Jessica and T.H. discuss post-divorce jewelry and what to do with the gifts your ex gave you. From selling to repurposing, there are various things you can do with your engagement ring. It’s important to take the time and figure out what the best option is for you.
- Make your choice to reset, invest, or sell your jewelry when you’re in a good headspace.
- Be proud of what you wear. Let go of things that bring up bad memories. Keep what makes you happy.
- Repurpose those diamonds and create jewelry that has a legacy. Pass them down to your kids as a pair of earrings or a necklace.
OUR GUEST – JUST US: T.H. & JESSICA
Welcome to another episode of the exEXPERTS DIVORCE etc… Podcast where we give you all kinds of information and tips on everything divorce. Why? We’ve lived it, so we get it! We’re Jessica and T.H.
Jessica: Welcome back to another episode. We’re doing a “JUST US” again today. Today we’re going to be talking about my stuff, but we’re going to be focusing on engagement rings and marriage and relationship jewelry, and what the hell happens to it when you are getting separated and divorced.
TH: Let’s start with the ring.
TH: Presumably everybody got some form of an engagement ring no matter what. I had kept my engagement ring in a safety deposit box at the bank since 2008, more than 13 years just sitting there. It felt like it was an insurance policy if I needed the money, I would sell it. I had no intention of ever honestly giving it to any of my kids.
Jessica: Why is that?
TH: I don’t know. I felt like it had bad juju around it. The marriage didn’t work out, and also, whoever they married, they should go pick–I’ve got this annoying fly in my fucking face.
Jessica: [Laughs] Okay.
T.H.: We’ve got to start again.
Jessica: No we don’t!
T.H.: Oh, okay. Anyway, I wasn’t going to save it for anyone. It was an insurance policy. Now that we’ve started exEXPERTS, I actually took it to a jeweler who I trust and sold it, and I put the money into our business. It was the right thing to do with it. I was never going to wear it again. It’s bad juju for me for my future. That was my feeling about the ring, the stone, anyway. It was found money. What about you Jess? You’ve had two rings.
Jessica: I’ve had two rings. I will first say, and I don’t know if this is a nationwide thing, we need to actually ask a lawyer about it, but where we are, the rule is once you get married, the ring is the wife’s. It’s not something that has to be negotiated in the divorce settlement or anything like that. It’s automatically–
T.H.: Right, it’s given as a gift.
Jessica: Exactly, prior to the marriage. My first ring, I actually upgraded about 10 years in. It’s funny, I do believe in karma, and I do believe that everything happens for a reason, but I’m not really superstitious. I don’t really believe in bad juju, per se. My sister was selling her ring, and I think it was because she was getting divorced, and she was selling it back to our diamond dealer. Darren sold ours back to the diamond dealer and bought my sister’s and reset it. It was virtually the same ring but a little bit bigger. I remember there were a couple of people at the time that were like, oh my god, that’s such bad luck, which I don’t believe in because I was like, well, you don’t know where the original ring came from anyway. People go to a jeweler and you have no idea who had that ring at some point. They didn’t just pull it out of the ground.
T.H.: Right? Do you think it just came out of the cave for you? I actually never even thought about the journey of the diamond.
Jessica: That’s right. Everybody could be wearing a diamond, or anybody could be wearing a diamond that once was owned by a couple that ended up getting divorced. Anyway, that ring we upgraded it. When Darren and I got divorced, I sold it back to the diamond dealer. I was done with it.
T.H.: Hang on. The important thing here is that if you choose to sell your diamond, I would–[Laughs] this is like someone who’s telling me this is bad juju to talk about it. This fly is so annoying. I would just say it’s really important to find somebody that you really trust because, during my divorce process, I actually had to bring the ring to get it appraised by someone that he chose. When I went to sell it now, they told me it was had a big defect in it. Now, I know my ex-husband, he doesn’t buy anything that the defect in it. There’s no way he bought that engagement ring like that. I think that the place we went to did do a switch of the diamond. 100%. There’s no question about it. There’s no way that he would buy something with that level of imperfection. It cut the value in half. I would have gotten twice the amount of money. I had to make the decision–so the long and short, you have to go to someone you trust. You guys had a family relationship with this jewelry person, and we had a family relationship with the jeweler that I went to, to sell it. That’s really important. Make sure your eyes are always on the diamond.
Jessica: No, you’re 100% right. We sold that one back–
T.H.: Or the jewelry, whatever it is.
T.H.: Don’t let them take it in a back room.
Jessica: Anyway, so I sold the first one. The second one, I still own. It is to me, the most spectacular engagement ring ever. I am bummed that I didn’t get to wear it longer. I would love to figure out a way in my life to have that ring again, to reuse that ring.
T.H.: Why don’t you use it as a pendant on your neck? Do you want to wear it as a ring only?
Jessica: I think the size of the stone doesn’t lend itself to anything other than an engagement ring. I have brought it to a jeweler–actually, it was your guy. And it’s like it’s available on consignment. If they have someone who comes in who’s looking for a ring of that size and that shape and whatever, then for the right price, I actually would sell it. But there is a small part of me, and even though I’m not looking to get married again, I mean, there’s a small part of me that’s like, I would love to wear that ring again one day. I just think that a lot of men and their egos, it’s hard for me to imagine that I would ever be in a relationship with someone who would be like, sure, let’s use the ring you got from your second husband. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. I would love, love, love, love to save it for Zoey. It is definitely not a starter engagement ring. So if I were to save it for Zoey, it’s something that she would have to have much later in life.
T.H.: She would have to be married 25 years happily.
Jessica: Not–I don’t know about 25. She’d–
T.H.: [Laughs] she reaches the 25 mark, and then she can get the stone.
Jessica: Or she’d have to be of a certain age, I think. In any case, I’m kind of on the fence about it. I also, since I’m about to renovate the apartment, it’s kind of like, I don’t know, it might be nice to have the money. I’m just sort of deciding. Right now they have it, I have an insurance policy on it, and it’s in their safe.
T.H.: There’s no pressure. If they come to you with an amount of money that you can’t refuse, and you’re not wearing it anyway. You can buy yourself a new one when you want it.
Jessica: I have a figure in mind at which I actually would sell it. They came to me lower than that, in my opinion, significantly lower than that, and I just feel like it’s not a priority of mine right now. I would rather keep it for now than sell it at that price. But I will say, I think in general, just the conversation about relationship jewelry is so interesting because it’s a conversation I’ve had with both men and women. For example, right now I’m wearing these diamond studs. Darren gave me these diamond studs when we were married, probably, I don’t know–
T.H.: Five years.
Jessica: Five years, about that. I actually initially had a pair that got stolen when one of our apartments was for sale. Thankfully they were insured, and then I got a little upgrade, but I’ve had these earrings for 20 years at least.
T.H.: Do you keep it because you picked it and you love them? I have things that I got from my ex that I won’t wear again, but for whatever reason, I have worn this watch since I got it from him, I don’t know, maybe 10 years into our marriage. I’ve been wearing it literally every day. I wear it because I picked it out. I picked it out and I loved it. And the other actual piece of jewelry that I wear is when we were in Italy with you guys, [I remember that] and you and I went to the jewelry store and I found these earrings that were just so gorgeous.
Jessica: Yes, I remember that.
T.H.: I remember Darren guilted him into buying them for me, but I was like screw it, I love them. But those are the two things during my relationship with him that I picked out that I really wanted. I don’t have a problem wearing them, but I do have a problem wearing the other stuff that I just got from him that that maybe wasn’t something I would have picked out or is like a symbol of me being married to him. I won’t wear any of that.
Jessica: Yeah. I will say I don’t love surprise gifts. I generally would like to pick stuff out. So I will say that almost overwhelmingly, almost all of the jewelry that I own is stuff that I had a say in picking out. Maybe that’s why I don’t have a problem wearing it. I also don’t have a problem wearing any of it because I don’t wear it feeling like I’m pining away for someone. The relationship and the marriage significance for me is not really there on those pieces of jewelry. Speaking of watches, so I am a watch person and I have several watches, I got watches as my push presents for having both kids.
T.H.: [Laughs] your push presents. Everybody should get a push present. I definitely didn’t get a push present. I got a baby nurse. That was my push present.
Jessica: Well, I got gifts after the kids were born and I picked out watches. I love both of them, and I wear my watches. I’m always switching up my watches, and I wear them all the time. When I put them on, I’m not thinking in my head, oh, I’m putting this on because this is something that Darren gave to me.
T.H.: No, no, no, but it’s not because it’s something Darren gave you, but if it reminds you of Darren, it doesn’t upset you. That other jewelry I won’t wear because it will be upsetting to me because it reminds me of him. It’s not for anything else. I want it to make me feel good, and so wearing those makes you feel good. Wearing this watch makes me feel good, and I know it’s because I picked it out. I found it and I wanted it for myself. My jewelry now, honestly, going forward is stuff that I love. I’m an impulsive jewelry shopper, but I don’t shop for jewelry on a regular basis at all. But if I happen to be somewhere and I really love it, and it’s not going to break my bank, I’m freaking buying it because I will love it. I love my earrings and I love this happy bracelet that I–I went to buy a gift for a friend with her. It was like a group gift, and I went with her to pick it out, and I walk away with a bracelet. That’s kind of how I shop.
Jessica: Yeah, but I don’t–for me, all the jewelry that I have from marriage or other relationships, none of it upsets me to wear. It’s not I might not think that I’m putting this on–I have a couple of those rope bracelets with the charms on them from my relationship with Boston, and I haven’t worn them in a little while, but that’s because I’m wearing these bracelets that my parents gave me. I mean, I wore them for a long time, and I would totally wear them again. I still love them. You can change out the cord–
T.H.: Did you pick them out?
Jessica: No. Actually, no I did not. He bought the first one. It actually was a surprise, and I was so nervous to open the box.
T.H.: Right, that you didn’t like it.
Jessica: He nailed my style. It was perfect. And I loved it so much that I think the next year for my birthday, there was a new version, and I was like that’s what I want, because he had done such a great job the year before. Yeah, I think when I wear them, it’s like I know that he gave them to me, but I’m okay with still wearing it. Leo, I remember one time I think was a little bit like, really? You’re going to wear jewelry that someone else gave you? I think that there are probably a lot of other men out there who might not love the idea that their girl is wearing jewelry that was given to them by another guy. Here’s what I think for me.
T.H.: Well, how would you feel if the guy you were dating was wearing something–? Oh my god. I’m sorry everybody, but this fly keeps flying into my mouth. I’ve never had a fly that close to me.
Jessica: I will tell you I wouldn’t give a shit if a guy was still wearing a watch that an ex gave them for whatever because I think that what it is for me is that, this goes back to another conversation we had had at one point about being sentimental and nostalgic, I’m not a very sentimental person. For me, it doesn’t bother me to wear things that somebody else gave me, and it doesn’t bother me if a guy that I’m with is wearing–
T.H.: I think that’s a big difference though because I’m definitely sentimental. I mean, look at all my pictures. You called me a sentimental stockpiler so that all makes sense. I actually have really great stuff that I got from the first relationship I was in after I separated. He wanted to buy me a beautiful wallet and stuff, and coming out of my marriage, having someone who really wanted to–it brought him joy to buy me beautiful–
Jessica: Ten years later I’m using this. This is what Boston gave me for one of my birthday presents. I use it every day.
T.H.: But I do wear some of that jewelry that he got me because I really do love it, but others I don’t wear because I don’t want to explain where it came from.
T.H.: But I will say, one of the signs that you do, and it’s not the only sign, but I’ve never, ever, ever been in a relationship with someone who buys me stuff that I would have picked out on my impulsive jewelry–
Jessica: Oh, Frank nails it every time.
T.H.: I mean, these necklaces are so me, and the earrings he bought, I mean, it’s me.
T.H.: I’ve never had that before. And it doesn’t mean that you don’t stay with the guy if he’s not right on it. I think you’ve just got to go with him to pick out the stuff you like or send a few hints. But he’s like right on, and it just makes me feel so good. I don’t want to wear somebody else’s jewelry. I don’t want to make him feel bad. But what do you do with that jewelry? That’s more of your stuff now that you’re collecting?
Jessica: But that’s the question. What I wonder is we’re going to have a conversation with a jewelry designer to talk about options with jewelry, or resetting it or melting it down and making other things, because I think that warrants a conversation. There may be people out there, who have their rings, and they’re never going to wear their rings again, but for whatever reason, they have a beautiful stone, and 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?
T.H.: I think the first question is are they comfortable wearing it in any form ever again?
Jessica: Or someone who is comfortable wearing it, someone who wants to be able to reuse it and not just sell it back, and it’s like this could be a beautiful piece of jewelry–
T.H.: Or you could put it away until you’re through all the emotional turmoil and you can make a logical choice about it. Don’t be impulsive about what you do with it is all I’m saying because you might regret it. Make your choice to reset and invest in it or sell it when you’re in a good space in your head, and you’re not just all in the muck because you don’t want to regret your choice.
Jessica: Unless you need the money. If you need the money, legit go and sell it is what you need to do it. I feel in terms of what the options are for repurposing some jewelry that you have, there are probably a lot of amazing, beautiful options. There may be people out there who have dozens of gold bracelets or necklaces that they’re not wearing. And by the way, maybe not even from relationship jewelry, but you can melt it all down, put it into a mold, and make a new ring or whatever it is.
T.H.: Or sell it and use the money to buy something else. My daughters each have a set of diamond studs, and they’re so pretty and little and just so perfect for them. They came from their great-grandmother’s engagement ring. And it was actually Kevin’s cousin who decided to do that and gave it to the girls. And look, they’re 21 and 20 now, but those are really meaningful. Maybe they’ll pass them down to their daughters. It was a beautiful thing. You can do that too if you want to build some kind of a legacy around the stone, even if you don’t want to wear it, but for your children and your grandchildren or whatever. Anyway, we’ll get to all that.
Jessica: That’s such a great idea because when I was a teenager, my mom had a tennis bracelet with round bezel-set stones, they weren’t very big. I guess at a certain point, whatever, she was done with the bracelet, and she had a pair, two of the little stones made into a set of diamond studs for me that she gave me for my 16th birthday. I still have them and I’m planning on giving them to Zoey for her 16th birthday next year. I hope she’s not listening to this. There are so many things that can be done. I feel the pieces of the jewelry, the significance, the cost, the nostalgia, the sentimentality from around it really is such an important thing to consider when you’re getting separated and getting divorced. I agree with you it’s nothing that anybody has to really rush into, but I do think it’s worth trying to figure out, talking to a jeweler or something, and finding out is there a way to repurpose this so that it can be meaningful to you and even make you feel like you have something that’s new and beautiful and fabulous for your own new fresh start.
T.H.: Right, and that you’re proud to wear, and it makes you smile. So do that for yourself. But this is just the tip of the iceberg of my stuff. I’m glad we talked about it today.
Jessica: Yes, exactly. For anybody out there, if you actually have stories about your own relationship or marriage jewelry, we would love to hear it. We’d love to see pictures and see what you guys have done with it, and hear suggestions. If you happen to be a jeweler, we’re totally open to sharing ideas with the rest of our audience.
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