Apr 01

Pre-owned Engagement Rings-Frugal or Tacky?

student debt survivor ringBf and I have been dating for 4 years. Recently we’ve been talking about getting engaged. Yes, I’ve even included this in my goals for 2013. So when I came across an article in the March issue of Entrepreneur magazine about a company called, “I Do Now I Don’t“. I was intrigued.

The company,Β  started by Josh Opperman, a former market researcher, hosts a virtual showroom (website) for people to sell their pre-owned wedding bands and engagement rings. According to the website, Opperman came home from work one day to find that his fiance had moved out of their apartment-engagement ring left on the coffee table. Opperman tried to sell the ring, without any success (re: nobody would give him even a fraction of the retail price he paid). Instead of selling the ring and losing a significant percentage of his purchase price, he started, I Do Now I Don’t.

The basic gist of the website: Individual users post photos and descriptions of their rings. When the ring is purchased, the funds are put into a escrow account and the ring is sent to the company by the seller for verification and authentication (gotta make sure that the seller didn’t misrepresent the ring). Once the ring is checked out by a master jeweler, it’s sent to the buyer, and the seller receives payment. Neat, no?

So what’s my take? I’m not really traditional, and I don’t believe in “cursed rings” or bad luck. I know there are some people who would prefer a, “new” ring. But the truth of the matter is, you’d never know if the diamond in your setting is, “new” or used. The jeweler could have bought the ring from a wholesaler or an individual, removed the stone and reset it in a new setting. Why that matters to some folks, I’m not sure.Β 

That being said, I’d be totally fine with receiving a, “second-hand ring” or a “gently used stone”. Ironically, my 20 year old self would never say this, but the ring, (be it diamond, or not) isn’t as important to me as the sentiment behind it. Being a January baby, I’ve told the bf that I’d be just as happy with a garnet, or even a claddagh ring. I’ve also told the bf that I don’t want him to spend a lot of money on ring, and would much rather have a small token ring, then a big flashy (re: expensive) ring. The money he saves not buying a fancy ring will be better spent on the down payment for the investment property we’ve been talking about. A better ROI than a big rock? I think so.

So What Do You Think? Pre-owned Engagement Rings, Frugal or Tacky?

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  1. I don’t think it’s tacky at all; a ring is a ring, and if someone has one to sell and you are in the market for one, there is no reason you shouldn’t buy theirs. I understand how some may be superstitious or worried what others think, but honestly it really doesn’t matter – if you love the ring that’s what counts!

      • KK on April 1, 2013 at 9:06 pm
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      Agreed, I don’t really care about the back story, a ring’s a ring

  2. My ring is about 100 years old, definitely pre-owned, and it was free. And it couldn’t be more perfect. So I am all for reusing jewelry. =)

      • KK on April 1, 2013 at 9:07 pm
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      Free huh? Now you’re talking my language πŸ˜‰ Love that your ring is 100 years old. There’s something that’s so special about antique and older rings. It’s like they have stories to tell.

  3. I really don’t even get the fascination with diamonds anyway. Oooohhhhh…….shiny…. And I don’t think theres anything wrong with a used ring. I bought my unity candle at a garage sale!

      • KK on April 1, 2013 at 9:09 pm
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      You’re only going to burn it once right? I’d totally snag as much wedding stuff as I could at a garage sale.

  4. I wouldn’t mind a second hand ring. my BF took an old ring and had it melted and re shaped into 3 rings (it had a lot of diamonds!) that had a more modern look. it can be an option too, to wear something old but new.

      • KK on April 1, 2013 at 9:11 pm
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      Aww I love the idea of melting down old rings and jewelry to make a new one. My sister was going to do that for her rings, but it actually ended up being more expensive to have everything melted and remolded.

  5. I think it’s fine, but I know plenty of women that would hate it. I think it all comes down to the two of you and what you would rather spend the money on.

      • KK on April 1, 2013 at 9:13 pm
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      I’ve definitely heard of women being pissed if their sig. other bought them used jewelry. I’m definitely not one of those women.

  6. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a pre-owned engagement ring. As long as it’s in good condition and you like it, then who cares?

      • KK on April 1, 2013 at 9:14 pm
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      Totally agree, there’s no reason you can’t have it cleaned and polished and looking like new.

  7. Uhm…considering that I’ve heard of women wearing their grandmother or great-grandmothers’ engagement rings that were handed down, no, I don’t think it’s tacky. Yeah, I guess it is different when it’s from a relative, but I still don’t think it’s tacky.

      • KK on April 1, 2013 at 9:16 pm
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      I love the idea of having my grandmother’s ring. My mom made me a pendant out of the diamond my dad bought her (they’ve divorced now) and I wear it all the time. I don’t think of it as “cursed” I think of it as a gift from my dad to my mom, passed along to me.

  8. To be honest, what’s tacky is some guy financing an engagement ring because he couldn’t really afford it. THAT is the definition of tacky. Or dropping the amount of my student loan debt on one.

    Yeah, I would say the least tacky thing is if a relative bequeaths a ring. Barring that, a preowned one is probably the less tacky option.

      • KK on April 1, 2013 at 9:18 pm
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      I’d kill the bf if he financed a ring. I know a lot of people do that and I’m not judging, but for us personally I’d never want him to pay payments on a ring.

  9. I don’t think it’s tacky at all, assuming the woman is fine with it. I actually gave my wife my grandmother’s ring. She loves it, it’s very unique and she’s always getting compliments on it…all wins in my book. πŸ™‚

      • KK on April 1, 2013 at 9:19 pm
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      I love the idea of having a family heirloom. If only someone in my, or bf’s family was passing one along.

  10. Not tacky at all, I literally gave my wife a ring pop as an engagement ring and later on my mother in law passed down her grandmothers ring. I know a lot of people place “value” on rings and weddings but we were focused primarily on celebrating the meaning and the day.

      • KK on April 1, 2013 at 9:21 pm
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      It’s really the meaning that counts. I think a lot of people get caught up in the ring and the wedding and end up spending a ton of money then being disappointed and frustrated because they’re burdened with the debt.

  11. I don’t think it’s tacky, but I am kind of superstitious and think ‘bad juju’ if a site it was bought on was called “I Do Now I Don’t”… it should be named more positively for the new owner or something. πŸ™‚ If the ring was from family, though, I think it would be awesome.

      • KK on April 1, 2013 at 9:24 pm
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      Yeah the name of the site sort of sends a weird message. Some of the people are selling because they’re “upgrading” to a bigger ring (or at least that’s what they say Smart since most people, even if they aren’t superstitious don’t want a ring from a terrible marriage that failed.

  12. TACKY. I totally buy into the cursed ring thing, though. Bad energy. Same thing with the hand-me-down dresses of divorcees.

    I agree with a lot of the other commenters, though. Financing a ring can be tacky, too.

      • KK on April 1, 2013 at 9:29 pm
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      I figured more people would say tacky. I guess because most folks who commented are personal finance bloggers we’re a little skewed?

      1. Haha that sounds about spot on.

  13. Not tacky at all. My husband and I got married ring-free. Do whatever makes you happy and doesn’t bust your bank account!

      • KK on April 1, 2013 at 9:34 pm
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      Ring free huh? Bf might vote for that option. I’d want a token ring, but it could sterling or something inexpensive for all I care.

  14. I say frugal! Plus you can just call it vintage instead of pre-owned πŸ™‚

      • KK on April 1, 2013 at 9:34 pm
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      Totally! vintage is so “in” these days.

  15. At the end of the day, a ring is just a ring. It’s the marriage that’s important πŸ™‚ Do whatever floats your boat!

      • KK on April 1, 2013 at 9:35 pm
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      Agreed! Bf Ironically is the one who’s “worried” about the ring. I really just want the sentiment and meaning behind it.

  16. Although there’s nothing wrong with it, I don’t think it would be for me. Giving your wife Grandma’s ring is fine. Giving her a ring that was part of a wedding that just didn’t work out – call me superstitious, but something feels funny about it.

      • KK on April 1, 2013 at 9:38 pm
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      Bf feels strange about it too. I have no issues with the idea of a pre-owned ring. Bf is pretty superstitious.

  17. I think it’s truly the sentiment, not the ring, that matter most. It might be a little unconventional, but it sure beats taking on debt or draining your savings!

      • KK on April 1, 2013 at 9:39 pm
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      I agree. I’d actually prefer bf doesn’t spend much money on an item that loses is value immediately after you purchase it.

  18. As someone who has sold an engagement ring that was gorgeous and barely used it was a win win situation. The new bride to be was getting a beautiful ring at a really good price and I was getting rid of something that I no longer wanted or needed and put that money towards my debt at the time. I see nothing wrong with it and do what works for you.

      • KK on April 1, 2013 at 9:42 pm
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      Totally a win-win. I’ve sold a bunch of rings and necklaces from ex-boyfriends (that sounds bad, I swear I don’t have that many ex-boyfriends). I made a little cash and put it in my emergency fund.

  19. I don’t think it’s tacky. I think it is a smart way to save some money. I don’t understand why people pay top dollar for flawless diamonds. If it’s “eye-clean”, isn’t that good enough? I never met people with jewelers magnifying glasses checking out random peoples ring on the street.

      • KK on April 1, 2013 at 9:46 pm
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      I’d be nervous of the type of person inspecting rings. Maybe a friend wants to try it on, but hopefully she isn’t carrying around a jeweler’s loupe.

  20. I think pre-owned is totally fine. I would kind of feel weird about the negative karma, but it’s good that you don’t really believe in it. If you like the look of diamonds but not so much the price, consider moissanite. It’s supposed to be even brighter than diamonds.

      • KK on April 1, 2013 at 9:47 pm
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      I’ve told bf I’d be fine with, maybe even interested in moissanite, he said no. Maybe that means he’s found a good deal elsewhere?

      1. I told B to get me a moissanite ring and he said his wife will not be wearing anything fake, lol.

  21. I don’t think I’d mind at all. I’d just be happy to be engaged…or at this point dating!!!

      • KK on April 1, 2013 at 9:48 pm
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      I told a friend of mine about the site, she said the same thing πŸ™‚ You’re not alone!

  22. This goes to show you how a lot of companies are founded because they need to solve a problem and there someone willing to buy! If you are fine with this arrangement then go for it I’d say. As the years go by other things will become more important in a relationship than a ring.

      • KK on April 2, 2013 at 8:58 am
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      I’m not sure what bf has planned (or not planned). I showed him the site but he didn’t see overly interested. He knows the ring doesn’t really matter to me, it’s the sentiment and eventual marriage that do.

  23. In the olden days, that huge expensive rock would be your investment, should you hubby run away… Still unqiue business idea!

      • KK on April 2, 2013 at 8:59 am
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      Lol, he’s asthmatic so he won’t get far πŸ˜‰

  24. I think it’s a fine idea. My husband bought my diamond at a going-out-of-business sale (gotta love 2009…) and that’s basically the same thing to me since we aren’t superstitious. I do like that we had a unique setting designed, though.

      • KK on April 2, 2013 at 9:00 am
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      Nice. I’d be stoked if we could find a going out of business sale.

  25. I’d take an older ring! It has back story, whether that is “bad energy” or not, it would fascinate me, and the price tag doesn’t mean much to me.

      • KK on April 2, 2013 at 9:02 am
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      I know a lot people believe in bad energy, I’m not one of them (bf believes in that a little bit I think)

  26. Depends on the two people! Some will definitely have adverse reactions while some will focus on other aspects. Interesting topic.

      • KK on April 2, 2013 at 9:03 am
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      Agreed, I’d be fine with that if bf was interested. He’s not.

  27. I don’t mind pre-owned rings, but I agree, getting it from a site called i do now I don’t seems weird. There are other places to get pre-owned rings and i am totally down with the idea of rings in the family. I am also not very traditional and don’t much care about a ring, so it really just depends on what you two want and what the budget is.

    • KK on April 2, 2013 at 9:06 am
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    Bf is pretty traditional and doesn’t want to share his budget, which is fine (it’s the one thing he prefers to keep secret). I’ve just told him that I don’t want him to spend a lot of money, and he’s pretty frugal so I think we’ll be OK. As for the name of the site, I think I would have picked something different, but it’s not my business and they seem to be doing well, so I guess it doesn’t bother other people.

  28. Frugal. Though I’m past all that.

      • KK on April 2, 2013 at 9:09 pm
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      Hoping shortly, bf and I will be “past” all of this and married πŸ™‚

  29. I think either is fine, but if I were the guy/proposer, I would defer to my would-be spouse’s preference. So if my spouse really want a “new” ring or doesn’t want to have a ring from a broken engagement, I’d respect that sentiment.

      • KK on April 2, 2013 at 9:12 pm
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      Agreed, If I were the proposer I’d definitely ask the proposee’s (is that a word?) opinion first.

  30. My engagement ring is pre-owned, but it’s a family ring that was passed down, so I guess that doesn’t really count. I wouldn’t have any problem with wearing some random person’s old engagement ring, though. I don’t believe in karma.

      • KK on April 2, 2013 at 9:15 pm
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      I love that so many other pf bloggers have family rings. I wish we had a ring in my family or bf’s family.

  31. I heard about this site on NPR and think that it’s a great idea. It gives you a deal on something that someone else doesn’t want. Although I’m a guy so I’m not sure how far my opinion goes.

  32. Pre-owned is a great option. I wrote an article about Engagement rings that seems pretty relevant. Check it out if you get a minute.

  33. I can understand why someone might be uncomfortable with it. Personally, as long as I like the ring itself, that’s the main thing. My ring is a family heirloom; I didn’t actually like it very much to begin with but it’s really grown on me.

    • Julia on April 11, 2013 at 10:56 am
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    With the knowledge that my daughter’s boyfriend wanted to get married but was waiting to afford rings, I decided to help. They had just both finished college and were going into the ministy (So very low paying job). I had two engagement rings lying around. Mine, left after a divorce, and my oldest daughter’s, whose engagement was broken. I spoke with my oldest daughter to get her permission, then offered the rings to my future son-in-law. I explained I wouldn’t be insulted if he refused, but was offering because I understood his position. He decided to have the diamond taken out of one ring and purchased his own setting. My daughter was absolutely thrilled to be able to say “yes” without waiting a long period of time.

  34. I don’t have a problem with it either. They’re very practical, especially to those who are a little tight on their budget but would really like to make their woman special..

  35. I don’t have a problem with it, but I don’t think it will be my opinion that matters when it comes time to buy one πŸ™‚

    I might try to explain it by saying that part of an engagement ring is a promise as to what the future life will be; and a future life with less debt and smart choices isn’t the worst you could find…

    • Julia on April 26, 2013 at 3:21 pm
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    It’s definitely an individual preference kind of thing. Personally I don’t mind it. My boyfriend (now husband) like most people had plenty of debt from college. He wanted to spend money he didn’t have on a ring, I found one I liked on the jewelry resale site Have You Seen the Ring, we saved over $4,000 and the ring looks brand new.

  36. I’m a fan of the idea. If it were a well known ring (like the ones in museums), you wouldn’t care if it were used, would you? That would be something cool. At it’s essence, it’s a rock in an attractive setting. If I can get that cheaper than through a jeweler, why wouldn’t I go that route? Two generations from now, it can be MY family heirloom!

    • Rockermocking on May 6, 2013 at 4:03 pm
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    fun fact: did you know that engagement rings must be returned, at least in the state of NY, if the wedding never happens? from a legal standpoint, the engagement ring is a promise of fulfilling a contract, i.e. getting married, so if the marriage never takes place, a woman who gets cold shoulders will lose the battle of the jilted guy takes her to court over the ring.

    I can see some folks being superstitious about the ring if it was from a family member who divorced (I don’t think I’d want my fiancee wearing the gold band from my dad’s first marriage) but from a total stranger with no connection, I wouldn’t see that as bad luck. Maybe the people still got married and the ring recipient just didn’t like the original ring, you never know.

    • Monique on May 28, 2013 at 3:21 pm
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    As someone who recently went ring shopping with the Bf, the sticker shock of a “good ring” left me cringing and I am not the one paying for it. The sales woman casually mentioned having a stash of pre-owned rings and i was comfortable with that. I was looking at I do Now I dont and I really think its a smart idea. I dont buy into the whole “cursed” notion… those rings were initially purchased at full retail value- that was their curse. A smart buy. Use the savings towards an amazing honeymoon.
    But I am older and wiser. My 20 year old self is having a tantrum over not having a brand new shiny ring. But the 30 year old me is totally fine with it.

      • KK on May 30, 2013 at 7:54 am
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      “those rings were initially purchased at full retail value- that was their curse”.lol love that! my 20 year old self would totally throw a fit over getting a “used” ring. The 30 year old me would be totally thrilled with an inexpensive “pre-owned” number.

    • Britt on June 20, 2013 at 4:06 pm
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    we’re going the no-engagement ring route, and getting bands for the ceremony. more money for an amazing honeymoon, which is what we care more about anyway

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  5. […] Get engaged-I have no control over this one (well sort of), so I’m taking it off the list. People sometimes say if you focus too much energy on something you “jinx” it, so I’m going to let this one go to the back of my mind for a while. Obviously it’s still a goal of mine, but it’s something that will happen when the time’s right (and when bf finally buys the ring). […]

  6. […] @ Student Debt Survivor writes Pre-owned Engagement Rings-Frugal or Tacky? – Ever thought about purchasing your significant other a pre-owned ring? Considered selling […]

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