Should you keep your engagement ring after your divorce?
What the hell do you do with your engagement ring and other relationship jewelry after your split? It’s the age-old moral battle between sentiment and logic. On the one hand, the ring and jewelry were gifts given with love (supposedly). On the other hand, they are physical memories of your relationship. It is hard to determine what to do. It feels like a double-edged sword; you’ll get stabbed with guilt no matter which option you choose. But, figuring out what to do with your jewelry post-divorce doesn’t have to be a moral problem. There’s a way to make peace with your stuff.
Read on to find out what T.H and Jessica did with their jewelry post-divorce.
The engagement ring always belongs to the recipient.
No matter who called off the marriage, the ring belongs to you if given to you. Once the marriage ends, most states view the gifting of the ring as absolute. In a divorce, the ring recipient is entitled to keep it because it is considered a gift. With that being said, as the recipient, you have the freedom to choose what you want to do with the ring.
Just because your marriage didn’t work out doesn’t mean your jewelry is cursed.
T.H. had kept her engagement ring in a safety deposit box at the bank since 2008. The ring sat there for more than thirteen years. It was an insurance policy; she would sell it if she needed the money. She had no intention of ever giving it to any of her kids because she felt like it had bad juju around it. T.H. felt that her kids should have rings of their own when the time comes. She wasn’t going to save her engagement ring for anyone.
Now that she and Jessica have started exEXPERTS, she took it to a jeweler she trusted and sold it. She put the money into the business and feels that it was the right thing to do. And to top it off, only good things have come, no bad juju whatsoever. T.H. just felt that it wasn’t suitable for her or anyone in her family to keep wearing it.
Jessica, having been married twice, had two engagement rings. She upgraded her first ring about ten years into her marriage. Her sister had just gotten divorced and decided to sell her ring back to her diamond dealer. Jessica’s ex sold theirs back to the same diamond dealer, bought her sister’s in exchange, and reset it. Jessica also believes in karma and that everything happens for a reason, but she’s not superstitious, like T.H. She remembers that when she upgraded her ring for her sister’s, a couple of people thought it was bad luck. She doesn’t believe in that because no one knows where their ring actually comes from anyway. People go to a jeweler and buy a ring without knowing who had it before them or where the materials came from. They didn’t just pull the diamond straight out of the ground. No one ever thinks about the journey of the diamond. Anyone could be wearing a diamond that once was owned by a couple that ended up getting divorced. Then when Jessica and her ex divorced, she sold her (her sister’s) ring back to the diamond dealer and was done with it.
If you choose to sell your diamond, it’s essential to find a jeweler you trust.
When T.H went to sell her engagement ring, the appraisers told her the ring had a significant defect in it. Now, she knows her ex-husband doesn’t buy anything defective. There’s just no way he bought that engagement ring with that level of imperfection. T.H. believes that the place she went to switched her diamond. There’s no question about it in her mind. The defect was so bad that it cut the value of her engagement ring in half. She would have gotten twice the amount of money. She realized you have to go to someone you trust. It’s important to have a relationship with the jeweler or have your jeweler referred to by someone you trust. T.H says: “I wish I had known about worthy.com when I was looking to sell my ring. They make the process so easy especially compared to what I went through.”
After selling her first engagement ring, Jessica chose to keep the second one.
To Jessica, her second engagement ring is the most spectacular engagement ring ever. Honestly, she’s bummed that she didn’t get to wear it longer. Jessica would love to figure out a way to reuse that ring, but the size of the stone doesn’t lend itself to anything other than an engagement ring – she really wouldn’t wear that size stone as a solitaire necklace or anything else like that. Because of this, Jessica brought it to a jeweler, and it’s available for sale on consignment. If they have someone who comes in looking for a ring of that size and that shape, then she would sell it for the right price. But there is a small part of her that would love to wear that ring again one day. It’s hard to think of a scenario where it would ever be okay to wear a ring you got from your second husband, especially when you’re with someone else. Jessica would love to save it for her daughter Zoe, but it is not a starter engagement ring. So if she were to keep it for Zoe, she would have to give it to her much later in life or she’d have to be of a certain age. In any case, it’s clear to say that she’s on the fence about it. The jewelers have it in a safe, and she has an insurance policy on it.
Keep what you like, and let go of what you do not.
Oftentimes, the engagement ring isn’t the only piece of jewelry you may have received from your ex. Jessica kept a pair of diamond studs that her ex gifted her when they were married, and she’s had the earrings for at least 20 years. She wears them all the time, and to her, there’s no reason why she shouldn’t keep wearing them and enjoying them. They don’t bring up any bad memories for her. But that’s not necessarily the case for everyone when it comes to relationship jewelry.
For T.H., she won’t wear most of the things she received from her ex. However, she has worn the same watch since he gave it to her 10 years into her marriage. She’s been wearing it literally every day since then. The reasoning makes sense, too – T.H. wears it because she picked it out and loved it. The other item she kept and will continue to wear is a pair of earrings from Italy. Those are the two things during her relationship with her ex that she picked out and really wanted. T.H. doesn’t have a problem wearing those two items, but she does have a problem wearing the other stuff from him…because they are things she wouldn’t have picked out and/or are symbols of their marriage. That other jewelry upsets her because it reminds her of him. It’s not for anything else. T.H. wants her jewelry to make her feel good. Wearing the watch makes her feel good, and she knows it’s because she chose it.
Jessica isn’t a big jewelry gift person, and the times she has been given jewelry it’s mostly things she had a hand in picking out. Maybe that’s why she doesn’t have a problem wearing it. She also doesn’t have a problem wearing jewelry from prior relationships because there’s no sentiment or reminder attached to it. The memories she has haven’t been completely tarnished and so she likes to enjoy and wear the jewelry she has that she likes…regardless of who gave it to her.
What if the guy you were dating was wearing something given to him by his ex?
Jessica does not give a shit if a guy was still wearing a watch that an ex gave him. This goes back to being sentimental and nostalgic. She’s not a very sentimental person. But, like T.H and Jessica explain, choosing which gifts to keep is up to the person who received them. With that in mind, the same consideration should be given to your partner. It’s all about respect.
There may be people out there who have their rings, and they’re never going to wear their rings again, but they have a beautiful stone and wonder how else can they use it? How can they reset it? Can they make it into earrings? Can they make it into a necklace? Can they put it in a bracelet?
If you’re stuck with what to do, think of repurposing it.
Have a conversation with a jewelry designer you trust to talk about options with your jewelry. You can melt it all down, put it into a mold, and make a new ring or whatever it is you want.
If you sell your ring, you can use the money to buy something else.
T.H.’s daughters each have a set of diamond studs that came from their great-grandmother’s engagement ring. Maybe one day, they’ll pass them down to their own daughters. T.H. felt that it was a beautiful thing for them, and you can do that too if you want to build some kind of a legacy around the stone, for your children and your grandchildren.
When Jessica was a teenager, her mom had a tennis bracelet with round bezel-set stones. When her mom was done with the bracelet, she had two of the little stones made into a pair of diamond studs that she gave Jessica for her sixteenth birthday. Jessica still has them, and she’s planning on giving them to Zoe for her 16th birthday next year. Repurposing jewelry can last for generations to come.
Or you could put it away until you’re through all the emotional turmoil so that you can make a logical choice about it.
No matter what, don’t be impulsive about what you do with relationship jewelry – especially your engagement ring – because you might regret it. Make your choice to reset, invest, or sell it when you’re in a good headspace. Unless you need the money. If you really need the money, go and sell it or whatever you need to do.
There are so many things that can be done when it comes to jewelry you’ve been given by an ex. The significance, cost, nostalgia, and sentimentality around jewelry are essential to consider when you’re getting separated and getting divorced. It’s nothing that anyone has to rush into.
You want to be proud of what you wear.
Talk to a jeweler, find out if there is a way to repurpose what you have to be meaningful to you and even make you feel like you have something that’s new and beautiful and fabulous for your own fresh start. Keep jewelry that you’re proud to wear and that makes you smile. Do that for yourself, no matter what anyone else thinks.