What Should You Do With Your Engagement Ring Post-Divorce?

Emily Ratajkowski has an idea.

Divorce ring trend

Getting a divorce is a huge decision to make, followed by a laundry list of other things to agree on, from settling on a new living situation to deciding which spouse gets the pet. And then there’s the matter of the ring. Traditionally, people return the rock to their former partner or sell it. However, Emily Ratajkowski just proposed a third solution: repurposing the piece. As she puts it in an exclusive interview with Vogue, “I don’t think a woman should be stripped of her diamonds just because she’s losing a man.” In fact, a transformed stone may just be the perfect way to commemorate a new era.

On March 19, the My Body author shared images of her redesigned sparkler, which was a team effort with Alison Lou’s creative director Alison Chemla. “Divorce rings ©️ @alisonlou,” the caption read. As you may know, Ratajkowski and her ex-husband, Sebastian Bear-McClard, ended their marriage in 2022. Fast forward two years, and she’s giving her original toi et moi engagement ring (aka, a style with two stones), designed by Chemla, a second life by splitting it into two separate styles. One piece features a pear-shaped diamond, while the other is a princess-cut diamond (the duo added two trapezoid stones to this ring).

EmRata was inspired to redesign her ring after reading Stephanie Danler’s essay “The Unravelers” in The Paris Review. “[It] includes the story of her grandmother’s snake ring — a ring that is made up of the different stones from her various marriages,” the model explained in the interview with Vogue. “I loved the idea of a ring unabashedly representing the many lives a woman has lived.”

And though this may be your first time hearing about breakup jewelry, it’s not a new concept by any means. “EmRata didn’t create a new trend; she simply became the spokesperson for valuing the fine jewelry you’re given and yourself as someone who is worthy of it,” says Greenwich St. Jewelers’ co-owner Jennifer Gandia, who adds that changing up your jewelry is a mindful use of existing materials.

Jenny Klatt and Stephanie Wynne Lalin, the founders of Jemma Wynne, echo Gandia, noting that their New York-based fine jewelry label has been collaborating with clients on reimagining old engagement rings for as long as they’ve been making custom styles — since 2008, to be exact. “While an old engagement ring might have once symbolized a relationship, when that relationship no longer holds true, transforming the ring into a new, exciting piece of jewelry can beautifully represent someone's newfound independence and sense of self,” they tell TZR, explaining why they believe women are opting to go this route.

One popular request often recieved by the duo? Combining individual stones into the brand’s signature two-stone rings (seen below), which they say offers a fresh approach to the traditional solitaire style. “By adding a second, more colorful stone, these rings become more playful and less associated with the symbolism of marriage.”

Courtesy Of Jemma Wynne

There’s also the option to turn one’s old engagement sparkler into something less expected. “I make a lot of pendants out of old engagement rings and have also had a few clients ask me to match their center stone so they can make a pair of studs with it,” explains namesake jewelry designer Lizzie Mandler. In fact, she points to a necklace as an all time favorite in her personal breakup bauble portfolio. Using her brand’s signature knife-edge handmade gold chain with a two-carat pear-shaped center stone, she added a cluster of shapes around it. “The woman made the necklace for her daughter with the acknowledgment that even though her relationship with her husband had changed, their marriage had given them their daughter,” she explains, “Passing along the symbol of their marriage to her felt like a way to honor the relationship and love they had.”

Gandia agrees, saying that before anything is set in stone (pun not intended), they like to lay out all the possibilities to the customer. First, the Greenwich St. Jewelers team advises clients to take a look at their jewelry box to see what’s missing. “Can this be an opportunity to redesign their diamond into a jewelry box staple like a solitaire pendant?,” she asks. According to the jewelry wiz, resetting a ring into a necklace is another way to reinvigorate your diamond or stone — one example pictured below. Or, if the original piece has multiple gems, she suggests considering a pair of cluster earrings.

Courtesy Of Greenwich St. Jewelers

After the piece has been modified, Gandia often hears clients say how it finally feels like them. “Many of them have been a part of the selection process of their diamonds, and they love them,” she explains. “Showing them how to keep and wear it anew allows them to rewrite the narrative.”