Why I wouldn’t sell my engagement ring

by Karen on August 20, 2008

This morning Frugal Babe linked to a post she wrote last year about selling her engagement ring to invest the money instead. I’ve spent the whole day thinking about it, and I decided I had to post my thoughts on the topic.

I should start by saying I really admire Frugal Babe’s point of view. It’s practical and honest, and in most cases, I absolutely agree that expensive “stuff” is not a practical use of your money. Because I don’t believe in owning extravagant jewelry, I stopped and thought to myself, “Is this something I would consider doing?” After considering it all day, the answer I’ve come to is, “No, I wouldn’t.” Here’s why:

I agree with Frugal Babe on one aspect; my engagement ring doesn’t serve as an adequate representation of my commitment to my husband. If it was lost, stolen, or even sold tomorrow, it wouldn’t change the fact that I’m committed to him for the rest of my life. The ring has nothing to do with that.

I also agree that extravagant jewelry isn’t a responsible asset. In fact, I already own the only two pieces of jewelry that I plan to own for the rest of my life: my engagement ring and a pearl necklace passed down from my grandmother to my mother then to me on my wedding day. Even my wedding band is just a plain white gold band — no stones or ornamentation whatsoever. I don’t even think we paid $100 it.

To me, my engagement ring and that pearl necklace transcend the value of ordinary jewelry. I can’t imagine selling either of them because I don’t see a dollar value when I look at them. I doubt either the necklace or the ring would be worth much to someone else, but they’re priceless to me.

My engagement ring isn’t a frivolous accessory that I wear to show off. I wear it as a reminder of all of the days I spent with my husband before our wedding day. It doesn’t represent our commitment, but in a way it does represent our history because it was given to me the day he proposed. Though we paid much less for my plain wedding band, the two rings are equally meaningful to me. My wedding band represents the days we’ll spend together after the wedding.

The engagement ring is a diamond, and I won’t lie — I wanted the traditional “engagement ring.” It was exactly what I pictured; a simple, small solitaire. I was thrilled when my husband gave it to me. But I would have married him with or without the diamond. If I found out tomorrow the ring I’ve been wearing is a cubic zirconia, it wouldn’t mean any less to me. It wouldn’t have meant less to me if I had known it then. However, to sell this ring and replace it with another WOULD change its meaning, only because the new ring wouldn’t be a part of that history.

It’s not the diamond or its intrinsic value that matters to me. To be honest, if something happened to my engagement ring, I doubt I would replace it at all. I would probably just wear a plain wedding band, because to me, there’s no point in trying to recreate that history.

The same thing is true for my pearl necklace. I have no idea what its resale value is, nor do I care to find out. There isn’t a dollar amount you could offer me that would make me consider giving it up. If something happened to it, I wouldn’t replace it. Its value isn’t in what I could get from it if I sold it; it comes from the way it makes me feel to own something that once belonged to the women I admire most.

I never had any interest in owning a pearl necklace, because I’m just not that into jewelry. My wedding and engagement rings are the only pieces of jewelry I ever wear, even on special occasions. But when my mother told me after the wedding that the pearl necklace that had once belonged to my grandmother was mine to keep, it became my most treasured possession because of its history.

I like to think that my engagement ring will be that valuable one day. I’ll wear it every day for the next 60 years, and hopefully I’ll be able to pass it on to a granddaughter before I die. When I think of the joy that it will continue to bring to me or someone close to me for years to come, the money that we spent on it seems less important.

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