Congratulations! You’ve finally found a girl who is willing to put up with all your quirks and foibles. She doesn’t mind that you fart in bed or the fact you enjoy a lot of onions on your burger. She consistently laughs at your jokes, even though they’re terrible. For some reason, she’s crazy about you, and she keeps dropping hints that she wants to make the relationship more permanent. You’d better put a ring on that, and pronto, before she figures out what an unappealing person you are.
So, like any good prospective husband, you head on down to the jewellery store, probably one in the local mall. The nicely dressed lady starts showing you engagement rings, and starts talking about how you’re supposed to spend 3 months salary on your special lady. Like any enterprising personal finance type person, you’re balking at the price. Does that 3 month rule apply to gross income or net income? I bet I know what the jewellery store employee would say.
Nuts to this you say, I’m not spending all that cash. You start to look for other options and while driving around, you spot a pawn shop. The proverbial light bulb goes off above your head, and you head inside. The shelves are filled with all sorts of jewellery given to ladies during happier times. You glance down at the prices, and notice that most of the jewellery is about half the price of the jewellery store. It all looks the same quality as at the store, and the guy behind the counter guarantees you’re buying the same karats.
Do you risk getting your sweetheart pawn shop jewellery to save a few bucks? First, the pros:
Buying used jewellery is going to get you more bang for your buck, for sure. Let’s assume you’re looking to spend $5,000 on an engagement ring, since you’re kind of a high roller like that. You can either buy a pretty nice ring at the mall, or a really nice ring at a pawn shop. Your lady is going to get a decent sized rock if you decide to go the pawn shop route.
Reducing Your Support Of The Diamond Industry
If you want some interesting reading, spend some time researching the diamond industry. For the sake of brevity, I’ll sum it up in one paragraph for you.
De Beers basically controls the entire industry. The South African giant used to mine a full 80% of the world’s supply, often using questionable labor methods. They have since reduced their influence, but the industry is still remarkably concentrated. Over 90% of mined diamonds are cut in one city in India. Diamonds are one of the only precious metals that doesn’t have a fixed price. A company is able to sell a diamond for many times what it costs to extract it. Most diamonds are mined in Africa, where De Beers has forced local governments to relocate tribes to accommodate their mines. Needless to say, it’s a cutthroat industry.
If you buy a diamond that’s already been used, you’re minimizing your role in supporting De Beers and their questionable business practices.
Now, time for the negatives. This isn’t all just sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.
We all have our limits when it comes to buying used stuff. Some people are comfortable buying used clothes, others aren’t. Most everyone is comfortable buying a used car, but there are still some people out there who insist on buying a car that hasn’t been owned by somebody else. I actually know a guy who has no problem buying used underwear at the thrift store. He may or may not be related to me.
Your lady may not be comfortable wearing jewellery that has already been worn by someone else. You could always lie and say it’s brand new, but that has the potential of ending really badly. If you do that, make sure they’re no inscription.
You Might Get Ripped Off
I don’t want to say all pawn guys are kind of shifty, because they’re not. Heck, most of them are probably really honest. Saying that, if I were to guess where I’d be ripped off – a pawn shop or a jewellery store – I’d probably pick the pawn shop. There’s a certain stigma attached to the industry. You could always take your new piece to a jeweller and get it appraised, but he’s probably going to charge you for the privilege.
The Big Question
It’s time for both genders to weigh in on this one. I’m mostly interested in what the ladies think. Would the ladies reading be okay with an engagement ring from a pawn shop? Fellas, would you try to stretch your engagement dollar by getting her a used ring?
SPF: The Mrs. SPF wears was a hand me down. From my great grandmother to grandmother to mother to Mrs. SPF. She wrote about it here: sustainable wedding rings.