There is no emblem of marriage more intimate and fundamental than the wedding ring. Everything else – the dresses, the ceremonies, the certificates, the champagne – revolves around those two objects, exchanged during the ceremony and then worn every day for years afterwards. The wedding ring is not just another piece of jewellery – it is a potent symbol of commitment and significance.
So what happens if it all ends in the divorce courts? What do you do with the ring after however many years of wearing it every day and believing in what it represented? Some people take it the pawn shop, some people throw in the nearest river, some leave it in a drawer gathering dust.
And some divorcees take their wedding rings to the jeweller and have them made into divorce rings!
According to an intriguing new post on the Huffington Post divorce blog, there is a small but growing trend, at least in the US, towards divorce jewellery, meant to symbolise a new and very different phase of life in gold and silver.
Article author Bari Zell Weinberger noticed a striking necklace worn by one of her clients (she is a lawyer). It turned out to a diamond studded broken heart pendant. According to Weinberger, her client thought “if she had sealed her previous life with a ring and a promise, why not do the same for this new chapter?”
Some people, like Weinberger’s client, buy especially made divorce jewellery but some take it one step further and have their old weddings transformed. An article in the New York Times cites the example of Wanda Dibben. Her jeweller reworked her ring, adding a gap bridged by strands of silver.
Dibben told the paper she had been very attached to her wedding ring and hoped its transformation into a divorce ring would be “be kind of a buffer into my independence again”.
It is not for everybody perhaps, but I rather like this idea. It is a creative approach to one of life’s great challenges. Coming to terms with your divorce and moving on into the next chapter of your life is such an important part of the healing process. Wearing a physical symbol of that difficult but rewarding process sends a very distinct statement, not just to the world, but to yourself – even more so if you have had your divorce jewellery especially made from the ring that once bore such significance.
Photo by Theophile Escargot via Flickr under a Creative Commons licencee