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On new Web site, a woman can ditch her guy, as well as the jewelry he gave her

ExBoyfriend.jpg

Marie and Megahn Perry wanted the design of exboyfriendjewelry.com to reflect their senses of humor.

When Delpha Ramos, 23, was in college, she fell for a passionate Italian student, and he gave her a silver promise ring. But in December, after three years together, he broke it off.

The question, of course, was what to do with that ring. She couldn’t bear to hang on to it but she didn’t want to give it back. So in March, Ramos, of Hopewell, N.J., turned to exboyfriendjewelry.com, where women with a sense of humor and a sad story can commiserate about ended relationships and sell unwanted jewelry from former paramours.

The lighthearted site, launched Feb. 26, features listings of jewelry--from plastic earrings to Tiffany pendants to engagement rings--posted by women who want to move on. Interested buyers can send private messages to sellers and arrange sales independently from the site.

“This is exactly what any girl needs to exorcise the negative energy of a past relationship, put that relationship behind you and make a positive out of the negative,” said Ramos, who works in business development for a gourmet mint company.

But what distinguishes the site from other online vendors of used baubles is the way it presents the wares. Each piece of jewelry comes with the break-up story.

Erin Ennis, 38, a Washington, D.C., lobbyist, ended a relationship five years ago. She wrote in her ad, “Celtic knot earrings”: “At some point, he began to take fabulous trips to Ireland. Without me. I did get this lovely parting gift, however.”

Ennis has already sold a black pearl and diamond pendant and a purple beaded choker on the site. “I didn’t want to just give them away, but I also didn’t want to haggle over them via eBay,” she said. “So, this seemed like a good fit: send them away with a wry sense of humor and make a little money off of them.”

The site founders had the same idea. “We thought it would be really fun for there to be a site that was exclusively about this kind of thing,” said Marie Perry, a Los Angeles agent who represents cinematographers and is co-owner of exboyfriendjewelry.com.

Perry and her stepdaughter, Megahn Perry, a Los Angeles actress, came up with the idea for the site over pork chops one evening. Just before, Megahn Perry, 31, had gone to a seedy pawnshop in Hollywood in an attempt to sell some ex-boyfriend jewelry.

But the man behind the counter, clad in a wife-beater and empty gun holster, offered her only $75 for the whole lot, which she knew to be worth at least $1,000. Next she tried a consignment shop, but that was disappointing, too.

Over dinner that night, she told her stepmother that she wished there were somewhere reputable way to sell her jewelry. Marie Perry suggested a site where women could unload gifts from exes.

“If you’ve got this, there’s got to be other people that have these things as well,” said Marie Perry. “So why not have a little fun with it? We really wanted to let it be part marketplace and part blog.”

Soon after the site launch, the Washington, D.C., edition of shopping and lifestyle blog Daily Candy featured the site. Megahn Perry said they’re not sure how the blog found it. Then the Perrys sent an e-mail to KROQ, a popular Los Angeles radio station, and within two hours were booked to appear on the morning show.

Since then, exboyfriendjewlery.com has taken off. In its first month, it got 185,000 hits. Now, the site has 445 registered users--buyers and sellers. It currently has more than 120 listed items.

The site sports a listing from Kelly, the famous YouTube character played by Liam Kyle Sullivan, of the popular videos “Shoes” and “Text Message Breakup.” “OMG! This loser broke up with me in a text message last year!” begins her listing for some tin bracelets and a pair of crotchless striped tights. All proceeds to her sale will go to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. (Shoppers are also encouraged to donate.) The connection? Megahn Perry plays Heather, Kelly’s vampire friend, in the videos.

While Sullivan may be one of the only male sellers, men on the site do a lot of the shopping. About 25 percent of the site’s members are male--mostly prospective buyers--and that’s why each seller is asked to rate the jewelry as a potential gift. Roger Lopez, a Department of Transportation project manager from Anaheim, Calif., heard about the site on KROQ. “The way they had explained it was, it was a good place to pick up some decent jewelry for not a lot of money. And I’m kind of an eBay freak, too,” he said. Lopez, 34, bought a butterfly pendant and a sapphire-and-diamond bracelet for his wife, Alison. She loved them, he said.

Lopez isn’t worried about any negative history the jewelry might have. “I think the process of selling it to someone who’s in love is a kind of karma laundry,” he said. Lopez has already told some of his friends about it, and one bought his wife a pair of earrings.

The Perrys hope to attract more men to the site in the future. They also plan to set up more blogging tools for members and garner advertising beyond the Google ads they use now. Currently, the Perrys pay for the site with their own money and don’t profit from transactions made there. Megahn Perry puts in seven hours of her free time a day working on exboyfriendjewelry.com.

But as for the jewelry that inspired the site, well, “this is point of contention at the moment, because none of it is sold yet,” sighed Megahn Perry. “Both of us know things that were sold right off the bat. Marie even sold something she put up during beta testing.” So she’s posted her wedding set as a top-ad in the rings section. “By God, I want it to sell,” she laughed.

E-mail: alh2146@columbia.edu