Do I Keep My Engagement Ring After Divorce?

An engagement ring symbolizes promise; a wedding ring symbolizes commitment. So what happens to them when your marriage ends in divorce? Deciding what to do with your wedding jewelry can be a difficult decision and one that varies greatly from person to person. If you’re not sure what to do with it after a divorce, it can be helpful to know what your options are:

1. Return the ring to the person who purchased it

2. Redesign your diamond ring

3. Sell your engagement ring

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While no one can decide for you, you can facilitate the process by understanding beforehand what makes sense for you.

How to decide what to do with your engagement ring?

1. One option is to return the ring to the person who purchased it. If you were engaged but never married, you may feel as though it holds no sentimental value. You may also feel that the person who bought the ring should be the one to decide what to do with it, since they are often the ones who pay for it. If it was a family heirloom, you may also choose to return it so that it can remain in the family.

In some cases, you may be required by law to do so. In the United States, for example, an engagement ring can be considered a conditional gift, depending on where you live. This means that if you don’t end up getting married, you must return it to the person who purchased it.

2. Another option is to redesign your ring, which many view as taking control over a distressing memory and turning it into something positive. For the uninformed, redesigning your wedding jewelry involves working with a jeweler to take the raw materials - in many cases, diamonds and gold - and repurpose them into a new piece.
Often times, people choose to create a diamond necklace, earrings (which may require purchasing another diamond), bracelet, brooch or even a completely new ring. This option is considered desirable because it gives new meaning to an old piece of jewelry that may hold negative associations and can symbolize a fresh start.

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3. Some people, however, find any evidence of their wedding jewelry to be too painful and, instead, prefer to sell anything associated with their marriage. Particularly if the marriage ended because of betrayal, the jewelry may be a constant reminder of a traumatic event (there are even accounts of some people tossing their wedding rings off of bridges!). For many people, the thought of taking the money and going on a vacation or a shopping spree is much more appealing than keeping a ring that will only be gathering dust in your nightstand.

Others decide to sell because they are under financial pressure. Divorce can be expensive - lawyer bills rack up quickly and you may be responsible for child support if you have children. Many times, you can go from a double income household to a single income household, which can have profound effects on your lifestyle. For example, you may no longer be able to afford your living situation, whether you rent or own.

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A few ways for selling your engagement ring

If you’re looking for the best way to sell your wedding jewelry, you have a few options available to you. One option is to find a nearby buyer, which in most cases will be a pawn shop. A pawn shop is convenient because it is local and most cities have multiple options. An important thing to keep in mind, however, is that pawn shops may give you an inaccurate valuation of your jewelry, because most pawn shops do not have the technology needed to properly assess a diamond. As a result, you may end up getting a lower offer for your jewelry than if you were to go in a different direction.

Another option is to find a diamond buyer. Diamond buyers are gemologists who specialize in the evaluation and buying of diamonds. They usually possess the machinery used to inspect diamonds, and can give you a more accurate quote.
In particular, online buyers make the best offers because they have less overhead, which means they can offer you more money than a traditional brick and mortar. If you decide to go the online route, make sure you pick a buyer who offers strong insurance coverage. That way, in the unlikely event that anything should happen, you will be reimbursed by the insurance company. With large ticket items, it’s always important to have peace of mind.

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Ultimately, the decision of what to do with your wedding jewelry after a divorce is a highly personal one. It make take a while before you even feel ready to begin doing your research. In addition to doing your due diligence, make sure you take your time deciding, so that you feel secure with your choice.

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