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Consumer Watch: Site's secondhand diamonds come with a guarantee

Nov. 30, 2009 - 07:10PM   |   Last Updated: Nov. 30, 2009 - 07:10PM  |  
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Some service members are buying and selling secondhand diamonds and other jewelry on an unusual online auction site called "I Do Now I Don't," at www.idonowidont.com">www.idonowidont.com.

The site mainly markets jewelry — as well as some wedding dresses — from failed relationships such as broken engagements and divorces.

While there are plenty of Web sites where you can buy and sell secondhand jewelry, this one also provides certification of the gem's quality from a gemologist who is trained by the Gemological Institute of America.

Before the sale is consummated, the seller sends the gem to I Do Now I Don't, and the buyer sends payment. But the payment is not released to the seller until the gem is authenticated by the gemologist as living up to what was described in the auction.

As of this writing, offerings on the site included 513 diamond rings, 66 wedding bands, 36 gemstone rings, 269 loose diamonds, 66 wedding dresses, and assorted other items.

Some sellers include their tales of woe with their merchandise. For example, one military officer hoping to sell a 0.76-carat round diamond with six channel-set diamonds on both sides wrote in November:

"We were both dedicated military officers, with more time spent apart than together, especially after 911. We both served in Iraq, and all over the world, assisting with the war effort. We moved on from our marriage relationship with a great friendship, and still have mutual support and love for each other to this day."

The starting bid for that diamond is $4,000.

It's free to list items, but the seller pays 12 percent of the sale price to I Do Now I Don't, plus a PayPal credit card fee. The buyer pays for shipping.

The company also offers a buy-back guarantee if the buyer is not happy. The ring must be shipped back within 10 days of receipt, and the gemologist has to confirm it's the same ring that was originally shipped. A one-time credit that can be used exclusively on I Do Now I Don't must be used within 30 days.

The company was started by brother and sister Josh and Mara Opperman in early 2007, after Josh and his fiancee broke up.

When he tried to return the engagement ring to the retailer where he'd paid more than $10,000 for it, he found out that jewelers mark up the retail price of their rings by two or three times the wholesale cost, and he was offered about $3,500.

That prompted him to launch I Do Now I Don't. Since then, he and Mara have sold more than 600 rings on the site, ranging in price from $250 to $30,000.

Whether you're looking to scrape up some cash by selling some jewelry or a wedding gown you no longer need, or you've been bitten by the love bug and want to get the best bang for your buck, the site is worth a look.

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Holiday commissary deals

If you're scouring the landscape for good deals on holiday gifts and entertaining, don't forget about your local commissary:

• In stores between now and Dec. 25, you'll see discounted sales promotions on holiday hams, international holiday treats, cookies, crackers and fruit cakes, holiday gift packs, candy, baking ingredients and prepacked meat.

• The Defense Commissary Agency is stocking holiday snack gift boxes with fruit and nut mixes, cookies, crackers and a macaroni-and-cheese cup.

• Want to shop in your pajamas? DeCA has added 40 winter and holiday items to its online Virtual Commissary. These are gift baskets and packages with a variety of items priced less than $20.

You also can't go wrong with something in the "pampering" category, with some gift baskets available for less than $20. For example, one tin has "white tea and ginger"-scented shampoo, body wash and soap.

Questions? Comments? E-mail staff writer kjowers@militarytimes.com?subject=Question from ArmyTimes.com reader">Karen Jowers at kjowers@atpco.com">kjowers@atpco.com.

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