Simple gold bands

What Happens to Jewelry After a Divorce

What Happens to Jewelry After a Divorce

Though Diane Lloyd Roth had thought she had met the man of her dreams, her ‘Prince Charming,” the marriage didn’t have a storybook ending. Neither did her second marriage, or her third. All of Roth’s Prince Charming became more “frogs” than Prince Charming, at least that’s how Roth puts it.

Gold bands on wood table

After her third marriage ended, Roth sold a Harry Winston band that her third husband had purchased her and used the money to buy three small gold and diamond frog pins. These frogs, and the jewelry Roth sold to purchase them have led to a new chapter in her life and a new way to address the jewelry from her past marriages.

Jewelry after divorce can become a hot topic. Some choose to keep their jewelry and reclass its symbolism, some sell their jewelry to pay for things they need, and some repurpose it into a new life like Roth. In one famous case, Marla Maples, who divorced Donald Trump in 1999, sold a 7.45-carat diamond for $110,000 and donated the money to charity. A move which Trump called “Pretty tacky.”

Jewelry can become part of divorce proceedings, but they are headaches for the courts. “Horses, wine, and jewelry — they always seem to disappear,” said Nancy Chemtob, a Manhattan matrimonial lawyer, herself divorced. “One client has a wine collection, and the divorcing spouse has a party, and the wine is all gone. The horse always dies. The jewelry gets sold, even though I wonder if he or she sold it. We never really know.”

Different states have different rules regarding divorce and jewelry. Some states may force a spouse to return the jewelry, and certain situations may have their own rules. In New York, an engaged person may be forced to return the engagement ring is the marriage doesn’t happen.

Other states allow those to do whatever they want with jewelry from a divorce, and Roth has made a business with these pieces of ended marriages. Roth opened a jewelry boutique in Connecticut that specializes in turning old marriage jewelry into new pieces, like Roth’s frogs. She has transformed gaudy bracelets into pins and necklaces or rings from stones into new pendants. Though the jewelry stems from an emotionally trying time, Roth hopes she can give new life to her clients and their post-divorce jewelry.

“Divorce is the death of a relationship, a defining moment,” Ms. Roth said. “This gives people, in my case, for the most part, women, a sense of control.”

JohnAtencio.com and their engagement rings Denver specialists contributed this post.