Would You Wear a Used Engagement Ring?

Men who spent $2,000–$4,000 on an engagement ring were 1.3 times more likely to get divorced than men who spent between $500 and $2,000. (Photo: SK Design/Shutterstock)

Most people know that new diamond engagement rings are artificially expensive. De Beers and other diamond mining companies keep strong controls on the cost of diamonds, and anyone who has paid full price, and then looks to sell a ring back is going to see an immediate and significant loss in the cost of the stone. Diamonds are just not worth what many people pay for them.

But there's a way to avoid at least some of that possible "ring regret" with the growing market for pre-owned engagement rings. Sellers get more money for their rings than they would be offered at a jewelry store or other trade-in venue, and ring buyers get a discount too. How much of a price difference are we talking?

According to Philip Johnson, CEO of Have You Seen the Ring, an online service that matches buyers with sellers, "while traditional local options offer 20-30 percent of a ring's original purchase price, specialty online marketplaces help sellers receive up to 60 percent more."

As with pre-owned wedding dresses, what was once considered strange or taboo (wearing another woman's dress) is now seen as normal, as brides-to-be swap and sell dresses, accessories and veils. Johnson sees the same thing happening with his site — it's all about supply and demand.

But is it at all weird to wear another person's ring?

"The memories and 'karma' associated with your wedding day will stem from the life you and your spouse build together. As millennials are discovering, by buying the same rings and dresses for less, the savings can be utilized for other wedding or honeymoon expenses," says Johnson. At the end of the day, for most savvy brides and grooms, it's all about making it work for less.

And really, how different is a pre-owned ring from a vintage ring (which are all the rage these days)?