Mar 16, 2010  •  In Personal, Relationships

Divorce Diamonds

A few years ago, Joshua Opperman made headlines when he created the website I Do Now I Don’t.

I’d been engaged for three months. After a tough day at work, I came home to find that my fiancée and all her belongings were gone. Well, almost everything was gone. That beautiful diamond engagement ring was sitting on the coffee table looking up at me as if to say “so, what’s next?”

I was devastated: The love of my life (or so I thought) was gone forever, and I was just crushed. How would I even start to recover?

I thought a great way to move on was to sell the diamond engagement ring that I had scrimped and saved for. So I took it back to the retailer I had bought it from. I assumed I would get a “haircut” off the price, but at least receive a decent offer. That’s when I got my second shock.

The offer was staggeringly low. It turns out jewelers mark up rings two or three times over their wholesale cost. That $10,000 ring probably cost the jeweler $3,500. And that’s just about what I was offered. Rather than get mad I decided to break even—and that’s when I launched I Do Now I Don’t.

Designed as a site where regular people can sell jewelry (for whatever reason) without having to deal with the harsh markdown faced by most second-hand pieces, I Do Now I Don’t is now thriving and even employs a GIA-trained gemologist on staff.

I was fully aware of this site and told J to take a look when I knew he was on the hunt for my engagement ring. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything we liked at the time.

But if we had found something? Would we have purchased it? Knowing full well that the engagement ring is a product of a broken engagement or even a divorce?

The answer is a resounding “yes.”

Diamonds are expensive. And although I am fully aware of the poor resale value of diamonds (usually, you are lucky if you get back one-third of the initial purchase price) as well as the history behind DeBeers and artificial inflation of prices, I still wanted a diamond for my engagement ring and wouldn’t have minded a second-hand piece at all if it meant a lower sticker price.

Even if that ring were a “divorce diamond.”

There are some women who claim they could never accept a divorce diamond as an engagement ring. There might be a bad stigma attached to wearing a piece that is the product of a failed relationship and as such, it is not something you would like to be reminded of every time you look down to your hand.

However, I have never been the superstitious type. I don’t believe that inanimate objects can be vessels of bad karma. If J had found a beautiful ring at a discount, I would’ve told him to jump on it — regardless of its history.

Besides, who really knows the full, 100% truthful history behind their own rings? Even diamonds that are Kimberly Certified have been known to have some conflict behind them. And although the GIA certificate behind my engagement ring is only a year older than the time J purchased it, there’s still a chance that the diamond was worn by women hundreds of years ago, and only became re-certified on that date.

How about you? Would you ever knowingly accept a divorce diamond?

9 Responses to “Divorce Diamonds”

  1. Emily:

    I honestly don’t know the ‘history’ behind all my diamonds. In fact, my wedding rings came from a pave set my husband’s BIL purchased from a woman who came into the shop. I didn’t even THINK to ask what the "nature" was for the woman to give up the ring. I’d bet it was a divorce ring and she wanted the money. I guess I’m cursed and destined for divorce. Funny, I never even THOUGHT about looking down at my ring and thinking "oooo divorce" until you mentioned it. In fact, we saved $1600 off the jeweler’s price by buying the ring from this lady and then resetting the stones. $1600!!!!! Hello vacation.

    With the divorce rate being 50%, does anybody HONESTLY think 90% of those diamonds are brand spankin’ new? Ha, yeah right. Or is ignorance bliss? If you don’t know exactly where it came from, is that ok?

  2. I absolutely would — I’m not superstitious, either. One of the side stones in my engagement ring was recut from the diamond my grandmother received from her first fiance, who was killed in the war. I never once felt like it was a bad omen and that my husband would be tragically killed before we were married… rather, it was a nice gesture from my grandmother to help save on the cost my husband would spend on my ring.

  3. Kristin:

    Sure why not?
    My father bought a diamond off a friend (whose engagement had fallen apart) and had it reset for when he proposed to my mother. They will be married 30 years this August. So much for karma. :-)

  4. Jessica:

    I would accept one from a website like that. I think it’s better to put them to good use than to worry about karma.

    I would not wear a diamond (even if it had been reset) from my partner’s previous engagement, though. My mom does. She has the same ring my dad had previously given a prior girlfriend, but I don’t think I could handle it. She’s been wearing it for 37 years, though, — a lot longer than the first girl!

  5. I actually kind of am. My wedding band was given to my mom by my dad. After they divorced she didn’t want it anymore and offered it to me. A free ring that just so happens to match my engagement ring better than any of the ones I’d seen in stores?! Yes please! If I were inclined to be superstitious I would just say that it symbolizes the love they had for each other when they had me. Easy peasy. :-)
    Now Jessica mom’s situation, on the other hand, I wouldn’t do. Definitely nothing passed down from a previous relationship. Well, never say never I guess, but I don’t love the idea.

  6. Opiboble Inte:

    I am a guy so I don’t know if I count; but yes I would buy one, and actually am looking for a male wedding band right now so talk about perfect timing on the post!

  7. Vee:

    Hell yes I would wear a "divorce diamond." It’s not my bad juju – it’s theirs! And I don’t believe in that kind of stuff anyway. I do, however, believe in financial stability and not-wasting-money-on-silliness! I also told my fiance I’d accept moissanite, but he got me a diamond anyway. On the other hand, yesterday my grandmother jokingly offered my fiance my uncle’s wedding band (he got divorced a couple years ago). I said no way – but that’s because it’s my own family’s negative energy, which I think is more powerful. LOL

  8. Grace:

    I don’t think I would feel comfortable with it, even though it makes sense financially to buy a "divorce diamond". How would you feel if your fiance proposed to you with the same diamond he proposed to his ex-fiancee with?

  9. Emily:

    Ooooo i would not wear an ex-girlfriend’s diamond. That is not something I’d do. I’d sell it to a friend, sell it back, or make him trade it in for earrings or something.

    Unless that sucker was ginormous. But if it was, say, his grandma’s ring that he’d initially given to another girlfriend? That’s when it gets tricky. Let’s not think about that situation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *