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The In-depth Guide to Used Engagement Rings

When it comes time to choosing a Used Diamond Engagement Ring, you are bound to have tons of questions. “Should I buy a New or Second Hand Engagement Ring?” possibly being the first…So, we are here to give you answers. We hope you can use this as your guide to choosing the right engagement ring, whether that’s a used or new engagement ring, designer or private label engagement ring, solitaire or halo engagement ring, or vintage or contemporary engagement ring.

We are going to answer the most important questions people often have, cover engagement ring terminology, discuss the pros and cons of used engagement rings, and more…

So, let’s begin with the simplest question, just to get it out of the way…

Can you buy a used engagement ring?

You undoubtedly can buy used engagement rings. Pretty much every local, private jewelry store will have used engagement rings. Most jewelers, like us, buy and sell engagement rings. This means the jewelry store buys an engagement ring from someone then resells it right there in their store. Jewelers have the customers, so it makes sense for them to buy used engagement rings. In fact, there’s a huge market for it. Many men and women specifically look for used engagement rings when hunting for the perfect ring, as there are many advantaged to buying second hand, which we are about to discuss now. 

Pros and Cons of Pre Owned Engagement Rings

Should you buy a second hand engagement ring?

Let’s find out if a used engagement ring is right for you…

Pros of buying a used an engagement ring:
  • If the jeweler bought the ring from someone, you can guarantee the craftsmanship is superlative. Because of this, most used rings that you’ll find on the market have been created by hand, unlike many new rings that are mass-produced. 
  • Playing off the above, with second hand engagement rings, you are typically getting an original, unique, one-of-kind ring. Jewelers won’t often buy a used ring that is mass-produced and still in retail big box stores. And if they do, the price they pay will be low, as will the cost for you, which leads us to our next point.
  • Depending on what used engagement ring you are looking at, it can be more affordable. It will surely be more affordable than what it costs when it was once new.
  • Second hand rings are an environmentally conscious choice. That said, you can surely buy new engagement rings that are eco-friendly and conflict-free as well. 
  • The ring will have more history. Even more so if it is vintage or antique. This can be a good or bad thing depending on the person. Sometimes it can be very interesting to know the story behind the ring. Some women are particularly keen on finding a ring that has history, typically from someone notable, like a celebrity or someone well-known. 
  • If you like a frosty, satin finish, old platinum rings will have a beautiful patina.

And if you are worried about used rings looking old, don’t worry, with a good professional cleaning, they will look brand new again. That’s the beauty of precious metals. 

Cons of buying Pre Owned Engagement Rings:
  • Many women appreciate “brand new”. So, if you are a man surprising your girlfriend with an engagement ring, think about her style and personality. If she’s not someone who you can see appreciating a gorgeous used ring, then definitely buy new. 
  • Just as history can be a “pro”, it can also be a con for some women. Some women want to create the history themselves and don’t want the ring to have ever been attached to someone else and their relationship. Moreover, you need to trust the jeweler to believe their story about the ring. They may claim it has an amazing history but that is, in fact, a lie. This is why choosing a trustworthy, ethical jeweler is essential. At Diamonds By Raymond Lee, we pride ourselves on being ethical, reliable and trustworthy, but we can’t speak for all the private jewelers out there. 
  • The condition of the ring might be bad. If you don’t know what you are looking at, you may get fooled. Again, this is why you need to trust a jeweler. Moreover, you should only buy engagement rings with a GIA or AGS certified diamond. Also, do some studying so you know what to look for in a quality diamond engagement ring. We will provide you some info on this below. 

Note: If any have questions about a used engagement ring, be sure to ask your jeweler all the questions you can think of. A good jeweler will be happy to answer them, and answer them honestly, without hesitation. 

What to look for in a diamond engagement ring (and TIPS)

Here are few crucial tips that you should follow when you are shopping for a used engagement ring:
  • Make sure the diamond is certified by GIA or AGS. If a jeweler offers a “lab report” from their own laboratory, avoid that engagement ring like the plague. 
  • See if the jeweler has a return, refund and warranty policy. Most sellers will offer a no-nonsense return policy, especially for used engagement rings.
  • Be sure to research the seller. If you are from the area where you will be purchasing an engagement ring, ask your married friends or friends who’ve recently become engaged where they bought their ring and if they have heard anything about the jewelry store you have in mind.
  • If you or your loved one is allergic to Nickel, then you will want to avoid white gold. Nickel is one of the metals in white gold alloy.
  • Ask as many questions as you want when browsing used engagement rings.
Speaking of questions, here are some good questions to ask:
  • “What type of metal is this engagement ring?”
  • If it is white gold, “is the white gold plated with rhodium?” You will want rhodium plating, it will help your ring resist scratches and tarnishing. Plus, rhodium is a precious metal and a member of the platinum family.
  • “Is the band solid (insert precious metal) or is it plated?”
  • “Has the ring ever been damaged and repaired?”
  • “Can you polish and clean the ring for me?”
  • “Is the diamond certified by GIA?”
  • “Can you tell me about the grade of diamond”?
  • “Who has owned this ring?” 
  • If the ring has many prong or pave set diamonds, ask if the jeweler will replace or reset diamonds if they fall out?”
  • “What is your warranty and refund policy?”
  • “Can you resize the ring?”
  • “Are the diamonds conflict-free?”
  • “What made this ring? Is it a designer brand or private label?”

And these are just some of the many questions that you can ask. Think about what is important to you and ask away. A good jeweler will be happy to answer your questions about their used engagement rings.

Here’s an article we wrote on what questions to ask when buying an engagement rings.

Know her style

If you are going at this engagement ring hunt completely on your own, take time to consider your soon-to-be fiancé’s style. Used or not, you need to buy a ring that she will love. More often than not she won’t care if it is used or new, she will care how it looks!

If you aren’t sure about her engagement ring style, throw hints out and see how she takes to them. There are many ways of getting information on what engagement ring she would love, without giving up your intention to propose. 

Basic Engagement Ring Terms

Now, let’s talk about basic engagement ring terminology, that way you know what to look for or at least appear to know your stuff. 

Used Engagement Rings

We are sure you know this but just to be safe, the following terms all mean the same thing:

  • Used Engagement Ring
  • Pre-owned Engagement Ring
  • Second Hand Engagement Ring

Vintage Engagement Rings

There is a difference between vintage and vintage-style or vintage-inspired. A vintage ring is truly old and “vintage”. It should be at least 20 years old, and as old as 99 years. And if the engagement ring is 100 years or older, it is an antique ring.

Vintage-inspired and vintage-style is a common term used in the engagement ring market. It is simply a contemporary ring with a vintage style design. 

Now, back to vintage and antique rings. There are a few celebrated vintage, classic jewelry eras. Rings from these different eras have their own style (which vintage-inspired rings look to for inspiration, hence the term).

Georgian Era (1714-1830)
Victorian Era (1835-1900)
Art Nouveau Era (1890-1915)
Edwardian Era (1900-1915)
Art Deco Era (1915-1935)
Retro Modern Era (1935-1950)

Read more about these classic jewelry eras and vintage diamond cuts and shapes.

The eras that most modern vintage-style rings are inspired by is the Victorian Era and Art Deco Era.

Designer Ring vs Private Label

Designer rings are created by well-known brands, such as Tiffany & Co., Gabriel & Co., Verragio, Tacori, and many more. These brand rings typically are gorgeous but not unique, as they make many of the same designs to send out to all their locations and authorized resellers.

Private Label rings are essentially custom rings. They are rings made by independent jewelers. They are most often original, unique, one-of-a-kind pieces. A lot of used rings are private label creations. 

Diamond Settings:

  • Solitaire settings use prongs, usually 4-6 six prongs, to hold the centerstone in place. They allow the diamond to show in all of its grandeur. But as they expose the diamond more, they are more susceptible to damage. 
  • Halo settings have small diamonds that perfectly encircle the centerstone, creating a “halo” around it. These settings provide the centerpiece with more security, and they create the illusion of a bigger centerstone. 

Solitaire and halo settings are by far the most popular choices. However, they are not the only ones. You also have:

  • Three stone settings (also very popular and in vogue)
  • Cluster settings 
  • Tension settings
  • Bevel Settings

Read about the different diamond settings so you can go into the jewelry store well equipped with knowledge.

Precious Metals:

The main types of metals for engagement rings are platinum, yellow gold, white gold and rose gold. 

Platinum is the most expensive and durable.

Yellow gold is the most classic and traditional.

White gold is durable and has been the most popular choice for decades. However, ask the jeweler about rhodium and if you will ever need to replate it. 

Rose gold has been around for quite a long time, but in recent years it has exploded in popularity. Rose gold offers a unique, vintage look, and right now, it is very “à la mode”.

Different Engagement Ring Styling

You also have different diamond engagement ring styling to consider 

For example, inspired by the classic jewelry, you have milgrain and filigree styling. Milgrain looks like tiny beads that detail the edges of the ring, and Filigree styling is scrollwork that twists and curls. Both are popular on engagement rings.

Another popular choice these days is minimalist. Many women appreciate the clean, minimal style. 

Top 10 minimalist engagement rings

Is a used engagement ring bad luck?

This may be a silly question, but it is an extremely common question and thought. It’s like asking if the number 13 is bad luck? It all depends on if you are superstitious. You create your own luck, it has nothing to do with the engagement ring. But if you or your significant other is superstitious, this is definitely something to consider. 

For men, one thing we will say is, it’s not a great idea to propose with a ring that you used to propose to another woman in previous years. If she found out, it wouldn’t be a good look. If you are in this predicament, it would be smart to trade it in for another ring. At Raymond Lee Jewelers, we accept trades on used engagement rings

Should you buy a used engagement ring?

Yes, why not?! Consider the above information and make a choice that best suits yourself or your loved one (we know some of you readers are men searching for the perfect ring for your girlfriend, while some of you are women considering what you want and how to guide your boyfriend). 

When it comes down to it, a ring is beautiful whether it is used or not. It’s not like clothing. This is something that will last forever, and the intrinsic value will always remain. Plus, actions speak louder than the ring. 

New vs Used Engagement Ring Price

Price is always a big consideration. Most people look to second hand engagement rings as they see it as a cheaper option. So let’s answer some questions based on price and value…

Are second hand engagement rings cheaper?

Not always, but on average second hand engagement rings are more affordable. 

Note: This question is answered more thoroughly in the ‘pros and cons’ section.

What is a used engagement ring worth?

It depends on what the engagement ring is made with. Fine diamond engagement rings, used and new, have intrinsic value, for the gold or platinum and diamonds that they are comprised from. The more diamonds and the bigger the diamonds are the more the ring is worth. Remember, a 2 carat diamond is worth more than four 0.5-carat diamonds, as larger diamonds are rarer, which makes them more valuable. Moreover, it’s not just about carat weight, it’s also about the quality of the cut and the grade of the diamond, which is why some larger diamond are cheaper than smaller diamonds. As for the precious metal, that’s easy to figure out as you can find gold and platinum market prices online, then all you need to know is how much the metal weighs.

Extra Benefit of Used Engagement Rings – Resale Value

One benefit of used engagement rings that we didn’t mention yet is that they will have a better resale value. Although you will hopefully never have to sell it. 

A new ring loses value as soon as you take it out of the showroom/store. It’s similar to a car. However, a used ring has already taken that hit, so it won’t make a difference if you end up reselling it. This could be smart for men out there who aren’t sure if they are going to get the “YES”.

Where to buy used engagement rings?

We recommend a private jeweler over a big box jeweler. The experience, quality, options, and price are typically much better. 

Definitely avoid buying from someone who is trying to sell their ring on eBay or Craiglist.

If you are in South Florida, Raymond Lee Jewelers and Diamonds By Raymond Lee has an incredible selection of used diamonds engagement rings at an excellent price. We are an ethical, trustworthy jewelry store that puts our customers first. Our goal is to provide you with an amazing experience and a ring that will be cherished endlessly.

We provide gorgeous boxes so you can propose to your girlfriend with the used engagement ring just like you would with a new engagement ring!

Want to see our collection of used engagement rings?

Used engagement rings at Raymond Lee Jewelers.

We also have new engagement rings, both designer brands and private label!

See our collection of new engagement rings.

You can also come in to visit us in person to try them on and ask all the questions you can think of!

Don’t see anything you like? Guess what? We also do custom design ring service! We’ve done many custom rings over our 30 plus years of being in business. We are the best in the area, bar none.

See one of our recent custom ring creations

We make engagement rings from scratch and we work with you every step of the way to make sure you end up with the ring of your dreams.

Make note, though, this is not a cheaper option than a second hand ring, at least not usually. 

Follow us on Instagram for endless pics of stunning new and used diamond engagement rings

If you have any questions about new or used engagement rings, please feel free to leave a comment below.