A study by comparejewellery.com found that two thirds of men expect jewellery to be returned when the relationship turns sour. We spoke to Ali O'Neill to find out why.
Why do you think the men expect jewellery to be returned after a break up?
According to our results, the majority of men want expensive jewellery returned after a break-up so they can attempt to sell the item(s) on and recoup the cost of their romantic splurges. Whilst we don’t know the emotional reasons behind this, it’s likely that men may simply not attach the same emotion to jewellery as women- allowing them to part with romantic gifts more easily when pound signs are waved in front of them. This is emphasised by the fact that the main reason women would want jewellery returned by an ex would be if the relationship had ended badly; essentially demanding back any romance or emotion that was once given to their ex in jewellery form.
Why do you feel women are reluctant to give them back?
I think this can be down to the emotion that women attach to jewellery. I think most women will see gifted jewellery from a partner as a sign of love and affection, and not simply a soulless item- but a symbol of their relationship. The most common responses amongst women for not wanting to return jewellery were because it was their right to keep the gift, or that they wanted it as a relationship reminder- both signalling that women see jewellery as much more than just an item that they wouldn't mind parting with.
A small percentage of people wanted to keep jewellery as a reminder of the relationship, when usually people want to get rid of any memory of their ex, so why is this?
Whilst we can’t be sure of the exact motivation behind this, it’s likely that women see jewellery as an extension of a past relationship. It’s likely that the jewellery in question would have been given at a time in the relationship when everything was great, so many would see said jewellery as a reflection of these happier times. It could also be that they were given some fabulous diamonds and wouldn't want to see these go regardless of how they were given them.
What are your thoughts on why Liverpool came top for not returning jewellery and Newcastle came bottom?
We can’t be sure of why the regions reacted differently to wanting jewellery returned. People from Liverpool may well attach more meaning to jewellery and so would be less likely to want to part with it- or they simply see what’s gifted to them as their property not to be taken!
What tips can you give for the exchange of jewellery after a split?
We would always recommend that the exchange of jewellery is handled calmly, with respect for the fact that it is likely to have been a pricey gift given with love. Simply demanding jewellery to be returned, or on the other hand refusing to discuss giving it back, is only going to cause arguments and upset. Talk through the reasons for wanting jewellery to be returned, and the potential of reimbursing your ex if you really can’t reach an agreement on returning it. If you really can’t agree on what to do, many couples find selling the item and splitting the proceeds to work for them.
Why is there always something that causes difficulty in terms of dividing your things in a break up?
Break-ups can be incredibly difficult to deal with, particularly if you have to go through the heartache of splitting items you've bought together. Co-habiting couples will find it particularly difficult after a break-up as things are bought together over the years, and it can be impossible to know who owns what. Splitting up by its very nature is difficult, particularly if the break-up is messy, which can often make agreeing on the division of belongings even harder!
Why is there so much controversy over something as small as jewellery?
Whilst small, jewellery is usually one of the more expensive purchases that people make, with more significance attached to it that an everyday item. Jewellery is usually bought with a great deal of care as a signal of your relationship, and as such can be very difficult to deal with after a relationship breaks down. Jewellery isn't just an everyday item that you throw on- but if gifted by a partner can be a signal of your relationship together.