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Whether you’re in the process of filing for divorce, you’ve recently gotten divorced, or your divorce happened years ago, you may still be feeling the pain that comes from such a big part of your life coming to an end. Something that might provide you with some relief is dealing with your engagement ring once you’re ready to do so. Many people wonder what exactly they should do with their engagement rings after a divorce. You may be surprised to learn that there’s no real correct answer; instead, what to do with your engagement ring after divorce depends on what will help you the most.

Before you explore the options you have for your engagement ring after a divorce, take some time to think and do the research outlined below.

Before You Choose: Do Your Research

Because an engagement ring is given when you are still single rather than married, it is not joint property. However, engagement rings are still a complex piece of the puzzle when divorce lawyers are figuring out the division of assets. If your divorce is still in process, it is an absolute necessity for you to research relevant engagement ring ownership laws based on the state where you live. Engagement ring ownership is based on a few different factors:

Pre-marriage gift status

If you were given an engagement ring as a gift with no strings attached, your engagement ring might count as a “pre-marriage gift.” This means it is the property of the person who received it, regardless of a future divorce or broken-off engagement.

Promise of marriage

In the case of a cancelled engagement, if the engagement ring is used to signify a promise of marriage, it counts as a “conditional gift.” If either party calls off the engagement before walking down the aisle, some states dictate that the ring must be returned to the original purchaser. This is because the ring served as a gift explicitly given under the condition that marriage would occur. 

How do you negotiate this situation if you did end up getting married? What are you permitted to do with your engagement ring after divorce? Divorce actually makes the situation a bit simpler. If you promised to marry the person who gave you your engagement ring and then went through with that promise for any length of time, you have already fulfilled the promise of marriage. In other words, the marriage certificate makes the “conditional gift” concept irrelevant to this scenario. (However, there may still be leeway for a “conditional gift” dispute about wedding rings after divorce.)

Family heirloom

Even if the law indicates the person who receives the ring gets to keep it, sometimes exceptions apply if the ring is considered a family heirloom. This is because when a family heirloom is used during a marriage proposal, it is an indication that the proposer wants to offer a place in their family to the proposee. If that is no longer the case, the person who proposed may have a legal case that the ring belongs back with the family it originated from, even after the marriage has taken place.


Infidelity is another factor that can complicate engagement ring ownership. In some states, the offending party gives up their right to keep the ring because their unfaithfulness is what ended the engagement or marriage. In other states, the concept of “fault” isn’t considered, and the marriage promise still dictates ring ownership. This means that even if the proposer was unfaithful, they might have a right to keep the ring if the engagement ended before official marriage. Infidelity also affects the ownership of wedding rings depending on the state and the circumstances.

If you have finished the divorce process or are sure that the ring does not need to be returned to the original purchaser, here are some ideas for what to do with your engagement ring after divorce. 

Return the Ring

Even if your former spouse has no legal claim over your engagement ring, sometimes returning the ring can be an indication of a peace offering — a way to end things on a positive note. However, if you’re still in the process of finalizing your divorce, make sure you follow appropriate legal proceedings to ensure the lawyers you are working with are aware of this decision. Even if the ring is relatively inexpensive, it should be on the record if relevant so the court can ensure equal division of assets.

Tuck It Away

If you can’t decide what you’d like to do with your engagement ring after divorce, it’s perfectly okay to store it somewhere out of sight and out of mind while you think it over — or never think about it again. However, be sure to find a suitably safe place. If the piece has significant value, consider locking it in a jewelry box, purchasing a safe, or even storing it at your bank. Even if you aren’t worried about the possibility of theft, engagement rings are small and can easily be misplaced.

Repurpose the Ring

Change the way you wear your ring

If you’d like a simple way to change the “meaning” of your engagement ring after divorce, you can wear it around your neck on a jewelry chain or get it resized so you can wear it on another finger. 

Turn your ring into something else

Another option for repurposing your engagement ring is to have it professionally altered at a jewelry store. Maybe you want a pair of sparkly earrings made from your diamond ring, or would like to have the diamond setting removed and attached to a bracelet. Repurposing your engagement ring can be a great way to turn your “new” jewelry into a symbol of your fresh start in life.

Pass It Down

If you feel connected to your engagement ring due to its beauty, value, or sentimentality, you can choose to pass it down to a family member such as a child, niece or nephew, or even grandchild. Your ring doesn’t have to serve as a source of pain every time you look at it. Instead, you can turn it into a sign of love by passing it on, either in its current state or after it has been repurposed, to someone else you care about. If you intend to wait to give your gift to your loved one(s), be sure to keep it locked away until the time is right.

Sell Your Ring

One of the most common reasons our pawn shop receives calls asking where to sell a diamond ring in Massachusetts is because people are interested in selling their engagement rings after divorce. There are many reasons that selling your engagement ring might be the right choice for you. You may decide to sell your engagement ring for the psychological relief of officially “ending” things. Selling your engagement ring can also be a wise choice if you want to recoup some of the funds you used paying for divorce lawyers. You could also use the money to put away savings for your children, go on a trip with friends, put a down payment on a new apartment or house, or even donate to a charitable cause. 

No matter what you’re planning on doing with the financial resources from selling your engagement ring after divorce, it’s essential to understand how resale value works. Unfortunately, there is little to no way you will be able to sell a ring for its original purchase price. However, that does not mean you should let your engagement ring be undervalued or overlooked by an inexperienced buyer. An ideal buyer will be well-versed in the diamond appraisal process, not rush you through the sale, and able to answer questions about your piece, such as how diamond shapes affect value when it comes to your engagement ring. 

Selling Your Engagement Ring? We Can Help!

Do you have more questions about what to do with your engagement ring after divorce? Are you selling your wedding ring, engagement ring, or another sentimental item? No matter what kind of piece of jewelry you bring in to sell, you can trust The Jewelers & Loan Co. to assess your jewelry fairly, expertly, and thoughtfully so we can determine its true value. Get in touch with us today.