Does Paris Hilton Have to Give Back Her $2 Million Engagement Ring?

Paris Hilton has called off her engagement to Chris Zylka. The 37-year-old socialite and the 33-year-old actor had been dating for two years and engaged since January.

At the time, Hilton seemed thrilled about the idea of getting married. “So happy & excited to be engaged to the love of my life,” she wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post. “Perfect for me in every way. So dedicated, loyal, loving & kindhearted. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world!”

Hilton also shared photos of the giant diamond engagement ring that Zylka used to propose. The 20-carat pear-shaped ring is worth nearly $2 million, the ring’s designer Michael Greene told People at the time. But now that the engagement is off, Zylka reportedly wants the ring back. Does Hilton have to return it, or can she keep the impressive sparkler?

What will happen to Paris Hilton’s ring?

Paris Hilton engagement ring

Paris Hilton shows off her engagement ring at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. | Geoff Robins/AFP/Getty Images

TMZ reports that Hilton still has the multi-million dollar ring. Zylka supposedly wants it back, though he hasn’t directly asked his ex-fiancee to return the ring. Given that Paris called it “the most beautiful ring that I have ever seen” back when the two got engaged, it’s possible she’s reluctant to part with it. The ring’s design is also inspired by one of her mother’s rings, according to People, which could mean that it has extra sentimental value.

She may have no choice but to give the ring back 

Hilton’s ring is worth a pretty penny, so it’s no surprise that Zylka might be interested in getting it back. Even if Zylka didn’t actually spend $2 million on the ring — TMZ claims he got a “massive discount” on the ring because of all the publicity it brought in for the jeweler – it was undoubtedly expensive. Fortunately for him, there’s a good chance it will eventually end up back in hands. But lawyers might need to get involved.

In California, engagement rings are typically classified as “conditional gifts,” the New York Times explains. Unlike a traditional birthday or Christmas gift, which is given with no strings attached, an engagement ring is essentially a contract. If the engagement is called off, the contract is broken and the recipient of the ring is usually expected to return it to the giver. However, there’s one exception. If the giver is the one to call it quits, the recipient gets to keep the jewelry. Once the marriage takes place, the recipient usually gets to keep the ring in the event of a divorce.

The Hilton heiress actually has a common problem

Paris Hilton and Chris Zylka

Paris Hilton and Chris Zylka | Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Maddox Gallery

Hilton’s ring might be uniquely valuable, but the fact that she’s faced with the question of what to do with it after a broken engagement is not.

Up to 20% of all engaged couples never make it to the altar, according to some surveys. Given that the average couple spends $5,764 on an engagement ring, according to the Knot, it’s not surprising that courts have had to weigh in on who gets rights to the diamond post-breakup.

Whoever ends up with the ring, there’s a good chance they’ll be disappointed if they’re planning on selling it for cash. Diamond engagement rings have a notoriously poor resale value. Experts caution that people should keep their expectations about the ring’s worth in check. In other words, buy it for love, not as an investment.

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