An Engagement Ring’s Second Chance

The idea that diamond engagement rings are bad luck after a failed engagement or marriage 140906-425x282-Return-Engagement-Ringis simply the product of clever jewelry marketing. (Along with the 4 C’s: Cut, Clarity, Color, Cost; two-months salary buy in and just about every other ring tradition.) Jewelers just want you to have an excuse to buy more brand new bling, but what if that didn’t have to be the case?

The truth is that the diamond engagement ring wasn’t the object of your love’s undoing, there’s no alleged bad juju. But what’s a gal or guy to do when love goes sour and there’s some really expensive and emotionally charged hardware lying around to remind oneself of sunken love and sunken costs? When housecleaning after a relationship, this trinket of love is not one of those items you can easily kick to the curb in the cardboard box along with his or hers Ace of Base vinyl record, toothbrush and memory card of what were once memorable moments.

Traditionally, rings were returned or sold to estate jewelers, cash for gold or pawn shops. Some are dismantled and repackaged by high-end designers. Others might end up on Ebay.com, but now there’s a site called IDoNowIDont.com. It’s branding itself as a reputable secondary market online diamond ring middleman where a “GIA-accredited gemologist” will certify the ring before shipping it to the buyers and sending the fifth diamond ring C, Cash, from escrow to the seller.

Between divorces, death, defections and ‘I-don’t’ (I think I just invented the four Ds on abandoned engagement rings), there’s probably a large demand for this type of service. The difficult truth about diamond engagement rings is that they generally retain little of its original value. One reason is the mark up by retailers, they can’t buy a ring back at what you paid, lest they make no profit. The real value is closer to the price the retailer paid, which is usually far below consumer retail prices. Diamonds seldom appreciate and the bad superstitions attached to it keep them from increasing. While IDoNowIDont.com doesn’t seem to give any advice on how to price the seller’s ring, the goal does seem to be to put 40-60% of the ring’s selling price back into the original owner’s pocket. This is theoretically, according to the site, better than what you’d get through other resources. The experience is what inspired founder, Josh Opperman to start this business.

Though for others, the site is as juicy as reading Missed Connections on Craigslist. In reading the ‘for sale’ posts one seller explained: “Story: I myself, the bride, purchased our wedding bands. I also paid for the dress and pretty much everything other than the wedding that never took place. 5 years of being together, many wedding dates changed, finally found out he was living a completely double life behind me. Not only was he cheating on me with women, but he was also apparently bisexual (actually more on the gay side because he seemed to prefer men overall). He was on several sex sites etc. I want to rid myself of this, but also can’t be out of ALL the money I put into it. I love the rings and how they look. I just hate what they are attached to. I’d like to see this ring turned positive, for real love. It is a very handsome Diana ring in mint condition.”

No matter how juicy the story of why a ring is returned to the market, it shouldn’t matter. It’s time consumers countered the superstitious stigma on diamond engagement rings. In addition, in a time where people are becoming increasingly concerned about global warming and social issues, buying secondary marketing diamond engagement rings will help to offset the environmental degradation from mining and won’t fuel blood diamond conflicts. And if websites like IDoNowIDon’t.com, start to reflect more realistic diamond engagement ring costs than market costs will be fairer and give more power to the consumer. With so many benefits, it seems that no matter how you come by your diamond engagement ring that’s an overall win for everyone.

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