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This Company in the 'Breakup Industry' Gears Up for Valentine's Day

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Valentine's Day may be a time to express love and devotion to your significant other, but it's also a time for breakups.

According to a 2011 survey by Avvo.com, a free ratings and profile service for attorneys and doctors in the U.S., the number of Americans seeking divorce lawyers and divorce-related information "skyrockets" around Valentine's Day.

The reasons could be several: people delaying divorce until after the holidays, waiting for bonuses to come in or even seeing if a relationship can be reconciled based on what's planned for Valentine's Day, the survey found.

Six years ago, Josh Opperman saw an opportunity in the "break-up" industry after experiencing his own broken engagement.

Opperman, now 35, was looking to get reimbursed for the more than $10,000 he shelled out for an engagement ring, only to find that most places were only willing to give him a fraction (in some cases just 35%) of what he paid, he says. Opperman decided to create the marketplace so that others wouldn't have to go through what he did.

He launched I Do ... Now I Don't in February 2007.

The site has become a popular place for sellers to get rid of unwanted jewelry at better prices than in the retail market, and for buyers, especially in this cost-conscious economy, to potentially get an engagement ring of their dreams for less than the retail cost.

Last year, about $2.5 million worth of items were sold through the site, according to Opperman.

So far the most expensive was a $75,000 engagement ring, he says.

The idea takes the pawn and consignment industries to a whole new level. It also threatens the $30 billion retail jewelry market, which has been struggling since the recession, according to IBISWorld.

"Price-conscious consumers have found new ways to get deals on jewelry," as the December report says. "Department stores, warehouse retailers and online outlets threaten traditional jewelry retailers by offering consumers a low-priced one-stop shop for their jewelry needs. When consumers shop at these stores more often than traditional jewelry stores, industry revenue will decline."

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