We're Through. Should I Sell The Engagement Ring?

engagement ring resting on pile of money

Practical guidance on what to do with your engagement ring post-breakup.

When a man gets down on one knee and offers you a ring, it can be one of the most blindingly blissful experiences of your life. But sometimes, after you accept the offering and your eyes adjust to the light, you realize that while diamonds last forever, the men who give them to you sometimes don't. So when Mr. "I think he's the one!" turns into Mr. "Bullet Dodged," what do you do with the rock left behind? You may love bling, but you don't want to wear the karma of relationships past on your finger. And sure, diamonds are great for scratching the paint on his car, but you're much more mature than that. Sometimes the only reasonable thing to do is to sell that bad boy, but selling a diamond is more complicated than unloading that treadmill you bought last January and never used.

In order to safely get the best price for your jewelry after a relationship goes bust, Jerry Ehrenwald, president and CEO of the International Gemological Institute (IGI), the world's largest independent laboratory for grading and evaluating diamonds and gemstones, offered Frisky readers this advice.

Be sure the jewelry is yours to have and to hold. There's a big difference between a $500 cocktail ring your man gave you your last Christmas together and the $15,000 ring he proposed with. And lady, if that schmuck cheated on you while you were trying on frilly white dresses, I'll be the first to say that losing what he spent on your ring is the least he deserves. Unfortunately, most laws aren't based on etiquette or the justice owed a woman scorned, so do a little research before you try to unload your ring. Some states say that whoever walks away from the relationship forfeits their claim to the ring that symbolized the commitment. Others say a gift's a gift, so you need to know the rules of the playing field before you make your move. And if you were actually married? The ring may be considered communal property, which means the ring will be included in the division of property during your divorce. Bottom line? You want to get out of this situation as painlessly as possible, and making sure the ring is yours to sell will save you headaches and heartaches down the road. The Frisky: Is My Busted Engagement A Problem For You?

Check the store's return policy. If your engagement ended quickly enough, you may be within your jeweler's return policy, but remember; they're a business. Don't expect them to take back a piece that they sold months or even years ago. And if they do agree to take the piece, they may only be willing to offer store credit, which will still leave you with jewelry that reminds you of your ex. Before you walk out without the ring, though, make sure this is what you really want. If there's any chance of reconciliation, having to pay full price to get another ring later will be especially bitter. 

Get your piece appraised. In order to determine the price you can reasonably expect to receive for your piece, you need to hire a professional appraiser. Ehrenwald cautions you not to cut corners on this step. "Be sure to use an independent, accredited appraiser," he recommends. "An independent appraiser doesn't buy or sell jewelry, and won't be biased as he appraises your piece. Professional appraisers can be found through organizations such as the IGI, and should be senior tested and accredited by the American Society of Appraisers (ASA), have gone through gemology school, and appraisal school." Costs for appraisals are minimal, and are often based on the weight of the components of your piece—such as the diamonds plus the melt value of the gold or platinum. Beware of any appraiser who charges based on the value of the piece. This is an outdated practice that brings bias to the appraisal, Ehernwald warns.