Will I Regret Selling My Engagement Ring?

woman with hand on man's shoulder

Q: When my then-fiancé, now-husband proposed to me, we were both caught up in thinking that an engagement ring needed to feature a large diamond and cost three-months worth of rent. So we went ahead and picked a beautiful and expensive ring with which he proposed. Thankfully, with the help of resources like A Practical Wedding, we managed to start thinking outside the wedding industry box and were able to turn things around in time for the wedding. We had an intimate, cost-effective affair that suited our personalities.

Now, we’ve been married a little over a year and I often regret how silly we were to think that we had to lay down so much cash for a ring. Don’t get me wrong. I love my ring and think it’s beautiful, but I’m more attached to my wedding ring and am wondering if it would make sense to sell the engagement ring. We’re twenty-four, I’m still in school, and we’re saving for our future, so the money could do some good elsewhere. The only problem is that I wonder if I’ll miss it when it’s gone? I know we can buy another ring at a fraction of the price but I’m unsure how I’d feel without the original ring. Any advice? Has anyone on Team Practical experienced a similar situation?

–Might Prefer the Cash Instead of a Giant Rock


Honestly, I’m sort of just dying to see this ring.

But my magpie tendencies aside, do what you want! If the meaning of the whole engagement ring is clouded by financial guilt and concern, sell it. If your wedding ring is ring enough and you could use some extra cash for some bills (I hear ya), sell it. (That said, only sell it if that’s what you want to do, not because it’s what you think you should do. The practical police aren’t going to come after you if it turns out you really do like your ring.)

Maddie aptly compared this situation to a tattoo-or-not situation. It’s the kind of thing where you can’t sit around worrying if every decision will be one you regret. Make the best decision you can with what you’ve got in front of you in this present moment, and commit to it fully. This quirky little turn of events is your story now. It’s fun and personal to just you guys, and you can always look back fondly on the two starry-eyed kids who spent three months rent on a diamond, but then changed their plans. That’s a terrific story! Own it!

If you’re worried you might just miss having the ring on your hand, try living without it for a while.There’s no reason why making the decision to sell your ring means you have to sell it rightthisverysecond. So put it in a jewelry box for a month or two and see how you feel about it come New Year’s. You may surprise yourself and not miss it at all, or by December you may be crouching over your jewelry box petting the precious. Who knows.

I am a smidge worried that you didn’t mention how your partner feels about the idea. Is he open and eager to do the swap, or is this something you’ve cooked up on your own? Even if we weren’t talking about something expensive and flashy and meaningful like an engagement ring, there’s a pretty fair possibility that selling a gift someone gave you may hurt them. Trust me; my grandma was positively crushed when she saw the kittens calendar she gave me in a pile at my yard sale.

But if he’s on board, you’re good to go! In the same way that you figured out that you don’t need to drop a ton of cash to invest in meaning, you also don’t need a tangible trinket to hold onto meaning, either. The happy memories of your engagement are still valid, even if you swap the ring.


Team Practical, did you consider selling your engagement ring? How do you rationalize expense and sentiment?

If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Liz at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though it really makes our day when you come up with a clever sign-off!

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  • PAW

    This is about what the ring means to you and your partner–if you both can’t help thinking, “I can’t believe we were so dumb,”* when you look at it, that’s a solid vote for selling it! On the other hand, if you look at it with a complicated tangle of emotions, thinking, “I know it’s worth so much and the money reasons make a good case for…but I love it so much and I am so touched that he gave it to me,” then you’re in a different boat.

    However, I get the sense that you feel the ring doesn’t suit who the two of you are. This may be incorrect, but if not, could I suggest a sideways solution? Sell the ring now, but start a Ring Book: pictures of jewelry you’ve found or sketched together, rings that you could purchase for, say, you 15th or 20th wedding anniversary. It lets you revel in all the pretty you want, without feeling like you’re struggling to come up with money you don’t have.

    As usual, though, I agree with Liz’s sage advice: make sure everyone’s on board!

    *The language of self-chastising; this isn’t to say that you were!

    • meg

      So much the first paragraph.

  • I agree with Liz here–how does your husband feel about it?

    My husband (who I just read this letter to) said he would find it frustrating if I changed my mind about my ring because he wanted to do something that would thrill me for our engagement.

    Also, I have an engagement ring from my first marriage that I had purchased for myself and looked into selling, and the resale value was a fraction of what I had bought it for–even though the 4 Cs hadn’t changed a whit! In contrast, I recently inherited a gorgeous diamond cocktail ring from my grandmother, and whatever the resale cash value it has, I feel like it’s priceless.

    In spite of everything that DeBeers tell us, diamonds are more of an emotional investment than a financial one, and it might be a bit painful to find out how much it is “worth” in the resale market. If you love it, than my advice is to shrug at your youthful naiveté, let go of your sheepishness, hold on to it, and make it a family heirloom.

    • Halle

      Been down that road myself, I was really upset to find out how little my ring was worth after what my ex had paid for it. Ironically, the jeweler said the only real solution was to remove the stones and create something new from it.

    • Class of 1980

      I was just about to say the same thing as Manya.

      Retail diamonds are atrociously marked up and you can never recover the cost. Diamonds are an emotional purchase, but definitely not an investment.

      That said, if your husband is on board and you still would rather have the lesser amount of money in your pocket, then sell it. You will make more money selling it privately than selling it to a jeweler though.

    • KB

      Somewhat off topic, but brought up by Manya’s comment – my fiance has his wedding band from his first marriage years and years ago, which I said he should totally hock. He looked into it and apparently it’s only worth like 20 bucks! He’s voting for taking it somewhere meaningful and throwing it into the ocean/lake/off a cliff or doing something else symbolic. I vote for “Hey, it’s 20 bucks, that’ll buy you a nice bottle of wine to toast your final wife, aka me.” ;-)

      • Class of 1980

        If it’s gold, considering the price of gold today, I would think it worth more.

        • KB

          I did, too, but apparently not. Maybe it wasn’t a good jewelry store – but eh, it is what it is.

          • Class of 1980

            Depends on the weight and the current price of gold for that weight. It’s worth more than $20.

          • Class of 1980

            Today’s gold price is $1,730 per ounce.

      • MDBethann

        I agree with Class of 1980. Take it to a reputable jeweler. My husband was married before and when we went shopping for our wedding bands, he took his first band in with us and basically traded it in plus cash for the new ring. I don’t recall how much we got for the old ring, but given the price of gold, a reputable jeweler should be able to give you something more reasonable than $20 for it, melt it down, and reuse it.

        And if nothing else, I like your idea of a $20 bottle of wine to toast your upcoming marriage to each other. Best wishes!

      • Mel

        We did this. We now have a $27 lunch date on the day he hocked his old ring. We try a new restaurant every year and spend *roughly* $27 on lunch to celebrate the end of the old and the freedom of the new.

    • When we were going through some very rough financial times, my mom tried to sell all her jewelry and they were giving her almost nothing, so she kept it and still wears it. Jewelry is not a good financial investment…

      • Class of 1980

        It sure isn’t. Precious metals in jewelry form are definitely not an investment, due to markup that has nothing to do with intrinsic value.

        If someone wants to invest they have to go with bullion.

        There are investment grade loose stones, but you are talking the kind of money most people don’t have.

  • Jen

    Bear in mind, you probably won’t get anything like the cost back when you sell it.

    • Rachel

      Yes this. If you love the ring and would keep it happily but for the cost, do some research (visit a shop, or even check out Craigslist) to get an idea of what you would be able to recoup. It’s certainly less than you paid and less than the appraised value, probably significantly less.

      • Chalk

        Exactly. And if the difference in value is close to the amount you’d spend to replace the ring, then it’s really not worth selling what you have.

    • Crayfish Kate

      Yeah, definitely take this into account. My best friend hit a rough patch financially, and sold her engagement ring. It was a Tiffany’s ring, white gold with a small diamond. The ring initially cost $2K. She was told the diamond wasn’t really worth anything, and she ended up getting no more than $200 for the gold. This might be a worse-than-usual example, but just keep it in mind.

      Another idea: You could take it to a reputable jeweler, have it melted down and remade into a style that fits you more. If you don’t want the diamond in the ring, you could have it reset into a necklace or something else instead. That way, you still have the original metal and diamond, but it’d be more you :-)

  • Amy March

    I vote keep it. You love your ring and think it’s beautiful. You aren’t proposing pawning it for bail money. It’s okay to love something expensive and to grown into it’s financial appropriateness. I just get a sense from your letter that you don’t think you’re worth something so special, and I disagree.

    • Kara

      I think you hit the nail on the head when you said ” It’s okay to love something expensive and to grown into its financial appropriateness.”

      I also think it’s ok to recognize that you wouldn’t/won’t make the same financial decision again. Yes, you could sell it and put the money toward something different, but it probably won’t have the bang for the buck you hope it will, and then, as you say, the symbol of it all is gone.

    • Marina

      I agree about “growing into it’s financial appropriateness”. I have a family engagement ring that is totally inappropriate for my current financial situation and I rarely wear it, but I love looking at it and thinking about how someday it will be completely perfect for me.

      Of course this is dependent on wanting to be the kind of person who would wear that kind of ring. If you’re like “Oh god I hope I NEVER become the kind of person I imagine would wear this ring every day!” then… yeah, probably a good indicator you’re leaning towards selling.

  • I’m not sure if this is tacky advice or if this is possible for your ring but could you sell the (I’m assuming) diamond only, and replace it with a lab made diamond or moissanite? Fraction of the cost for the exact same look (and won’t cloud over time like cubic zirconia or something). I have a moissanite engagement ring which I haven’t worn since our honeymoon. I loved it while I was engaged and wondered whether I’d still want to wear it after our wedding but I took it off one week for work and never felt the need to put it on again.

    • meg

      Ooo! Interesting idea right there. Not necessarily the right one (not that there is a right or wrong) but I never would have thought of this.

    • meg

      OH! By the way. I just explained the situation to my very logical husband (I’m on maternity leave, I didn’t read the post before now). First thing out of his mouth, “Just switch out the stone!” High fives to Robyn.

      • mimi

        Meg, I love that you’re lurking in the comments these days :)

        • meg

          It’s pretty awesome to read APW as a reader for the first time ever. I’m editing the occasional wordless now and then, and I helped shape content before I left, but I’m not reading anything till it goes up, so I can just have a totally different perspective. It’s fun.

          Soon I may be in the comments a little less, but hey. Maternity leave is a weird thing.

    • Kerry

      I was going to suggest something similar also! My ring is something that I love and is a halo ring with a pink sapphire in the middle instead of a diamond (b/c a diamond would have been SO much more expensive) and I just ADORE it. I get compliments on it all the time b/c it’s so different than a typical ring.

      If you really do want to get the money back, think about selling just the stone and replacing it with an equally beautiful, but less expensive stone. That way you won’t have to get rid of the ring per say.

      • Samantha

        The central stone to my ring is also a sapphire. I was more interested in the setting than the rock honestly and wanted something with piercing and engraving and all the handworked shazam. You can even get a colored stone which is totally rad!

    • Alyssa

      Yes! I have a 1 carat lab made diamond and jewelers can’t even tell the difference (except for the lack of inclusions under a lens). The loose stones go for something ridiculous like $100/carat, and the place I went through (diamond nexus) had an awesome return/exchange policy.

      • We had looked into Diamond Nexus too but the artist who made my ring (http://www.etsy.com/shop/jorgensenstudio – she was awesome to work with apparently) suggested moissanite. My husband didn’t tell me how much it cost but I’ve read moissanite goes for about 1/10 the price of a diamond AND is actually more sparkly!

        I am very pro-lab made stones; they are such a perfect alternative to super expensive, mined stones.

  • Kelly

    My mother lost her original engagement and wedding band, and 35 years into my parents marriage she is still devastated. Money is one thing, but I sort of see it as sunk costs – you were who you were when you bought that ring, and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed about it now! You may really want that sparkly reminder of your youth and falling in love and making crazy romantic gestures. Obviously, if you really don’t want it, don’t feel the need to keep it. But it sounds to me like you do love it, and just don’t think you should be allowed to have it.

  • Hlockhart

    I say this as someone who has no engagement ring, didn’t want my husband to give me one, and truly thought they were only-on-TV for years: whatever you decide, don’t feel guilty! Spending big money on a beautiful piece of jewelry, because that’s what you wanted at the time you got engaged, is nothing to be ashamed of.

  • Maria

    Don’t sell. I understand the sentiment. But you would be lucky to get 20 to 30% of the value back this soon after purchase. Unfortunately, the moment a jewel is sold, it loses much of its value. High status, branded jewelry from Tiffanys or Harry Winston might keep a smidge more of its value.

    For practicality reasons, hold on to that diamond for a while. The price of diamonds keeps going up. It might be worth a fair bit more in five/ten years time.

    • Class of 1980

      Well, it’s not that it loses it’s value; it’s that it never had the value in the first place. Markup on diamonds is insane.

      They are not remotely rare; just controlled via monopoly.

  • Steph

    Just want to thank you so much for this part of the advice:
    “Make the best decision you can with what you’ve got in front of you in this present moment, and commit to it fully”

    As a frequent worrier/over thinker, this is a GREAT reminder about how to approach most life decisions.
    I also like the suggestion to the OP that she “test run” the decision by putting the ring away for a couple months and seeing how she feels w/o it. And of course making sure her husband is on board with the plan.

  • Laura

    That’s a tough one! I have mixed feelings about what to suggest, so I’ll speak from both sides of the issue.

    It’s a terrible sinking feeling to have purchased something you feel is overly extravagant, so selling the ring could be a good idea. I agree with Liz that this is definitely something that your husband should be on board with. If he is on board, I’d say it’s time to start the research. Firstly, how much can you reasonably expect someone to pay for this ring? If its resale value is small, the sentimental value you feel towards it (as you have said that you do like it) may far outweigh what you could get for it. In that case it might be easier just to keep it. After all, selling it won’t negate the regret you feel for spending so much and you might have added regret that you then had to let it go for so little of that initial expense.

    If, however, you can get a price you’re happy with, it would also be a good time to look into alternate engagement rings and see if there’s anything you’d much rather have instead. If you find a brilliant opal or a tourmaline or something you adore as a replacement, awesome!

    Now, all that said…the money you paid for the ring was just money. Okay, I know that sounds blasé and ignorant of the state of the economy, not to mention straight out of a WIC mindset, but there IS some validity to it. Things are tight now, but you will have lots of opportunities to earn money over the years. Now, I am all for financial planning and frugality, but when you’re forty or fifty your financial circumstances are not going to be any different just because you made one extravagant purchase in your twenties. This is not only true of wedding-relate things. I once spent twice the cost of an engagement ring on a tour of Southeast Asia. Was it a practical decision? Not at all. Did I struggle financially afterwards? Yes, things were tight (I want to stress that I DID NOT go into debt for that trip, just became very frugal for a while). But, three years later I have amazing memories of a life-changing experience, and my financial situation is the same as it would be if I hadn’t gone.

    So, as Manya says, the ring could make a great heirloom. Although you can’t know for sure how you’re going to feel in, say, forty years, I think it’s worth it to ask yourself how the significance of this ring might change over the decades (especially if you have the opportunity to pass it on to a daughter or granddaughter you love).

    • meg

      “Now, all that said…the money you paid for the ring was just money. Okay, I know that sounds blasé and ignorant of the state of the economy, not to mention straight out of a WIC mindset, but there IS some validity to it. Things are tight now, but you will have lots of opportunities to earn money over the years. Now, I am all for financial planning and frugality, but when you’re forty or fifty your financial circumstances are not going to be any different just because you made one extravagant purchase in your twenties.”

      This. I’ve found this true so many times. After money I was terrified to spend is gone, I realize, welp! It’s gone now. Might as well enjoy the memory. The trick is here you have a THING and a MEMORY, so it’s more complicated. But sometimes… money is just money. (And sometimes it’s food to eat.)

    • Taylor B

      Just to echo Laura’s excellent point about the likelihood of selling the ring now affecting your financial circumstances in the future: even to the immediate future, my guess is it’s unlikely to make enough of a difference to be worth giving up the ring. I just finished three years of fulltime graduate school, and looking back I can identify a few places here and there where we could have spent differently, but the bottom line is school is expensive and unless you have gobs of money and can avoid loans, the cushion of selling the ring may not provide that much help.

      As a person who received a fairly expensive engagement ring in my final year of grad school, I can relate to a sense of not deserving it, and ultimately, it was too much ring for me. But not because of the price. My fiance was adamant that I wear something I loved, that felt like “me” and that I would enjoy wearing for a long time. If that’s how you feel about your ring, please don’t let guilt or worry interfere with enjoying it. You will finish school someday, and get a fabulous job, and things will even out. Try taking the ring off for a bit; if you miss it, put it on and let the worry go.

  • I’m on the don’t sell side, for three reasons. At the end though it’s all about making the decision that feels the best to you and your husband.

    1) There’s no mention of what your husband thinks. This worries me because his feelings about keeping/selling are going to be just as important as yours here. Providing a ring is one of the big pressures on men related to weddings and he may have internalized some of it.

    2) You say you love the ring. I read that section of the letter as suggestion that perhaps you don’t really want to sell, you just feel like maybe you should. Even if you wouldn’t make the same choice of a ring again, it’s ok to love it.

    3) Resell value. As other readers have mentioned you’ll likely only recoup a fraction of the purchase price. Yes the money could do some good elsewhere but is one month’s rent completely worth giving up a ring you love? Depending on your situation it may be, but it doesn’t sound that dire.

  • Lynn

    I will just echo those who have said while you can sell it, look into how much you’re going to be able to sell it for.

    My best friend recently upgraded her engagement ring by purchasing a wedding set that someone else wanted to get rid of (because she was clearing out a dead aunt’s possessions). Appraised value of the set she purchased? $15,000 (and her appraiser confirmed that when she finally had it in hand). What she paid for it? $2,900, which was down from $4,500 because it sat unsold for so long.

    Feeling bad about buying into the hype of needing the ring is one thing; compounding that by not getting what it’s worth when you attempt to sell it is another.

  • Newtie

    If you do decide to sell, I’d recommend waiting to sell it until you feel like you need/want the money for something very specific. In my mind, selling an engagement ring – even one you’re not attached to – to pay the bills has more potential for regret than, say, selling an engagement ring to pay for a kick-ass tenth anniversary trip, or to help pay for a first baby, or to help pay for closing costs on a new house — or something else that celebrates your marriage.

    I had some jewelry from an ex that I didn’t care about emotionally at all — but I knew I was going to get much less for it than it was worth, and just that alone made selling it sting a little. I waited until I really needed the cash for something specific – in my case, to help fund my MOH duties for my bestest friend when I was in grad school and completely broke — and having something specific I felt like I was buying with the “ring money” made the whole process so much more fun, and made the fact that I could only get about half the original cost not matter. I felt like I was getting something I cared about rather than just “paying the bills.”

    I have a good friend who sold her engagement ring to help defray the costs of having her first child. The baby was unplanned, and they were really broke – but REALLY happy and excited to be parents – and it felt like something she and her partner had invested in together (buying the ring) turned into a way to support something they both really wanted (the baby). Neither had any regrets about selling, and I think it was because they felt like what they got in exchange had so much more value.

    I do second what others’ have said about finding out what you will likely get for the ring. You don’t want to imagine you’ll be able to buy an anniversary trip to Australia only to discover you’ll actually only be able to go to the Motel 6 across town. Knowing what you might realistically be able to save toward with the help of the ring might make the selling process much more fun and meaningful.

    • Catherine B

      I love this advice! Practical, thoughtful, & experience based!

    • meg

      Good advice.

    • KB

      I totally second this – it might be easier for you to make this decision when you’re faced with a concrete this-or-that choice. You might discover that you would rather have something fixed or buy a gift or, like Meg said, make a memory with this money rather than putting it towards amorphous “bills and expenses.”

    • Agreed! Watching that money slowly drift away to the water bill or weekly groceries could be painful. It’ll be gone before you know it and you may feel like you have nothing to show for it in the end. Spending it on an event or memory takes away the potential for regret and makes it exciting!

  • A really tough question, and I think Liz handled it really well (especially making sure you talk to your husband about it, too). A couple of things from my own experience:

    1) I tend to be the person who worries about money, even when purchases are reasonable and necessary, so I totally understand the concern about having a fancy ring when you could use the money elsewhere. Obviously you guys have financial issues to think about, but is this money you could actively use? Or just money you feel guilty about having spent? If you think “We could really use that money toward repairing the car and would appreciate that way more than a ring,” then great. But if you just feel bad about having spent the money, I don’t know if you need to go selling your ring right away.

    2) Still, it’s just a ring. I’d feel awful if I lost my wedding/engagement rings, but they are still just things. At the end of the day, the object itself doesn’t matter as much as your own love and memories. A ring is not your marriage. If you guys seriously need the money now, and you’re both okay with swapping out the ring, then that’s okay.

    No matter what you do, I think you guys need to take a little time to talk about your financial plans and what giving up this ring would bring you and take away from you, both financially and emotionally. There’s no reason to rush this, so take your time and make sure you’re comfortable with the decision. Good luck!

  • Ang

    This comment is actually about the ring in the picture accompanying the article, not the ring discussed. Liz, do you know where I can find that ring? It is the only diamond ring that I have ever seen that I have liked enough to want to wear every day!

    • Liz

      I’m sorry, I don’t! Anyone else recognize it?

    • Maria

      Looks like that photo is by Emily Takes Photos, from this wedding on Delightfully Engaged and Emily’s blog.

      Sadly, neither post names where the rings came from, but maybe Emily could get in touch with the couple and ask :)

    • MTM

      I thought the same thing!

    • Do a search for Vintage Hexagon Engagement rings….there are many out there which are pretty similar – with the Vintage style rings being really popular lately, most designers carry something really close to the ring in the picture above.

  • Amy

    Reading this made me think of a dilemma I experienced when we first got engaged, that I’ve heard others discuss too. As stunned and giddy happy as I was, a few days later I realized that I wasn’t wild about the ring. Really not wild about it. Like actually talked to my man about it, actually thought about taking it back and exchanging it, and made sure he was OK with the idea. But then totally chickened out because of the idea that THIS is the ring he proposed with. THIS is what he wanted me to have, and this is a huge part of our story. And in the intervening years, I’ve grown to love it and can’t imagine anything different.

    So, while I completely agree with the trial jewelery box idea and am totally supportive of the sell it and live your life idea, thought I would toss in my two cents of sentimentality.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Crazy-early in our relationship, my now-fiance [for 4 more days!] led me into a discussion of what I wanted for an engagement ring.

      My engagement ring is the exact opposite – different metal, different stone, different setting. And this is not one of those situations: “It’s certainly not what I’d pick, but I love it even more.” It’s an heirloom ring, and he’s broke. When he asked what I wanted for an engagement ring months before proposing, it really was just casual conversation, and I now know he could never remember such a conversation several months later. But being asked and entirely ignored really hurt at the time. But there was no way to acquire another ring without hurting his feelings, and, even more, his family’s.

      The one good thing about the ring is it would have required a custom wedding band, if I were to wear them together. That was a bit beyond the available efforts of my fiance and in-laws. For that stage, I got exactly what I wanted, and can’t wait to wear forever. My engagement ring will go in a drawer, or even back to my mother-in-law. And maybe I’ll get exactly what I wanted someday in the future, when we have the money.

      • Congratulations on the wedding! Don’t forget to be present and take everything in.

    • Laura Lee

      My Fiance and I actually had a conversation well in advance of the actual proposal about this situation. We decided that if I didn’t like the ring he proposed with, I would wait 24 hours so we could just enjoy being engaged then tell him and we would take it back. In the end the ring he got me was one I’d fallen in love with, so it wasn’t an issue, but it was really great to be able to have a conversation like that in advance. It definitely went against WIC norms, but took a lot of pressure off of both of us.

    • KAH

      Refreshing to hear that I am not alone, I had the same feelings only days following my FH’s proposal, and contemplated the least offensive way to tell him, for I would be the one actually wearing the ring, so I did want something that reflected my taste. The guilt consumed me, for days, but I ultimately decide to tell him, he put on a tough facade but I know it effected him. We ended up taking it back to the jewelry store and switching it out, after 6 months we had to go back twice to get the small diamonds on the shanks replaced because they were falling out, sigh, a somewhat major fault of ring #2. After much discussion and financial reasoning (we most certainly were not in a place to shell out $$$$), we actually put out more money to have the stones my Papa had proposed to my Nana with 65+ years ago reset into my ring. So in the end, we spent more money than what he had originally put out, but I’m comforted in knowing that not only do I wear a piece of my Grandparents every day but one day my future daughter or daughter-in-law will have the option of wearing it as well. I can see this dilemma from both sides but personally I would have a hard time selling the ring at a fraction of the cost due to guilt. Sometimes we deserve pretty things :)

  • After discussing it with hubby, I would say that I would probably sell it. You can always get a cheaper, but meaningful ring to match your wedding ring (so you have a set) in the future. Maybe it could be an anniversary gift, or for some significant event. Make sure you have a picture of the ring before you sell it, at least!

  • Stella

    Of course it’s totally your decision and everyone’s given really good advice.

    One thing that might be worth thinking about is — how will you feel about this decision in a couple of years. What seems like a lot of money when you’re in school might not seem that unreasonable when you’ve been working for a little while.

    I feel like I skimped on a lot of things when studying (when it wasn’t really necessary) that I sort of regret for that same reason. Unless you really urgently need the money for something specific (like Newtie’s friend) it might be worth considering waiting a while before making a decision to sell.

  • Lauren

    Do you want to trade rings? I feel like I have somewhat the opposite problem.

    I’m mostly joking about wanting to switch. My ring was fairly practical. I picked my birthstone instead of a diamond because of some of the ethical concerns with diamonds. I picked a rose gold band because I like rose gold. And I asked my dad to make it because I knew he could and he’d feel included (and he’d love doing it). I showed Chris a lot of pictures of cute little blue stones in adorable little settings. I thought we were on the same page.

    Looking back, I would probably be happier if I’d help design it directly. Chris’ tastes run to the big and colorful while mine run small and understated. I ended up with a huge ring! Almost a year later, I’m still getting used to it on my hand. I wouldn’t REALLY trade it out, but I mourn the perfect tiny ring my BFF got from her guy and I didn’t from mine.

    tl;dr version: different strokes, you know? But if you have an attachment to the ring, as many others said, don’t sell it because you think you have to. You might think you’d like something different, but you may just end up missing what you used to have.

    Edited to add: I think my warning would also be, be wary of being too practical. I got caught up in an anti-WIC mindset and I think I may have missed out on some excitement/joy/shininess.

    • YES. THIS.

    • “I think my warning would also be, be wary of being too practical. I got caught up in an anti-WIC mindset and I think I may have missed out on some excitement/joy/shininess.”

      God, yes. +1 to this. I swung so far the other way (no pictures, ebay sapphire bought for less than our monthly car payment, teeny tiny little etsy gold wedidng ring, elopement, no registry, no showers, no bachelorette, no party) that now I sometimes find myself wondering a liiiittle bit about what we may have missed out on.

    • Lucy

      Yes, me too very much so. I got to get my ring made as my FIL panned the gold. This was special as it was painstakingly accumulated over many years of hard work. I had to pick the setting, the exact stone/s, absolutely everything… And for some reason I felt that I shouldn’t/couldn’t have a sparkly shiny ring as i am outdoorsy and practical in every other part of my life. I convinced myself that becuase I work in a 3rd world country I should be thoughful of the people around me who have nothing and I didn’t want to be flashy or showy… So i went with a VERY plain gold ring with one small inset sapphire – no raised setting.

      Now i realise actually a girly, shiny diamond set in an ‘impractical setting’ would have bought me a little happiness and that is ok for me to want this. It doesn’t make me a bad person….

      I do love my ring – but I wish I knew more about myself when i chose it. This whole marriage thing has really taught me some valuable life lessons.

  • sam.i.am

    I think Liz’s advice is great, for engagement rings, premium denim, expensive art and all other expensive purchases later regretted. If you love something, it doesn’t matter how much it cost. That money’s gone and you’re never going to get it back. But on the other hand, if it’s something you don’t love, sometimes it’s better to get some cash for it and move on in life. And putting it away for a month (or six!) is the best way to figure out if you can live without it or not.

  • eva

    You might find this post by Tammy Strobel of RowdyKittens (a popular simple living/minimalist blog) interesting, she had a similar situation and her considerations and the (extensive) comments provide some food for thought that might help you:


  • Janet

    I love my engagement ring and still can’t believe it’s mine. There are definetly days when I can’t help but think “OMG it was so much money and think of all the things we could have done with the money…” but I remind myself this ring wasn’t just my choice, it was my fiances choice too.

    He was so proud to give me this ring and put so much work into the proposal to make it memoriable for both of us. Additionally, it was a milestone for him in a way as well. In his previous marriage he and his ex-wife had eloped right of high school and were then very money strapped for the duration of their marriage. Since their divorce and the beginning of our relationship he has worked incredibly hard to rebuild his credit and to save money. For him, buying me this ring was an outward sign of his commitment to me, but also his ability to provide for our tiny soon-to-be family.

    Yes, if in the future we ever found ourselves in a dire finacial situation I would sell this ring in a heart beat to provide for our family. Luckily the jewelry store the ring was bought from is family owned and they have a policy to buy back any diamonds they sell for the full price paid for it at the time of orginial purchase. So, in this aspect I consider my ring an emergency investment for the future.

    As for the emotional aspect of this ring…there aren’t enough words in the English language to fully articulate the feelings wrapped around this ring. From our engangement and the happy tears we shed, to the excitement of our family and friends as we announced our engagement, to the day I came home from a month long hospital stay where I had almost lost my life and he slipped it back on my finger where it belonged. We’ve only just begun our life together, but the memories that will be etched into the many facets of this ring will tell the story of our life and our love.

    • Class of 1980

      “Yes, if in the future we ever found ourselves in a dire financial situation I would sell this ring in a heart beat to provide for our family. Luckily the jewelry store the ring was bought from is family owned and they have a policy to buy back any diamonds they sell for the full price paid for it at the time of original purchase.”

      AMAZING store policy!

  • Carolyn

    I feel like all any of us can do here is guess what the writer is feeling (by superimposing our own?) When I started my new smarty person intellectual job I didn’t wear my extravagant-for-a-grad-student-budget-at-the-time engagement ring (just my unadorned wedding band). I was all, “Look at me! I’m no kept woman! No one buys my love with shiny!” Because apparently smart career women don’t like shiny things?! Anyway a few weeks in I got over my (unfounded) fear of being “that kind of girl” and just wore the damn ring.

    So basically, plz don’t shame yourself into not loving your ring if you love your ring. And plz don’t blame yourself for not loving your ring if you don’t.

  • KB

    I think Liz’s advice is spot on – only time will tell whether you will miss it or not. My parents have been married for almost 35 years now and my mom doesn’t wear her engagement ring and band anymore, although she does wear a ring most of the time. When I asked her where they were, she said, “In the safety deposit box, duh.” I initially thought it was kind of nutty, but I now think it’s touching because, even though she doesn’t want to wear them, she doesn’t want to give them away just yet either. So if you do decide to keep it and don’t wear it, it doesn’t mean that you’re wasteful. There’s a reason that we hold on to certain possessions as manifestations of memory and give other things away – and not everyone can or wants to be all Buddha about it (aka, not having an attachment to the physical).

  • Sam

    Ok, I’m coming at this from a very different place, but I would think more long term than bills. My engagement ring contains a smallish diamond (>1 carat) that belonged to my great-grandmother. And after all, THIS is why diamonds are to us what they are, they last a really long time. And even though this ring may not mean the world to you, I’m betting it might to your daughter or granddaughter. I chose to reset the diamond but keep the ring my grandmother had designed for her mothers diamond, and plan on replacing the taken stone with one from my other grandmother (needless to say there was no need to buy more diamonds within my family!).

    The thing of it is, I would have never even wanted a diamond at all. Except for the utter coolness I find when I think of the two women in my family (one whom I never knew and get to have very romantic ideas of what this may have meant to her) who wore this very stone. I feel so connected to something so much bigger than the shiny thing on my finger, which to me is what the whole getting married thing is all about, the connection to our families and creating new, bigger, lovier families.

    So I speak for the sake of your future offspring (should you choose to have them) to think not just long term for you but for your family too. Now if you don’t plan on having anyone to pass this on to, or are simply not into that kind of thing, go right ahead and do what you wanna do. But, from personal experience, I find having my family’s history on my hand really, really cool.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      And I try to, but can’t get into that kind of tangible representation of family history.

      While I kept my engagement ring, there was some heirloom gold and diamonds in my family that I sold during the engagement after a family conference. We weren’t the kind of people to hold on to valuable things we don’t like on the off chance that a not-yet-conceived family member might like them.

      • Sam

        I totally get that, if you don’t like it, don’t keep it. But in this case, she says she loves the ring, but regrets being silly about the cost.

        I have no idea what my great-grandmothers ring looked like because my grandmother designed her own ring and had her mothers diamond put into it. That was part of the reason I didn’t feel guilty doing that again for my ring.

        But I have to say, I do regretfully wonder what that original ring might have looked like. And the only reason I kept my grandmothers ring, is because I realized I actually liked it. It’s not something I could wear everyday, so I needed to move the diamond into something I could. But I am going to be really excited to one day wear the ring my grandmother designed for a special occasion.

      • Caroline

        I think it just depends on who you are. In both of our families, inherited jewelry is kind of a thing. My mom’s wedding ring from her marriage to my dad has diamonds that were first my great grandmas, then my grandmas, then my moms, and someday, they will be my sister and mine (although hopefully not as inheritance for a long long time).

        When my partner decided it was time to get an engagement ring for me, his mother showed him a selection of family rings he was welcome to have (her mother in law’s, her mother’s, and hers), and we picked out together the one we liked best. He also has several other pieces of family heirloom jewelry, including a ring his grandfather got in France after the war with what remained of the platoon he stormed d-day (they all got matching rings and cuff links). Our engagement ring came with a matching wedding band, (which we won’t be using, and will probably give to his sister, since I want a stone free wedding ring, per Jewish tradition), which is engraved “Eternally Yours C 5-15-54”, from his grandfather Charles.

        To me, these things are incredibly precious, and I love that previous generations saved them for us. So I would save the ring.

        But if that’s not how your family does things, and it means nothing/little to you, pass on the ring.

  • Susanna

    “Crouching over your jewelry box petting the precious.”
    Liz, today you win the internet.

  • http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1982/02/have-you-ever-tried-to-sell-a-diamond/304575/

    As this article points out, you will most likely only recoup a fraction of the cost, because diamonds are inherently worthless. What makes people pay so much money for them is a near-monopoly coupled with decades of intensive and insidious advertising.

  • ruth

    I am a youthful 41 and getting married December 15. I’ve been reading APW since I was pre-engaged, and I feel like I’m in the same boat as most readers on most issues, but this thought is from the perspective of age: If you decide to sell it, take really detailed pictures of it, in case you want to have another one made just like it some day. I know it may sound silly, a reproduction won’t be the same ring, etc., and that’s all true. But it can’t hurt, and you might be glad you did someday.

    • Suzanne

      I have learned to always take pictures of things you have been attached to over the years. Even if she doesn’t want it to be remade exactly, she would still have the memories of the ring through pictures (if she decides to sell). When I moved overseas, I sold or gave away most of my possessions and came with three suitcases. But I took pictures of things that had been meaningful to me over the years so I could remember the memories that were attached to the items.

  • “I am a smidge worried that you didn’t mention how your partner feels about the idea. Is he open and eager to do the swap, or is this something you’ve cooked up on your own? Even if we weren’t talking about something expensive and flashy and meaningful like an engagement ring, there’s a pretty fair possibility that selling a gift someone gave you may hurt them.”

    I had mentioned to my fiance (husband to be in 16 days!!!) about my ring and how it was expensive and we could have used the money for other things. He gave me the male “confused” look and told me that he knew I loved the ring and he loved getting it for me. He also gave me the dumbfounded look as to why would I think about that because it happened in the past and can’t change the past. Honestly, I would definitely get your partner’s perspective on what you are thinking about because it might be completely different.

    I wouldn’t sell my ring now as I know we wouldn’t recoup what we paid and I do love the ring, but looking back I just see how we could have used the money more wisely (but I had been assured to not worry about cost when he purchased it – mine was more expensive more so due to the metal and having to use platinum due to metal alloy allergies, funny that the metal will be worth a lot more than the diamond itself!).

    It’s a very personal choice, but should be made together and also love the idea of putting the ring away for a few months and seeing how you feel when not wearing it.

  • I always think that it is a bad idea to sell your engagement ring. It’s something special between you and your partner and I think it should be kept no matter what.