No newly engaged or married couple wants to think about it, but sometimes the unthinkable happens — the dreaded “D” word: divorce.
During this emotionally distressing time (or later down the road once the dust has settled), many wonder what to do with their engagement ring. This token that was once a symbol of hope and love can turn into a reminder of thwarted dreams and unpleasant memories. And yet, despite it all, the ring may still hold sentimental value.
So what’s proper wedding ring etiquette after a divorce or broken engagement? Give it back? Store it in a drawer where it can collect dust and bring up memories you may want to forget? Should you sell it? Or maybe something else entirely?
Keep reading to learn some advice for what do with your engagement ring after a divorce.
First things first — don’t throw the ring away
There may be a certain cinematic drama to chucking your ring in the Patapsco River or one of the nearby reservoirs, but this isn’t a good idea. While the gesture might feel freeing in the moment, it won’t do you any good in the long run.
For your benefit, avoid letting the emotions of a split push you into making a decision you’ll regret.
Returning the ring to your ex: yes or no?
After a divorce or broken engagement, do you have to give the ring back to your ex? The answer is, it depends…but probably not.
In most cases, engagement ring etiquette for divorce says that, since the ring was given to you, it’s yours to keep. However, here are a few circumstances where returning the ring might be expected, including:
- If you and your ex had a prior legal or verbal agreement that the engagement ring should be returned in case of a divorce
- If the ring was a treasured heirloom of your partner’s family
- If you broke the engagement shortly after a proposal
To add to the last point, giving the ring back is typically expected if you haven’t said “I do” yet. However, use your best judgement and the specifics of your situation to make your decision.
Repurpose the gemstone into something else
For those who are so attached to the ring that letting it go doesn’t feel like an option, why not give it a second chance at life?
A trusted local jeweler can transform your engagement ring into a brand new peice that takes on new meaning.
You have a lot of options here. Some of the favorite ways we’ve seen people repurpose their rings include…
- Melting down the setting and making it into a pendant that can be worn (or handed down to a child or grandchild)
- Using the diamond(s) and other gemstones from the ring to create one or several other custom pieces, such as a necklace or earrings
- Using the gemstones in a brand new ring
Repurposing the ring into some new jeweler piece comes with a few pros and cons.
Benefits of repurposing an engagement ring
- If your divorce was amicable, it may be an easier way to hold on to the bright memories of your marriage
- The new jewelry represents a new chapter in your life
- Keeps the gemstones in the family, allowing it to be passed onto future generations
The problem with repurposing an engagement ring
- Holding onto the diamond of a failed marriage could be considered bad karma
- If you didn’t’ have children from the marriage, keeping it in the family may not make sense
- Even though it’s repurposed, the diamond may continue to bring negative memories
Selling the ring
Would you rather chuck the ring into the river than ever see it again? Or maybe the ring has been hidden in a drawer for a few years, collecting dust? Your sparkly accessory is likely very valuable. Instead of letting this money maker go to waste, if you feel ready, why not sell it for cash?
Selling the ring (when you’re ready) can bring a sense of closure, personal freedom, and independence. It can also be a practical decision — maybe you could use the money to help with your expenses, take a vacation, or buy something you’ll get more use out of.
Whatever you reasons for selling (or what you decide to do with the money) what’s most important is making sure you get a fair, safe, and trusted offer.
How to get the best offer for your engagement ring
Nowadays, it seems like there are so many companies claiming that they will buy your valuables. How do you know where to go and that you’ll actually be getting the best offer?
First of all, there are a few red flags to watch out for:
- A company that is not BBB rated
- A company that charges you for their service
- A company that does not provide private (safe) consultations to evaluate your ring
Instead, choose a trusted buyer who…
1. Has proven trustworthiness, experience in the community, and good results. Always check out the business’s online reviews to hear about the experiences of other customers. Find out if they’ve been rated by the Better Business Bureau.
2. Will meet with you one-on-one. The safest way to sell a valuable piece is at a high-quality store during a private appointment.
3. Provides a certified diamond buyer to evaluate your ring. You want to meet with a certified gemologist with extensive knowledge of diamonds. This ensures you get the best price for your ring.
4. Never pressures you into accepting an offer. A good engagement ring buyer won’t use sales tactics on you — they’ll simply make you a fair offer and leave the decision up to you.
5. Treats you and your engagement ring with respect and welcomes questions. A good buyer will make your comfort and security a top priority. Plus, they’ll make you feel comfortable asking any questions.
Ready to start a new chapter? Sell your ring to Samuelson’s
The decision on what to do with your wedding ring after a divorce can be quick and simple, or emotionally divisive. Throughout this decision-making process, your ring will retain its value — whether that value is sentimental or based on its resale price is completely up to you.
Whatever your decision, Samuelson’s is here to help. Our certified gemologists can help you repurpose your ring into something brand new. Or, if you’re ready to part with the diamond, we are happy to evaluate the piece and provide you with the best offer in Baltimore.
We’ve been buying diamonds in the Baltimore area since 1922. Your safety and security are our highest priority and we do everything we can to ensure a honest, transparent, and friendly environment. Plus, there’s never any pressure to accept an offer.