its grades confirmed independently during the return period they offer.
There is no shortage of variety at Costco, however the online selection is extremely limited. Many of their listings state that the diamond is accompanied by a laboratory grading report but that report is not linked on the product page. There are no magnified, technical or evaluative images. Unfortunately, despite Costco being a multi-billion dollar company, diamond and jewelry shoppers frequently can’t find critical details and specifics about jewelry pieces in their online listings.
Ease of Use
The Costco website is fast and responsive. For the range of products the company offers it’s extremely user-friendly and navigable. However, once one arrives to the jewelry item’s product page the lack of specific information and images marginalize the advantages of the website’s speed and ease of use.
- Bracelets, Earrings, Necklaces and Rings
- More than two dozen departments offering everything from groceries to tires
- Customer service available 24/7
- Free domestic ground shipping
- Paid express shipping
- Financing options
- 30-day inspection period with free return shipping, if needed
- Volume Sales starting at $10,000 per order
3. What diamond and jewelry products does Costco offer?
All of Costco’s jewelry is finished, meaning there is no ability to select the diamond you want and place it with the setting you want using a ring-builder. The selection of finished engagement rings is also limited, compared to other online sellers. At the time of this review fewer than 150 engagement rings were listed online, and less than 40 of those were diamond solitaires. Costco does have abundant finished rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces with diamonds and colored gemstone jewelry.
4. What sets Costco apart from others?
Costco has distinctive programs and initiatives which are not common to all sellers.
While many diamond enthusiasts may not find enough information online to make a confident diamond selection, Costco offers abundant daily wear jewelry at price points starting at $100. This may be useful for members stocking up on other items, should they be inclined to pick up something sparkly for a friend or family member.
Finished Gemstone Jewelry
Costco has a colorful array of gemstone jewelry – including laboratory created gemstone jewelry with lab grown diamond accents – set into rings, earrings, necklaces and pendants.
Color and Clarity Selectivity
The diamond solitaires listed online were limited to VS2+ clarity and I+ color. When accompanied by GIA reports, these standards mean a decent level of selection has been done, in terms of eye-clean clarity and near-colorless appearance. Round diamonds are frequently GIA Excellent in terms of cut quality, but that grade by itself is not enough for an educated online diamond shopper to make a selection decision.
Standout Return Policy
Costco provides an extended no-risk return policy which is frequently reported as “the best in the business.” This makes any order verifiable with an independent expert.
A Costco membership provides access to all of their products. There are more than two dozen departments, other than jewelry, encompassing most household items and serving family needs.
Costco contributes to programs supporting children, education, and health and human services in the communities in which their clubs are located. They also have published commitments to sustainability and supplier diversity and conduct.
5. Are you the ideal Costco customer?
If you don’t mind a lack of detailed information and specifics – especially about cut, which is undeniably the most important “C” when it comes to diamond and gemstone selection – Costco provides jewelry at competitive pricing with a no-risk return policy. For most people, buying a simple pendant or small birthstone present comes at a different comfort level than committing to a diamond engagement ring, but not for all.
PriceScope is admittedly a resource for people seeking layers of information on diamonds – especially cut-quality – often planning to select a loose diamond, specifically, then concentrate on a setting for it. That’s not what Costco provides. But Costco does provide jewelry. Whether or not you’re a Costco jewelry customer is for you to decide.
The information in this review is current, to the best of our knowledge, as of June 1, 2021.
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