Commitment is a tricky concept, what with all its various interpretations and implications. Luckily jewellery that symbolises commitment is not that hard to define. No, we don’t mean the Wedding Ring or the Engagement Ring, we’re talking about their breezier, sleeker, younger cousin – Promise Rings.
It’s the ‘in-between’ ring, the ring that represents the invigorating new rush of love, a stepping stone from where great many love stories unfold.
What Is A Promise Ring?
A promise ring is a pre-engagement ring in the context of a romantic relationship. In most cases, promise rings can be given when a couple has been dating from six months to a year.
It solidifies the current status of their relationship and corroborates the fact that it might be heading to the next stage, i.e. going steady, a live-in arrangement, a formal engagement or even marriage.
Exchanging promise rings is synonymous to going official without the bonhomie and rituals of a traditional engagement. But a promise ring is not a way to set things in stone. Many couples who give promise rings don’t end up getting married and may even part ways before consecrating a lifelong commitment.
(Recommended Reading: Engagement Ring For Different Hand Shapes)
Are Promise Rings Only For Couples?
The answer is No. A promise ring can be given for different reasons and it can have any number of recipients and wearers. Essentially, it is a ring that signifies or symbolises a promise.
So it can be exchanged between best friends, or it can serve as a common symbol for a group of people with a particular affiliation or a cause, e.g starseed believers or sorority members.
You can even gift yourself a promise ring as a reminder of a promise you made to yourself, i.e a promise to stop smoking or drinking, or a gentle push to achieve a much cherished goal.
Promise Rings vs Purity Rings
A popular variant of a promise ring is the purity ring or the chastity ring, which signifies a vow to practise abstinence until marriage. They represent the notion of ‘true love is worth the wait’.
Women (and sometimes men) have often stated that the purity ring wards off the frogs that are not likely to turn into their prince charming, their ‘one true love’.
These picked up mainstream hype when they were worn by Jonas Brothers, Jordin Sparks, Teyana Taylor and Miley Cyrus. Pop icons like Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and veteran Jessica Simpson have known to wear purity rings in the past.
They are regularly popularised each time the purity movement raises its head. Often parents gift their children purity rings which are blessed by religious authorities.
What Does A Promise Ring Signify?
When you’re giving someone a promise ring, you’re saying ‘I promise myself to you’. A promise ring signifies the following:
- A promise of commitment (towards a current relationship that may blossom into a lifelong marriage)
- An intention of taking a current relationship to the next stage
- A declaration of love for those who may not be ready for an engagement but may be fully committed to the ‘now’
- A pledge of monogamy and exclusivity
- The bliss of love, connection and togetherness
What Are The Origins Of Promise Ring?
There are several origin stories of the promise ring. Some claim that it started as far back as the biblical times. It is believed that when the Pope in the 13th century set apart a mandatory period between betrothal and wedding, the tradition of promise ring and engagement rings began.
The trend regained ground in the 16th century when young men wanted to declare their love for their beloved but couldn’t afford to get married straight away. In their 16th to 17th century versions, they were etched with romantic verses and poems. In 1970s promise rings found a place in the jewellery dictionary.
When Should A Promise Ring Be Given?
While the promise ring does not come with the gravity of ‘till death do us part’, it does carry significant weight, the least of all exclusivity. It is appropriate to give a promise ring to someone you have been dating for a while (at least a year), or a partner you might someday want to spend the rest of your life with (whether as a legally married couple or live-in partners.)
That said, for those who are inclined to be ‘in the moment’ at all times, the promise ring makes a good substitute for an engagement ring as it brings an ephemeral sense of commitment, leaving the future to take shape on its own.
Nevertheless, rules don’t always apply when it comes to giving promise rings. If you feel that you’re ready for exclusivity at any stage of your relationship, a promise ring is the right step to take.
How Should A Promise Ring Be Given?
Usually, couples discuss getting his and hers promise rings together. Although, if you want to surprise him/her by giving it as a gift on a birthday, anniversary day or Valentine’s Day Gifts, make sure you explain that it is a promise ring and not an engagement ring, i.e. don’t raise someone’s expectations. Pair the ring with a romantic/explanatory note.
Conversely, if you’re unsure of how your partner really feels, don’t get a promise ring right away, it sends a direct message that you are ready for a ‘promise’ while they may not have reached that stage yet.
How Much Should You Spend On A Promise Ring?
Promise rings are not heavily embellished or elaborate since they are not supposed to look and feel like an engagement or wedding ring. In fact, they are also a lot daintier and minimal when compared to an engagement ring. So spend as much as you would on a regular gift for a loved one or as much as your budget allows.
How Should A Promise Ring Be Worn?
It is normally worn on the ring finger of the left hand. It is later replaced by the engagement or a wedding ring, at which point it can be worn on any finger. If you’re married and wear a wedding ring, you can wear it on the ring finger of the right hand.
Types Of Promise Rings
From slender to intricate, customised to thematic, you will find an extensive range of promise rings to choose from. We’ve listed some styles to help you get started.
His and Hers Promise Rings
These are matching promise rings that you can get together as a couple. The popular options are designs that shows ‘twos’ of something, like two intertwined hearts, hearts on infinity, his and hers sleek bands with engravings, puzzle couple rings, and more.
Silver Promise Rings For Her
The metal that sets the promise ring apart from an engagement ring. Most couples prefer to buy a sterling silver promise ring so that the implications of an engagement or a wedding ring are brushed aside.
Rose Gold & Diamond Promise Rings For Her
If you want to elevate the relationship to a step higher than silver, go for rose gold. Usually due to the levity that promise rings connote, they are available in 10k gold. A tiara or a princess crown is a popular design choice.
(Here is a complete guide on How to buy a Diamond )
Stainless Steel Promise Ring For Him
If the man you’re getting a promise ring for isn’t really a fan of jewellery, get him something simple, that reminds him of you and is not over the top.
Birthstone Promise Rings
These are special for two reasons
- They are made with the wearer’s birthstone
- They can be personalised with an engraved message or names
(Recommended Reading: Know Your Zodiac Birthstone)
Personalised Promise Rings
Adding more than just a personal touch, personalised promise rings can be engraved with each other’s fingerprints, anniversary date, a message of love or a shared symbol of love, such as infinity signs or heartbeat on ekg (normal sinus rhythm), each other’s initials, or just about anything that is a reflection of your bond.
Promise Rings for Multiple People
Popular with friends groups, siblings or parents who want their spouse’s and children’s names on their person. These rings are a version of the personalised promise ring but celebrate the relationship between more than just two people.
The Best Places To Buy Or Customise Promise Rings Online
- Not On The High Street
- Eve’s Addiction
- Think Engraved
If there is a special someone you’d like to promise yourself to, use our comprehensive guide to plan your gift. You’d be amazed at how rewarding the experience will be. Leave comments below.