What to Do With Old Engagement Rings?

by Kristie Lorette ; Updated September 28, 2017

An engagement ring typically has significant emotional value, so it can be difficult to part with one you're no longer wearing—whether because of a breakup, death or divorce. Fortunately, there are several options for giving old engagement rings a new purpose, and those who do not wish to wear the rings—whatever the reason—can still find something to do with them.

Assess the Personal Value

Before making any decision about an old engagement ring, the first step is simply to assess its value—to you, that is. Ask yourself if the ring is worth keeping at all, or if you should simply get rid of it altogether. For many people, old engagement rings are not worth keeping, due to the personal and emotional connection to such a piece of jewelry. For those who do not wish to keep an old engagement ring, selling it or donating it to a charitable organization can be an excellent option. For those who still place some personal value on the ring, resetting the ring or removing the stone and setting it in a new piece of jewelry can be an excellent option.

Assess the Financial Value

Depending on what you decide to do with the ring, you will have to find out what it is worth or what it will cost to reset it. If you plan to sell the ring, call around to local jewelry stores and ask if they purchase old engagement rings. Inquire about whether or not they will give you an estimate on buying the ring. Bear in mind that few grooms-to-be will want to purchase a used ring, so the jeweler will likely have to sell the ring for a reduced price or reset and repurpose it. Selling the ring on a local site like craigslist or on an auction site like Ebay can also be an option.

If you want to donate the ring to a charitable organization, contact them first to find out whether or not they accept costly donations like jewelry. (Some will have rules about this.)

If you plan to reset the ring, contact a jeweler to find out what the cost will be. If you already have a vision in mind for resetting the stone, be sure to bring it in to show the jeweler. If not, ask the jeweler about ideas and recommendations for giving the ring a new purpose.

Repurpose the Ring

Selling an old engagement ring is largely a matter of getting the best price for it, so be sure to get estimates from local jewelers and also research selling histories on sites like Ebay. For donating the ring, do not forget to request a receipt so you have proof of the donation for tax purposes.

When resetting an old engagement ring, take the time to decide on the new setting to ensure that the ring retains its personal value but still has a new look, either for the original owner or for the person it is passed on to.

About the Author

Kristie Lorette started writing professionally in 1996. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and multinational business from Florida State University and a Master of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University. Her work has appeared online at Bill Savings, Money Smart Life and Mortgage Loan.