Broken Up? What Should You Do With Your Engagement Ring?

At some point, almost everyone goes through a breakup of some kind. The pandemic saw a spike in divorce rates, and more unmarried couples split than usual also. 

Online self-help divorce agreement sales rose by around 34%, and lawyers reported a 25% to 35% increase in couples seeking a divorce. Much of this can be put down to a backlog of divorce cases due to lockdowns. However, this doesn’t change the fact that sadly many relationships are doomed from the outset.

Breaking up can be hard, but most people will eventually move on, meet someone else, and start over. Sometimes though, there are certain reminders or remnants from relationships that stay. Things such as marital jewelry can be hard to dispose of for sentimental reasons, and knowing what to do with your engagement or wedding ring can be tricky.

Is it ever okay to sell an engagement ring?

It is believed that 70% of unmarried straight couples break up every year. Couples that get engaged usually have a 12 to 18-month wait between the proposal and the wedding. But, around 20% will break off the engagement before walking down the aisle.

Over 1.82 million couples get engaged in the US every year. If statistics are to be believed then there are at least 360,000 couples breaking off an engagement every year. And the majority of those couples will have purchased an engagement ring. 

Whether it is okay to sell your engagement ring after a breakup is down to your own personal feelings. However, the law in most states views an engagement ring as a conditional gift. So, if you purchased the ring and your fiance broke off the engagement then the ring should be returned to you. Alternatively, if your fiance let you keep the ring after a break up then they have gifted you the jewelry.

Before selling an engagement ring you should consider the circumstances of your break-up, and who purchased the ring.

How can you sell your precious jewelry?

Assuming you are in a position to sell the engagement ring you hold, you will need to find a reputable buyer who will give you the best price. 

You can learn where to sell your jewelry by searching online or by reading below where you will see the best options for selling your engagement ring. How you sell your precious jewelry will depend on your own personal circumstances in some ways, but you should always try and get an independent appraisal if possible. 

Nobody wants to think about selling their wedding or engagement ring, yet thousands of couples break up every year. With the average engagement ring costing perhaps $3,000 or $4,000, that is a lot of money just sitting doing nothing. 

The best options for selling your engagement ring

You have two main options for selling your engagement ring. One is in-person and one is online. These are your main options for selling jewelry.

  • To a friend or family member
  • At a jewelry store
  • Online marketplace – eBay for instance
  • At a pawn shop
  • Auction house
  • Cash for gold websites or shops
  • Through a consignment store
  • To a professional online jewelry buyer
  • How you sell your jewelry may depend on what is most important to you, the speed of sale, or the highest selling price. 

    Which selling method will make you the most money?

    There are no hard and fast rules here as it is impossible to predict what offers you may receive. Typically though, pawn shops, cash for gold stores, and online auctions may bring in the lowest offers or bids. And auction houses are only truly useful if your ring is an antique or has some unique selling point. 

    Your two best options may be to sell in person at a jewelry store or through an online jewelry buyer. 

    The country’s student debt totaled $1.75 trillion as of August 2022, and the average student owes around $30,000. Selling an unwanted engagement ring could bring some immediate relief to a student worried about their debt.

     The American Gem Society can supply a list of reputable jewelers that will be willing to purchase rings or any other type of jewelry. Alternatively, you could try online jewelry buyers or auctions such as

    Selling in person is still the best way for many people and a preferred choice due to human contact, and face-to-face interaction. Yet, with ecommerce booming, it is no surprise that many people now choose the convenience of selling jewelry online.

    How can you sell your engagement ring online?

    Like most people, you may want to know how to find the love of your life. Failing that, finding out how to sell the ring that your ex-love brought you, or you bought for them, will at least bring some relief.

    There are now a number of online jewelry buyers, but Worthy is recommended for rings that have 0.5 carats to 1.2-carat diamonds. This covers the average size of a diamond engagement ring, so this auction site may be suitable for most people.

    The selling procedure is as below:

  • Visit your chosen jewelry buyer’s website
  • Enter some contact details, and some information about your ring
  • Receive a courier mailer, FedEx for example
  • Send your ring via the courier
  • You then receive an appraisal report that is GIA certified
  • You can then set the price for your auction
  • After the auction finishes, you receive payment minus Worthy’s commission
  • Selling this way means that you get a GIA-certified appraisal, get to set your own price, and have the convenience of doing so online. However, the downside is that you will lose 18% on items up to $5,000. After this, the commission drops in increments.

    If you wish to sell directly to a buyer or a jewelry store, it will pay to get an appraisal first.

    How to get your engagement ring appraised

    Worthy will supply you with a GIA-certified appraisal, and it is in its interest to do so. However, when you approach a jewelry buyer it makes sense to have an understanding of how much your engagement ring is worth beforehand. 

    Often you only need to visit a jewelry store to get a piece appraised. You may prefer though to choose your appraiser through the American Gem Society, or the International Society of Appraisers. You may also wish to choose an antique appraiser or a gemologist appraiser depending on the nature of your engagement ring.

    One thing to remember is to ask for a resale appraisal. Many appraisals are done for tax or insurance purposes. As you are looking to resell, you need a resale appraisal.

    Once you have found an appraiser, ask about their fees. They may charge hourly, a flat fee, or a percentage of the value. If they charge hourly then ask whether there is a minimum fee involved. If the appraiser charges a percentage of the value then this can present a conflict of interests.

    Once your appraisal is done, you will be armed with the knowledge of your jewelry’s value. This will not only help you deal with college debt but hopefully help you move on from your break up too.


    Breaking up isn’t easy but getting some financial return on your engagement ring may help to soften the blow a little. Selling jewelry online can be a very convenient method to use today, but there are many in-person options too.

    However, if you choose to sell your engagement ring, make sure you get a professional appraisal first and choose a reputable buyer perhaps through the AGS or another organization.