About Clark Walker

Clark Walker

Clark Walker has been a diamond and rare jewelry savant for as long as he can remember. When retirement commenced and world travel became his new passion, he quickly realized that he needed a stimulating side hobby. Through this website he continues this passion for education, guidance, and keeping tabs on the industry.

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Clark Walker, Author at Diamond Cuts
Clark Walker
Clark Walker

Author Archives: Clark Walker

Clark Walker has been a diamond and rare jewelry savant for as long as he can remember. When retirement commenced and world travel became his new passion, he quickly realized that he needed a stimulating side hobby. Through this website he continues this passion for education, guidance, and keeping tabs on the industry.

Is It Worth It to Buy Diamonds and Jewelry from Costco?

You’ll have no trouble finding just about anything you could ever desire in Costco. But most people have no idea that they sell jewelry and diamond rings. Who would think about buying gems and precious metals from a big box retail store? But they do sell them and you might be wondering if this stuff is any good. If that’s the case, keep reading more to discover the truth.

Basic Information about Costco:

  • they found the company in 1976
  • they currently have 727 retail locations
  • you can find Costco in countries all over the world including France, Japan, Spain, South Korea, Mexico, Australia, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.

Costco Diamonds: Our First Impression

Remember that this is just the first impression that we’re talking about and nothing more. We aren’t talking about the entire sales process from top to bottom. Everybody seems to love Costco because they have reasonable prices and you could pretty much find whatever you happen to be looking for. But as far as jewelry is concerned, walking into a jewelry store owned by Costco isn’t the most impressive experience in the world.

For starters, after talking to members of the staff, it was very clear that they didn’t have the knowledge and insight about specific characteristics of diamonds. That’s obviously a blemish against them as you can imagine. They also failed to provide any value added services which is a definite no-no.

They expect you to pick out a diamond just like you’d pick out any other product from their warehouse floor. Just to officially be able to complete this review, we chose a specific diamond to look at and realized right away that they didn’t even have a certificate for the diamond.

The cut of the diamond was nice. That we’ll definitely admit. But they told me that the diamond was “I” as far as color goes. But the truth is that their specified color was off. The diamond was actually “J” which is a less valuable and less expensive color. But it was a nice diamond ring to say the least even if it wasn’t being sold correctly.

Selecting the Setting

Unfortunately, things took an even bigger turn for the worst when it was time to select the setting. A big issue in Costco is there setting selection is very minimal at best. If you were to shop online you’d have many more options to say the least.

But we walked into a Costco jewelry store and they only had 10 or 20 options to choose from. The quality and craftsmanship were certainly decent, but if you’re really looking for the perfect ring for your significant other, you may have a hard time finding it with so few and limited choices available to you.

Even if you look at Costco’s website you’ll see that their setting selection is even limited there. But the appearance is nice and the quality isn’t bad, so it’s not a total loss by any means necessary. But if you have a different preference or style you may have a tough time finding the right selection with so few options to choose from.

Does the Price Meet the Value?

The specific ring we looked at would have cost around $3500 if we were to purchase it. But we didn’t actually buy it for the purposes of this review because who’s going to spend $3500 on a ring for no reason. But what we discovered is that the price doesn’t justify the purchase.

The shortcomings of the diamond ring and setting definitely did not make it as valuable as they charged. You can find better diamonds, a much larger selection of settings, and even cheaper prices if you were to purchase online from different online jewelry and diamond retailers.

Because it’s a retail store, Costco also has to charge sales tax. When you buy online you can usually avoid paying this additional expense.  I fully recommend this online diamond dealer.

Final Thoughts

We undoubtedly think that Costco is a great store and we love shopping there. But as far as their jewelry store is concerned, it can definitely benefit from a big overhaul. They need more options, staff members with more knowledge, and they need to understand the quality of diamonds better so they can sell their products accordingly. They aren’t the worst option in the world so it’s up to you whether or not you’d like to give them a try.

Is Emma Stone Engaged?

While most of my blog posts on here are to spread the news about recent celebrity engagements – and to share pictures of the new bling they’re rocking on their finger – it has been a rather slow period of engagements since my last update about Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez.

With this lull in the news to share, I did some searching for other engagement news and there is new speculation that Hollywood actress Emma Stone may be engaged. As reported by Elle.com, she was recently seen out and about with a new diamond ring on her left ring finger, which of course gets all the gossip magazines talking about what this could mean in her personal life.

Did Emma Stone and Dave McCary Get Engaged?

It seems like any time a celebrity is seen with a ring on their finger, it becomes fodder for all of the magazines that make a living digging into the private lives of film and television’s leading women. This time around the focus of speculation is Emma Stone.

Stone has always been pretty private about her personal life, so there is no real story to go on other than the fact that she is now wearing an engagement-like ring on her finger. Is it just an accessory, or could it mean something more?

did emma stone get engaged?

Stone has been dating SNL writer Dave McCary for some time now, so of course, the rumor mill is going into full swing with the appearance of this new jewelry on her hand. They started dating in October 2017, though it was largely under wraps until they debuted together at the SAG Awards earlier this year, however, in a sneaky way. They did not walk the red carpet together, but they posed for photos alongside each other inside the venue. Not long after that, they attended a basketball game together.

With Stone slated to host SNL next week, where McCary works, it’s possible they’ll find a way to work it into the content of the show and set the record straight. Maybe this gossip will find a way into her monologue? Then again, with how private she is with these kinds of matters, maybe we won’t hear anything about it at all. Furthermore, maybe the diamond ring is just an accessory and not a sign of relationship news.

Who knows? I guess only time will tell. If any updates come from this story, I’ll be sure to keep you updated in the blog.

Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez Engaged

It seems like celebrities are always keeping diamonds in the news! With so many celebrity couples that are dating, it’s as if every week brings news of a new engagement to celebrate!

In earlier editions, we’ve covered the engagements of Tim Tebow (here), Chris Pratt (here), and Jennifer Lawrence (here). Being that this site is all about diamonds, the focus of each of these updates is, of course, the size of the rock on that engagement ring!

This week brought us news of the power couple of Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez finally getting engaged. Given all of the wealth between the two of them – you can imagine that she is rocking some pretty sweet bling on her finger! Check below for all the details.

Jennifer Lopez Engagement Ring

As it always seems to be the source for these kinds of things, People.com has all the details on the new jewelry that J-Lo is wearing. But first, a little background.

Jennifer Lopez has been an icon for decades. The singer started off as a “Fly Girl” on the sketch comedy show In Living Color back in the early 90s, and has built a solid singing and acting career since then, not to mention many other businesses in the fashion and beauty industry. Rodriguez is a former baseball player, and now commentator, who at one point had the richest contract in professional sports history. It’s safe to say that there is financial stability in this relationship!

Sources say that A-Rod popped the question to J-Lo while on a getaway to the Bahamas recently, which was confirmed by their representatives and shared with the world on their Instagram profiles. This big news comes shortly after the happy couple celebrated their two-year anniversary of dating in February.

As for the ring, Lopez shared an image of it on her Instagram and it is huge! She is quite a lucky girl!

 

View this post on Instagram

 

♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️

A post shared by Jennifer Lopez (@jlo) on

Of course, everything needs to be shared these days – you can’t get enough publicity – so there were photographers there to capture the special moment of Rodriguez down on one knee during sunset on the beach. Can you imagine a more special time and place? He looks so happy!

 

View this post on Instagram

 

3.9.19✨♥️

A post shared by Jennifer Lopez (@jlo) on


How Big Is It?

As for details on the ring, the only look we have of it is in the Instagram photo provided above, but that leaves enough room for experts to speculate on it. Town and Country Mag says that it is estimated to be between 10 and 15 carats, and could be worth anywhere from $1 million to $5 million. Yeah, I know that it is quite a broad range, but suffice to say, it cost A-Rod a lot of money. Yeah, that’s a bit out of my range, and I think I’ll stick with getting my diamonds from James Allen.

For a funny look down memory lane – remember that Jennifer Lopez has now been engaged five times – the link to Town and Country Mag above compares all of her rings over the years. You can see photos and price estimates on her previous rings from Ojani Noa, Chris Judd, Ben Affleck, and Marc Anthony – she is definitely no stranger to having a rock on her ring finger!

Jennifer Lawrence Gets Engaged to Cooke Maroney

One of Hollywood’s leading woman now has a man who can consider her his #1 girl, as news broke that Jennifer Lawrence got engaged to her boyfriend Cooke Maroney, an art gallery director. The news was first revealed by Page Six as they spotted her out at dinner in New York City with a massive ring on her finger, and was later confirmed on Tuesday to People magazine.

Jennifer Lawrence’s Engagement Ring

So I’m happy for the young couple, they look so thrilled in all the pictures of them frolicking around the city together. But let’s get down to what we’re really all about on this site – what about the ring?

According to a source to Page Six who spotted them at Raoul’s, a fancy French restaurant in NYC, “It was a giant rock. They seemed like they were celebrating and people were talking about it. The ring was very noticeable.”

The couple has been dating since at least June, when it was confirmed publicly, and have shared a lot of time together in the public eye since then. There have been plenty of outings in New York City, which seems to be a favorite place of theirs, as well as a romantic trip together to Paris and Rome in August. They’ve also joined each other at the New York Film Festival in September.

Unfortunately, since the announcement is so new (confirmed yesterday, as of the time of this writing), little is known about the rock she’s wearing on her finger outside of the source who spotted her at dinner. Only one photo has been able to capture it so far, and unfortunately, it is not a close-up so we can’t yet speculate on the size of it (let alone what it may have cost, what kind of setting it is in, what cut of diamond, how the band looks, etc.). Below you can see a photo snapped of the happy couple out walking together on date night, with the bling visible on Lawrence’s finger.

Jennifer Lawrence shows off her engagement ring

Photo credit: The Image Direct

Considering it’s not a close-up shot and we can see it sparkle all the way from here, it no doubt is a huge rock and an absolute beauty. It looks like Maroney did the job well. You can see how happy she is with him and how excited she is to show off that new ring!

Once we get a better look at the ring and some more information in its type, size, cost, etc., I’ll be sure to come back and update this post with the details. For now, you may be interested in some of the past engagements we’ve covered on this site, linked below. There are some rings north of $500,000 in these celebrity engagements, but something tells me that Lawrence’s may even top those stats!

Tiffany Says Man-Made Diamonds are Less Luxurious

As I was browsing the news today on the topic of diamonds, to see what kind of things are trending or newsworthy, it is ironic that I came across this article today from Forbes.com. A previous post, which you can find here, spoke about how big diamond company De Beers is entering the market of man-made diamonds. I talked about what this means for the little startups and how it changes the landscape.

Given my previous update, it caught my eye when another big diamond company, Tiffany, is in the news on the topic of lab-created diamonds. However, contrary to De Beers, they are taking a hard stance on not making man-made diamonds. According to the article, they refer to them as “less luxurious” than their natural counterpart.

Are Lab Created Diamonds a Luxury?

As quoted in the article, Andy Hart (the senior vice president of diamond and jewelry supply at Tiffany) says “Our position is lab-grown diamonds are not a luxury material.

We don’t see a role for them in a luxury brand. They have their use and they have their place, but I think luxury consumers will continue to desire the rarity and amazing story of natural diamonds.”

the environmental impact of diamond mining

Diamond mine in South Africa (courtesy: Getty Images)

Of course, this became open season for manufacturers of lab-created diamonds to voice their opinion in response to Hart and Tiffany’s stance. Jason Payne, who is the founder of one of the leaders in the man-made diamond industry, immediately posted an open letter to clap back at Tiffany and explain why their stance on artificial diamonds is incorrect. According to Payne, new luxury customers want lab-made diamonds. He states “My clients are steadfast in their belief that lab diamonds are the epitome of modern luxury, with most proudly evangelizing the superiority of ‘cultured’ diamonds over ‘dirt’ diamonds.”

This whole discussion came about as Tiffany released news on the full transparency of their diamond mining and sourcing. The mining of diamonds can be a detriment to the environment, and with all the news about climate change and similar issues, Tiffany is outlining their actions on environmental responsibility in a letter to President Donald Trump.

My Thoughts

As I have written before, I think that lab-created diamonds are inferior to natural diamonds. However, I will not ignore the environmental impact and applaud the positive effects that man-made diamonds create in the industry. To get natural diamonds, the mining operation requires dynamite and diesel and greatly impacts the environment in which it is sourced from. On the other hand, to create diamonds in a lab, all you need is an abundance of carbon, sun, and wind. When it comes to environmental impact, there is a clear winner in this race.

Whether you think one is superior to the other is a matter of opinion. I have stated my thoughts on which I prefer, but I’m not going to deny anyone from making their own choice. Artificial diamonds can certainly replicate the look of a real one, as well as be more affordable, and if it is not important to you and your partner to have a real rock, then I support whatever choice you make that fits your wants and needs.

To find the best piece of jewelry that fits your budget and desires, check out all my reviewed jewelers on the homepage here: https://www.diamondcuts.com/

Chris Pratt Engaged to Katherine Schwarzenegger

If you hadn’t read the news yet – and unless you read gossip mags, then you probably haven’t – last week greeted us with the news that movie star Chris Pratt got engaged to his girlfriend, Katherine Schwarzenegger (daughter of Arnold and Maria Shriver). It came as a surprise to many, as the two have only been dating since the summer. They were apparently introduced to each other by Shriver through their church.

Pratt was previously married to actress Anna Faris, with whom he has a 6-year-old son, Jack. While they have only been together for a short time, the engagement is not as much of a surprise to those who know them. They state that they neither of them date just for the sake of dating and that they knew quickly that they were meant to be together. They are serious and hopeful about their future together.

Chris Pratt Engagement Ring

Enough background on the couple. Since this site is about diamonds, I only bring up this news to spill the dirt on the engagement ring that Pratt gave to Schwarzenegger. Just like with my post about the Tim Tebow engagement, of course People magazine has the scoop on the rock that he put on her finger.

According to People, Pratt chose a romantic oval center stone for his bride-to-be. It is believed to be a 5-carat diamond, as told by Beverly Hills jeweler Jason Arasheben. It is complemented with a simple band, with more focus being on the rock itself. As for the price, it is speculated that a diamond of this size and shape would cost somewhere in the area of $550,000.

There aren’t a ton of great photos of the ring, but you can see it in the Instagram photo shared by Pratt above. That is one massive diamond! It’s safe to say he went to a high-end jeweler – you won’t find something in this price range diamond retailers I review here.

While this is a little bit less than Tebow spent on his, which is estimated to be north of $600,000, despite his higher earning power as a massive film star these days, it is understandable that Pratt spent a little less than the star athlete. Given that he is not far removed from a divorce, as well as having a child (neither of which apply to Tebow), it may be a wise move to not spend as much as high big-budget movie salary could afford.

But then again, who am I kidding – $550,000 is still a massive amount of money to anybody! It says in the article that Faris and Pratt just recently finalized their divorce and it seems to be amicable. Neither of them requested spousal support and they agreed to live within 5 miles each other until their son completes 6th grade. They’ve all (Pratt, Schwarzenegger, Faris and her boyfriend) out together on excursions with young Jack, so it sounds like it is already a happy family. Good for them!

While a ring valued at over $500,000 isn’t in most people’s budget, there are still great rings that can be had at affordable prices. For my top recommendation, take a look at this brand here: https://www.diamondcuts.com/james-allen-review/

Can Lab-Grown Diamond Startups Survive?

As I love learning about diamonds and sharing what I know with my readers on this site, I try to keep up to date on these gems whenever they come up in the news. Today I was browsing through Google News and I came across this article off of Yahoo Finance that discusses the viability of lab-grown diamonds.

Artificial diamonds have always been a pretty controversial subject in this industry, where mostly everyone takes a side – whether they are inferior or if they are as good as the real thing. This article I found provided some pretty interesting viewpoints, as well as illustrates a shift in opinion from some of the industry’s biggest names.

Are Lab-Grown Diamonds a Threat to Big Diamond?

The article starts off by correctly stating that in the beginning, diamonds that were made in a lab weren’t seen as much of a threat to the big companies in the diamond industry.

Everyone wants a real diamond, not a fake, was the thinking.

De Beers to begin to offer lab-created diamonds

However, due to their lower price points, as well as the increased sophistication of the technology to create something that looked just like the real thing, their popularity began to rise. This couldn’t be more evident than when De Beers, one of the longest-running names in the diamond business, announced that they would start to offer lab-grown diamonds. Previously, they had referred to them as inferior.

Due to economies of scale, De Beers will be able to sell their artificial diamonds at even lower price than the other smaller companies that create them. The crux of the article is the question of whether or not the smaller players should be worried about this. An interview with a founder of a lab-grown diamond startup, Clean Origin, doesn’t think De Beers’ strategy will work. He claims that, despite reports to the contrary, prices for these kinds of diamonds are not coming down, and he actually has to turn away customers. There is much more demand than there is a supply of lab-grown diamonds, which keeps prices at a steady level if not increasing.

Furthermore, the price to produce a lab-made diamond has decreased at the same time. It used to cost around $500 per carat to produce previously, and now is around $300 per carat. This is increasing the margins for manufacturers of these gems and allowing them to increase their production to as much as their capacity can take, if not expand their operations. The fact of the matter is, despite De Beers entering the market for lab-produced diamonds, there is even less barrier to entry than before for the smaller producers and an even more lucrative business than ever.

I have already given my thoughts on lab-grown diamonds in this post, but am curious to see what my readers think. Do they measure up to the real thing? Is a natural diamond a requirement for you, or your partner? What would make you choose one over the other, other than the price? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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Tim Tebow Gets Engaged

If you don’t follow the gossip news at all, this week we were greeted with the announcement that football (and now baseball) star Tim Tebow has gotten engaged to his lovely girlfriend, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters.

While we’re happy for him and his soon-to-be bride, that’s not what this is about. Of course, we wanted to bring the news of the rock he bought her!

Tim Tebow Engagement Ring

People.com has the story on the diamond that he gave his beauty pageant-winning fiance (she was the winner of Miss Universe in 2017), and it is absolutely gorgeous! With a few years as a starting QB in the NFL with the Denver Broncos, a few years as a commentator on major sports networks, and now a budding professional baseball career, it is safe to say that Tebow has a budget quite a bit higher than the rest of us. His financial means definitely show in this stunning engagement ring. Estimates put the value at around $600,000 to $750,000.

Tebow gave his fiance a jaw-dropping 7.25-carat solitaire ring, as pictured in the photo below.

Kelly Braman Photography

Apparently, the couple got engaged on Wednesday evening at Tebow’s family’s farm outside of Jacksonville, Florida. As they passed a small lake on the property, they stopped at a bench that had he had specially built and was engraved with the day that the couple met. As he got down on one knee, he told her “This ring is internally flawless — just like you” as his girlfriend beamed with excitement.

The ring was purchased a month before the proposal, with Tebow flying in a jeweler into Jacksonville with a set of diamonds from him to choose from. It reminds me of all those Neil Lane scenes in the last episode of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette – lifestyles of the rich and famous, right?

Where to Get an Engagement Ring on a Budget

Not all of us have the means and the luxury of being able to fly a renowned jeweler to our homes and presenting with us a cadre of stunning diamond rings to choose from. Luckily, there are many other budget-friendly suppliers out there, many of which can be found on the web!

I have reviewed a number of such retailers on this site here, all of which have diamond engagement rings to fit any budget. If you’re looking for my top recommendation, definitely take a look at my review of James Allen, probably the best online jeweler around. Also give a look at Blue Nile, a close second.

If you can’t afford a ring up-front but are itching to pop the question now, there are always financing options available to help you get that ring before you have enough money saved up. I talk more about that in this post here.

I’m always thrilled to see others so happy with each other and am overjoyed at the news of Tebow and Nels-Peter getting engaged. Congrats to the happy couple! Of course, all this talk has brought up a sensitive subject, being that Tebow is a proud virgin. Deadspin has their own take on it here.

Should You Finance an Engagement Ring?

I am very old school in that I believe that when it comes to engagement rings, it should be dealt ith the classic way. Save some money from your salary until you can afford an engagement ring. In fact, your spouse should know about your financial situation before you decide to get married and start shopping for a ring. Your budget should be known so there are no outrageous expectations.

However, sometimes love can make us do crazy things and people may not think about their financial well-being before buying a diamond ring. This often leads to a financial disaster and long-term after-effects on the marriage.

Is It Smart to Finance an Engagement Ring?

If you are about to pop the question and your financial situation isn’t good enough to buy your soon-to-be spouse an engagement ring, then there are other ways. The price can vary depending on the engagement ring style, but the average is around $5,000 these days. Getting your engagement ring financed these days is a common thing for many. 

financing an engagement ring

However, there are some shortfalls for going this route to pay for your ring. So the real question is: should you finance an engagement ring?

To put it simply, financing an engagement ring should be your last resort. You really don’t want to start a marriage with debt hanging over your head. Luckily, there are many financing options available today both through banks and diamond retailers.

Financing Options

I was browsing my Facebook newsfeed just the other day when I came across a sponsored post talking about 0% financing for an engagement ring. This ad was posted by a very well known jewelry store, a nationwide chain that is very famous for their rings.

I would say, if you come across an offer like that, you shouldn’t think twice and go for it. Zero-percent financing options are very rare and they are extremely beneficial for someone who lacks the financial stability to buy a diamond ring by paying for it all up-front. You can find many options like this that will cater to your financial situation at the different James Allen financing options I wrote about earlier.

With 0%, as long as you abide by the terms and make your payments on time and pay down the entirety before the 0% period ends, it can be a very affordable way to buy your ring. When going for other financial options, there is easily a chance that you may end up paying so much more for a mere $5,000 ring, due to high interest. This can damage your financial stability which is not only bad for you, but bad for both of you as you start the rest of your lives together.

Taking advantage of a great financing offer can really help you out in the future because you’ll be able to get the ring you want, without having to pay the full cost up-front, and save you from paying exorbitant interest rates.

Other Ways to Pay

Although financing an engagement ring is an excellent option, especially if you need to buy one right away, I would still recommend saving money from your salary. If you are smart with your finances and put a little money away on a consistent basis, you can get there. There are literally hundreds of savings accounts offered by banks across America that can help you earn up to 2.25% on your money. If you are wise with your money and plan ahead, you can get to that amount you need without having to rely on financing.

If you really need to finance an engagement ring, make sure you find the option that has the lowest % APR otherwise you’ll regret buying that ring for the term of the repayment.

California Man Turns Wife’s Ashes Into Diamond

“Diamonds are forever”, as the saying goes, and a man from California took that adage to heart in the gesture that he made during this holiday season. As described in this article from wjc.com, Randy Huhn from Arroyo Grande wanted to do something special to carry his late wife with him forever.

He found a company based out of Texas called Eterneva that was able to transform his wife’s ashes into a beautiful diamond that he will be able to cherish eternally.

Making Diamonds From Ashes

The process is done through a carbon purification process in which it is then put through cycles of high heat and high pressure, much the way that natural diamonds are created, which eventually (over the course of a few months) turns the carbon into a raw diamond.

I really love the gesture that Mr. Huhn made here, as it will be an eternal gift whereby he can carry his deceased wife with him forever. It is said that his wife loved the mantra “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”, so he hit it right on the nose with this idea that he had.

To go even further with the sentimentality, for even further honoring the memory of his wife, the end result was a blue diamond that matched his wife’s eyes. This guy “gets it” and I can’t think of anything more loving. After cremation, you’re commonly left with an urn to place somewhere special. Though it is not said in the article what kind of jewelry or what kind of diamond cut he made from this, this creation from the cremains can be carried with him everywhere.

This gift to himself comes at a particularly special, though difficult time for Huhn, as it was the first Thanksgiving that he and his wife did not spend together after 40 years. It will also be her first birthday and Christmas since her recent passing, so Huhn will have this diamond so that she is “with” him during this usually joyous season.

While it is generally regarded that lab-created diamonds are poor value, this diamond that Huhn had artificially created is worth much more in sentiment than it is monetarily, and that is something that you can’t put a price tag on, regardless if it is real or fake. It is not said whether or not the Huhns had any children, but I can imagine this would be a wonderful heirloom passed down that has special meaning.