Engagement Rings

Lost! Stolen! Broken! Engagement Ring and Wedding Band Horror Stories

Sponsored by Jeweler's Mutual

You don’t think it could happen to you, right? You’re careful with your stuff. Well, that’s what these eight couples all thought too — until they were staring into a lifetime of trying to piece together how they could have prevented the loss, the theft, or the breakage.  Each description below is a true story. Some couples had ring insurance, some didn’t. Some have happy endings; many do not.

Proposal Gone Wrong

“My husband James proposed to me on Tarbet Pier on Loch Lomond in Scotland on December 28, 2002. When he opened the ring box, the ring — a platinum princess-cut diamond ring with a pave band that we’d chosen together at a jewelry shop in Sydney — fell out of the box, bounced off the pier and into the lake. Cue instant freak out.

My husband is Scottish and very much wanted to get engaged there but we never imagined it would go so wrong. It was wintertime, so jumping in to find it was not an option. My now-husband used the car keys to scratch a big cross on the pier, where the ring had broken the ice and fallen in. We were living in Australia at the time and visiting the U.K. and Ireland for a wedding. We didn’t file a police report nor did we have insurance.

We drove straight to Glasgow and bought another ring. I said it was fine; we would get one another time back in Sydney, but James was adamant. It was like I was suddenly naked in Scotland in mid-winter and needed a coat. We bought a stunning platinum band with a princess-cut diamond and the jeweler resized it on the spot. Then we flew home to Sydney.

I decided that there MUST be a way of getting the ring back. I googled “Scottish divers” and randomly happened upon a number, called it and spoke with someone who said that he and his team were going diving in that same area later in the week. Weird. But okay. Three weeks after it went missing, the divers dropped a line down from the spot where my husband had scratched the cross (which was still there!), floodlit the area and found the ring! They kindly drove it to my in-laws house, all for about 40 GBP and a bottle of whiskey! We were part of a British expat community in Sydney, so we happened to have a friend flying back to Sydney from the U.K. and he brought the ring back for us a few weeks later. I wear both of them now. One on each hand. And, one day, each of my sons will get one of them so it’s a win win!”

Margaux Nissen Gray

When the Diamond Popped Out

“My husband and I were vacationing in Aruba in 2001. It was a particularly hard time in our lives as I had just found out I was laid off. So having fun on vacation was hard anyway. On the third day, I looked down and saw that my diamond was not in the setting. I was hysterical and I had the entire housekeeping staff looking everywhere for it. No luck.

I felt like the universe was against me. The next day I went down to the pool again, back to my usual chaise lounge and cried alone. When I settled down in my seat, I turned to get a bottle of water out of my bag and saw a huge, shiny light coming from the grout of the tile about a yard away–right next to a huge iguana. I jumped up and looked down in that spot, and there it was guarded by the huge green reptile. I shooed him away and grabbed it! The universe was back in MY court.”

—Judi Kahan Rowland

The Contractor Thief & The Pawn Shop

“My husband and I got engaged on my birthday in 2010. The ring was very special to my husband because his father passed away unexpectedly when he was young and this was the same ring his dad had used to propose to his mother. My husband really wanted it to be part of our engagement story and to pay homage to his dad. It was an understated gold ring with a solitaire diamond but it held tremendous sentimental value.

Flash forward to spring 2013. We renovated our bathroom in New York City. We had to move out of our apartment for a few weeks so I packed all of our valuables to take with us, including the engagement ring (which I wasn’t wearing at the time because it needed to be resized). The first day we moved back in, the bathroom leaked into our downstairs neighbors’ apartment and my husband–who works from home–went to talk to them while one of the workers stayed behind. He was gone all of 10 minutes. The leak was so bad we had to vacate the apartment again (don’t even get me started on this renovation). Before we left, I grabbed the pouch with the valuables I had brought back that very morning and never even had time to unpack.

I looked inside to check on everything and I couldn’t find the ring. Or a diamond earring. Or a necklace. Or a ring from my mom. After ripping our apartment apart we realized we weren’t losing our minds, they were all missing. It didn’t take us long to put two and two together. We called the contractor and alerted him to the theft since only two workers were in our apartment that day and we had a very good idea which guy was responsible due to his odd behavior.

We offered to let whoever stole it return the ring no questions asked and we wouldn’t press charges. The worker we suspected of taking the jewelry then started calling my husband saying he would ‘find the real thief’ but he never confessed. So my husband filed a police report with our local precinct. He was emotional when discussing the ring since it held such significance so we think they really felt bad for us.

The case was given to a young detective who faxed a picture of the ring out to a bunch of pawn shops around New York City, one of which recognized it along with some of our other jewelry. He checked his log and the worker we suspected had used his real name during the sale. So he was quickly implicated and pled guilty. Turns out he was a drug addict and pawned all of our jewelry for a few hundred bucks. He was arrested and the jewelry was held as evidence by the DA’s office for a bit before it was returned to us. We were just happy to move on with our lives. But not before writing a glowing letter to the Police Commissioner to praise the detective who made it all happen! We never thought we would see it again so it was beyond amazing to have it back in the family–especially because it wasn’t insured!”

—Jennifer Zankel Mello

Airport Miracle

I lost my solitary diamond and platinum engagement ring (my husband had designed it like one I’d admired in Cape Cod) at LaGuardia Airport in March 2006 (we’d gotten engaged Thanksgiving eve 2005). I didn’t realize I’d lost it until the flight had taken off. The entire plane kindly helped me look for it. When we landed, we spoke to Delta and and no one had turned it in in New York City.

Two days later after my husband filed a formal police report and sent a drawing of the ring (he designed an elegant ring like one I had admired at an antique store in Cape Cod the summer before) to Delta’s Lost & Found department, the agent found it rolling around by the Starbucks.

My husband had basically stalked the people at Lost & Found even when they said it would never be found. After calling for the last time to tell them we had filed a police report and an insurance claim, that’s when the ring magically appeared. I will say through all of it, I was a mess, but my husband handled it like a champ and stayed calm (except when driving like a crazy person during rush hour to the airport to pick the ring up). He just kept saying ‘this is why we have insurance.’

Rebecca Weinreich

Danger in Doing the Dishes

“In February 2019 while doing the dishes, I did something we all do and took off my gold Cartier engagement ring while my hands were wet since I didn’t want it to slip off. Hours later, I realized it wasn’t on my finger. After going through every room and surface in my apartment, I realized it may have slipped into the garbage, which by then I’d thrown away down the chute in my compactor room.

Fearing the worst, not to mention dreading the idea of going through the large building’s garbage room, I called our handymen, who graciously went through 80 bags of garbage but couldn’t find it. After giving up hope, one of the building’s security guards called up to the apartment and suggested the two of us go through the bags again just in case. The two of us sifted through everything from dirty diapers to rotten food for hours before finding the ring wrapped in paper towel in the bottom of the last bag of garbage.

Why in a paper towel you ask? I dry underneath my wedding band when I wash my hands — because I hate wetness under the band — I slide paper towel up my finger and dry it then push the ring back down with the paper towel to make sure it’s super dry. This time, I guess the ring had slipped off and I just threw it away with the paper towel. I was so happy, I cried. Needless to say, I was shocked and over-the-moon and the handymen got a big tip!”

—Elizabeth Hague

Hand Lotion + Car = Trouble

“I lost both my engagement ring and wedding band in the summer of  2018. While wedding bands and engagement rings carry infinite sentimental value, mine was even more valuable to me. The 3.81-carat Old European miner’s cut center stone from my engagement ring belonged to my mother. It was from her engagement ring that she wore every day up until the day she and my older sister tragically passed away in a car accident when I was 5 years old.

My father has given me different pieces of my mother’s jewelry to wear in good health since I was a young girl and so I have a very strong emotional connection to her through jewelry. From the time I was young, I always knew I wanted to use that stone in my own engagement ring, and so my fiance and I did.

Unfortunately, one morning, it disappeared. We had rented a house in the Poconos for a long weekend with my family and another family and upon our return, I stepped out of the car, looked down at my finger and suddenly realized they were missing! I distinctly remember taking my rings off in the car to apply hand lotion but we tore the car apart and they were nowhere to be found. My husband and I had made a frantic decision to allow me to go alone to retrace my steps alone, while he took our 3-year-old twins into Sesame Place all by himself.

I retraced my footsteps back to the one rest stop we had stopped at, but it wasn’t there. In hindsight, he should’ve come with me. I was a hot mess, freaking out and not thinking rationally. I didn’t think to drive the full two hours all the way back to the house. By the time I’d called the owner of the rental house and tried to get a hold of the house cleaner, they weren’t responsive. I filed a police report. I spent the next four days calling around to every pawn shop in Pennsylvania to try and locate them, but nothing turned up.

Fortunately, my rings were insured and we were able to file a claim and collect. Eight months later, I finally mustered the courage to go pick out a new ring with my husband. While it’s sparkly and beautiful, it will never replace the rings I once had and it will forever be a reminder of what I have lost. I still get chills when I think about it.”

—Tabitha Taft

Priceless Ring Gone; No Police Report Possible

“My husband and I got engaged on February 29, 2012 using my grandma’s beautiful antique Russian gold and alexandrite engagement ring, designed in the Soviet Union and bought by my grandfather. My grandmother is 87 years old and still lives in Russia. She never really wore any jewelry and wanted to pass this piece onto me, her eldest biological grandchild. The ring was made of yellow, slightly pink gold with a leaf design on the front and had just one stone, a 1-carat, color-changing alexandrite.

During a two-year renovation that lasted between 2016 and 2017, the ring was stolen, along with many other valuables, by one of our contractors. This ring was a single most valuable item I owned and I naively thought no one would go digging through furniture drawers wrapped in plastic. I am still so distraught by what happened. I couldn’t believe it and kept looking for my stolen things in boxes and corners of the apartment that made no sense, thinking maybe in the moving haste, I hid my things at the last second. But nope. Stolen.

The worst part is that we employed two separate contracting firms and dozens of individual contractors, so I didn’t know which company to blame. I didn’t file a police report because I didn’t know which contractor or contracting firm was responsible and I didn’t have insurance either. I accepted that the ring and other items that were stolen were just gone and it was irreplaceable.”

Mariya Afonina  

Sometimes Size Matters

“Prior to getting married, my wife bought my wedding band. We went shopping together and she wanted to get me the white gold Cartier Love ring (it’s her band too so we had matching ones). I don’t really like the feeling of a ring on my finger, so I mistakenly got it in a slightly bigger size so I would have some extra room on my finger. Makes sense, right? Wrong.

On the first day of our honeymoon in 2009, we were in Monte Carlo swimming in the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel’s sand-bottom pool and as soon as my hand hit the water, my ring fell right off. I saw it laying on the bottom of the sand bottom pool and tried so hard to grab it. But, when I dove down to get the ring, the movement in the water must have made the sand move and the ring just got buried and disappeared. Everyone who was at the pool and witnessed this took out their snorkel gear including myself and we all tried for hours to find it without any such luck.

It was never found. The rest of the trip, I was a single man again. Kidding aside, thankfully we had purchased insurance on it and they didn’t require me to file a police report. (I work for a diamond resale company (Delgatto/I Do Now I Don’t), so I should have known better). As soon as we got home, I received the funds to purchase a new one. I got the exact same ring, this time in a smaller size. One that actually fit me.”

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