Valentine's Day: In the age of e-commerce, everything's for sale - including your grandma's engagement ring



In the aftermath of the recession, we've learned to do more with the things we already own. The sharing economy has people monetizing their time with TaskRabbit, turning their cars into ersatz taxis and transforming second bedrooms into inns with AirBnB. We've also learned how to give up the stuff that had sentimental - rather than utilitarian - value.  One of the best examples of this trend is the emergence of a vibrant market for second hand engagement rings. 
Owners of unneeded engagement rings, whether from divorce or a family member's collection, often choose to sell these valuable items.  When traditional local options (Craigslist, pawn shops, or local jewelers) only provide 20-40% of the item's value, savvy sellers turn to online specialty retailers.  According to Philip Johnson, CEO of Have You Seen the Ring, by utilizing these secure peer-to-peer marketplaces, sellers can receive up to 60% more for their pre-owned jewelry. 
This trend has also translated into big savings for Valentine's Day buyers of pre-owned engagement rings.  As the spend on an engagement ring has climbed to $4,000 (source: Jewelers of America), thrifty couples have chosen pre-owned rings and diamonds as a way to save money without compromising quality or style. According to Johnson, "a 1 carat round diamond in a halo setting that would retail for $6,500 at a local jeweler, can sell for as little as $3,300." 
The peer-to-peer market for pre-owned rings continues to boom, and it turns out the stigma attached to proposing with a used engagement ring hasn't stopped buyers. For buyers who are concerned about buying pre-owned , Johnson offers some advice. "All diamonds are old, billions of years old to be exact, so purchasing a pre-owned diamond is one that is a billion and five years old.  Many buyers of pre-owned  rings realize that the memories and 'karma' associated with their engagement ring will stem from the life they and their spouse build together."
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