sell wedding ring

Would you sell your wedding rings to raise money, or after a divorce? You're probably wondering, “where can I sell my wedding rings?”

Last week during the television show Downsized, the Bruce family was faced with losing their entire emergency fund again due to an acute health problem and the resulting hospital bill, a car breaking down, and various other unexpected costs with the kids. The husband (Todd) was dealing with the problem by negotiating with the hospital, car repair parts place, dentist, and each of the other vendors in order to lower their overall bill. But the wife (Laura) had another idea all together: sell her engagement ring and wedding band.

This sparked up quite the conversation in our household, as I had once suggested we do the same thing. When Paul proposed to me in June 2009 he presented me with a gorgeous engagement ring. It was a platinum band with a beautiful clear-cut diamond cast between two diamond baguettes. The proportions were perfect for me—the diamond and band were not too wide or gaudy—and the setting was not so high that I felt it would catch on everything. And then I found out how the ring felt like it was made for me: Paul had designed it with the jeweler. Over the course of several weeks after deciding that it was time to propose, he had spent lunches with a jeweler on Buffalo Speedway to mold some metal and a stone into a beautifully shaped token of love. I gladly accepted.

We did not want a long engagement so we began planning for the wedding almost immediately. I had not been saving for one as most of my teenage and young adult life I didn’t think I was the marrying type. In fact, the only reason why I said yes was because it meant that I got to spend the rest of my life with Paul—the rest of being married I figured we could work out. Combined we were $25,000 in debt at that moment, we wanted to put a decent downpayment on a home, and we wanted to pay for our wedding in cash. All of this was to happen within the next 8-9 months. One day during a pragmatic conversation about finances and the wedding day I decided to throw out an idea he might be up for. “I think we should sell my engagement ring to help pay for the wedding.” It was almost dead silence after that, followed by a few minutes of a look of disbelief coming my way.

I knew that selling the ring would get us a notch closer to being where we wanted to be. In my mind, having a wedding band would signify I was married and since I do not wear much jewelry anyway what on earth would I do with two rings? On top of that, I thought it was a beautiful sacrifice I was willing to make for our newly forming family—if nothing else, it showed that expensive things were not what I wanted out of this relationship. Am I reminded each and every day when I wear one of these rings (admittedly I typically do not wear them around the house on weekends) of Paul’s love, our commitment, and our relationship? Absolutely. But personally, I get the same reminder from seeing Paul, talking with him, running through memories in my head, perusing our photos, working around our home, and anything else in our lives.

Paul had a different reaction all together, much like Todd’s reaction on Downsized. To Paul, this ring encapsulates his love, devotion, and commitment to me. Even though it is just an object, it is an emotional symbol for him that holds much more than a stone. My willing to sell it made his heart hurt. Paul and I are both reading the book The 5 Love Languages, and gift giving happens to be one of the languages in which some people primarily express their love for others, or primarily receive love from others. I do not think this is Paul’s primary love language, but gift giving and receiving certainly holds emotional value for him. Wedding rings in particular hold a lot of sentimental value for almost everyone—including myself. They are written into most wedding ceremonies, forever symbolizing love and commitment towards one another. They are so symbolic that when a marriage is on the rocks or towards its end you oftentimes see the person stop wearing the ring all together or wear it on another finger.

Wedding rings in particular hold a lot of sentimental value for almost everyone. What's your special story? #WeddingRings Click To Tweet

We never ended up selling the ring. I am glad that we did not have to or that we chose not to, as it still holds sentimental value to me and will continue to do so until the day I die. Yet I would still be willing to sell it if a situation arose where the sacrifice was needed, and I could do it without questioning our relationship, our future, or our devotion to one another.

I would love to open this up for discussion from everyone here. What does an engagement ring/wedding ring mean to you? What sort of emotional values are tied with yours? Have you sold your engagement ring/wedding band in the past? Would you consider doing so in the future if put into a bad financial situation, or even if just wanting to secure a better future for you and your family?  If you are divorced, did you sell your wedding rings from your previous marriage/relationship or did you keep them?

30 replies
  1. Diana
    Diana says:

    I watch that show too and have wondered in the past why they didn’t sell their ring, which is enormous. It’s like the last hold out of their previous big spender ways, you know? But I understand not selling it since it’s an expression of Todd’s love for her. And they are a cute couple, aren’t they?

    • Amanda L Grossman
      Amanda L Grossman says:

      They are a cute couple:).

      I think it’s all emotional (mainly on Todd’s part) as to why they don’t or haven’t sold the ring. Ofcourse Laura doesn’t want to, but she is willing to whereas Todd is not willing to.

      Hopefully they will keep afloat and get ahead again!

  2. Momma J
    Momma J says:

    I haven’t watch the show except for the first season because there are a couple things that don’t make sense…like – how come Kate Plus Eight was making over $1 million on her reality show and these people aren’t making a dime? Seriously?

    And about Laura’s jewelry on Downsized…last year I watched in amazement at the son selling his beloved baseball mitt for $100 to help the family pay the bills and there she is dripping in gold and diamonds! Okay, maybe not sell the rings, but at least put them away while they’re struggling…

    Momma J

    • Amanda L Grossman
      Amanda L Grossman says:

      Hi Momma J!

      In one of the first few episodes of the second season they revealed to their financial advisor that they were paid $30,000 for their first season (but not until after it was taped), so that might answer one of your questions. They paid off their kids and other debtors, and started season 2 with $18,000 in savings–a great feat considering where they were!

      She does have a lot of jewelry…this season she also decided to go to a gold party where she took some of her jewelry and cashed it in (and also rounded up some of her kids’ jewelry if I saw correctly, which I thought was a little odd, but they gladly came up with some pieces). Still, it was only a few hundred dollars that she got.

      Thanks for your thoughts!

  3. Milehimama
    Milehimama says:

    My son loves that show, but I agree there are things that don’t make a ton of sense to me. However, wedding/engagement rings are such a loaded topic and we don’t know all the ins and outs of the situation (for example, was there an issue where one of the exes sold their ring in order to hurt the other one? Is the stone a family heirloom? etc.)

    I wouldn’t sell my ring just for an emergency fund.

    • FruGal
      FruGal says:

      Hi Milehimama!

      You are definitely right–I don’t think anyone could give up an heirloom unless they were going to not be able to eat or feed their families.

      Thank you for your thoughts and perspectives!

  4. Krantcents
    Krantcents says:

    As a male, it may mean something different than a female. If I had to sell it in order to have a wedding, maybe I never should have bought it. A simple ceremony at city hall and a reception at home would be enough for me.

    • FruGal
      FruGal says:

      Interesting thought! We paid cash for everything, so we could afford the wedding we had…I guess it was just spending a lot of money all at once that was almost too much for me.

      City Hall and a reception sounds lovely as well!

  5. 20's Finances
    20's Finances says:

    I too helped design the setting for my wife’s engagement ring. I also inherited the diamond from a family member. While I would do several things to avoid selling it, if it came down to selling it I wouldn’t hesitate (and my wife would be okay with just a wedding band). Although, like I said, I would try to avoid it all costs since there is sentimental value.

  6. YFS @ YourFinancesSimplified
    YFS @ YourFinancesSimplified says:

    My ring only cost 20 dollars so I don’t think I can get much for it. I purchased a cheap tungsten ring off of I’m not a fancy guy. My wife on the other hand, can get a pretty good penny for her ring. I don’t think she would part with it unless it was life or death.

    • FruGal
      FruGal says:

      Life or death sounds like it would be the perfect time to sell! We looked at Tungsten for Paul as well. I think we ended up with White Gold.

  7. Squirrelers
    Squirrelers says:

    I think that rings are really an interesting aspect of relationships. Personally, I don’t think they need to be expensive in order to show one’s love for another. Perhaps that’s because I’m male and the one buying it?

    Having said that, again from a male perspective, once it’s purchased, it’s a symbol of love and commitment that I’d hate to see sold off for money. Some things are off limits! If a situation is truly dire, and I mean really dire, that might be a different story.

  8. Jesort415
    Jesort415 says:

    I have my engagement ring from my 1st engagement (called off the wedding the day before the date) and I decided that I would pass the ring on to our daughter when she turns 21. I am not sure if I will remove the stones and make her another ring or pendant.
    My current hubby gave me a beautiful ring for our engagement and for our 3rd anniversary (while expecting our 2nd baby) he got me an “upgrade” ring…it was a carat bigger than the original but they are both georgeous rings. He also got me a promise ring before the engagement and I am not sure what to do with any of them. I thought about doing the same thing with the promise ring for our daughter. But we also have a son and thought I could offer my 1st ring as the ring he proposes with, it’s a classic style so we’ll see right now I love wearing them myself 🙂

    • Momma J
      Momma J says:

      Keep all your rings. My mother just passed away after having 7 children, 20 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren. In fact, my daughter just gave me my first grandchild…a girl. And as much as I want to give her everything, I know there is more grandchildren to come.
      I’ve now realized, I need to save it all to pass it on…

      • Amanda L Grossman
        Amanda L Grossman says:

        Very nice sentiment. I hadn’t thought of it that way. My father and stepmother did present me with a ring that was either my grandmother’s or great-grandmother’s (they aren’t sure either) two Christmases ago–very special to me.

        And yay to being a grandma!!! Willow is growing so quickly.

  9. Olivia
    Olivia says:

    We have been in dire straights at times, but never thought of selling my engagement ring. It was my husband’s mother’s. She died when he was 18. Our wedding bands are inexpensive, so would not be worth a huge amount. We’d have to decide to sell them if we came up against something insurmountable.

  10. Mom's Plans
    Mom's Plans says:

    We were broke when we got married, so we both have simple rings that quite honestly wouldn’t be worth much financially. Still, I wouldn’t want to sell my ring.

    My mom turned her wedding ring into a beautiful ring with sapphires a few years after my dad died. Then she still had the diamond, but it didn’t look like a wedding ring.

  11. Jesse @ BP
    Jesse @ BP says:

    I had my wifes ring custom designed as well and it cost us a pretty penny but my wife tells me daily how much she loves her ring. It doesn’t mean much to me but because of how she feels about it and how it represents our marriage to her, we’ve never even toyed with the idea and I doubt we would ever come to that. We’d sell plasma before her wedding ring 🙂

    Mine on the other hand is a $12 Walmart special and wouldn’t be able to get much for it 🙂

  12. Christa
    Christa says:

    This is really interesting. I think I could part with my ring if push came to shove. I would simply wish for a silver band then. That being said, it would be hard for both of us to part with it; the memories are pretty great. We went to the store together to pick out the perfect, simple, beautiful ring.

  13. Gamestop Coupons
    Gamestop Coupons says:

    Great memories comes in my mind when i am ready something about ring and jewelry kind of things.thanks for this post

  14. Nannette Gilbert
    Nannette Gilbert says:

    I kind of think it can go both ways. My wedding ring was also designed for me by my husband (didn’t cost as much though). We would consider selling if we were in dire straits or had a big problem, but not just for financial gain or debt reduction.

    Yet at the same time, it is an inanimate object and it is not actually the marriage. So if I ever lost it, had to sell it, or it was stolen; I would hope that it wouldn’t have any real impact on my relationship.

  15. Kathryn
    Kathryn says:

    Hey everyone,
    well from the comments i have read most people cant understand selling your wedding rings or engagement ring. I have and it wasnt years ago for me or anything like that it was two months ago. i sold both, my wedding rings and my engagement ring. My husband lost his job and things were really going down hill for us. It got to the point where it was either i could sell the two things that i own that were worth anything (i dont own or wear jewelery) or our power would get cut off. To me it was a no brainier. We have two small children. Now i will admit that it wasnt an easy to come to terms with i would no longer have a wedding ring to wear. but i know that i made the right choice between vanity for myself or power for my kids.

    • Amanda L Grossman
      Amanda L Grossman says:

      Hi Kathryn!

      Thank you for sharing your own experience. I know it must have been tough, but you definitely made the right choice in your circumstances.

      I am so sorry to hear about your husband’s job loss. Do you guys have a plan? Is he eligible for unemployment?

  16. AJ
    AJ says:

    I think it would be really hard to part with it if it came down to dire circumstances, although sometimes I think about selling my ring and possible upgrading to a custom ring like options like these I wish we would have taken the time to design something meaningful to us. We were engaged in the late 90s and just walked into a store to pick one out, its my ring, but now knowing more about blood diamonds I think about that. Id use gemstones the next time around and make sure any diamonds are eco friendly.

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