What to Do With Your Wedding Ring After Divorce
In her book, "How to Catch a Man, How to Keep a Man, How to Get Rid of a Man," the late Zsa Zsa Gabor wrote, "Diamonds are a better investment for a married woman than anything else because if it should ever happen that some day you wind up getting a divorce and all the property is being divided up, your husband will probably say, if he is a gentleman, 'We will share all of the other property, but you go ahead and keep all your diamonds. After all, I can't wear them.'"
Is Zsa Zsa correct? The diamond that used to shine on your finger may have been tarnished by your separation and divorce, but is the silver lining that your ring was actually a good investment? The answer is yes, but likely not the way you think.
What is my wedding (and engagement) ring worth?
Worthy is a company that helps you understand the monetary and intrinsic value of your ring. From its reaffirming name (yes, you are worthy!) to its on-point blog full of advice, tips, and relatable real-world experiences from others who have gone through divorce, they've got their act together. But what they really exist to do is help you get the best price for your wedding ring, diamond jewelry, and watches you've been holding on to post-divorce but may not actually want to keep lying around in your new life.
How your ring can help you move forward after divorce
I sat down with Stacey Freeman, Lifestyle Editor of the Worthy Living blog and a divorced, single mom, to discuss how selling your diamond ring can help you move forward after a divorce. I asked her about some common scenarios and she's provided answers below.
After your divorce is finalized you may be left with a wedding ring that you can't bear to look at. What do you do with it?
Answer: Before doing anything with your ring, it's important to understand the options available to you. Understanding the actual value of diamond jewelry can be difficult. To begin with, in most cases, you've received a ring from your fiance and likely weren't part of the purchase process. Because of that, you may not know the value of what you own.
Before selling, an essential piece of information you should have at your disposal is the size of the center stone. The largest stone, usually the focal point of the ring, is the most valuable and drives a ring's price. While beautiful, the other smaller diamonds, called the melee, are valued individually, which means even when grouped they may not be worth as much as the ring's biggest diamond.
To illustrate my point, if you put two rings side by side, one with a center stone equaling 1.5 carats and the other with a cluster of smaller ones equaling 2.0 carats, the 1.5-carat ring will typically be valued higher. Such a valuation usually comes as a surprise to prospective sellers, who believe their ring is worth more than it is or that their diamond ring is an appreciating asset. Like a car that's driven off the lot, the minute a diamond leaves the store its value begins to decrease.
During the valuation process, our trained professionals take these factors, among others, into consideration so that our sellers receive the most accurate and up-to-date market value for their diamonds, including a grading report from a renowned lab such as the Gemological Institute of America, also known as the GIA.
How can I make sure I get a fair assessment of what my ring is worth? How is the Worthy process different from going to a jeweler in my town?
Answer: It's important to understand the difference between the fair market value and the retail price of your ring. The fair market value is how your ring compares with others that have sold in the current marketplace.
Think about selling your home or a piece of art; the process is the same. The fair market value, however, can differ dramatically from the price you, the buyer, originally paid for your ring or what a jewelry store could sell it for to the public today. This latter number is what we call the retail price.
Many jewelry stores will provide sellers with a grading report for their stones. This description may be written by the jewelry store's in-house gemologist or by the GIA. The report will detail your ring's cut, carat, weight, color, and clarity.
However, sellers should always keep in mind that not all evaluations are created equal. The quality of the information found in such a report can turn on who is conducting the assessment and what credentials he or she possesses. Your new evaluation may, as a result, differ from previous ones, especially if the condition of the stone has changed over time.
Because the grading report is such a relevant part of determining price, it's critical for sellers to have a new one completed by a trained and skilled professional before putting their ring up for auction. Worthy recommends that sellers receive a grading report from the GIA as buyers will offer stronger bids knowing the stone has one. Buyers and the general public trust a GIA report. And trust is very, very important, even more so when it comes to selling your ring.
Why wouldn't someone use your service? Do you encounter many people who go through "seller's remorse" after selling their ring?
Answer: I think the toughest part of selling a ring is understanding that its value today will not be equivalent to its original purchase price. For most sellers, this is usually the biggest source of remorse, if you want even to call it that at all. Coming to this understanding is more akin to getting a wake-up call that your ring is not what you thought it was, which leaves many sellers wondering why they didn't put their ring up for auction sooner.
Once I decide to sell my ring, how long does the online auction process take? How quickly will I see the funds?
Answer: The Worthy online auction runs for two days. The entire process, including shipping, evaluation, preparation for the auction, and your two-day auction takes approx 15 business days. Once the auction closes, you will receive your funds within approximately three business days.
What do you wish more people knew about selling tangible assets post-divorce? Any common mistakes you can help people avoid making?
Answer: Following a divorce, I believe focusing on the big picture is a must. The tangible items we walk away with are, to put it bluntly, only things. Stuff. These possessions aren't what bring us happiness, especially if, as in the case of a diamond ring, we have it tucked away in a drawer or safe deposit box.
A divorce is often the reason we look back and take stock of our life, what we want from it and what we don't. The money we can get from selling these so-called sentimental pieces can be exactly what we need to propel us forward instead of stagnating in the present or, even worse, remaining stuck in the past. My only hope is that people realize how quick and easy Worthy's auction process is and how much positive change it can bring them.
Erin: Can you share an example or two of what people did with the money they received from the sale of their ring? Any inspiring stories you can share that show how this little windfall can help a person start the next chapter of their new life on the right foot?
Stacey: Yes! Two women immediately come to mind. The first is Maura Enright. She came to Worthy after storing her ring in a safe deposit box for more than five years. At that time, she had accumulated some credit card debt and decided that it made financial sense for her to sell her ring and pay off the card, which was continuing to accrue interest. For every month Maura held onto her ring, she spent approximately $50 in interest.
After selling her ring and paying her bill, Maura put the rest of the funds toward her son's private school tuition and a down payment on a new home, which she is closing on today! When I last spoke with Maura, she told me she attributed all of the recent positivity in her life to letting go of the past, most notably, her ring.
The second woman is Ingrid Renberg. After her six-year marriage ended, Ingrid went looking for a place to sell her diamond ring. First, she approached a jewelry store. When the jeweler presented Ingrid with an offer she knew was too low, Ingrid next looked into selling her ring on Craigslist but ultimately decided against it because of security concerns. Then she found Worthy and sold her ring for about $1,000 more than the jeweler's original offer.
As a sentimental gesture before parting ways with the ring, Ingrid included a log of where the ring had traveled during her time wearing it for its new owner and wished her luck. Ingrid left Worthy with a heavier purse but feeling emotionally much lighter.