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Who Owns the Ring? D.C. Lawyer Sues Ex-Fiancée for Return of $100K Engagement Ring She Claims She ‘Deserved’

A couple on the road to marital bliss is now fighting over a 4.06-carat, $100,000 engagement ring following their broken engagement.

Washington lawyer Ryan Strasser is suing his former fiancée, Sarah Jones Dickens, for the return of the high-priced rock, which he called a “conditional gift,” according to court filings. Strasser and Dickens were set to wed earlier this year, however, their relationship hit a few bumps in the road before they called it quits.

Engagement Ring

After his broken engagement, the lawyer claims fiance’s $100,000 ring was appraised closer to a value of $125,000. (Photo by Roy Hsu / Getty Images)

According to Market Watch, the couple’s prospective wedding registry at is listed as an exhibit in Strasser’s lawsuit, as are their lavish engagement photos posted on Facebook. Their gift registry included a nearly $3,000 luxury velvet sofa from the upscale store Anthropologie and now sold-out “Highland Hooks,” then priced at $12 a pop.

With their engagement now called off, the situation begs the question who owns the ring? Strasser said he sent his father to retrieve the “gift” after their broken engagement, but Dickens and her mother made it clear they had no plans to return it.

According to a Jan. 9 email from Strasser to his ex-fiancée, the lawyer implored that the ring be given back, adding that it’d been appraised at a value of closer to $125,000.

“The bigger the ring, the bigger the problem,” said Michael Stutman, a managing partner at Stutman, Stutman & Lichtenstein in New York and former matrimonial lawyer. Recent cases similar to Strasser and Dickens’ have involved engagement bling ranging from $19,000 to $250,000 in value, Market Watch reported.

Though family law varies from state to state, the law in Washington, D.C. states that the gift of an engagement ring only becomes complete until after the wedding ceremony. In other states like Montana, an engagement ring is considered an “unconditional” gift and need not be returned after a broken engagement.

In his lawsuit, Strasser details the breakdown of he and Dickens’ relationship, writing, the “Defendant accepted the ring and the marriage proposal upon which the offer of the ring was predicated. Roughly 11 months later, the parties marriage plans collapsed with a highly contentious break up that ended their engagement.”

Moreover, Strasser claimed his wife-to-be insisted she “deserved” a large engagement ring and insisted he splurges on the diamond rather than “waste money” on a wedding, the suit states. Dickens allegedly pushed for a smaller ceremony, insisting her hubby spend his cash on “something she would enjoy daily for the rest of her married life.”

Initially, Strasser said he planned to spend no more than $40,000 on the ring. After several trips to several jewelers, however, his fiancée informed him that she wanted a ring around 3.5 to 5 carats “with an inclusion rating of no ‘worse’ than VS2 … and a color rating of no ‘worse’ than G,” which indicate the quality of the diamond,” according to the complaint.

The lawyer acquiesced to Dickens’ wishes, shelling out an extra $99,800 to buy her the ring of her dreams: an “Old European Cut diamond” with “no florescence.”

Strasser writes in his lawsuit that he was the sole breadwinner during the entirety of their “cohabitation” and that Dickens never contributed a dime to their mortgage or household expenses. She didn’t have a steady job either, and thus, no income. It wasn’t long before their relationship soured, however, and the two officially ended things after a “particularly dramatic weekend on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018.”

“Over the next several months, the living space available in the unit proved difficult for their parties and the three dogs,” the lawsuit adds.

Strasser has begged for their split to end as amicably as possible, however, it seems Dickens will hold on to the ring for now.

“I look forward to completing this uncomfortable process as amicably as possible, to putting this process behind us, and to focusing on the next chapter of our lives,” he wrote.

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