What Happens to the Ring After a Broken Engagement?

Dealing with a failed engagement can be difficult. No matter the cause or reason, turning the page on a broken engagement is never easy, especially since you were so close to tying the knot. Making the situation more awkward and complicated, many exes argue over who gets the ring after a breakup.

Although simple etiquette favors the side of the person who bought the ring, there are times when personal opinions get in the way. If you and your ex-fiancé can’t agree on a mutual decision, the law might be on your side, as there are rules upheld that can make the decision straightforward.

Who gets the ring after a broken engagement varies by state and circumstance. Take a look at the regulations below to know whether the ring you proposed with or received is yours to keep.

Disclaimer: Do not consider the information below as legal advice. Consult a licensed attorney for professional advice regarding the return of an engagement ring following a breakup.

Conditional Gift: The Recipient Must Return the Ring

Some states consider an engagement ring as a conditional gift. Because the person who purchased or inherited the ring gave it to the recipient as a condition of marriage, if the marriage does not happen, the recipient will need to return the ring regardless of who ended the nuptial plans. The following states view engagement rings as a conditional gift:

  • Florida
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Wisconsin

Keep in mind that if you do get married, it means you have met the conditions of the agreement. In this case, the law will no longer require the recipient to return the ring.

Implied Conditional Gift: The One Who Breaks Off the Engagement Revokes His or Her Right to Keep the Ring

In states that consider an engagement ring as an implied conditional gift, if the one who gives the ring ends the engagement, the recipient, usually the bride, can keep the ring and claim it as her legal property. In contrast, if the receiver or giftee is the one who breaks off the engagement, she must return it to the groom. These states consider engagement rings as implied conditional gifts:

  • California
  • Texas
  • Washington


Unconditional Gift: The Recipient Keeps the Engagement Ring Where Can You Sell Your Engagement Ring?

Montana is the only state that currently sees an engagement ring as an unconditional gift, which means the engagement ring is the legal property of the recipient, regardless of who decided to end the relationship.


Special Occasion Consideration

If a person gives an engagement ring on a special day – Valentine’s Day, Birthday, Christmas, etc. – some courts may rule in the favor of the recipient.


What to Do With an Engagement Ring After a Breakup

You won ownership of the ring, but now what? You have a few options to consider.

  1. Keep the Ring

For many people who didn’t make it to the altar, the ring may represent a failed relationship, and all they want to do is part ways with it. However, if you have no hard feelings about your breakup (perhaps it was for the best and you two ended things amicably), you have the option to keep the engagement ring. No one said you had to be engaged to wear a diamond ring, and you don’t have to look at the ring and recall its history. After all, time heals most wounds. There is no right or wrong move. Simply follow your heart.

  1. Return the Engagement Ring

Some women choose to return their engagement ring to their ex, especially if the piece is a family heirloom. No matter how difficult the situation may be, if the ring has been in your ex’s family for generations, consider returning it. Some women also find that returning the ring helps close the chapter and move past the situation.

  1. Turn the Ring Into Another Piece of Jewelry

To symbolize a new beginning in your life, consider turning the ring into a new piece of jewelry. For instance, you may keep the band and upgrade (or downgrade) the stone, or even change the piece entirely. Upgrading an engagement ring from a failed relationship can be an empowering choice.

  1. Sell Your Engagement Ring

One of the best options is to sell your engagement ring. If you’re ready to move forward, trade in your ring for cash that you can put towards a new car, spend on legal bills, use on a girls’ trip, or deposit in your savings account. Saying goodbye to a painful reminder of the past instead of allowing it to collect dust in your drawer can be cathartic. Selling your engagement ring is an excellent way to move on financially and emotionally.


How Much Is Your Engagement Ring Worth? 

Whether you are still deciding what to do with your engagement ring or have made up your mind about parting ways forever and would love to receive cash in return, a question you may be asking yourself is: how much is my engagement ring worth?

These factors will help determine the resale price and overall value of your engagement ring:

  • Brand: If your ring is from a notable brand such as Tiffany’s, Cartier, Harry Winston, and others, it may have more value.
  • Condition: The better the condition of your ring, the higher its value will be.
  • Quality of Diamonds: A GIA-certified expert can examine your diamond engagement ring based on the Four Cs – cut, clarity, color, and carat – and determine its value.
  • Market Conditions: If the style of your ring is in high demand at the time of sale, it will be worth more.


Where to Sell My Engagement Ring in Phoenix, AZ

At Biltmore Loan and Jewelry, we understand that selling an engagement ring can be difficult. Our staff is committed to making the process simple, fast, and rewarding. As our GIA-accredited jewelry experts are knowledgeable in all engagement ring brands and styles, we are always ready to offer the highest amount possible for your ring. Complete our online appraisal form or drop by today to begin the process.