Secondhand Engagement Rings: Second Best Or First Rate?

Some people think an engagement ring should never be bought "used," not in any circumstance. They believe an engagement ring should be something bought specifically for you.
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Once upon a time, a man proposed to his girlfriend and she said yes! But then, a few months later, the fairy tale came to an end. Just like Cinderella and her glass slipper, his "fiancée" vanished, leaving only the engagement ring behind. Back in reality, he was stuck with this unwanted ring. But rather then dwell on it, he gave hope and love to another couple looking to get married. He resold them his ring.

That man is my brother and he lived happily ever after, but did the ring? Is there bad karma attached to that ring?

As the co-founder of a pre-owned diamond engagement ring website,, I often get asked, "Would you want to wear a 'used' ring? Isn't that ring 'tainted'?" I'm also often told, "I don't think my girlfriend would want to wear a used ring."

On a day-to-day basis I hear much debate over this topic. Some people think an engagement ring should never be bought "used," not in any circumstance. They believe an engagement ring should be something bought specifically for you. Others think it's completely acceptable to reuse an engagement ring, especially if it's a family heirloom. But what happens if the family heirloom came from a failed relationship? Would you mind wearing that ring? Let's look at both the pros and cons of buying a used engagement ring:


1. She will never know

And actually, neither will you. There is no wear and tear on diamonds. None! Diamonds cannot be scratched or chipped and, really, there is no way to tell the difference between a diamond from yesterday versus 300 years ago. Plus, diamonds are resold all the time. How do you know the diamond that you bought at a retail store hadn't been returned and resold to you? That diamond could have been used before and the gold could have been parts of several other rings. You never know.

2. You won't break the bank

Buying used can save you a lot of money! Used doesn't mean poorer quality. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. Plus, being savvy and saving money can be particularly rewarding during these hard times. Why not use some of the money you saved to put a down payment on your house? Or use the saved money for your honeymoon or even your wedding? The list goes on ...

3. It's eco-friendly

Remember the terms reduce, reuse, recycle? Same is true for diamonds. There is no reason another diamond should ever be mined again. There are more than plenty to go around already.

4. Vintage and antique are increasingly popular and stylish

Jewelry that comes with history and character sets it apart from all others. These fine pieces can be unique and one of a kind, just like your fiancée.

5. More bang for your buck

Do size and quality matter? To her they might. Does she want a bigger diamond or better quality stone and you can't afford it? Well, now you can! Retailers tend to mark up jewelry 100 to 300 per cent, and sometimes more. So, that same two-carat ring you bought secondhand for $15,000 could very well have costed over $60,000 in the store.


As for the cons, for me, there are none.

But, if karma was on your list of cons, when all is said and done, the ring is just an object. The symbolism or karma that comes along with it and gives meaning to it is determined by you.
Think of it this way: Someone else's bad luck is now your good luck. You were able to get the ring of your dreams, at the price of your dreams. Plus, you are helping out someone else by buying their ring and finding it a new happy home. And at the same time, you are making your significant other extremely happy. Now if that's not good karma, I don't know what is.

Mara Opperman, relationship etiquette expert and co-founder of I Do...Now I Don't!

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