If you take a little time to dig into superstitions surrounding diamonds and jewelry in general, you’ll find that some people do believe that it’s unlucky to wear a ring from a failed marriage. The most commonly held belief is that heirloom wedding jewelry from a marriage that ended in divorce will bring negativity to the new marriage and perhaps cause a less than happy ending. The truth is that there’s far more to the story! Here, we’ll uncover the real reasons why some believe it is bad luck to wear a ring from a broken marriage.
Black cats bring bad luck. It’s bad luck to walk under a ladder. Breaking a mirror leads to seven years of bad luck. Superstitions abound, yet many people love their black cats, construction professionals walk under ladders on a daily basis, and many of us have accidentally cracked or broken mirrors without any negative consequences, let alone seven years of misery.
Psychologists place superstitions into a category called illusory correlations, defined as the “perception of a relationship that does not exist.” Superstitions happen when people believe that one unrelated event led to another, such as noticing a black cat nearby and then tripping over a crack in the sidewalk, breaking a wrist, and ending up in the emergency room. Superstition says the black cat was responsible for the trip to the ER, while reality is that a crack in the sidewalk met up with the walker’s foot just so, leading to an unfortunate demonstration of coincidence caused by bad timing, gravity, and biomechanics.
Just as black cats don’t cause injuries when they cross our paths, rings from broken marriages don’t cause new relationships to end in divorce. At the same time, there’s something to the old saying that we make our own luck by focusing on positive or negative aspects of life. The things we pay attention to have a tendency to grow in our minds. If you have a strong belief that a ring from a broken marriage will cause your own relationship to end badly, then your anxiety might cause you to focus on the negative aspects of your marriage, leading to more arguments, unpleasantness, and an eventual breakup. If you can’t find a way to use rational thought to change your belief, then it may be best to choose an heirloom from a happy marriage or select a virgin diamond for your ring!
Many jewelers purchase pre-owned diamonds for use in new settings, so even a “brand-new” engagement ring might contain precious metal that was melted down for re-use, along with recycled diamonds. The practice of diamond recycling is growing, partly thanks to the fact that this is an eco-friendly way to enjoy beautiful gemstones and partly because diamonds are billions of years old, and it’s impossible to tell the difference between a pre-owned gem and one that has just been cut and polished after mining. Any superstition surrounding these pre-owned gems has been erased, and the diamonds are enjoyed for their inherent value and beauty.
Many pre-owned diamonds are recut to modernize their appearance, and some, such as old mine cut diamonds, are valued for their provenance. These diamonds are of course graded by a gemological lab such as GIA before sale to the end consumer. In all, it is estimated that between 5 and 10 percent of retail diamonds come from the recycling chain, and industry experts believe that percentage will increase in the future. Some consumers seek recycled diamonds intentionally and pay a premium for vintage cuts, while others are unaware of their diamonds’ previous lives. Either way, the stones bring happiness and thoughts of love with them.
While some retailers have jumped on board the recycled diamond bandwagon, others have gone the opposite direction, promoting new diamonds that have never been worn, with no “story” from a previous relationship that might not have had the happiest ending. The Virgin Diamond™ is a brand that specializes in diamonds that go from “mine to hand” – certified as new, and perfect for anyone who worries that it’s bad luck to wear a ring from a marriage that ended in divorce, or dislikes the symbolism attached.
Between 5 and 10 percent of retail diamonds come from the recycling chain, and experts believe that percentage will increase in the future.
A Wedding Bee poll showed that 63 percent of new brides would be happy to wear an heirloom ring even if it was the product of a messy divorce. Only 11 percent of brides felt that wearing a ring from a broken marriage would lead to bad luck. Meanwhile, 24 percent disliked the idea of wearing a ring that came from a marriage that ended in divorce not because they felt it was unlucky, but because they disliked the association with an unhappy ending. The remaining two percent were undecided.
One commenter in the poll made an excellent point, stating that Princess Diana’s engagement ring was given to Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge not as a symbol of the failed marriage between Princess Di and Prince Charles, but as a way to connect Prince William’s love for his mother with that of his love for Kate, and as a representation of his desire to spend a lifetime together. Many others noted that they didn’t mind the idea of wearing pre-owned diamonds, particularly since so many are placed into brand new settings and are symbolic of the love that exists between their significant others and themselves.
So, what’s the bottom line? Is it bad luck to wear a ring from a broken marriage? If you have been given the gift of heirloom jewelry and the story behind it doesn’t bother you, feel free to enjoy it for its unique beauty! What if you dislike the idea of wearing a ring from a divorce or passing it on to your own heirs because you feel it’s bad luck, or simply dislike its history and association with broken promises? Whether your reasons are emotional or practical, consider selling that old engagement ring and using the money you receive to purchase something brand-new for yourself or take the vacation of your dreams.
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