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Divorce Rings: The New Jewelry Trend

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HomeDiamond AdviceDivorce Rings: The New Jewelry Trend

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A jewelry phenomenon unofficially coined by model, actress, and author Emily Ratajkowski called "divorce rings" is giving a whole new meaning to the saying, "diamonds are forever." 

When Ratajkowski got engaged to now ex-husband Sebastian Bear-McClard in 2018, her toi et moi ring, featuring a pear-shaped and a princess-cut diamond, became instant inspiration for brides-to-be all over the country. 

A gorgeous toi et moi ring, meaning you and me, from CustomMade. Photo by CustomMade. Used with permission.
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Now nearly two years after first filing for divorce, Ratajkowski took to Instagram to show off two brand new rings she created with the diamonds from her original engagement ring. "The ring became symbolic to me—some kind of token or evidence of my life becoming my own again," the author, actress, model explained to Vogue. "I don't think a woman should be stripped of her diamonds just because she's losing a man."

Repurposing the rings with the help of Alison Chemla, the creative director of the jewelry brand Alison Lou, the two women decided on separating the two-diamonds into two separate rings entirely. "The idea of divorce is a separation, so it was always going to be splitting the ring into two separate but complementary rings," Chemla told Vogue. 

The end result is a pinky ring with the pear-shaped diamond, and another ring with the princess cut diamond in the middle flanked by two trapezoid stones to make it feel like one big diamond. 

Rihanna's diamond
Photo Credit: Instagram/emarata

"I was very inspired by Rihanna's diamond pinky-toe ring - I liked the idea of my former wedding ring ending up on my pinky," Ratajkowski admitted to Vogue. "The princess cut was more challenging. Alison and I worked together to find something that felt fresh but also timeless." Ratajkowski also went on to admit that besides creating different meanings by repurposing the diamonds, she very much wanted a new, fresh look, too. "I was over the original design because it has been copied so many times," she said. "It didn't feel special anymore. [Now] I love them so much I haven't been able to take them off - I've been sleeping with them on."

1.06-carat pear-shaped diamond ring with a diamond pavé halo and shank from James Allen is an inspiring example for repurposing any stone.
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But, while the idea of divorce rings is taking on a whole new meaning in our modern lexicon, the idea has actually been around a lot longer. "Historically, divorce rings were "mournful jewels," Rachel Church, an author and the former jewelry curator at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, told the New York Times. She explained that the divorce ring sent a signal in social settings, "letting people know not to inquire about your husband or to show that you weren't an unmarried mother."

Ty Wilson, the co-founder of CustomMade, also explained that working with existing gemstones and jewelry is not only a cornerstone of their business, but something that the jewelry industry has been doing forever. "At CustomMade, we work with heirloom diamonds and gemstones every day. Most commonly, we see family diamonds from grandparents or other relatives being given new life in a new ring. We love the added meaning that comes from combining past and present."

Today, the divorce ring is not a sign of shame or simply a reimagined heirloom, but an act of empowerment for women, and maybe the start of an entirely new industry. 

This breathtaking Art Deco geometric halo is a perfect example of reimagining ring styles and occasions. © James Allen
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"I wish we honored other major life events with the same respect we reserve for marriage," Lauren Boc, a North Carolina-based jeweler and founder of Hera Fine Jewelry told the New York Times. "Leaving a relationship that doesn't serve you takes courage, and that's something worth commemorating."

"Divorce ring is a new one for me" Wilson admitted. "But, times change and I love the idea of giving a diamond new life. There was a time when we hadn't heard of a 'push present' but now we see them all the time!"

Cate Misczuk

Cate Misczuk is a jewelry and watch writer who covers everything from the latest jewelry trends and the heritage of watchmaking to 24k gold, gems, sustainability, unisex timepieces and more. Get in touch at catemisczuk.com.

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