Of course no bride wants to think about it. But things happen—the unthinkable happens—and divorce becomes a reality for a number of couples each year.
And after the dust settles, there are always logistics to figure out: who moves out, who keeps this, who keeps that, etc. But what about the wedding rings? What becomes of your wedding ring after a divorce?
Well, according to one bride who found herself stuck with her bling from a previous marriage, it could actually go on to do some good.
While there are specific etiquette rules and state laws in place to determine the fate of your engagement ring if the wedding is called off, what to do with your wedding ring post-divorce is a little more unclear.
Moreover, since the style of wedding rings is usually more simple than that of an engagement ring, it doesn’t always pay to sell it. And would you really want to? Even though the marriage didn’t last, that ring does still hold some symbolism of a (hopefully) happy chapter in your life.
That was the dilemma that struck Jordana Horn after she discovered her wedding ring from a previous marriage sitting in a desk drawer, collecting dust.
“It was clearly something that meant something more at one point, so I definitely wanted to do something that was meaningful,” Horn told TODAY Style. So she turned to Facebook to ask her friends what they thought she should do.
After combing through a list of suggestions that included tossing the ring, selling it, and even melting down the jewelry into a keepsake for her children, none of the ideas seemed quite right. “There’s the drama of the cinematic gesture of throwing it into the ocean or something,” mused Horn. “But really, the divorce was more than enough drama for me.”
So instead, Horn opted to do some good with her discarded ring, turning a painful period in her life into a gift for someone else. Horn decided to sell the once-precious piece of jewelry and donate the money to the Rachel Coalition, a nonprofit that helps those affected by domestic violence. “I really liked the idea of… paying it forward and doing something constructive with it,” she explained.
How cool is that? But would Emily Post herself approve?
As previously stated, there aren’t really any hard-and-fast rules when it comes to dealing with wedding rings after a split. However, if you were gifted an heirloom ring on your wedding day, it’s considered common decency to return it.
As Lizzie Post—an etiquette guru, the great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post, and a spokesperson for the Emily Post Institute—told TODAY, “If the ring was an heirloom, it’s very nice for the person who received it to give it back to the family they’re no longer a part of, or at least asking if they’d like the ring returned to them.”
In most cases however, the decision of what to do with the sparkler is pretty much up to the person wearing it. “Most people have a tendency to sell the ring, to give it away, to give it back, or to have it turned into something else. And all options are totally okay,” says Post.
And with Emily Post’s approval, more and more women are embracing a new, emerging trend: Turning their “divorce diamonds” into entirely new pieces of jewelry.
“Oftentimes, people feel like that diamond is charged enough with the memory of… the loss of the marriage, that they don’t necessarily want to put it on their finger,” personal jeweler Calla Gold told TODAY. “So a lot of times what they’ll do is make a necklace out of it.”
According to Gold, crafting something new out of the something old can often help the woman in question reclaim her personal style post-divorce.
“Occasionally I’ll run into a woman and she’s been married since she was 20 or something, and her husband has always bought her jewelry,” Gold explained. “So in some cases, we are discovering someone’s taste together. It can be cathartic.”
Other women are in search of a different kind of catharsis—one that can only come with casting one’s ring into the flames. Gold has in fact helped one woman burn the remains of her engagement band.
“She said, ‘I want to see the flame, I want to see it melt,'” Gold remembers. “When it was just a puddle of useless nothing, I took that final picture and I sent it off to her and she was like, ‘I’m free!’ “
Still, with tons of options available, Horn believes she did what was best when it comes to her own bridal bling. “It felt very good to have it gone,” she said. “As one could say, it went to a better place.”