The Guide to Promise Rings

Promise rings represent the love a couple has for each other. When a person gives a promise ring, it symbolizes intense feelings and commitment to the person. It’s a sign of a serious relationship. But most people do not know when and how to give it, and how to choose the perfect promise ring. Here’s what you need to know about promise rings?

What is a Promise Ring?

A promise ring is a kind of ring that symbolizes that a couple is committed to each other, and are willing to be engaged and married in the near or distant future. It’s simply to show that you promise to love and choose each other, and you have a devotion to one another.

A promise ring could mean that:

  • You love each other and want a symbol of your commitment, but feel it’s too soon (or you’re simply too young) to be engaged.
  • You want to proclaim to the outside world that your relationship has become serious – not just infatuation.
  • Your relationship is growing and deep, and you want to show how important you are to one another.
  • You will be separated by distance, but you want a physical symbol that you will still be fully committed to one another.
  • You are commemorating a milestone or an achievement in your relationship.

A promise ring can mean anything that matters to both of you.

What is the History of a Promise Ring?

The promise ring has always symbolized love. In the late Middle Ages, men gave posy rings to their romantic interests as a token of love. Posy rings were often inscribed with romantic phrases like “love conquers all things,” “with all my heart,” or “united hearts, death only parts.” Choosing an inscription reflects the giver’s education or literary giftedness.

During the Georgian and Victorian eras, the acrostic ring – a more elaborate type of promise ring – became popular with couples. This type of ring comes with gemstones, and the first letter of the name of each gemstone spells out a secret message. For example, a ring with lapis, opal, variscite quartz, and emerald spells out “LOVE.” A ring that contains ruby, emerald, garnet, amethyst, ruby, and diamond says “REGARD.”

When and How to Give a Promise Ring

While giving a promise ring isn’t as significant and daunting as giving an engagement ring, it’s still a special moment for any couple. There are no rules of giving the promise ring to a partner, making the process relatively straightforward.

When giving a promise ring, you don’t have to plan anything elaborate, like you might if you were giving an engagement ring. An elaborate plan along with a promise ring might make your partner feel like you’re proposing, but you can if you want to (and if you and your partner are clear on where you are in your relationship). It’s also a good thing to plan something a little more special if you think your partner will appreciate it. For example, many couples exchange promise rings as a dating anniversary gift, a birthday, Valentine’s day, or even a Christmas gift.

You also don’t need to tell a romantic message when you give your promise ring. If you want to, you can talk about what it means for you and express how much you value your partner and your relationship. Some people like to mention phrases, a quote, or their partner’s favorite song lyrics or poetry. It’s all up to you and what you think is best for the situation.

Traditionally, promise rings were given by men to women, but many modern couples exchange promise rings. In some Asian countries, couples pick out promise rings together and wear them on their ring fingers to show that they are in committed relationships.

Which Finger Should a Promise Ring be Worn On?

Unlike wedding rings and engagement rings that have a traditional “proper” finger to be worn on, a promise ring can be worn on any finger on either hand. It’s best to wear it on whichever finger is the most comfortable and convenient for you.

Some people, who are neither engaged nor married, like to wear their promise ring on their left ring fingers. Couples who get engaged often switch their promise ring from the left hand to their right hand after the wedding so as not to be confused as an engagement ring. Some even wear the ring on their neck as a pendant, with a matching chain.

Promise Ring vs. Engagement Ring

The difference between a promise ring and an engagement ring is their purpose. While an engagement ring is given to propose and symbolize that you want to get married, a promise ring is a symbol of love and commitment.

A promise ring is simply a symbolic gesture. It doesn’t mean that there’s going to be wedding bells soon, and there’s no single meaning to the ring. It can symbolize commitment, friendship, relationship milestone, pre-engagement, or any other personal meaning. But usually, it signifies a promise to take the relationship seriously, with hope for future developments.

Promise Ring Styles

The promise ring’s design is entirely up to you while making sure that it will be liked by the recipient. As with any piece of jewelry, it’s best if the promise ring matches the personality of the person wearing it.

Simplicity is key for promise rings because most people don’t want them to be mistaken for engagement rings. They tend to be less extravagant than engagement rings, and they often use precious metals like gold and silver.

  • Diamond rings
    Diamonds are a classic and timeless gemstone that symbolizes beautiful promises for couples. For promise rings, diamonds are often smaller than those used in engagement rings. Often, these feature clusters of small diamonds to create a specific shape or a word. Since the diamonds are smaller, they are more affordable than other diamond jewelry.
  • Ring with gemstones
    A promise ring can have color and flair, thanks to the gemstones on it. Popular gemstones in promise rings include ruby, sapphire, emerald, topaz, quartz, and more. Most of the time, the gemstones are smaller and less obvious, with a more subtle appearance.
  • No gemstones
    It’s totally fine to give a promise ring with no gemstones. In fact, most couple rings and promise rings do not have any stones – instead, they have a pattern, an engraved message, or a unique design. Some couples engrave each other’s names, while some engrave their anniversary date.
  • Symbolic ring
    A promise ring can have symbolism. It’s common to find a love knot ring, which is a ring featuring a simple knot, which may symbolize a promise that someday in the future, you will be tying the knot. If you’re a man, you can give your lady a crown ring to sow that your partner is the queen of your heart. A ring with a bow can say that your partner is a precious gift. Eternity bands are also common for expressing an eternal commitment.
  • Claddagh rings
    It’s also a symbolic ring, but it’s a form on its own. The Claddagh rings are a traditional Irish design featuring a heart with a crown held by two hands. It represents love, friendship, and loyalty.
  • Matching rings
    Some may choose to wear matching promise rings or couple rings that form a word or a message when put together.
  • Simple rings
    Some promise rings do not have any special design feature at all, with some having a simple band like a wedding ring, but made of less precious metal. A ring made of sterling silver or white gold can be perfect for people who love a simple style.