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Should the ring be returned when a wedding is called off? Not if you're Hugh Hefner's ex

When an engagement is broken off, what should happen to the ring?

Is it okay for the woman to keep it, or should she have to give it back? If you think the woman should not only get to keep it, she should also get to sell it, then congratulations, you have at least one thing in common with Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.

As you may recall, Hef's former fiancée, 25-year-old Playboy model Crystal Harris, called off her wedding to Hefner just days before the big day was supposed to happen earlier this month. Afterwards, she offered to return the $90, 000 engagement ring, but Hef told her she could keep it.

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Now Harris looks to be making a few bucks off it. She was seen having the ring appraised recently at a San Diego jewellery store, presumably in order to sell it and pocket the cash.

Hef, however, can't be all that upset. When Harris was asked about the ring's cut and clarity by the store's owner, she called up the Playboy mansion on her speakerphone for details and the person on the line offered to fax over details.

Now, let's get one thing out of the way before moving on: Obviously Hugh Hefner and his bevy of blonde tarts couldn't possibly be exemplars of normal relationship behaviour, although give Harris credit for offering to return the ring. But let's suppose, for argument's sake, you're not an 85-year-old millionaire founder of a porno empire with a penchant for dating girls in their 20s and offering them plenty of your - ahem - generosity in return. You're just a guy who was engaged but now your betrothed has broken it off.

What should happen to the engagement ring in that situation? Maybe, because I am a guy, I am biased towards the guy getting the ring back. But I'm pretty sure I favour that option because it also seems entirely reasonable. People pay a lot of money for engagement rings.

But they're not gifts - at least not the kind that come with no strings attached. They're actually the perfect example of a conditional offer: If you accept the marriage proposal, you get this ring. If you don't accept the proposal, hand that sucker back. When a guy gets down on one knee and offers up that bright shiny token of his love, he's not just holding out a bag of cash that the woman gets to keep regardless of her answer. Also, selling it is way, way tackier than keeping it. That's what I think. Maybe you disagree.

Should an engagement ring be returned when a wedding is called off?

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About the Author

Dave McGinn writes about fitness trends for the Life section and also reports for Globe Arts. Prior to joining the Globe, he was a freelance journalist, covering topics from trying to eat Michael Phelps' diet to why the Joker is the best villain in comics history. He's working on improving his 10k time. More

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