Four years ago, Josh Opperman came home from work to find his apartment empty and the ring he had purchased for the love of his life lying on the kitchen table. His heart broke. For more reasons than one. “I spent my life savings on that ring,” said Opperman. “When I tried to sell the ring back to the jewelry store, they wanted to give me 35 percent of what I paid for it.”
It wasn’t long after that when the wheels started to turn, and Opperman with the help of his sister Mara came up with the idea of starting an online auction for misfit engagement rings and wedding bands.
Pretty soon IDoNowIDont.com was up and running, which the siblings say has been a full time job for them. “I think it is popular just because a lot of people in the same situation … are not sure what to do with the ring,” he said. “The difference between our site and e-Bay is that we verify the rings before they are shipped out and any money is exchanged. We have an in-house jeweler.”
For newly divorced Dana Shapiro the Web site was the answer to a dilemma. “I went to two places in Westchester and two places in Manhattan, and either the jeweler didn’t want the ring, or would take it and not give me any money until it sold. One jeweler wanted to recut it. The best offer I got was like $3,000 and I just got fed up,” said the Manhattan school teacher, who said she believed the one-carat diamond set on a platinum band was purchased for $8,000.
After reading about the Web site, Shapiro listed her ring on the site with a price of $5,000. “Within two weeks, it sold for $5,000 and I am really happy about that,” she said.
The Web site acts as a clearinghouse, holding the rings and authenticating them before sending to the buyer. The company takes 5 percent commission on the sale. As for Opperman, he says he doesn’t know what his ex is doing, or if she knows about the Web site. But the first thing he did once it was online, was post his ring. “It sold very quickly, for a lot more than I would have gotten from my jewelry store,” he said.
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Lenore Skomal is author of seventeen books, including Bluff, Third Willow, and Heroes: 50 Stories of the American Spirit. She is a columnist of an award-winning weekly column in the Erie, Pa., Times-News, she also teaches college journalism in Pennsylvania.