The internet is still buzzing with news of Tiffany winning its lawsuit against Costco, following a 2017 judgment that awarded Tiffany & Co. $19.3 million in damages, having found Costco guilty of acting in bad faith while using Tiffany’s name in their display cases while selling rings.
However, the judge’s decision was again overruled in 2020, and it was sent back to trial, where the jury would decide on the trademark issue. The two sides are still deciding on judgment, though.
But as the sides make plans for trial, discussions on which of these two brands is better than the other are ongoing. And so, it might be time to put the debate to rest by looking at precisely what these two popular jewelry brands have to offer. So, let’s get right into it!
About Tiffany diamond rings
There is no doubt that Tiffany& Co. takes the top spot as the most prominent and most successful purveyors of luxury goods. Founded in 1837 by Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B Young in Connecticut, and having started as a stationery/ fancy goods store, Tiffany wasn’t imagined as one with the potential to be such a huge luxury megastore.
But it seems that the decision for John and Charles to create the company at a time when European imports were still dominant in the American luxury market is what propelled the brand to immense success.
In 1845, Charles Tiffany launched Tiffany’s famed catalog called the Blue Book. In 1853, he launched Tiffany & Co’s signature robin-egg blue, which he’d selected as the cover for the brand, a move that also made it possible for the brand to shift focus on fine jewelry options.
By 1868, Tiffany & Co. had gained international recognition, becoming the first-ever US firm that win an award for excellence in their silverware jewelry. This was the first win by the brand, and from then on, Tiffany & Co has been the pantheon brand of American Luxury goods.
At the beginning of the Gilded Age in 1870, when Tiffany & Co opened their flagship store in New York, they described it as the Palace of Jewels, which they have been these many years later.
Between 1870 and 1902, when Charles Lewis Tiffany died, the firm had won numerous accolades. They had also come up with several pieces of Art Nouveau jewelry, including the delicate aquamarine necklace, the lavish peridot plique-à-jour, and the elegant gold necklace.
The exceptional Tiffany diamonds also came to life at around the same time, specifically in 1878, when they came up with the exceptional and rare yellow diamond. Tiffany purchased the rare diamond from its raw state, specifically South Africa’s Kimberly mines.
This rare diamond was then cut into a 128.54-carat gem with 82 breathtaking facets, making it one of the most spectacular pieces ever made by Tiffany & Co.
This stone’s design is Japanese-inspired in terms of its art and design. However, it also takes inspiration from Native American crafts and patterns, North American flowers, and plants, all of that add a great deal of diversity to Tiffany’s outstanding repertoire.
Since then, Tiffany & Co has been a standout brand that is well-known for the solitaire diamond ring design that is not only Tiffany’s most popular engagement ring style but also Tiffany’s Trademarked Tiffany setting that is known for the raised stone that is above the band’s six prongs, a unique design feature that allows the stone facets to all catch the light at different angles, leaving you with the brightest shining stone.
Following the brand’s great success, it makes absolute sense that Tiffany is a remarkable brand that’s now worn by pretty much everyone who can afford it.
Tiffany & Co has also been the most crucial style arbiter, especially when it comes down to the designs of their diamond engagement rings.
And with great names like Delano Roosevelt’s proposal to Eleanor using the Tiffany ring back in 1904, and many other couples that followed having the best of Tiffany’s from the Vanderbilts and the Astors to the Whitneys and even members of the Russian imperial family, the extravagance of the Tiffany engagement ring cannot be overlooked.
Since 1886 when Tiffany debuted the Tiffany Setting engagement ring that we all know and love today, Tiffany continues to pride itself in building a great legacy as a leader in the creation of responsibly sourced and easily traceable diamonds that have all been crafted expertly in a way that celebrates love in all possible ways.
The Tiffany Setting with the 6-prong setting and the rounded, brilliant-cut diamond at the center was trademarked in the 1880s by Charles Taylor. Its silhouette, which lifts the stone off the band and into the light, allows it to take center stage while ensuring the highest possible level of sparkle for the diamond ring.
Beyond jewelry, Tiffany & Co is also known for several iconic designs, including the original NY logo for the New York Yankees, not to mention the Navy’s Medal of Honor for WWII, or that Lady Bird Johnson is the person who commissioned Tiffany & Co. to create the White House’s presidential China set for the White House. And then, during the Civil war, Tiffany supplied swords, flags, and medical equipment to the Union Army. The last big design by Tiffany was in 1885 when Tiffany helped to redesign the Great Seal of the USA.
With all these done by the iconic brand, it didn’t come as a surprise when Tiffany created one of the most iconic pieces of diamond engagement ring.
And finally, in the 1960s film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, starring Audrey Hepburn (Holly Golightly in the film who speaks excellent things about the brand), who was wearing the Tiffany ring, the rest of the world came to learn about this iconic piece of jewelry that had been designed by the best of Tiffany & Co.’s jewelry designers.
Pros and cons of Tiffany diamond ring
- Great value for money
- Iconic jewelry styles, especially the classic solitaire diamond setting
- Variety of styles of diamond rings to choose from
- All diamond rings by Tiffany are GIA certified and certified by Tiffany’s in-house team of professionals.
- The diamonds are durable.
- They are all designed and packaged in the iconic Tiffany Blue box and packaging.
- Elegance and sophistication exuded in all the pieces
- Very expensive
- There is a risk of snagging from the ring’s setting
Where does Tiffany get its diamond?
Tiffany’s diamonds are obtained from different diamond mines in Namibia, South Africa, Canada, Botswana, and Russia.
But regardless of where the diamonds are mined from, all of Tiffany’s suppliers of their polished diamonds follow and meet specific protocols and standards of quality that ensure the best quality diamonds, and also the fact that the diamonds are not blood diamonds, for example, diamonds from Angola and Zimbabwe where the diamonds are mined in conditions that violate human rights.
About Costco diamond ring
If you are diamond ring shopping, Costco may not be the very first store that comes to mind. Yet, Costco is an important place for so many people across America to shop because they get to buy everything they want, from groceries and home improvement tools to outfits and jewelry.
But what do you need to know about Costco’s diamonds before purchasing? Are the sparkly jewelry pieces offered by Costco good enough or even worth your money?
More importantly, is the experience of buying diamond rings from Costco the same as what you will experience at Tiffany’s, Cartier’s, or any other leading luxury jewelry brand? And more importantly, what do you need to know about buying diamond jewelry from such big-box brands?
Grading of Costco’s Diamonds
Generally, diamonds are graded based on the 4Cs, which are the essential qualities that relate to the quality of the diamonds – more specifically, the color of the diamonds, cut, clarity, and the carat weight standards of the diamonds. And for Costco, even though this is an essential part of their grading system, the color, clarity, and carat weight are the essential elements.
It is rather unfortunate, therefore, that Costco’s diamonds are not mostly graded using their cuts, and yet, the cut of the diamond is what determines the sparkle and the shine of the diamonds.
However, Costco guarantees that their diamonds are at least VS2 rated for clarity and are graded at least an I in terms of the color of the diamonds. Often, the diamond rings have a Centerstone that is at least 100 carats in weight or even larger – because these are the only diamonds by Costco that come with the GIA Grading Report.
All of Costco’s diamond rings with diamonds that weigh less than one carat are, on the other hand, not GIA graded. However, some options come with the IGI (International Gemological Institute) appraisal or certification that allows you to have the right verification for the jewelry, especially when investing in the fine jewelry options offered by Costco.
However, one big thing that sets Costco’s diamond rings apart from all the other diamond rings brands like Tiffany is that Costco’s jewelry comes pre-set, and you cannot get a custom diamond ring from Costco.
So, with even the old-fashioned jewelry options offering the best jewelry customization options for their jewelry purchases, Costco’s lack of customization options is one big disadvantage of buying jewelry from Costco. All diamond rings by Costco are pre-made, and the buyers do not get the option of customizing the rings.
There is also the fact that Costco’s diamond rings are not the most diverse options out there, and often, there is a limited number of diamond rings offered by Costco.
What this means is that while their online sites and the physical stores offer a diverse range of diamond jewelry options that you can choose from, there is often the chance that you will not find what you are looking for, more specifically, the cut, shape, color, and even the metal used for the band could be different from what you’re looking for. And in many cases, the diamond ring offerings by Costco tend to fail your style preference.
Pros and cons of Costco diamond ring
- Some of the rings are very high-quality options
- The rings are more affordable in Costco than in all other stores dealing in diamond jewelry.
- Fairly graded features of clarity and color
- They hold some value when they can be appraised and insured by a renowned brand.
- Free returns offered after 30 days
- The diamond is often pre-screened for quality
- There are limited style options
- The GIA does not grade diamond rings with less than one-carat weight in diamond weight.
- No customization options and no room for personal tastes or individuality in the diamonds
- Nothing of value stands out from the designs of the Costco rings
- No jewelry experts for you to consult with
- No options for ring resizing
Where does Costco get its diamond?
Costco doesn’t offer specifics on where they get their diamonds from. Still, they note that all their diamonds are thoroughly inspected by their Graduate GIA Gemologists, who ensure that they meet the highest standards.
Why is the Tiffany diamond more expensive?
Obviously, Tiffany’s diamonds are much more expensive and valuable than the diamond rings offered by Costco, and this is primarily the case because of the exceptional quality of their jewelry, the rich history of the Tiffany brand, the innovative designs the brand has come up with for more than a century, not to mention the overall luxurious allure associated with the brand.
And for the most part, the money you will spend on a Tiffany & Co. ring is a significant investment, incomparable to what Costco’s rings would ever offer.
Why is Costco diamond Cheaper?
For starters, they are not a specialty store for diamonds. But then, there is also the fact that the brand’s selling point remains the fact that the company offers products in bulk.
Then there is the fact they don’t offer any custom options, the issue of GIA certifications for smaller stones, and limitations in styles; not to mention the fact that their diamonds are not considered the highest quality stones – VS2 and I color grades don’t make the most brilliant diamonds.
All these are the things, along with the fact that Costco isn’t a luxury jewelry brand, are why Costco’s diamonds are cheaper.
Are Tiffany diamonds better than Costco?
In many ways, yes. And this is the case because the diamonds offered by Tiffany & Co. reach the highest standards for quality. The brand is also committed to creating only the best diamond jewelry.
The exceptional options available and the brand’s reputation all drive up the prices of Tiffany’s jewelry.
The GIA certifications, customization options, unlimited options, and access to the broadest array of the best quality diamonds all make Tiffany better than Costco. Well, their status and reputation also play a role.
There is no doubt that Tiffany is better than Costco, all thanks to the wide range of products offered by the brand. Though more expensive, this luxury brand offers all the very best jewelry options for just about everyone.
So, if you don’t want to worry about the quality of your diamond rings, then Tiffany would be an ideal option. If, however, your budget is a constraint, then the options offered by Costco would have to suffice.
Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.