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What to do with your old wedding ring

14th March 2024

The Times

For the poet Robert Herrick, the love shown by the wedding ring was “as endless … and pure as gold for ever”. But what happens when love does end? For the jewellers of the early 20th century, the answer was found in the “divorce ring”.

The dashing Chicago divorcée Mrs Marina Parke claimed to have invented this new type of ring when she divorced her husband, Fred, the secretary of the Board of Supervising Traction Engineers, in 1911. According to the Chicago newspapers, she had her wedding ring sized down to wear on the little finger of her right hand, which had the advantage of “being most economical”. It was a neat solution to the problem of a now superfluous and potentially depressing wedding band. It also saved her from embarrassment at dinner parties as your “new acquaintances no longer enquire about your husband, and old friends who have not yet heard of the divorce, perceiving the ring, are saved from embarrassing themselves and you by asking awkward questions”.

Read more: The Times

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