hmm, speaking from experience . . . (long response, sorry, and I didn’t read what others say)
Keep the ring if he’s ok with it. It may become important to you one day in more ways than sitting in a box. Check with your local laws tho, because different states have different rules about the ownership of an engagement ring and you may just want to be aware of what you can back up legally.
Also, it’s totally normal to keep looking at it. I looked at mine after calling it off every night before I handed it back to my ex two weeks later (the first time I saw him again). It was part of my ‘saying goodbye’ process. I was heartbroken for the future I had wanted, even if I realized it had never existed, as I’m sure you can understand.
Long story short, I wasn’t quite in your situation. My ex-fiance bought me a ring I thought was far too amazing and beautiful when I was 21 and not so smart about money. It was made by our friend’s father and it has the most amazing memories. When I called it off, I gave it back to him as I’d said I would when joking around about how expensive it was.
Weirdness ensued because he quickly learned he couldn’t get his money out of it. He wore it around his neck for a while. He kept it in a closet. Years went by.
Meanwhile, the man who made the ring died of pancreatic cancer and my parents were going through cancer and although my friendship with the jewelers’ son died off after I left his best friend, I supported his causes and did what I could from the appropriate distance.
Fast forward. I obsessed about the ring, how it was sitting in a closet, how the man who made it was so nice and how it represented a precious time in my life. I maintained my friendship with my ex-fiance (who is now married) and decided to buy the ring from him when he got engaged to another girl who wanted it out of the house (luckily I’d hinted at it one time when I was drunk and we were both at a party, so he shot me an email when the time came to do something about the ring).
I bought it installments. It was between me and him. My ex’s fiance didn’t want to have anything to do with our transactions. My boyfriend at the time (now fiance) didn’t have a say for lots of reasons, most of them because it was a final transaction of sorts.
End result? A few years later, I am now engaged with that same ring to my current fiance and we couldn’t be happier. The ring is beautiful, it reminds me of my life and my future, and we got a great deal on it all the way through (and it represents our relationship of making the best out of what life gives us). My fiance had the option to get another ring if he wanted (I gave him the choice and didn’t pressure him to use ‘my’ ring), but he couldn’t replace it (too much money) and he knew how much I loved it and the people associated with it. It took him awhile to decide, but eventually he decided he would propose with my ring when the time came. At that point, I gave it to him, he got it refinished, and he proposed to me with it. Now we both stare at it. When asked about it, we agree that yes “she picked it out” or yes it was “his choice”. The joke among those who know is my current fiance picked it out . . . because he decided to use it. And he was the only one involved in ‘picking it out’ who wasn’t at the freakin’ store lol. (Yes my fiance has met my ex-fiance and there were some boys in between and it’s not as messy as it sounds . . people grow up).
So keep it. It’s special. And who knows, it might come in handy one day and brings lots of happiness to lots of people. Don’t worry about it’s worth to you down the road. You have no idea what’s down the road.
(the other awesomeness is my wedding band is one of my mothers – she gave it to me as a wedding gift. So my fiance hasn’t bought me one ring yet, but they are all so special in so many ways and let me know my fiance wants me for who I am – past, present, and future :). And that gave us time to shop for him, which was good because he turned out to be picky).