If you didn’t catch the first part of this series of posts, you might want to read it for all the good information. It covered all of the background about what you need to know before purchasing a diamond ring, at Costco or anywhere else. I also covered some of the reasons why you should actually consider buying your diamond ring from Costco; it is all about value and quality. However, today I’m actually going to do a bit of price comparison to see where Costco stacks up when compared to Tiffany & Co, as well as Blue Nile. I’ll be comparing prices on diamonds of a comparable size and quality, as well as the setting from the online sites for the retailers.
For the ease of comparison, I’ve chosen to concentrate on simple, round solitaire diamond rings with a platinum setting. I did a few of differences in carat, color, and clarity too. Although the comparison shows which of the three retailers are most likely to give the best deals for rings of the same quality, you can also see how changes in the clarity and color really change the prices. Unfortunately, Tiffany & Co do not list the color and clarity on their website, so I’m just assuming it is as good as the comparable selections from Costco and Blue Nile.
|Tiffany & Co||Round||1.00||??||??||$9,200.00|
|Tiffany & Co||Round||1.50||??||??||$17,800.00|
|Tiffany & Co||Round||2.0||??||??||$30,200.00|
So, I highlighted all of the best prices for each carat weight and clarity in bold orange text. You can see that Costco does a very respectable job with the best prices in 4 out of the 6 comparisons. You can pretty quickly see that you get the biggest price differences with rings over 1.5 carats. At 1.50 ct, there is a difference of several thousand dollars between Costco and Blue Nile or Tiffany; around $5,000.00 less at Costco. That was the size with the biggest differences. At 1.00 ct and 2.00 ct, the prices are more comparable, I think.
At Costco, you get standard shipping (just like it were a toaster, strangely) with an estimated delivery time of 7 – 10 days from the time of your order. As I mentioned in the previous post, you can return your ring to any Costco location for a full cash refund. However, they do mention on their website that when returning diamonds of 1.00 carat or larger, they may take an extra couple of days to verify the diamond and will credit your return after verification can be made.
At Blue Nile, you get free FedEx shipping with Priority Overnight service (for anything over $500, which a diamond ring would surely be). They also offer a 30 day return policy for a full refund or an exchange.
At Tiffany & Co, you will not get free shipping, but will have to pay $15 – $20, depending on speed, to get your ring in 3 – 5 business days. However, they do offer a full cash refund if you need to return the ring. And while I can’t seem to locate the information on their website, I do know that if you buy a ring from them they offer you lifetime cleaning and will also check the setting to make sure the stone is secure. Tiffany also has a great program where they will let you exchange a more modest ring for something fancier when perhaps your finances are a little more amenable to such a thing.
All three jewelers will provide you with a diamond grading report and appraisal for your specific diamond.
So, there are good points and bad points for each of these jewelers. I think on the whole I would prefer Costco over a purchase at Blue Nile because they have stores that you can return your purchase to, should you need to, and for a full cash refund too. I do wish that they offered a better free shipping service for their diamond rings. I’m thinking that if I am shelling out $20,000.00 for a diamond ring through their website, the least Costco can do is send it via FedEx Overnight. I also think that it appears that Costco prices are just as good, and in most cases better than what you will find at Blue Nile for the same quality of stone. Now, with Tiffany & Co you are paying for that little blue box and for the other little benefits of buying from them like the cleaning and ring upgrade program. However, is that really worth the price difference? I don’t know, I’d have to think long and hard about that.