A pawn shop is a great place to find inexpensive DVDs, discounted tools, and secondhand electronics. Many people fail to realize that a pawn shop can also be a terrific place to buy jewelry. You may stumble onto an antique piece that holds great value, or get a deeply discounted price on a newer piece of jewelry. However, shopping for an engagement ring is different from choosing a necklace for your mother for Christmas. Is it a good idea to choose an engagement ring from a pawn shop? It can be, if you follow a few simple tips. Take a look at what you need to know to buy an engagement ring from a pawn shop.

Talk to Your Fiancée Ahead of Time

If you're going to go the pawn shop route for an engagement ring, make sure that you talk to your fiancée about it before you make a purchase. Not everybody is thrilled with the idea of getting a ring that someone else has already worn and decided to get rid of (and on the other hand, some people will be excited by the idea of a ring with history.)

If you're not sure whether or not your intended will like a secondhand ring, ask. Never try to hide the fact that you got the ring a in pawn shop – it's likely to come up eventually, and you don't want to be caught in a lie. If you want to surprise your intended with a ring when you pop the question, it's best to play it safe and buy something new. But keep in mind that many couples enjoy shopping for the engagement ring together. If you want to go the pawn shop route, consider proposing first and doing your ring shopping together.

Learn to Use a Loupe

A loupe is a small jeweler's tool that works much like a magnifying glass. If you're going to buy jewelry secondhand, and not from a professional jeweler, it's a good idea for you to learn how to use one yourself. A loupe is easy enough to operate. All that you have to do is unfold it and insert your index finger into the opening, then hold the glass on the other end up to your eye. Bring the ring to within one to one half an inch of the glass in order to inspect it.

What you're primarily looking for is inclusions, or flaws, in the diamond. Inclusions affect the clarity and sparkle of the diamond. You can inspect to see some flaws in any diamond, but they shouldn't be visible to the naked eye, and if there are too many of them, be prepared to walk away. While you're at it, inspect the setting to be certain the diamond is well-secured and unlikely to fall out.

Consider an Ugly Setting

If you find a terrific diamond set in a band that's outdated or just unattractive, don't be too quick to pass it up. One of the great things about a pawn shop is that it may offer up just this sort of opportunity. Pawn shop owners know when a piece of jewelry is unattractive, and they may be more willing to negotiate on a piece that very few people are going to want or a piece that's been sitting around a long time because it's unattractive.

This can work out wonderfully for you. Negotiate for a low price on the beautiful stone in an ugly setting. Then take it to a jeweler to have the stone removed from the old setting and placed in one that's more to your taste. This can be the best of both world's for everyone. Your fiancée gets both a new setting and a stone with a history in one ring. You get to save some money. And both the pawn shop and the jeweler get some business. Everyone involved should leave happy.

If you are upfront with your fiancée, if you know how to evaluate a diamond and a setting, and if you're willing to consider creative solutions with the stone and setting, a pawn shop can be a great place for you to find the perfect engagement ring. For more information, contact a professional pawn shop, like Advanced Pawn Shop, and ask whether they have any engagement rings available.