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Costco Jewelry - Independent Case Study

Download Case Study PDF here.

LED lighting by LEDpac was installed in the typical jewelry case in a test store in Irvine, California.

The test has resulted in a significant increase in sales of quality jewelry in just a few weeks, including more sales of high end diamonds. An independent study was done on the Costco Jewelry Case LED lighting for informative purposes by an independent lighting designer.

Jewelry case before lighting changes:

Costco Jewelry Before

Jewelry case after lighting changes:

Costco Jewelry After

In review of the new LED lighting by LEDpac for the typical Costco Jewelry Case, we found that there are benefits in a number of areas including, but not limited to the following:

  • Increased sparkle on cut stones and polished metals
  • Amplified depth and reduced "flatness" of lighting
  • Improved color temperature of the light
  • Greater light levels in case
  • Reduced energy consumption
  • Minimized maintenance of lamps
  • Improved design appearance of overall case
  • Increased Sparkle

Diamonds facets are designed to create sparkle by reflecting and refracting light which comes from various angles. Each facet reflects the light sources that impinge on the surface. As the case was originally designed, there were 1 or 2 50Watt MR16 low voltage lamps located above head height in the top of the case shining down through the case glass. Each facet of each diamond reflects the small quantity of lights from above. With the new LED case lighting, there are multiple LED's per case. Each facet of each diamond has the opportunity to see multiple LED's, and the level of sparkle increases nearly five-fold. This increased sparkle is evident as a customer traverses in front of or beside a display case, and the sparkle movement is attractive to the peripheral vision of the eye. In simple terms, it will make the customer turn their head to look. When viewing the diamond directly in the case, the diamond has an increased level of sparkle due to the increased number of reflections. The increased sparkle makes the diamonds look more expensive, and therefore more worthy of being purchased.

The same is true of polished surfaces such as watch bezels, crystals and metal bands. Edges, corners and surfaces also reflect an increased number of light sources making them seem more polished and more expensive.

Amplified Depth

In the original design, the single downlight creates a flat, uninteresting light on the top of the case. Glare from the glass makes viewing product through the glass more difficult. There is a single shadow and little depth to the lighting. Additionally, when a customer bends over to look into the case, they have the chance of blocking the lighting from above. The LEDpac LED case lighting kit is from the inside front edge of the case, making it impossible to block the lighting from overhead, and giving a general wash of lighting to the whole case. The lighting also creates a series of shadows which increase the depth and interest of the lighting, providing shadow and contrast in various ways on products which are displayed. In addition, the existing overhead lighting illuminates the perimeter metal banding of the case, thus reducing contrast, while the internal LED case lighting leaves the perimeter metal in darkness, increasing the contrast of the brighter product to the darker surrounding case.

Depth of light with glare

Improved Color of Light

LEDpac chose a specific LED color blend which has a unique quality of light. The increased color temperature of the light source provides a cooler light which is more flattering to the typical diamond. Warmer light tends to make the typical diamond or other gem stone more yellow and less clear in appearance. The cooler light makes the product more white which is psychologically more "clear." The current trend toward white metals tends to be complimented more by the cooler light sources. Unlike the halogen lamps in the original display, the LEDs emit no UV energy, thus decreasing the fading of products and display backgrounds.

Greater Light Levels

The existing lighting fixtures provided a single source of direct lighting to the case. Much of the light is reflected off of the glass or falls on parts of the case that do not house products. At times, the beam of light does not cover all of the products in the case. The LED's, although individually lower in light output, are positioned closer to the products. The overlap of lighting provides more light within the case and on the product than the original lighting.

Decreased Energy Consumption

The overhead lighting in the original case design operated at about 115 W per case and 1250 Watts total. The new "green" lighting system by LEDpac using LEDs operates at 9 to 15 Watts per case, (about 250W total) a savings of more than 80% of the energy consumed. Because the cases are relatively small in relation to the overall store, the energy story is not significant unless it can be included with other lighting energy savings from overhead lighting or other display lighting. A total savings of about 1000W per case or 3600 KWh translates to approximately $700 per year in energy savings. Additional energy consumption could be significant if the LEDpac technology is used in refrigeration and freezer case applications and the overhead lighting system converted to newer, "green" highbay technologies.

Minimized Maintenance, Sustainable Lighting

Lighting maintenance on low voltage MR16 lamps is frequent. The lamps are designed to last about 2000-4000 hours of operation, but in reality when housed in a small fixture, the life tends to be shorter. This requires a maintenance program that demands regular replacement of lamp burnouts. LEDs are long life solid state lighting elements. The life is quoted at 15 to 20 years. This rating is based on the light output of the LED. LEDpac has designed a unique system unlike other LED manufacturers. The system drives the lamps at current levels below the rated amperage of the LED. This allows the lamps to reach their full rated life. Other LED systems are designed for maximum light output, and the power supplies tend to overdrive the LEDs making them fail prematurely. This LEDpac benefit is crucial to the design and integrity of the installation and provides a nearly maintenance free product in the case for the life of the case.

Improved Design Appearance

The LEDpac LED lighting system is small and compact and can be added to the cases without the need for a bulky overhead "Crown." Removing this crown reduces the size of the overall retail fixture. It also improves internal store sightlines, allowing the customer to see past the display case and into retail space beyond. Eliminating the crown significantly reduces shipping costs for the fixture itself and speeds the assembly of the case on site in a new store.


In conclusion, the increased sparkle is probably all that is needed to repay the cost of the new lighting system. Initial store results in Irvine showed a maintained 70% increase in sales after the cases were relit. With these results, there is an almost immediate payback. With additional savings in energy and maintenance, there are many reasons to use the LEDpac LED lighting system in the cases. LEDpac has refined the case lighting system to make it easier to install with just a single ¼" hole drilled in the bottom of each display case. LED Strips are simply applied with VHB tape and no hardware. The system low voltage power supply is simply mounted to the underside of the case and wired using common terminal blocks. The cases in a store can be retrofitted in a single evening, allowing the store to experience no downtime during store hours. The collectable case has also been retrofitted in the Irvine store with success.

I would recommend this lighting product to Costco for further application in other stores.

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