Reader X. W. writes:

I just recently got divorced and I’m considering keeping the diamond from my engagement ring. What do you think?

Dear X.W.:

Engagement rings are technically gifts, so as long as you went through with the wedding, that sucker is yours. You already know this, but I find this fascinating. If you had decided not to go through with the marriage, you’d have to give it back to him. That is amazing to me. It’s a promise of the intention to marry, but not necessarily a promise that the marriage has to last forever.

In any case, sure, keep the diamond. Obviously you’re not going to want it as a ring anymore, so I’d say remove the diamond from the setting and either melt down the gold, sell it, or make it all into something new. You can keep it as long as you want, but you can probably only sell it once, so keep that in mind. I honestly think that re-purposing this relic of your past life into something for your new life is the best thing you can do with it. Whether that something new is a new piece of jewelry featuring the diamond, or a big fat check is up to you.

engagement ring

Image: Graeme Weatherston / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Personally, I wouldn’t want to wear something so emotionally charged, even if I had it remade into a pendant or brooch. It’s an item, and I don’t believe it is endowed with the powers of the love you had for your ex husband. It’s not magical just because it was once part of an engagement ring. But it can still mean a lot. It was supposed to cost him 3 months of salary. It was supposed to be representative of your love for each other and all that jazz DeBeers has been selling us since the 1920s or whatever. If you can make it into something new without bursting into tears over it, go for it.

Of course, any type of real jewelry can be a good investment. Definitely get it appraised and see what it’s worth. The gold may be worth something, too, so figure that out. It’s probably going to be hard to re-sell as an engagement ring — again, they’re full of symbolism, and buying someone’s old engagement ring can be a bit weird, especially if the couple got divorced. If you get it turned into a new ring or something else, the diamond is probably going to retain the same value it had in the ring. (I’m not really sure about that — if someone out there knows jewelry better than I do, let us know!) What I’m saying is, even if you get it re-set, you can keep it as investment jewelry. You don’t even have to wear it. You can keep your diamond (in whatever form you finally decide on) until you need the money and sell it when you’ve got something in mind you really want, like a house or a nice vacation.

But I also want to know why you want to keep it in the first place. Your motivation to keep this diamond means a lot about your feelings about the former marriage. Are you not ready to give up the relationship? Or are you just ready to keep this diamond for investment purposes? Clearly an engagement ring is a big part of any girl’s life. They hold a lot of meaning as a symbol, but also a lot of memories personally. My first instinct is to sell, sell, sell, just because a divorce means that there’s a lot of hurt going on.

But as I said before, it’s a THING. Keep this in mind. You have complete control over what this thing means. If you want to keep it as a memento and give it to your grandchildren (which is kind of sick, if you think about it — “here’s the engagement ring I got from the man who wasn’t your grandfather”), you have every right to do so. You can also make money off it, and spend that money however you wish. You just have to be careful with your heart, which is infinitely more important than this object.

If you’re ready to move on, take this diamond and make something happy out of it. Don’t let it symbolize a divorce or failed love. Do whatever you can to make your life new.


3 Responses to “diamond”

  1. 1 Kerrie
    September 20, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    I’ve never gotten the ring thing – the 2 or 3 months’ salary or whatever. Seems like a down payment or deposit on affection … “This is how much I love you.” It’s just an object. If the feelings that have been assigned to said object can be overcome (as clearly the feelings for the S.O. have been overcome since there’s a divorce happening), it can simply become a ring/diamond to do with as you wish.

  2. 2 Richard
    September 20, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    “It’s a promise of the intention to marry, but not necessarily a promise that the marriage has to last forever.”

    Oh wow. We used to call those friendship rings. That and I’ve never been able to look at marriage as so transient.


    Diamonds are hugely marked up and you’ll be lucky to get a quarter to a third of the purchase price. That is unless you (or he) went to a diamond district (NY, philidelpia, etc.) and haggled hard for a real rock.

  3. 3 jayem
    September 21, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Ok, well, I have actually been divorced and I kept all the rings. One was a gift that “was as pretty as I was”, another was an engagement ring, which i’m not sure he paid a cent for, and the other was the wedding ring which I bought myself. I kept them so that I could sell them. That boy cost me a lot of money in the end. I haven’t sold them yet because I am afraid I won’t get what I feel they are worth. So if anyone knows the best way to sell gold and diamonds, please let me know.

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