Is it Acceptable to Buy a Wedding Ring at a Pawn Shop? 

Is it Acceptable to Buy a Wedding Ring at a Pawn Shop?

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Getting engaged is a beautiful moment. You’ve found the person that you want to spend the rest of your life with, and once you have a ring, you’ll be ready to propose. Choosing the right ring is a crucial step in engagement. Your first thought might be to buy your ring from the local jewelry store. But new rings can be expensive, and chances are you’ll want to have money saved for when you start planning the wedding.

So now you must be wondering — if you don’t buy a ring from the jewelry store, where will you get one? Engagement rings don’t fall from the sky, and not every family has an heirloom ring passed down throughout the generations. Short of making one yourself, where else can you go?

To find the answer, go no further than your local pawn shop.

Should I Buy a Wedding Ring at a Pawn Shop?

If you’re in the market for an engagement ring, you probably haven’t even considered buying from a pawn shop. Even if you have, chances are you quickly dismissed the idea — after all, who would want to give their partner a pawned engagement ring?

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However, you shouldn’t dismiss the idea so hastily. The fact that something is secondhand doesn’t necessarily mean reduced quality — we buy preowned things all the time, like houses, cars, books and clothes. In addition, there are several benefits to buying a ring from a pawn shop instead of a commercial jewelry store.


The first benefit of purchasing an engagement ring at a pawn shop is cost. With the average wedding costing anywhere from $12,000 to $30,000 in the US, saving money beforehand is generally seen as a smart move. However, the average proposer-to-be will often spend around $5,500 on an engagement ring, making saving for the wedding beforehand more difficult.

With pawn shop rings, this often becomes less of an issue. Depending on how long the ring has been in the store, you can buy an engagement ring for much cheaper than you would at a commercial jewelry store. While current social stigma might imply that wanting to save money on a ring makes you cheap or means that the ring won’t be of a high quality, neither are inherently true. A pawn shop ring can be just as high-quality as a ring from a name-brand jewelry store, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to save money, especially with a wedding to plan!

Should I Buy a Wedding Ring at a Pawn Shop?

Negotiation Potential

Imagine walking into a commercial clothing store, picking out an $80 pair of pants, and telling the cashier you’re only willing to pay $40. They offer $75, you counter with $45, and after a minute of back and forth debating, you buy the pants for $60 and leave happy.

In most stores, attempting to talk down the price of goods would be impossible — and more likely than not have you ushered out the door. However, one of the benefits of pawn shops is that you can often haggle the price of your purchase. How successful you’ll be varies from store to store and shopkeep to shopkeep, but in general, if the ring you’re looking to buy has been at the store for a long time, chances are you’ll be able to negotiate a much lower price.

Supporting Small Businesses

Most pawn shops are small, locally owned businesses, whereas commercial jewelry stores are just that — commercial. By purchasing your engagement ring from a pawn shop, you’ll be supporting the small businesses in your area. This, in turn, supports your local economy and helps keep businesses successful in your area.

Are Pawn Shop Wedding Rings Bad Luck?

Horror stories about curses and ghosts attached to preowned items are in no short supply. Purchasing an old engagement ring from a dusty pawn shop could be the opening scene to any number of horror movies, so if you go looking for one, it’s entirely possible that you might feel a little uneasy doing so.

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However, it’s important to remember that those horror stories are just that — stories. There’s no hard evidence supporting cursed or haunted pawn shop rings, only personal anecdotes based on superstition. Any stories you might hear of people purchasing “unlucky” pawn shop rings that led to their relationship breaking down are most likely made up to help them cope with underlying relationship issues they didn’t or wouldn’t address. Curses and karma are superstitious beliefs that shouldn’t deter you from purchasing a ring you love at a good price.

If you’re still unsure, think of it this way — if being preowned meant something was more likely to be cursed or haunted, plenty of secondhand stories and clothing drives would be the victims of repeated hauntings. Why would a ring be more likely to be haunted than a book, a sweater or an old rocking horse?

Is it Safe to Buy a Diamond Ring from a Pawn Shop?

Is it Safe to Buy a Diamond Ring from a Pawn Shop?

Even if you’ve overcome the stigma and superstition of buying a pawn shop ring, you may still be wondering — can you trust a diamond’s quality if you bought it from a pawn shop?

It’s understandable to have these concerns. After all, if the ring is in a pawn shop, it means someone gave it up, and if someone gives up a diamond ring, logic dictates it’s because something’s wrong with it. However, this isn’t always the case, and diamond rings from a pawn shop can be just as bright and brilliant as one from a commercial jewelry store. Here are a few things you can do to ensure the quality of a pawn shop diamond:

  1. Know the four C’s in advance: Diamonds are categorized according to the four C’s: carat, cut, clarity and color. These refer to the size of the diamond, the shape of the diamond, how clear the diamond is, and its color respectively. Knowing in advance how you want your diamond to look will help you narrow down your options at the pawn shop.
  2. Get a loupe: A loupe is a small magnifying glass used to discern the quality of jewels. While you don’t have to become an expert, getting a loupe of your own and learning how to use it can be helpful when looking for a diamond. It’ll help you spot inclusions and imperfections in the gemstone that might be too small for the naked eye to see.
  3. Bring a friend: If you have any friends that know about diamonds, bring them on your shopping trip to help you choose a diamond. It always helps to have a second opinion!
  4. Bring a comparison stone: If you have a friend who wears a diamond of a known color and clarity, or have one yourself, bring it to the pawn shop and use it for comparison against the ring you plan to buy. Make sure to have the diamond cleaned first, however, as an unclean diamond’s color appears different than a clean one.
  5. Get proof of quality in writing: If you’re paying a diamond price, it’s only fair that you get what you pay for. Make sure that you get a written confirmation that the diamond you choose is real and of the quality it was sold as. The stone could actually be a moissanite or a cubic zirconium — gems that look like diamonds to the naked eye but are actually grown in labs. It could also be clarity-treated or be filled with fractures that have been sealed with clear material. Lab-grown gems and fractured stones lack the durability of true, nonfractured diamonds.
  6. Visit an appraiser after: If you still aren’t sure of the quality of your diamond, take it to a professional appraiser after. If you have a written guarantee of the quality and it ends up not being what you paid for, you’ll have better grounds to return it. You can also mention you’ll be getting the diamond appraised while you’re shopping, which could help motivate the shopkeep to disclose any information they were unsure about sharing.

Consider older rings

Buying an Engagement Ring at a Pawn Shop

Now that you know the benefits of buying an engagement ring from a pawn shop, you may be tempted to go out and get one as soon as possible. However, there are a few things you should know and a few things you should do before you make your purchase. Completing these steps will help you get what you really want at the best deal you can:

  1. Check with your fiancé: This step is difficult to carry out if you want the proposal to be a secret. If your fiancé knows you plan to propose, ask them upfront how they feel about you buying an engagement ring from a pawn shop. If they don’t know you’re planning to propose, try bringing it up as a hypothetical situation in casual conversation — if they react negatively, then you know how they’ll feel when they find out where their ring came from! If they’re on the fence, offer to let them come with you and have a say in choosing their own ring, or tell them about the benefits of pawn shop rings, such as it leaving you with more money to plan your wedding.
  2. Do your research: One of the downsides of a pawn shop being locally owned is that their quality can vary. Do some research on the pawn shops in your area and check customer reviews to make sure you’re choosing one with a good reputation. If you can’t find any reviews about a particular pawn shop, consider choosing somewhere else. It can also help to check their websites for their appraising practices, usual prices, and return policies.
  3. Know what you want beforehand: Pawn shops can house a wide variety of rings in different shapes, settings and colors. If you go in without a clear idea of what you want, there’s a good chance you’ll be overwhelmed — or worse, pushed into a decision you end up regretting. Do some research on different ring types and ask your fiancé what they prefer if possible. You don’t need to know exactly what you want, but having a rough idea will help you narrow down your choices.
  4. Research price: Once you know what kind of ring you want, be sure to look up the standard price for that type. This will help you know if you’re being overcharged at the pawn shop. If the standard prices are outside of your budget and you aren’t confident in your ability to haggle, consider going for a cheaper option.
  5. Negotiate: As stated above, one of the benefits of a pawn shop is being able to haggle the price. If you know the ring is priced higher than the standard price for that type, or you just think you can convince the shopkeep to go lower, make an offer and see what happens! You may not reach the low price you were hoping for, but there’s a good chance you’ll be able to work out a compromise that leaves both you and the shopkeep happy.
  6. Consider older rings: Pawn shop owners will likely be eager to get rid of rings they’ve had for a long time. If you see one, consider bending your preferences to get it for a lower price. You can also have aspects of the ring adjusted once you’ve purchased it if it isn’t a perfect fit. For example, if you like the stone, but not the way it’s set, you can buy the ring and have it reset at a jeweler’s.
  7. Know when to walk: Even if you’re getting the ring for a lower price than you would at a commercial jewelry store, you don’t want to end up regretting your purchase. If none of the options feel like the right fit, or if the shopkeep keeps pushing you towards rings you don’t want, don’t be afraid to leave the store and try somewhere else. You could even visit several pawn shops in your area and browse their options before picking one store for your final choice. Picking out an engagement ring is exciting, but it shouldn’t be rushed.

Buy Your Ring Today!

Buy Your Ring Today!

Engagement is an important, beautiful moment in your life. It’s natural to desire that everything goes perfectly, and as a result, you may be hesitant to purchase an engagement ring from a pawn shop. However, you shouldn’t allow social stigma or superstition to stop you from considering this option.

There are many benefits to pawn shop rings. Most of them are cheaper than engagement rings from commercial jewelry stores, and what’s more, most pawn shops will allow you to negotiate a lower price. By purchasing from a local pawn shop, you’ll be supporting small businesses.

If you’re looking for a quality pawn shop to buy from, consider The Vault Jewelry and Loan. We specialize in luxury products such as precious metals, coins and jewelry, so if you come in looking for an engagement ring, we’ll be more than qualified to help you. We professionally appraise our goods before selling, and we offer fair prices for both buying and selling goods. Contact us today and choose the ring that will win your partner’s heart.

Jamie F. - Pawn Shop Manager in Northern VA
Jamie Furman
Manager at The Vault Jewelry & Loan | Website | + posts

James (Jamie) F., is the manager of our Centerpointe Way location in Woodbridge, VA. With over 14 years in the pawn business, he is an expert in Diamonds, Gold, and Luxury Watches. He is fluent in Spanish and English and enjoys helping customers’ find the item they want at a great deal. Banks and Big Box stores have convinced many that new and expensive is the only way to buy. He aims to change that paradigm and provide exceptional service and quality products at a bargain price to every person who walks through our doors.

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Ernie A.

Great store. I’ve been going there for years and they’ve always treated me good. Great products service!

Carola H

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Mia I.

My husband picked up our engagement rings from here, best day of my life. thanks route 50 for the great selection. I was very pleased

Brad B.

The guys were really honest and straight with me. I went to other shops in the area such as jewelry exchange of tysons and got much much worse treatment. Other places you find either stuck-up trashy people, or extremely rude cut-throats. These guys were regular, nice, and fair; explaining the process to me and how buying/selling and pawning things work. I’d recommend them to a friend.

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