Kaitlyn Bristowe and Michelle Young in 'The Bachelorette'
Source: ABC

Who Actually Paid for Michelle's Engagement Ring? Hint: It's Not [SPOILER]

Jamie Lerner - Author

Dec. 22 2021, Published 10:23 a.m. ET

Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for the Season 18 finale of The Bachelorette.

The finale of Michelle Young’s season of The Bachelorette had a lot of highs and lows — although it’s probably safe to say it wasn’t the *most* dramatic finale yet. (Remember Colton’s fence jump?) Even so, we were still full of emotion when Nayte got down on one knee and proposed with one of the most extravagant rings we’ve ever seen.

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Every season of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette includes one of Neil Lane’s diamond beauties, and this season, Nayte gives Michelle a beautiful pear-shaped ring that perfectly personifies her. But who actually pays for the ring?

Nayte proposing to Michelle on 'The Bachelorette'
Source: ABC
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No one actually pays for the ring on ‘The Bachelorette’ or ‘The Bachelor.’

Thanks to The Bachelor franchise, Neil Lane has become a household name. Where do we go to buy engagement rings? To Neil Lane, of course! So, in exchange for the publicity over the years, Neil actually donates his rings to the proposals at the end of each season. But just because the rings are donated does not mean that they’re the bottom of the barrel.

Source: Instagram
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In fact, the rings can be valued at six figures. For example, the diamond Ben Higgins gave to Lauren Bushnell reportedly cost about $100,000. Jef Holm’s ring for Emily Maynard was valued at $68,000. These “donated” rings are still much more expensive than the stereotypical engagement ring.

On the other hand, there is one Bachelor who actually decided to buy his own ring. Why? We have no idea. But Aaron Buerge decided to buy a $35,000 ring for his winner, Helene Eksterowicz … who sold it on eBay for $28,300 after they broke up. When the ring is donated by Neil Lane, however, there are rules about what the contestants can do with it.

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There are rules around what the contestants can do with the ring on ‘The Bachelorette.’

Throughout the entire Bachelor Nation franchise, Neil Lane generously donates his rings. But that doesn’t mean that couples can get engaged, and two weeks later, split up and sell the rings for their own profit. If that were possible, there would be way too many contestants not there for the “right reasons.”

Kaitlyn Bristowe, Michelle Young, and Nayte on 'The Bachelorette'
Source: ABC
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Neil Lane actually told InStyle, “I make each and every ring ... with the couple’s lasting love in mind. It’s my hope that the spark between them lasts forever. And if it doesn’t, I like to think that the ring goes to heaven.” Of course, though, the rings don’t actually go to heaven. The most recent Bachelorette couple to nix their engagement, Tayshia and Zac, had to give the ring back to ABC.

Basically, Neil donates the rings to ABC in exchange for publicity, and ABC sets the rules around what the couples can do with the rings. After two years, the couple can choose to sell the ring instead of giving it back. If they do this, however, ABC has the right to be the first buyer. But who would want an unlucky ring anyway, even if it is hundreds of thousands of dollars?

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