Would You Trade In Your Engagement Ring for a Bigger Diamond?

Some brides upgrade their diamonds for blingier models years after they say "I do"

You always knew you'd marry him even if he proposed with a length of twine for a ring. But now that it's been a while since you got hitched — and now that you have a couple more zeros on your bank statement — would you trade in your original engagement ring for a blingier model?

Some brides are choosing to do just that, with retailers large and small building the upgrade option right into the purchase agreement for the original stone as a customer incentive. For example, a diamond purchased from jewelry website James Allen can be exchanged at 100 percent credit for any replacement diamond of at least twice the value, or the retailer will buy back a diamond at 70 percent of the original purchase price if a customer buys an upgrade elsewhere. Mom-and-pop jewelry shop Icing on the Ring in Los Angeles offers a credit in the full dollar amount of the purchase price regardless of the upgraded stone's value.

Icing on the Ring co-owner Vic Rupchian says that couples often trade up when they're getting close to a milestone anniversary, and usually around "the longer stretch" — often between the 8- and 15-year mark.

He has yet to observe a trend in folks upgrading rings purchased in the depths of the lean recession years, but suggests it's a bit early to have seen that happen anyway. "Things are just shaping up now. It could happen closer to that 8- to 10-year timeframe," he notes.

Beyond the desire for a larger stone, there are other reasons people upgrade. Women are more involved in the purchase of an upgrade then they were in when their grooms popped the question, so they might find a style more their own, according to James Allen. Or maybe they'll replace a dated setting with a more modern one as the years go by.

But some folks would never even dream of giving up the ring their groom held in his sweaty palm when he got down on one knee, the ring they wore on their wedding day. "There's that sentimental attachment, that heirloom quality to original rings," Rupchian says.

So let's hear from you: Would you ever upgrade your engagement ring?

Alesandra Dubin is a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

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