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While an engagement ring is a significant investment, often costing thousands of dollars, the investment behind its purpose is even more important.
After all, putting your future (and lifelong happiness) in someone else’s hands is a gamble, even if your relationship is rock-solid.
But what happens if it doesn’t work out the way you envisioned? Can you recoup at least part of that loss by returning the engagement ring if she says “no?”
We sincerely hope you’re asking out of curiosity – but no matter the situation, we’re here to help answer that question. In this post, we’ll discuss the issue and provide some tips on getting the most money back for that sparkly investment.
Can You Return an Engagement Ring?
The answer to that all depends upon where you bought it and the deets about the ring itself. Every retailer, online or otherwise, has its own returns policy, so hopefully, you educated yourself on that when you purchased the ring in the first place.
If you were too caught up in the excitement to read the return policy, it helps to remember that engagement rings are a lot like cars – once it leaves the lot, its value diminishes considerably. Regardless of whether you even got around to giving it to your would-be-betrothed, it’s considered used.
Keep in mind that most jewelers accept returned engagement rings that are unworn but it has to be within 30 days from the date of purchase.
Keep in mind that you need to have all the original documents you bought the ring with, along with receipts, certificates, records, and appraisals. Lastly, you should also return the ring box.
Although it’s quite rare to find a jewelry shop that will grant you a full refund, you need to do some research first. Return policies vary depending on the store. If you bought the engagement ring from a physical store, talk to the manager and see what they can offer you.
Some jewelry retailers will give you store credit or let you exchange it for something of equal or lesser value instead of providing a refund. You might not get your money back, but at least you have a pre-paid Mother’s Day gift lined up. Assuming Mom likes jewelry.
Note: Online jewelry stores may have a very different set of policies than those stated above, always review their return policy carefully before buying.
Call the customer service line to request a copy of the site’s return policy if you don’t see it on the website.
Regardless of how strict or lenient the store is, there are some consistent things to consider that may affect whether you can return or exchange your engagement ring:
- Was it personalized?
- Did you purchase it on clearance?
- Do you have your paperwork and certification?
- Do you have the receipt and original box?
- How long ago did you buy it?
- Did you buy it from a different store location? (If you purchased it at a brick-and-mortar store.)
Good to Know: Is It Ok to Ask for the Engagement Ring Back if You Break Up?
The short answer is yes, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get it. You have to consider two aspects – laws and personal feelings. The law might be on your side in certain situations; however, sometimes the heart leads the way.
Entitlement to ownership of an engagement ring depends on local laws and the circumstances around your breakup. These laws vary by state and country, but they all focus on the idea that your proposal is (or is not) a legally binding contract.
Do your research on state-specific laws. For instance, if you’re from Massachusetts, you may be able to convince a judge you should get the ring back if you prove that it was not your fault the engagement didn’t end in a marriage.
Some states decree that an engagement ring is a quid-pro-quo gift with the understanding that marriage is the condition under which it was given.
If she accepts the ring but doesn’t go through with the marriage, the condition of the nuptials was never honored, so whoever bought the ring has ownership.
Once you’ve exchanged vows, however, you’ve entered into a contractual agreement. The person who chooses to break that agreement (whoever files for divorce or abandons the marriage) forfeits their ownership of the ring.
Some states honor the ring as an unconditional gift. If accepted, the giver isn’t entitled to get it back, even if the couple splits up before they get married. In some places, this law only applies if the ring is given as a birthday or holiday gift.
Some laws decree whoever does the breaking up is at fault and has no claim on the ring. Still, more states maintain a no-fault policy where couples can split without assigning blame to either party.
That way, it’s entirely up to them to determine who should keep the ring. Often in these states, if a couple divorces, the ring’s value is split evenly between parties.
Etiquette experts Miss Manners and Emily Post agree that returning the ring after a broken engagement is just in good taste. No matter who broke it off or what the local laws say. (While we aren’t etiquette experts around here, we agree too.)
Ultimately, giving the ring back makes it easier to remain friends. Sometimes, couples realize that marriage is just not suited for them and they decide to break things off.
If that’s the case, it’s better to take the high road give the ring back.
Finally, if you proposed and she said yes but you didn’t get to the wedding part, ask yourself if you really want that ring back. If it’s too personalized or if she asks you to keep it as a special memory, think about it for a second before counting the bills you’ll get from selling it in your head.
What Do I Need in Order to Return an Engagement Ring?
There are a few things you’ll need to provide the jeweler when returning your engagement ring, but they vary depending upon whether you purchased it in-store or online:
As we said earlier, buying an engagement ring is sort of like buying a car. The sheer amount of paperwork you’ll receive at the point of sale is another example of how.
Here’s what you’ll need to bring when returning your engagement ring to the store:
- The ring in the same condition as when you bought it
- The original box/packaging
- The official bill-of-sale
- The original certification docs from GIA (or whoever certified the gemstone)
- The appraisal documentation
- Any maintenance records (if applicable)
- Any bonus products you received if there was a special going on when you bought the ring
Pro Tip: When purchasing the ring, try to develop a rapport with your sales representative. That way, they’ll remember you and the details around the ring’s sale, making it much easier to work through the return.
Online purchases can get a little tricky due to shipping and insurance issues, but reputable online retailers have hassle-free returns policies to make it easier.
In addition to the above checklist for docs and packaging, here’s how to go about returning your engagement ring online:
- Contact the website’s customer service department (preferably by phone) and request a return. They’ll give you instructions on how to return it and what you need to include with your return. Hint: It’ll be all the stuff you need to return your ring at a brick-and-mortar store.
- The retailer will either email you a paid, insured FedEx or UPS label or snail-mail you a box featuring the label to send your ring back in. You’ll also receive instructions on how to securely package your ring for return.
- Pack up your ring, go to the nearest FedEx or UPS location (depending upon your shipping label), and send it off. Be sure to keep the shipping receipt just in case something happens, and you need proof of the transaction.
What if the Store Does Not Accept Returns?
If the jeweler where you purchased your ring is adamantly against returns of any kind, there are other options for recouping some of your losses.
We have a separate guide on what to do if the store doesn’t accept the engagement ring back. However, here’s a quick overview of the most essential things to remember.
Online marketplaces like Craigslist may be excellent for parting with your old clothes rack/treadmill, but it’s not such a great option for selling your engagement ring.
The potential for fraud and safety issues around meeting with a stranger to hand off the ring should be reason enough to avoid it. But you’ll also have to wait for an interested buyer to approach you, and there’s no guarantee that’ll happen promptly.
The lure of a quick sale and immediate cash makes selling your ring to a pawn shop sound pretty tempting, but we encourage you to explore your other options first.
Pawn shops are in the loan business, not the diamond ring business. It’s rare to find one with knowledgeable and well-trained staff in appraising and valuing gemstones.
Unfortunately, that means you’ll probably receive an insultingly low offer for your ring.
The likelihood of losing a significant amount of money when selling your ring at a pawn shop is compounded by the fact that they have overhead costs. That cost is passed down to the customers through extra fees and reduced offers for their valuable possessions.
Not all auction websites are created equal when it comes to reselling fine jewelry. On sites like eBay, individual sellers (like you) compete with professionals for bids. If the pro has a good reputation and a sales history on the platform, they have the advantage. Individual sellers do not have such advantage, and most rings go unsold
An online diamond auction dedicated to buying jewelry (like Worthy) is a good choice. Worthy well-established, reputable, insured, and designed for vetted diamond pros to use.
Whether you use an online site or your local jeweler, selling your engagement ring to a diamond broker has its pros and cons.
You’ll have the advantage of working with a pro who’ll likely give you a fair secondary market price for your diamond- but usually, that’s all you’ll get.
Most diamond buyers purchase engagement rings to deconstruct them and broker the primary gemstone in the ring. You probably won’t receive much (if anything) for the ring’s metal or any smaller accent stones featured in the setting.
You can always donate your ring to charity if money isn’t an object. You’ll get a tax deduction and the knowledge that something good came from a painful situation.
Reselling your ring to an individual is perhaps the best way to get as much money back as possible. Just be sure to get the ring appraised and certified, and ask the jeweler to recommend a selling price.
Also, consider the emotional consequences of selling your ring to someone with whom you’re close. Finding a buyer that’s at least a friend or family member removed is best.
What Are the Typical Return Policies for Refunds?
Most well-known retailers like Helzberg, Zales, Jarrod, and Kay Jewelers offer a 30-day return or exchange policy for unworn rings with all their original paperwork. The same is true for online retailers like Brilliant Earth, Blue Nile, and James Allen.
Higher-end jewelry stores like Cartier and Tiffany & Co offer a refund, credit, or exchange for unworn rings within 30 days of purchase.
Managing the Emotional Factors
Some people find solace in getting rid of their engagement ring right away. Some need to lock it away for a while and process their heartache first.
Whatever your coping strategy, returning an engagement ring because of a breakup is gonna be rough, so it’s best to call in some backup.
Recruit a friend to come with you for moral support, or meet up with a group of friends afterward for some much-needed bonding time. (Even if it is kind of a pity party.)
Try to stay busy, stay as positive as possible, and give yourself some space to grieve however you see fit.
Is It Ok to Keep an Engagement Ring for Next Time?
Well, sure. It’s your ring so you can do whatever you want. But do you really want to give it to someone else down the road? Ex-fiancee, meet future fiancee. What’s that?
Why yes, that is the engagement ring I gave you. But you rejected me, so I gave it to this one. Yikes.
Honestly, there’s just so much to unpack here… so we’ll just say it’s probably not a good idea.
But again, your ring.
Take Care of Yourself
Whether you choose to return it, keep it, sell it, or give it away, returning an engagement ring is a heartbreaking thing to have to deal with. So be good to yourself, reach out to friends and family, and have a good ugly cry or two. Or three.
Eventually, you’ll move on and find the person you were really meant to be with. And you’ll never have to return an engagement ring again.