THE WEDDING IS OFF:
WHO GETS THE ENGAGEMENT RING?
In a 1959 Massachusetts Supreme Court case, George DeCicco filed suit against E. Adele Barker seeking the return of six engagement rings he had given in contemplation of marriage. One of those rings was a six carat diamond that George said he gave to Adele as an engagement ring, with the condition that they would be married, and that the other rings were gifts.
It is generally held that an engagement ring is a pledge, and it is given on the implied condition that the marriage takes place. In the absence of an agreement between the parties to the contrary, the gift of an engagement ring is conditioned on the marriage taking place. If the contract to marry is terminated, the general rule is the donor is entitled to get the ring back if the engagement is broken. George prevailed, and Adele had to return the six carat diamond engagement ring. However, Adele was able to keep the other rings, as they were "absolute gifts," not conditioned on marriage.