A new study by the London-based wedding planning app, Bridebook, expects that COVID-19 will directly impact up to 64% of weddings in 2020 either by postponements, cancellations, or travel logistics. Globally, 29% of weddings are held between April and June, meaning that 64,000 UK weddings, 652,000 US weddings, and 12 million weddings worldwide will probably need to be rescheduled due to the virus. Even the World Health Organization recommends canceling events. So, the wedding is off, the party is off, but who keeps the engagement ring?

Follow the stars?

We don’t mean checking what’s in the cards; we mean looking at what they do in Hollywood. Elizabeth Taylor is the classic example – engaged ten times, married eight, divorced seven, and widowed once. From happier occasions, Taylor amassed a priceless and beautiful jewelry collection of diamonds and gems. None of which she returned.

Fast forward to the present. Many Bachelor fans know that the rings presented on the reality show and its spin-offs are given on loan. If a couple decides to break up after a short time, the rings must be returned and cannot be sold. However, after a two-year engagement with Garrett Yrigoyen, Bachelorette Becca Kufrin kept her Neil Lane engagement ring with no strings attached.

Not all stars want a reminder of a failed relationship, or maybe they want closure. Jennifer Lopez returned her famed 6.1-carat pink diamond Harry Winston engagement ring to Ben Affleck about two months after their split. Affleck had not asked for it back.

Follow the law

The issue of engagement ring ownership is not entirely up to the couple. In the US, several states have different laws and opinions on the matter. Most consider that a ring is a gift and, as such, belongs to the receiver. However, if the ring is gifted on the condition that there will be a marriage and there isn’t, it is returned to the giver. Other states consider fault – whoever broke off the engagement fails to keep the ring. Montana counts the engagement ring as an unconditional gift; therefore, it remains with the recipient if it is canceled and regardless of who broke it off.

Some courts, including in Kansas, hold that the reasons for a broken engagement are private, and the giver always gets the ring back as it is no-one’s fault. The list of legal “no-fault” reasons to end a relationship isn’t meant to be funny, but includes: that parties dislike prospective in-laws; parties have pets that do not get along with one another; and that one party has untidy habits that irritate the other person!

Once you’re married, though, most courts see the gift-giving of the ring as complete, and in case of divorce, the receiver can keep the gift. Others view the ring as marital property, the value of which should be divided in the divorce settlement.

What is the correct thing to do?

Besides the law, it is usually seen as polite to return the ring if the engagement is off – especially if it has sentimental value or is an heirloom. Others may feel that they do not want to keep a ring that reminds them of the ceremony that occurred – or did not.

If you do keep it, perhaps you wish to turn it into another jewelry item. Otherwise, you can sell it and buy something you’d rather have. What you don’t want to do is add insult to injury. Find a reputable buyer like DJP Diamonds in Houston, who will give you an honest appraisal and top dollar so that you’re not only cheated out of the promise of a wedding but also the value of the engagement ring on top of it!


As an international wholesaler with over 25 years of experience in the industry, DJP Diamonds offers the best value for your diamonds, gold, watches, and other jewelry. We have an inventory to fill and will never pressure you into selling. Contact us today at (832) 721-7261 to find out how much your diamond is worth. Or, reach out to us online for a free appraisal.