Josh Opperman thought had met “the one.” Having courted his girl for several years, he was ready to take the plunge. Loaded with ammo from several discussions about the shape, sparkle, and setting of the bauble she’d like to wear for the rest of her life, Josh headed out to the jewelry store where he spotted the exact ring he’d been looking for. It was over two carats of flawless diamond set in platinum. So what that it would cost his life savings? Josh put money aside from every paycheck to cover the ring. His soon-to-be fiancé was the perfect woman, all that money for the perfect ring for her was worth it … or so Josh thought.
It seems there’s always stress when planning a wedding, but things between Josh and his fiancé weren’t going as well as they should have after the proposal. A few months into the engagement and they were fighting more often than not. Although they lived in the same apartment, they started spending less and less time together. They were like two ships passing in the night and Josh could feel the distance between the two of them growing wider and wider. Even so, he wasn’t entirely prepared for what came next. She wore that beautiful token of his love on her finger after all.
Josh had spent the weekend away at his best friend’s bachelor party. Coming home, he was looking forward to seeing his fiancé. However, when he opened the door he was met with a half-empty apartment and a sparkling diamond ring lying on the table. That was it. She was gone. Josh’s future had fallen apart. Devastated, he wanted to take that ring and throw it, just break it into the millions of tiny pieces that his heart had become. But, he knew that diamonds are essentially unbreakable. Through the haze of shock, he also remembered how much money the ring had cost him. How he’d carefully scrimped and saved to purchase it. Instead of throwing the ring or stomping on it, he eventually decided to return it.
Walking into the jewelry store where he’d bought the engagement ring, Josh knew he’d never recoup the entire amount he’d thrown down on the pricey trinket. But he felt confident he’d get a decent price and be able to move on from the experience, do something nice for himself with that extra cash. To his shock, the jeweler offered him only 32% of what he’d spent! Less than half? It wasn’t even really “used”. Josh couldn’t believe it. He stormed out of the store, now nursing indignation along with his broken heart.
Looking at the flash of the ring only brought Josh pain. It was a horrible reminder of a love lost. But, unless he wanted to suck it up and take a huge financial loss, he was stuck with it. So, he took the ring and hid it in a closed drawer where he wouldn’t have to look at it all the time. After that, he went about his business, licking his wounds and getting over the failed romance. He went to work. He went out with friends. He tried not to think t about the ring. But, try as you might, the mental wheels kept turning. Talking with his sister, Mara, the two stumbled upon an idea. What if there was a way to get rid of the ring at a decent price and give Josh some closure at the same time?
“Looking at … the ring only brought Josh pain. It was a horrible reminder of a love lost. But, unless he wanted to suck it up and take a huge financial loss, he was stuck with it.”
After extensive research, Josh had come to find that what had happened to him was common practice—the jewelry industry typically offers only about a quarter or so of a ring’s original value when people look to return jewelry. It leaves a lot of people in the lurch, people just like Josh. In fact, with more than 1 million divorces each year there stood to be billions of diamonds going unsold or sold for undervalued prices every year. Seeing a void in the market and the possibility for a new business opportunity, Josh and Mara decided to create an online auction house, a place where jilted lovers (or anyone really!) could buy and sell jewelry safely at decent prices for both parties. Teaming up with a GIA graduated gemologist in New York City’s diamond district to ensure authenticity and safety, Josh took his online auction site live in January 2007. Among the first items on “I Do Now I Don’t” (http://www.idonowidont.com) was Josh’s ring, of course.
Josh eventually sold his ring for 70% of its original cost. Not only did he recoup most of his investment, the sale also allowed him to move on from the pain of being dumped. And, it opened up a whole new line of work. Pretty soon after the launch, Josh quit his job—there was just too much work to be done! In one year’s time, the inventory on “I Do Now I Don’t” had increased from four rings (including Josh’s) to nearly 600. In addition to rings, they also began auctioning necklaces, bracelets, watches, and the like and they’ve recently expanded to add wedding dresses. Now operated by Josh, Mara, and a handful of employees, the auction house takes a small percentage when a piece of jewelry is sold, in exchange for acting as a clearinghouse in the sale. When an auction ends, the money is sent to their business and held there while the in-house gemologist checks the ring for authentication before making the switch.
Operating a sales site for jilted lovers may sound depressing but it’s brought nothing but joy to Josh and the others who use the site. With each item, a seller gets to vent and tell their story. They get a forum where they are heard and then when an auction ends their wallets are reimbursed. For Josh, selling his ring to a happy couple and giving it a new life brought him all the closure he needed. Now, others are experiencing that closure and it is Josh who can help them. At the end of the day, Josh feels good about the people he’s helped on both sides of a sale. As for his former fiancé? Well, he doesn’t know exactly what she’s doing or if she knows of the web site but in retrospect he’s grateful that the engagement fiasco happened. If it hadn’t, he wouldn’t have stumbled upon this wonderful business venture!
About a year after founding I Do Now I Don’t Josh found his true soul mate. Having married her after a happy and successful engagement, he feels that he finally knows what love is. And, with the sale of each ring or wedding dress, he’s hoping he helps others move on to find their true love as well.
Thank you Josh, for sharing your Story with us.
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© 2009 by Tamar Burris and Story of My Life®