More often than not, a broken engagement is a painful and confusing experience. You were committed to that one person with whom you were about to spend the rest of your life. Now the wedding is off, and the future is uncertain. Not only do you have to deal with emotional pain, but you also must decide what to do with the engagement ring.

Before you start wondering where to sell gold and how to heal a broken heart, you may want to learn first about your options. The engagement is off, and you’re stuck with a ring that does nothing but brings back painful memories about the future that’s never coming true. In this article, you’ll find out what you can do with an engagement ring after the wedding is officially off.

Return It

According to the etiquette, an engagement ring should be returned regardless of who called off the engagement – unless the bride paid for it herself or it belonged to her family as an heirloom. However, the legal status of engagement rings is not as straightforward as many would expect.

In the US, depending on the state, the issue is approached in three ways. As such, there are:

  • Conditional gift states. States like Florida, Kansas, Michigan, New York, or Pennsylvania consider the engagement ring as a conditional gift, which means that it’s given on the condition that the marriage will eventually happen. However, when the engagement is broken, no marriage will be taking place. As such, the ring should be returned to the giver, regardless of who decided to end the engagement.
  • Implied conditional gift states. These include California, Texas, and Washington. Here, the bride can keep the ring if it was the future groom who called off the engagement. The groom, of course, may ask to get the ring back. However, now the ex-fiance can decide if she wants to comply or not.
  • Unconditional gift states. Actually, there’s only one – Montana. Here, the receiver isn’t legally obliged to return the ring and can decide whether to keep it or give it back.

Getting a Refund

Supposing you’ve got the ring back and now you want to return it to the store. Here’s what you need to check or remember before you proceed with your request:

  • Store policy. Unfortunately, many stores have unforgiving return policies. However, even if you’ve exceeded the period mentioned in the policy or failed to meet some requirements, you can always call the store and ask to make an exception. Sometimes it works! Nevertheless, it’s better to know the store return policy beforehand.
  • Store location. Obviously, you need to return the ring to the store where you bought it, even if you made your purchase in a chain store.
  • Documentation. Engagement rings tend to be very expensive. As such, you should always keep all receipts and similar documents just in case you’ll need them. Otherwise, the store may deny your refund.

Other Ideas

As you can see, even though returning the ring might be the first idea that pops to your head, the return policy isn’t that straightforward. Sometimes you won’t be able to return the ring. Here’s what else you can do with it after breaking off your engagement:

  • Sell it. Chances are the ring wasn’t cheap. If you don’t want to get stuck with it and relieve painful memories over and over again, consider selling it – if it really is yours to sell. You can do it through an online auction, an estate sale, in a pawn shop, a consignment store, and many others.
  • Give it to someone else. You can pass it as a family heirloom or keep it and give it to the next person you feel deserves it.
  • Have it remade. You can also keep the ring and wear it yourself if you feel like it. You can ask a professional to restyle it so it won’t look like an engagement ring anymore.
  • Donate it. Ultimately, if you can’t return the ring, sell it, give it to someone else, and you definitely don’t want to keep it, consider donating it to a charity, even for tax deduction purposes.

The Bottom Line

Breaking off an engagement is, understandably, a tough experience to get through. Not all relationships end amicably, and if the ring issue keeps coming up, it’s even more difficult to move on. After all, an engagement ring was supposed to be a visible sign of your future life, filled with love and happiness. Now, this future is to be no more – or, at least, not with the person you initially thought.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be stuck with a ring that brings nothing but painful memories. Returning it might be your first choice. However, if you can’t do it for some reason, there are other ways to get rid of your engagement ring and move on with your life. Regardless of what you decide to do with it, you’ll hopefully find a person with whom you can fulfill your dreams.