Famous fictional television character Carrie Bradshaw once asked the question: “When you love someone and you break up, where does that love go?”
But more importantly, where does the jewelry go? Relationships end every day, leaving people with heartache, frustration, and, often, a whole drawer of sentimental jewelry.
Jewelers across the country have found distinctive ways to separate the nostalgia from the material value of the items.
Loren Stewart originated when founders Rachel Loren, Satya Stewart, and Annah Zafrani Stewart decided to melt down gold from their unwanted jewelry. “If jewelry brings back sentimentality or bad memories, you can turn it into something different,” says Loren.
Since its founding in 2010, the company has grown into a high-end line sold online and in boutiques, but still offers custom designs for those who want to reinvent their pieces. “We work with our customers in our studio to come up with a new design and aesthetic,” Loren says. “Turning old rings into new rings has been a popular request.”
“I had items left over from my marriage and didn’t feel comfortable wearing them anymore,” says Megahn Perry, founder of Exboyfriend Jewelry.
Perry developed the site in 2008 with her stepmother, Marie Perry. The simple idea grew out of a conversation with friends into an international website with nearly 50,000 registered users (90 percent female and 10 percent male).
“Our site is simple,” Perry says. “You list it. You sell it.” Yet the website is more than just an e-commerce business; it also offers lighthearted therapy in the form of blogs and interaction with other users.
As a rule, every seller must disclose the background story of the jewelry. “Telling the story behind the piece is a way to get it off your chest,” Perry says. “The whole idea of the site is to move on and rid yourself of bad karma.”
While the jewelry prices range from $5 to $25,000, stories on the site range from hilarious to heart-wrenching. “One woman was selling items from her ex-boyfriend because she decided to become a nun,” Perry says. “Another woman found two receipts with the Tiffany’s jewelry her ex purchased. It turns out he bought one piece for her, and another for the wife she didn’t know he had.”
“We tried to create a niche community. Talking about heartache is personal and we want everyone to feel comfortable,” Perry says. In the future, Perry hopes to move her business to the mobile sphere, allowing women—and men—across the globe to sell their old jewelry as quickly as they can delete their ex’s phone number.