There is a Code section in the Civil Code which applies. You are the donee - he is the donor. Since you broke it off, the donor may recover.
1590. Where either party to a contemplated marriage in this State
makes a gift of money or property to the other on the basis or
assumption that the marriage will take place, in the event that the
donee refuses to enter into the marriage as contemplated or that it
is given up by mutual consent, the donor may recover such gift or
such part of its value as may, under all of the circumstances of the
case, be found by a court or jury to be just.
A ring is a conditional gift. It is conditioned on the marriage. No marriage = no ring. However, there is old case law that says if he breaks the engagement you keep the ring but it is rarely followed.
This information is general and will change according to your facts. While this information may apply to your situation, without more facts I can not encourage you to rely on this information. I am not your attorney. No attorney client relationship exists. You should hire an attorney for your specific business matters.
If your fiance is not demanding the ring back, you can keep it. In fact, I offered to return my engagement ring when my ex-finance and I split and he graciously told me to keep the ring (I still have it). Of course, if your fiance bought you an engagement ring and you broke off the engagement and now she/he is demanding the ring returned, you would be required to return it if it was paid for by the other party. The exception to that might be if you purchased the ring with comingled monies or with some or all your money. If the other party paid for it with their money solely, then the rule is as the other attorneys have mentioned--an engagement ring is a conditional gift and if you break off the engagement and don't marry then you will be required to return the ring. If you got married, then the engagement ring is yours as your separate property unless it is deemed a significant asset of the community. Hope this helps.
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