3 Great Reasons to Choose a Secondhand Engagement Ring (and Where to Find One)

By Kat Tretina on 9 February 2017 0 comments

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, many couples will probably be getting engaged. But with the average engagement ring costing $5,273 as of 2015, the price of a ring can be a huge expense for couples managing debt or saving for the future.

However, that doesn't mean frugal couples have to forgo a diamond altogether; if you're willing to shop for a secondhand ring, you can get a beautiful diamond for a fraction of the price. Here are three reasons you should consider buying a used ring. (See also: How Much Engagement Ring Can You Actually Afford?)


Just like a new car, when you buy a diamond, it loses value the minute you walk out of the jewelry store. According to Diamond Cutters International, the depreciation level is steep. Your diamond is worth about 19.7% of the original price you paid once you leave the store.

For example, if you purchased a $10,000 ring, and then a few weeks later tried to sell it, you could expect to get about $2,000 for it. That's a dramatic loss for any purchase.

Limited Resale Opportunities

Because diamonds depreciate so dramatically, it can be difficult to find buyers for an engagement ring. Jewelers will typically pass on used diamonds, because customers are often insulted by how low the ring is valued. And because jewelers only have to purchase rings they actually sell from wholesalers, they hesitate to put out capital upfront on a secondhand ring.

Instead, many people looking to sell their rings end up turning to pawn stores, where they get a fraction of the resale cost, or online venues. Because of limited selling options for sellers, it's a buyer's market. You can get a high-quality ring for a budget price.

The Salary Myth

People still buy into the belief that an engagement ring should cost a month's salary or more. But that "rule" actually came from advertising campaigns by diamond seller De Beers. In the 1930s, the rule was to spend one month's salary. In the 1980s they updated it to say, "Two month's salary showed the future Mrs. Smith what the future will be like."

The salary myth causes people to spend way more than they can afford, and makes them feel ashamed or embarrassed about looking at secondhand rings. But the "rule" is an arbitrary number designed to make you spend more. You should spend what you can comfortably afford. And by purchasing a used ring, your money can go much further.

Where to Shop

If you are willing to purchase a secondhand ring, there are several sites that have wide selections of pre-owned engagement rings.


With I Do Now I Don't, you can shop with peace of mind. Once you've found your dream ring and purchased it, the seller ships it to I Do Now I Don't. The company's jewelry experts and gemologists examine the ring and authenticate it to ensure it meets the item's description. If you're purchasing a name brand like Cartier or Tiffany, their team will identify if it's authentic or a knockoff. If they find any inconsistencies, you get a full refund.

Many rings sell for 50% or lower than their appraised value.

Helzberg Diamonds

Helzberg Diamonds is a traditional jewelry store, but they have a large pre-owned diamond ring section online. All pieces listed have been hand-inspected to ensure their quality and description accuracy. You can find beautiful, high-quality rings with discounts as high as 30% off normal retail prices.


HYSTR is another option where people can buy or sell used diamond rings. The buying process is simple in that you can interact with sellers directly to ask questions about the item and make offers. Once you're ready to buy, you go through HYSTR's secure checkout system, and your money is held in escrow while their gemologists verify that your item matches the seller's description. Then you receive it via FedEx Next Day Fully Insured shipping.

ZALES Outlet

ZALES has an outlet section of their online store that offers a vast selection of previously owned jewelry. They acquire this selection through store returns and trade-ins. All items are cleaned and restored to their original sparkle, and the prices are typically 60% off retail prices.

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Guest's picture

I'm not sure what valid purpose an engagement ring serves. I refused one when I got engaged decades ago and I've never regretted the decision. If it's a form of bride price and a way of ensuring the man is serious about investing in the commitment, I would prefer investment grade gold coin, not jewelry.