New vs. Used Jewelry: Pros, Cons & More

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Whether you buy your jewelry new or pre-owned, you can enjoy quality, stunning pieces that complement any look. Of course, there are upsides and downsides to both options that can impact your final purchase. Here are the main pros and cons of each option to better understand the significant differences between buying new and used jewelry. 

What’s the Difference Between New and Used Jewelry? 

While there’s an assumption that used jewelry is of lower quality than its new counterpart, you can find top-quality pieces no matter which option you take. You can purchase a never-before-worn luxury watch or a refurbished pre-owned mens Rolex and enjoy the same luxurious features. The only significant difference is that used jewelry is secondhand, and therefore has been used to varying degrees, unlike brand new pieces. Like pre-owned clothing or furniture, if the buyer doesn’t mind that the jewelry has been worn, it can be an attractive option for many jewelry wearers.  

The Pros of Buying New Jewelry

  • You’re the First to Own It

Like buying a brand new car or TV, it can be a great feeling and moment of pride to know that you’re the first person to own a glamorous new piece of jewelry. Additionally, if you purchase a custom, unique, or limited edition jewelry item, you can take pride in knowing you have a one-of-a-kind belonging.

  • More Customization Options

When you buy jewelry brand new, you have nearly limitless options when it comes to customization. You can get your piece custom-made entirely from scratch or make it uniquely yours with hand-picked gemstones, engravings, or other designs. Whatever you choose, you can tailor the piece to suit your style and express your personality.

The Cons of Buying New Jewelry

  • Price Mark-Ups

Some luxury jewelers mark up pieces, especially precious metals, up to three times the wholesale price. So, when you leave the store with your brand new piece, it immediately loses value, similar to driving off the lot with a new car. Should you decide to sell it later on, you may be unable to recoup that loss. 

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The Pros of Buying Used Jewelry 

  • More Affordable

One of the most attractive benefits of buying used jewelry is fair pricing and how much more you can afford. Unlike brand new items, secondhand pieces aren’t as marked up by high-street dealers and won’t break the bank. Price limitations that you’re likely to face with new jewelry aren’t as much of an issue when you buy used because you’re getting it at a discounted price. You can usually get higher quality for your money, enabling you to purchase items that otherwise would have been out of your price range if they were brand new. 

  • Solid Investment

Secondhand jewelry is ultimately a better investment. With relatively low price mark-ups, pre-owned jewelry tends to retain its value for longer. And if you invest in a gold piece specifically, the increasing price of gold could lead to an increase in your gold piece’s value over time. With proper maintenance and care, your secondhand treasure can easily retain its value or become even more valuable as the years go on. 

  • Tells a Story

When you buy used, your jewelry could have had one owner or several before you purchased it. In some cases, the jeweler may even know the backstory of your new possession. Most pre-owned jewelry has a unique history that you won’t find in new pieces. Whether it was handed down for generations or is simply an authentic vintage or antique piece, each item of used jewelry has a storied past that can make it even more meaningful and memorable to the person wearing it. 

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  • High Quality

It’s a common misconception that buying used means you are giving up quality for affordability. By shopping with a reputable jeweler, you can find selections that are just as high-quality as new pieces. A trusted supplier meticulously inspects used jewelry and relies on goldsmiths and other specialists to identify precious gems and price them appropriately. If a piece of jewelry has more wear and looks weathered, they are refurbished and polished to give them the shine and appeal of newer pieces. 

Of course, before making any jewelry purchase, it’s best to research the supplier, read reviews, and ask questions before buying to ensure you are getting a quality product that meets your expectations. 

  • More Sustainable 

If eco-friendly purchases are important to you, buying secondhand can be a responsible, sustainable way of adding to your jewelry collection. The mining of diamonds and other gemstones is not without its environmental consequences. So, when you buy used, you can have complete certainty that you’re not adding to the consumer demand for these precious gems or negatively impacting the environment. 

  • Wide Selection

If you’re looking for a wide range of styles, buying your jewelry used can offer a more generous selection of finds from a range of periods. Whereas jewelers selling brand new pieces are often limited to current styles, secondhand items cover the gamut, from vintage to modern, all at a more affordable price.

The Cons of Buying Used Jewelry

  • Untrustworthy Sellers

As with any major secondhand purchases, there’s always the risk of getting taken advantage of. The used jewelry market is not without its share of shady sellers, which is why it pays to find a reputable jeweler to purchase your used pieces. To ensure you are not being scammed or tricked into buying fake gemstones or other precious metals, be sure to do your due diligence.

  • Harder to Customize 

Unlike a brand new piece of jewelry, when you buy used, what you buy is what you get. While you can sometimes add engravings or get pieces refurbished to your liking, it’s more difficult to make custom changes that you would be able to by buying new or getting something custom-made. 

The Takeaway

Whether you purchase your jewelry new or secondhand, there are advantages and downsides to both options. Ultimately, the choice to buy new or used comes down to personal preference and factors such as price, customization, and sustainability.