Can You Return an Engagement Ring If She Says No?

what to do with an engagement ring if you fail in proposing

Proposing can be risky, especially if it’s a surprise and you aren’t sure how she’ll respond to it. While you are hopeful that she’ll say yes and be as excited as you are, there is a chance that things may not work out as well as you wish.

In the event of an unsuccessful proposal, this can quickly spiral into a tricky situation. And when emotions are running high, it’s better to have a plan already in place for handling the engagement ring return.

In this write up, you will learn how to best respond if your proposal is rejected and the options you can consider when the need to return a diamond ring arises. Let’s jump right in…

How to Respond If She Says No?

First of all, be courteous. Even if you feel angry and hurt, behaving in a bad manner will not make things better and you will likely regret any harsh actions later. The best thing to do is to be as understanding as possible and not further aggravate an awkward situation.

She probably feels bad about the situation already, and you may both need some time to work through things before speaking again. If need be, give yourself a few days to process things calmly before any future contact occurs.

Will She Give Me Back the Ring And What If She Doesn’t?

If she says no right off the bat, the chances are good that she never accepted the jewelry and it is still in your possession. This is good, because it makes the returning process easier.

However, what if she kept the ring at the point of the proposal and comes to you after a few days to turn down the proposal? In my opinion, the decent thing for her to do is return the purchase to the buyer – you.

If she does not, explain that you would like the ring back as it represented an investment in your future as a couple which has now changed. If she still refuses, there may be some laws you can look into to get it back. For example, in most parts of the US, keeping the ring legally is contingent upon keeping an engagement and getting married.

Here, I do want to point out that if things do deteriorate to this extent,  you may decide if you should just let go of the whole experience and move on. If you do continue to pursue the ring return idea, it may create more hurt feelings and problems down the road.

What Are Typical Sales Policies For Refunds?

returning an engagement ring to store who gets to do it

While sales policies may vary from one vendor to another, most jewelry stores offer some form of return or exchange policy for engagement rings that are purchased within a certain time frame (typically 30 days from the date of delivery). Here is a list of retailers and their corresponding sales policies:

Tiffany & Co – 30 days exchange only if accompanied by a sales receipt.
Cartier – 14 days refund or exchange policy.
Zales – 30 days refund period and 60 days exchange policy.
Helzberg – Refund or exchange within 30 days of purchase.
Jared – Return or exchange your item at any Jared store for up to 30 days after purchase.
James Allen –  30 days, for a full refund or exchange with free covered shipping.
White Flash – 30 days return and 1 year buyback program with free return FedEx label.
Blue Nile – 30 days no questions asked return period via mail.
Brian Gavin – 15 days from purchase, less the cost of shipping and insurance.

Personally speaking, I only recommend buying from retailers that offer a no-question asked refund/return policy instead of those that only offer an exchange/credit policy.

Now, I do want to point out that these policies may sound similar but they are vastly different.

A 100% refund or return guarantee means that you are able to get your money back with no strings attached. These are usually offered by retailers who fully stand behind their products and have the interest of the consumer at heart.

On the other hand, an exchange or credit policy means that your money is locked in by the vendor. For whatever reason that you are unhappy with (or need to return) the purchase, you can’t get your money back and will be forced to make another purchase with them.

The bottom line is, if you aren’t sure about the success of your proposal, it is important for you to plan ahead and check out the return policy on engagement rings offered by the store.

Vendors like White Flash, Blue Nile and James Allen offer stunning diamond rings at competitive prices and a 100% risk-free shopping experience. Check out their range of high quality GIA and AGS certified diamonds for yourself!

Returning an Engagement Ring to the Store – What to Know

Depending on where you buy the ring from, the actual return process may differ. If you are unsure, it is best to call or inquire about the store’s return policy directly.

As a general guide, here is a list of things that most stores will require when making a return:

  1. Official receipts.
  2. Original diamond certificates (e.g. GIA/AGS).
  3. Appraisal documents.
  4. Ring box and other packaging materials.
  5. Any bonus freebies or add-ons.
  6. Undamaged ring in original condition.

In essence, you should keep everything that you have at the point of purchase in a safe place and don’t lose any items that came with the purchase. The more paperwork and original documentation you have, the easier it is for you to make the return.

james allen return policy jared company

A layout of items I received when I bought a diamond ring from

Personally speaking, I’ve made countless purchases for mystery shopping purposes across many different online vendors and the return process isn’t that hard. Using a ring I purchased from James Allen as an example, the first thing to do is to get in touch with their support via live chat to get a return shipping label and case number.

Following that, I was also given the instructions to pack the ring box, engagement ring and GIA grading certificate into a FedEx shipping box and to ring up the FedEx courier to pick up the parcel.

Here, I do want to point out that I didn’t have to return the packaging box, appraisal documents, hearts and arrows viewing scope, cleaning cloth and everything else you saw in the photograph above.

Basically, James Allen only required me to mail back the important things and they were cool with letting me keep the rest of the stuff (probably because the shipping costs would have been higher!).

As a consumer, this simplifies the returning process and alleviates a lot of stress if you had to make a return.

Other Options Besides Returning an Engagement Ring to the Store

If your diamond ring cannot be returned, there are several alternatives you may want to consider:

  1. Sell the diamond ring to recover some of your costs (Read this guide first).
  2. Donate it to a charity and you may even enjoy some tax deductions.
  3. Gift it to a family member or someone close with a better use for it.
  4. Restyle or reset the diamond into another piece of jewelry (e.g. ear stud).
  5. Buyback programs or trade-in your jewelry for something else.

Wrapping Things Up – What to Do With an Engagement Ring

how to sell an engagement ring back wf buyback 1 year

Enhance your success rate when proposing with a beautiful engagement ring.

Having to return a diamond ring is never a pleasant prospect and it can be very stressful especially if you have to deal with a broken engagement at the same time. That’s why you should never rush into a purchase and why the fine print/disclaimers matter.

Remember, different jewelers may have different definitions of what their return policy is. If you are unsure, always ask and make sure you get things down in writing. Besides a return policy, you may also want to pay attention to any upgrade policy that the vendor may offer if you intend to trade-up your diamond ring in the future.

In conclusion, getting turned down can be difficult. But when you plan ahead, you will have a little more peace of mind going into the proposing stage. Think of it this way. If she reacts differently than what you hope, at least you can still recoup the financial investment that was made into the engagement ring.

As always, feel free to get in touch if you need help or have any further questions. Good luck!

I recommend buying your diamond ring from vendors such as White Flash, Blue Nile and James Allen. All 3 vendors offer high quality diamond rings that are certified by GIA/AGS and offer a generous return period for a risk-free purchase.

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  1. Elijah-
    May 20, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    If returning an engagement ring to a store you bought from is so easy, how do I know if a ring that I bought “new” is really “new” and not something that was refunded in a broken engagement?

  2. Paul Gian-
    May 21, 2019 at 4:43 am

    That’s a good question. It could be possible that a preset (off the mill) ring could have been returned by someone and listed back on sale. You will have to ask the store about the history of the ring if this concerns you. What I would say is that most rings that are built from scratch will require the setting to be made and casted new because the head of the setting needs to be custom fit to the center diamond’s proportions. Of course, you could now go on and ask how do you know if the gold/platinum used in the setting is recycled from someone else’s jewelry. I have no answer for you because this is a regular practice in the industry to meltdown and collect back the precious metals. Heck, the gold jewelry you are wearing may even be recovered from someone else’s personal computer circuit board when it goes to the trash. The same goes for diamonds. It’s hard to know the true origins of a diamond. Anyone could take a trade-in diamond, get it repolished or simply resend it to a lab for regrading to get a new certificate number. This will make it appear as though the diamond is brand new. If in doubt, check with the vendors. The reliable ones like White Flash, Brian Gavin will not attempt to hide the history about the products they are selling. If you need something that is “brand new”, talk to them and get them to source for the correct materials you need.

  3. Isabella-
    January 14, 2020 at 4:05 am

    I’ve recently cancelled my engagement and called off the wedding. He is asking for the diamond engagement ring back even though this was meant as a gift. Do I have to give back my engagement ring? Do you know if there are any legal claims or laws that allow him to do this? In an engagement break up who keeps the ring?

  4. Paul Gian-
    January 16, 2020 at 11:01 pm

    First of all, I am not an attorney and the laws differ around the world. So, who gets the ring in a broken engagement? For most US states, my understanding is that the ring should be returned to the person who purchased it if the marriage didn’t take place. Personally, I won’t want to hold on to the ring if it is going to give me bad memories. With all that said, you should seek proper legal advice to work out the options you have.

  5. Tina-
    August 5, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    Do you have to return an engagement ring in the event of a divorce? My ex husband bought the ring from Zales and I am hoping to get sell it to get some cash to tide me over an unexpected event.

  6. Paul Gian-
    August 6, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    I am not the best person to offer accurate advice on any engagement ring breakup laws. You should talk to a lawyer about this and I know this may not be the answer you are looking for. It’s going to cost some fees which may add more burden to your current financial situation.

  7. Sebastian-
    February 5, 2021 at 3:57 am

    Can I return the engagement ring to the store if it has been custom made or personalized? What’s the normal sales policy for such purchases? I’ve been to 2 different vendors and they do not entertain returns while those rings that are sold off the rack do fall under the return policy.

  8. Paul Gian-
    February 7, 2021 at 6:11 pm

    It depends on what you mean by custom made. Most vendors do not offer return policies for custom made items such as one-off designs or if a diamond had to be specially cut for you. I’m also not sure what you mean by personalized. If you are referring to ring inscriptions, online vendors like James Allen or White Flash do take in returns for personalization like these.

    That said, you should always make sure you are up to date with the vendor directly. In this time and age of uncertainty caused by Covid 19, vendors are making changes to adapt to current environments. For example, the Jared engagement ring return policy used to require customers to bring the product physically back to any of their chain stores but they have since allowed returns via mail. They had also revamped some of their terms because of backlash by starting the return period from the date of receipt instead of the date of purchase.

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