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Sam’s Club is a retailer that claims to sell the wares of top brands at wholesale prices. It’s a membership-only warehouse club and is actually owned and operated by Walmart Inc. In the US, Sam’s Clubs were originally all physical stores, but today have a dedicated online presence.
Many of you will have heard of Sam’s Club, maybe even bought from them. From groceries, to home furnishings, to electronics and much, much more, Sam’s Club has an incredibly large variety of goods and services on offer. But did you know Sam’s Club also sells diamond jewelry? They have a wide selection—but is it wise to buy your diamond jewelry from a store that also sells things like chips, baby supplies, and tires? Are you guaranteed to get the finest jewelry and the best deals? Find out in this review.
For the sake of diamond aficionados, we will only be reviewing the diamond jewelry offerings of Sam’s Club.
The History of Sam’s Club
Founded in 1983, the first Sam’s Club was opened 21 years after the founding of Walmart. They supplement Walmart’s services by offering member’s-only access to wholesale products, similar to Costco Wholesale and BJ’s Wholesale Club, who are the direct competitors of Sam’s Club today.
As with conventional warehouse club services, Sam’s Club sells most of its goods in bulk, with products stacked on pallets for easy transport. It doesn’t have exactly the same goods offering as Walmart, and has 600 locations across the US.
So what kind of jewelry do they have on offer?
Sam’s Club Jewelry
Sam’s Club has a wide variety of diamond jewelry online, from necklaces to bracelets to rings. However, their offerings are small compared to dedicated jewelry retailers, such as James Allen or Blue Nile that have huge selections.
Similarly, they don’t offer the same kind of bespoke design choices that other jewelry retailers do. For example, their rings are pre-set, meaning you do not get the chance to choose a specific diamond, which is a fairly important limitation.
The above engagement ring we viewed was just one example of the rings on offer, and it was fairly disappointing. It claimed there was IGI certification for the diamond, but that was not to be found on the page. It also stated that the clarity of the center diamond was I1, which is towards the lower end of the clarity grade scale. In fact, of all the 364 diamond engagement rings available on the site at time of writing, the large majority viewed were all I1 clarity.
In terms of price, there was also a large distance between the least expensive piece of jewelry viewed and the most. In terms of engagement rings, the highest-priced item was an $89,000 engagement ring featuring a 4.95 ctw SI2 diamond. A diamond of that size, at that low a clarity grade, isn’t worth purchasing as you’re more able to see the inclusions are such a size. The least expensive diamond engagement ring was valued at $325.
One thing easily noticed is the presence of ‘illusion settings’, which is where multiple smaller diamonds are set together to give the illusion of a large central stone. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, it is often used to disguise low-quality diamonds.
The other jewelry offered the same mixed bag. The majority of diamonds used in the crafting of each piece were I1 to SI1 or SI2, and were described without any official documentation proving their relative quality. While we’re not saying that all of the pieces offered by Sam’s Club aren’t worth purchasing, we will say that you will definitely have to sift through the duds to find something worthwhile.
The Buying Experience
Sam’s Club is neither wholly based on physical locations or online retail, which effectively muddies the waters on how the buying experience is. It makes it a lot more complex to judge, as you could have one amazing experience in-store, with helpful, diligent staff, and a terrible online experience (imagine your order arrives terribly late or does not arrive at all), or vice versa. The issue is, Sam’s Club doesn’t specialize in diamond jewelry, meaning you’re more than likely to experience a mixed bag of service, especially if you purchase from them more than once.
Because Sam’s Club does not specialize in diamonds, a very real problem is presented—you will not be able to gain the same level of experienced insight and advice that you would from a dedicated diamond retailer. Most customers today need a level of advice when it comes to purchasing such expensive, important items—especially if those items are engagement or wedding rings.
The online purchasing method seems straightforward enough, and yet each item page does not include enough information. The presence of the phrase ‘IGI certified’ on most pages, with no links or relevant documentation to prove this is a large red flag. There’s also no use of video to show the real-time quality of the diamond jewelry on sale.
At the end of the day, if you’re looking for the best kind of service that’s specifically geared towards selling diamonds or diamond jewelry, go to a jewelry retailer with the credentials to get the job done in the best way possible.
Value for Money
With a wholesale retailer, you would assume you would get the best value for money, but is this really the case?
We want to state initially that, of course, you will most likely be able to find value for money at Sam’s Club. From our research, we’ve seen buyers be very satisfied with what they’ve got. However, consistency is important in retail—if a business can’t guarantee good service and value for money with every purchase, are they worth purchasing from? It’s wise to not entertain risk, especially if you’re spending thousands.
For example, take the $89,000 ring mentioned before. The pre-set diamond is 4.95ctw, which is the reason for the high price, as that is a large diamond. However, as stated, that diamond is SI2 clarity, one of the lowest possible grades. Is it really worth spending close to $100,000 on something of low quality? The description also makes no mention of the quality of the diamond’s cut.
In contrast, dedicated diamond retailers offer much better options. For example, for less than half the price, you can purchase a VS1 clarity grade diamond, with an ideal cut, sized at 2.01ctw, which is still an impressive size.
This diamond, while smaller, is much better value. The competent diamond buyer knows that size doesn’t matter. What matters is the inherent qualities of the diamond: the cut, the color, the clarity (three of the Four Cs).
So not only will you not be guaranteed the kind of knowledge and insight given by a dedicated diamond retailer, it’s also not guaranteed that you will be getting value for money within your purchase.
Our Final Thoughts
In fairness, Sam’s Club does have some redeeming qualities. Their site is easy to use, and it’s no issue trying to find a specific type of jewelry item. The relative size and credibility of the organization also mean that if anything goes wrong in your purchase, it will be easier to chase up a solution than with smaller, less trustworthy businesses.
At the end of the day, those customers who really know their stuff about purchasing diamond jewelry will always go with a dedicated diamond retailer. These businesses have the knowledge, passion, and experience to deliver high-quality jewelry at the right prices. Plus, they’re incredibly trustworthy and will include all relevant documentation to prove the pedigree of the jewelry you purchase.
Sam’s Club might be worthwhile for bulk purchases of household goods, such as groceries or beauty products, but we cannot wholeheartedly endorse their jewelry offerings. There is far too much risk associated with the process.