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

Stocks in this article: EBAY

And while the report focused specifically on new jewelry purchases, one can't help but add a site like I Do ... Now I Don't to the mix of competitors for retail sales.

But it wasn't easy getting consumers to use the site at first. In the beginning, the company's biggest challenge was solidifying its reputation and getting customers to trust that the site was not a scam, Opperman says.

"When someone is sending in a $10,000 diamond ring without getting paid for it, it takes a lot of trust for someone to do that. That was the biggest hurdle in the very beginning that we had to overcome," Opperman says.

Considering the high-ticket items sold on the site, Opperman says using the website is safer than buying through eBay (EBAY) or Craigslist.

"It's a process which makes it impossible to get scammed," Opperman says. "We're controlling the sale."

I Do ... Now I Don't allows sellers to list their jewelry at a price of their choice. The process acts more like a negotiation between buyer and seller, with a typical agreed-upon price between 40% and 60% of the original retail price.

Once an offer is agreed upon, both the money and the jewelry is sent to the I Do ... Now I Don't offices, where staff ensures that the item is the correct one and that the money was sent. The company ultimately takes a 15% cut of the final price.

Now the company is expanding its offerings.

"We started off with engagement rings and wedding bands and that's still a majority of sales on the website, but we sell other stuff. We started adding other categories," like necklaces, bracelets and wedding dresses, Opperman says.

Yes, even wedding dresses.

I Do ... Now I Don't has also begun experimenting with buying back "unsellable" jewelry directly. The website doesn't have a storefront, but since its offices are located in the heart of Manhattan's Diamond District, it can resell the jewelry quickly in the wholesale market.

The business is "recession-proof," Opperman says. "No matter how bad the economy is or how good, it always does well and that's because there's always going to be divorces no matter what and always people getting married no matter what."

The reasons people sell their rings aren't only because of breakups. "People are selling the rings to upgrade or just selling the rings because they need the money. There's a lot of different scenarios," he says. "On the other end, people are getting great deals. We've had emails from customers who were able to afford a ring of their dreams because of the discount."

And do people care that the jewelry was worn before?

Opperman says that most customers reset the diamond.

"The main money is basically in the diamond," he says.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com.

>To submit a news tip, email: tips@thestreet.com.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.
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