What I did with my old engagement ring

March 7, 2016

old-engagement-ringI was only 19 when Michael gave me my first engagement ring and a young 19 at that. It was an oval cut, full carat solitaire, which seemed gigantic and indulgent back in that day and age. It cost $800. At the time, I think I was making about $100 a week. No lie.

old-engagement ring

It looked just like this, only it was yellow gold.

When he dumped me…(I love saying that) I put the ring away.  What should I do with it? I wondered.  I knew I didn’t want the traditional “divorcee pendant” that all the other divorced women were wearing. You know, the solitaire in a gold setting of some sort hung on a chain around their neck.  Nope. Didn’t want that. So the ring sat in my drawer until he returned. That took 27 years. Which meant that his $800 purchase had appreciated considerably.

And then he gave me a much bigger ring, which of course, I deserved for waiting all those years and missing out on some of the best years of our youth.

Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration.  I didn’t miss much.

It’s not that I hadn’t remarried a time or two. I just hadn’t gotten another engagement ring. I hadn’t wanted one.  But this time around, I was thrilled with the rock.

Michael was surprised I still had the original ring. “Why don’t you do something with it?” he kept asking me these past seven years. “Why let it sit around in your drawer?”

Another ring? No. And CERTAINLY not a pendant.

I knew what I wanted to do with it. Something that would be in keeping with my more casual, retired lifestyle. Something I could wear every day.  Something no one else had. I knew EXACTLY what I wanted. But I am a procrastinator.

Finally, last month, I showed the original ring to a manufacturing jeweler used by all the got-rocks women in this cute little town a few miles south of me and explained what I wanted. He didn’t know how to do it. Didn’t even want to try.  I think that was the big thing. It wasn’t standard and he wasn’t interested in figuring it out.  (He won’t get our business in the future.) But he did buy some of the gold jewelry I no longer wanted–I got a nice check– and he took an estate ring I’d inherited on consignment. I loved that he had carefully picked out all the tiny diamonds and other gems from my rings and bracelets and returned them to me in a tiny ziplock.

I knew what I wanted to do with them, too.

But who would make me what I wanted?

On a lark I dropped in at a big fancy jeweler a couple miles from me. I’d never been in their shiny big building. A really nice jeweler greeted me. I explained what I wanted and with a big grin, he said “Sure, we can do that!”  Loved him immediately. He began to sketch it out.  It took a few weeks to get everything together, and then a delay when the materials didn’t work exactly as the craftsman wanted. Because he’d never made anything like it before. But when I picked it up, I was thrilled. Here it is:

old-engagement-ringYes. It’s a black leather bracelet. The diamond is set in a white gold bezel. I’ve never seen anything like it. Original and unique. Lots of sentimental value. And best of all, I can wear it every day. Even though we had to insure it separately because that one carat had certainly become valuable. And, I found me a jeweler I like. So who knows what could happen.

Oh, and all those tiny little diamonds that came out of my own old jewelry and some of my mother’s?  He took 10 of them out and made me a tiny wedding band I can wear to travel. The rock gets a lot of attention so I never wear it on trips. It’s insured, but I don’t want to be knocked out or worse because some do-badder wants it. Now, I have a delicate little band with tiny diamonds that have true sentimental value. And it actually looks good with the rock so I can double up at home if I want to.

Yes, tiny.

Yes, tiny.

Actually, I wanted a tiny little band like this. My mother had one, but my sister ended up with it.

But now I have a ring I like with some of my mother’s tiny diamonds. And even though they’re tiny, they sure do sparkle. Like she did.

Ah, closure.  It feels good.



68 comments on “What I did with my old engagement ring
  1. Carla says:

    I love the story and the bracelet is so unusual and stunning.
    We didn’t do engagement rings… And I always wonder what my own daughter stance will be on ring versus something else.

  2. I love oval diamonds – so glad yours is out of the drawer and in the sunlight (and your new wedding ring is lovely too – you should have a picture of it next to the rock too!)

  3. Haralee says:

    What a great story! The bracelet is truly an everyday gorgeous wear. The band is wonderful. Your jeweler is a treasure as well!

  4. Carol Graham says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed your story as this is what we do every day. My hubby has a knack for making exactly what the gals want when they bring in their old jewelry (including engagement rings) and need them revamped into something they will actually wear. Glad you found someone who could help you.

  5. I love this. I have also taken A LOT of scattered hardly worn jewelry and had the gems redesigned into items I actually wear. That diamond leather bracelet may become a new trend. I want one!

  6. DarleneMAM says:

    I love that bracelet! And your tiny diamond wedding band? I have a similar one. I think its beautiful!

  7. They are both beautiful! The bracelet is a fabulous idea and you will probably start a trend or something.

  8. I wear my diamonds everywhere, everyday. I love them. Your bracelet is amazing!

  9. Ellen Dolgen says:

    I love the leather bracelet. What a unique way to handle a large stone, by making it fun and easy to wear – even with jeans! I think the diamond eternity band is delicate and elegant. Great idea!

  10. pia says:

    Love the bracelet. Tiffany’s had diamond and leather necklaces but they weren’t half as nice.
    My mother had a diamond wedding band. After they made money my father wanted to buy her new one but she just wanted another layer

  11. Barbara says:

    Love the bracelet!! And the eternity band is beautiful, too. I’ve had my grandmother’s ruby for many years and have redesigned it a few times. It’s a full carat and I often wondered how my grandfather had ever afforded it. They were not wealthy people. The first time I reset it the jeweler assured me it was a real ruby. The second time a different jeweler told me it was rose quartz, which didn’t surprise me, but I still wondered who was correct. The last, (and final), reset was on Jeweler’s Row in Philly and a gemologist was fascinated with it. He said, “Wow, they don’t do this anymore!” “Do what?” I asked. “It’s fused. They only did this with rubies and emeralds.” Then he explained. Way back then they would fuse rose quartz onto the bottom of the ruby face, and with emeralds, it was peridot and emerald face. Now I find it, even more, beautiful and meaningful!

  12. I don’t know if my first comment went through so here goes. I love your ideas and the photos of the diamonds? Gaw-geous. What a great looking bracelet. I do love diamonds! Yup, our best friend….

  13. Lori says:

    I love the bracelet! What a super idea! I’m glad you put so much thought into both of your jewelry pieces. It’s great when they not only look great but have so much meaning behind it too.

  14. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    Lovely story, Carol! The new wedding band is perfect and I love what you did with the old ring.

  15. What a lovely story. My Old engagement ring? I think I will let my son use it against his future wife’s ring. If he ever asks anyone…

    I love the way you used the little diamonds too…I too have this issue, thanks for the idea.

  16. Sheryl says:

    LOVE the bracelet…right up my alley! I’d never take it off. Great idea. And, great story of your love returning after all those years. Lucky lady.

  17. Diane says:

    Unique and just a bit understated. Perfect!

  18. andrea says:

    beautiful – i like how it looks now – and i like the way that you handled all of this

  19. I love stories about jewelry repurposed! The bracelet and ring are perfect!!

  20. Anna Palmer says:

    That is INSPIRED. I love it. The juxtaposition of the leather and the diamond is incredible. Procrastination pays!

  21. Audrey says:

    Such a cute story! I am so glad that it ended happily for you. I also love the bracelet!

  22. I LOVE the bracelet and the band!!! It is so pretty! I have a nice rock myself, and I wear something else when traveling as well. I want to see the rock!

  23. PS I just love your style, girlfriend!

  24. joan meyer says:

    GREAT story and what you did! Only different idea…. shouldn’t the diamonds be displayed next to “carrots” not celery!?? :~)

  25. Carol, these are such great ideas you shared. I, of course, have my original engagement set, small diamond, and it just sits in my jewelry box. My daughters don’t want it. You have given me some great ideas. I went more practical with my second wedding ring. It’s an orange sapphire set in a yellow gold setting with square, flat diamonds–definitely non-traditional!

  26. Jennifer says:

    I love your bracelet. It’s exactly the sort of thing that I would wear.

  27. Clare Speer says:

    Lovely sweet story! I love your beautiful writing, Carol! I will be back for more wonderful stories!

  28. What a beautiful and clever solution!

  29. I feel like subconsciously you knew that it was meant to be and thats why you kept it. Such a cute idea.

  30. I like the leather diamond bracelet. I would like that myself.

  31. Beautiful. And, of course, I love hearing the stories behind jewelry. My engagement ring? The diamond fell out while we were at the racetrack one summer, and I cried because we never found it. Michael has always offered to buy a new one but that one had so much sentimental value because he bought it for me when he was 24 and spent all his money on it. It’s only a thing, right?

  32. Estelle says:

    I loved hearing about your diamonds (and your bracelet is divine), but I especially was fascinated by hearing that you were apart from your hubby for 27 years or so before getting back together again. Wow. Now that’s a story.

  33. Carolann says:

    I love it! It’s stunning and unique. I also love the backstory too. What a wonderful way to repurpose something so precious!

  34. Paola says:

    Those are absolutely beautiful, I ove small jewellery, is more delicate and feminine. I also have some that I need to take in to make me something different.

  35. Gary Mathews says:

    That’s a pretty nifty idea and kudos on the patience waiting for him to return :).

  36. What a great way to use your old engagement ring. So creative too!

  37. Carmela Mempin says:

    What a powerful story, I like what you did in your old engagement ring, the oval diamond looks still gorgeous.

  38. Lisa Rios says:

    Loved reading your story very much, it was well written. That black leather bracelet is a good idea & I think it looks beautiful a perfect treasure that will look gorgeous for sure.

  39. RaNesha says:

    The leather bracelet is beautiful it amazes me how the small things bring closure.

  40. Nice post. Loved the band and bracelet. This birthday I got Diamond Ring as gift from hubby …. 🙂 Really I feel excited about that !!!

  41. I love the bracelet, Carol. My engagement ring and double bands are sitting in my drawer along with one half of a set of diamond earrings. I designed my own wedding rings so they have value beyond the fubby. (former hubby) I’d been wondering what to do. A necklace is an option but I think I’ll try for a bracelet. Thanks for the ideas.

  42. Such a GREAT story! I love the bracelet and its truly an everyday gorgeous wear.

  43. what a great story. I love when we can take an experience and use it for a bigger story that can help another person. Thank you for sharing YOUR story.

  44. Andrea says:

    So pretty. So glad you found someone to work with you to get you what you wanted. I especially love the wedding band. I have so many diamond chips I could pull from a number of things, and my engagement ring and wedding band are both big/loose on me now, so I’m afraid to wear them. Love that idea!

  45. Hil says:

    Thanks so much for linking up at #bloggerspotlight this week. I just wanted to let you know that you linked this up in the #pinit party portion, which is for pinterest links, to be eligible to be featured it would need to be a pinterest link for this party, regular blog links go in the party above 🙂 Just in case you didn’t know. Thanks again for visiting and linking up!

  46. Linda says:


    It’s looking really amazing Diamond ring, and story also very nice

  47. Elena Ring says:

    Lovely! I loved the idea of transforming that ring into a bracelet. What a cute story. 🙂

  48. stacey jones says:

    Thanks for sharing your amazing story with us,I believe that the engagement ring is considered as valuable jewelry.

  49. Hi Carol,
    Nice Post !!!
    I just love what you did with your old ring and its pretty impressive.Its a great way to revamp your old jewelry. The leather bracelet is so in trend now . Thanks for sharing the post .

  50. Gorgeous! What a fabulous idea!

  51. Ana says:

    Nice Post! I loved it Carol!

    Good idea of transforming that ring into a bracelet.Thanks for sharing the post

  52. Stacey Jones says:

    Amazing blog, Diamonds hold their value and you can sell your ring at any time in the future and get cash for it in a matter of days.

  53. amazing things here. I am very glad to see your article. Thanks a lot

  54. Roshni says:

    I love the story and the wristband is so abnormal and dazzling. We didn’t do a wedding band. And I generally wonder what my own little girl position will be on the ring as opposed to something different.

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