Proposing with a pre-owned engagement ring – To tell or not to tell?

You found the one, you’ve found the ring! But should you tell her the diamond that is putting the sparkle in her eyes comes from a pre-owned engagement ring?  We’re jewelers, not marriage counselors, so we’re not going to offer advice about your relationship, but here are a few thoughts on how you might go about it, depending on her personality.

Pre-owned diamonds for that special one

She’s special and she wants a ring that’s special. Maybe you’re considering at least 2 carats. You know you can make your hard-earned dollars go further with a pre-owned ring. Retailers mark up new jewelry anywhere from 100 to 300 percent. That’s a lot to pay for a box and a brand name. Once the ring leaves the store, the resale value based on brand name plummets. This means you won’t get a full refund or be able to sell it for your purchase price if it doesn’t work out.

But how do you justify a pre-owned diamond for the one who wants everything? Well, consider this: all diamonds take from 1 billion to 3.3. billion years to form. They don’t scratch or show damage. There is no such thing as a ‘new’ diamond unless it’s manmade, which is not a true diamond.  As long as the setting is in pristine shape, it’s virtually impossible to tell that the ring was not bought ‘new.’  Many retailers reset and resell “used” diamonds alongside “new” ones every day. If you want to kiss and never tell, the diamond won’t give you away.

Still, if it’s not a family heirloom, you might be thinking twice about telling her. Here’s how to approach the reveal. What matters most is thoughtfulness. Really. If anything could be better than being able to call Harry Winston for a ring that would make Kim Kardashian jealous, it’s for her to know you created a unique ring just for her.  Buy the best diamond you can afford, regardless of setting, and have it reset in a new ring. Many jewelers have settings on-hand ready to select from. Or you can work with a jeweler to create something entirely new.

Then if she ever asks, you can relate the tale of how many places you looked and how you searched high and low for the perfect stone. How the big retail trays looked too cookie-cutter and just didn’t seem special enough. This will make you the most romantic guy on the planet and she will have a special story she can’t wait to tell her friends.

pre-owned diamond ring


Pre-owned diamonds for the eco-warrior

If your true love never saw a cause she didn’t want to support, buying a pre-owned ring is almost a no-brainer. Your eco-warrior will never be happy if she suspects someone else might have suffered so that she can have a shiny rock. You could look at a manufactured stone, but a recent study suggests that the energy and materials required to manufacture a “diamond” may make this a less than perfect solution. If conflict-free is important to her, some very high-end diamond merchants have a record of the origin of the stone from the mine to her hand.  But starting prices are high and, assuming the reliability of the tracking, you’re paying for a lot of ancillary services that don’t always translate into a better stone.

But consider this: a pre-owned engagement ring can’t undo the past but the environmental and social impacts have already occurred, so it does not contribute to current or future hardship.  Settings with a nature motif may appeal to your eco-warrior, so look for a vintage engagement ring from the 1900s through the 1920s. Vines, flowers and delicate scrollwork will thrill your nature lover.

vintage diamond ring


Will you tell her it’s a vintage diamond ring? Absolutely. Origin is everything to your true love, so tell her how much you appreciate her world view and share how your choice of ring supports the causes nearest to her heart.

Pre-owned diamonds for the pragmatist

Is she as practical as the day is long? Have you had lengthy discussions about wedding-vs-house payments? Are you both looking at student loans? Then a pre-owned diamond ring will definitely appeal to your true love. Be assured, being practical won’t keep you from finding just the right ring. She might want to pick it out with you.  If you’re in it together, start by looking at jewelers who pawn, like us.  We get a regular stream of inventory in pre-owned engagement rings, so the selection is always changing. If you don’t see exactly what you have in mind, we’ll bring in a selection from our extensive contacts in the industry. We recently brought in three 2-carat diamond  rings to show a couple who hadn’t seen what they wanted in the case.  They came in and both knew right away which one was the right choice.

Diamond enagement ring

Look early for the best selection of pre-owned diamond rings

Pre-owned diamond rings aren’t like regular stock. You don’t know what you’ll find until you look. Find a trustworthy jeweler and talk to them about what is out there, what you can expect for your budget and how they can help you source a great ring if you don’t see what you want in the case. We work with customers over several months until they are absolutely sure they’ve found the one. It’s never too soon to start looking for that ring and planning that video-worthy proposal. Maybe instead of that pricey blue box, you’d like a ring box with a camera in it, to record the magic moment. However you propose, with whatever ring, we hope she says yes and wish you many happy years together. And we hope we can help make that dream come true.