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Recently, in an online forum for a dating website, the question was asked: Is it acceptable to buy your Fiancé’s wedding ring at a pawn shop? As you can imagine, the question evoked quite the gambit of responses. Some felt strongly that it was a bad way to start the marriage, while others strongly supported it.

how-do-pawn-shops-workWhile we realize it may seem impossible for us to be unbiased in our response, we wanted to give the question a fair shot, so we’ll do our best to answer it as objectively as possible. Here are a few things to consider:

1. What Is The Reputation of The Pawn Shop?

Some of the concerns in the above-mentioned forum, were the viability and trustworthiness of the actual ring itself if you purchase it from a Pawn Shop. Really, this is a good question, and calls into question not the ring, but the reputation of the Pawn Shop itself. Are they trustworthy enough to sell you something with an accurate description? There is a quick way to find out simply Google the name of the Pawn Shop along with the words “review” or “scam”. You’ll quickly find out their true reputation online.

Warning – shameless plug: At Common Exchange we work tirelessly to ensure that our product descriptions are accurate and our reputation is far more important than making a couple extra bucks off a ring.

2. What Are Your Priorities For Your Marriage?

Yes, that may seem like an odd question as it relates to purchasing an engagement or wedding ring at a pawn shop, so allow us to explain:

We all know rings are expensive, so you need to ask yourself: is it more important to purchase a ring for top dollar at a jeweller or retailer (and make no mistake, they will charge you top dollar), or save money on the same thing by purchasing it at a pawn shop? Is it more important to start your marriage possibly in debt from an exorbitant purchase (or with less cash in the bank to start your life together) or save money and purchase a ring at a pawn shop. Now we realize this may not sound very objective, but it really is, as these are very personal questions, and some may simply insist that the experience of buying the ring at a jeweler and being able to say that: “this is a custom ring”, or “this ring cost tens of thousands of dollars”, may legitimately be more important to some individuals than others.

This raises the question: How can we definitively say: “you’ll save money on a ring by purchasing it at a pawn shop”? Good question.

For several reasons, firstly, retailers are all about the experience and have larger overheads including premium rent, displays, and commissions to pay meaning they have to make a higher profit margin on everything they sell to pay their bills and make money. These retailers know that the experience of buying an engagement or wedding ring is a “once in a lifetime” emotional experience and they work hard to craft an experience that maximizes that emotion, and charge accordingly.

Secondly because pawn shops primary business is to provide pawn loans not sell products. Meaning, we hope the owner of this ring will come back and pay their loan against it. We are not in the business of buying something for $1 and selling it for $2. In the rare instance in which we have to sell an item to recover the loan, we are looking to get our money back. How much money? The money we loaned out was based on the public commodities value of gold and the precious stone on the day we provided the loan. So, if you buy a ring from a pawn shop, you are paying very close to the value of the raw materials, not the over-inflated and emotionally based retail price.

The bottom line is this: if you are marrying a person who cares more about getting your marriage off to a good financial start, then buy a ring at a pawn shop, just do your research first. If you’re marrying a person that cares deeply about showing up others with the things she has and their value, then it’s probably not a good idea to buy one at a pawn shop.

What is your opinion? Is it a good idea to buy a wedding ring at a pawn shop?