Why Mariah Carey May Keep Her 35-Carat Engagement Ring From James Packer

Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey still has her 35-carat diamond engagement ring from ex-fiance James Packer — and it looks like she's going to be able to keep it, according to legal experts. Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

It's all hers! When James Packer proposed to Mariah Carey in March, he famously popped the question with a 35-carat diamond engagement ring. Seven months later, the couple has split, but that doesn't necessarily mean the ring is leaving the singer's hand.

"He's not going to make her give the ring back because it's against the law," a source close to Carey tells Us Weekly. "The law in California is that she doesn't have to give the ring back because she didn't call off the engagement. She had every intention of marrying him — she had a dress, her daughter had a dress, they were excited, they were making wedding plans. Then, on the last day [of their Greek vacation], he said, 'I can't do this anymore, this is just too much.'"

Indeed, according to the 1950 California case Simonian v. Donoian, "the donee (i.e., the woman) of an engagement ring is entitled to retain possession thereof when the marriage contract is breached by the donor (i.e., the man) without any fault on donee's part."

Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey's 35-carat diamond engagement ring. Courtesy of Wilfredo Rosado

Attorney Stacy D. Phillips took that a step further for Us: "If the recipient cancels the wedding, then the recipient has to give back the ring because the ring was a conditional gift — the condition being the recipient had to marry the donor. If the donor breaks it off, then the recipient can keep the ring. If they decide together mutually to cancel the wedding then the recipient has to return the ring."

So far, it seems that it's the second option that applies to the couple, as Carey is still wearing the ring — but on her right hand.

Of course, that doesn't mean that there aren't other problems the Grammy-winning artist needs to contend with — like where to go from here. "Mariah was like, 'This isn't how you do it,'" the source said. "He had asked her to move to L.A. to be closer to him because his ex-wife and kids live in L.A. She relocated to L.A. to be with him. She uprooted her life, and she loves her life in New York."

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