Promise Rings: All You Need to Know About Them

Commitment is a tricky concept, what with all the 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?

Promise ring in a book

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 For Couples Only?

Friendship Promise Rings

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

Promise ring in Silver

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 Mean?

Promise Ring Meaning: Very simple – when you’re giving someone a promise ring, you’re saying ‘I promise myself to you’.

A promise ring means 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

His and hers promise rings

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 To Give A Promise Ring?

Promise ring for women

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 is – 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?

Promise ring ceremony

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.

promise ring which hand

What Finger Does a Promise Ring Go On?

Promise ring is worn on the ring finger of the left hand usually.

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.

Sterling silver crown rings

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.

Dainty silver ring for her

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.

Princess tiara rose gold ring

(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.

Stainless Steel Promise Ring For Men

Birthstone Promise Rings

These are special for two reasons

  1.  They are made with the wearer’s birthstone
  2. They can be personalised with an engraved message or names

His and her birthstones

(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.

Personalised promise rings for couples

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.

Promise RIngs

The Best Places To Buy Or Customise Promise Rings Online

  • Amazon
  • Ebay
  • Etsy
  • Zales
  • Pandora
  • Ringsberry
  • Claires
  • Not On The High Street
  • Eve’s Addiction
  • Nordstrom
  • Helzberg
  • Think Engraved
  • Jared

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.


  1. Nick
    July 23, 2018 / 11:27 am

    Great info. I’ve always wondered what does a promise ring signify and used to think they were purity rings. Do you think it’s appropriate for a dating anniversary?

    • July 31, 2018 / 5:10 pm

      Yup, standard Venn diagram stuff – a purity ring is just a type of promise ring. And YES! Promise rings are perfect anniversary gifts to celebrate the commitment to your SO.
      Try out these cool proposal ideas if you are already in the stage of commitment:

  2. Arprita
    July 25, 2018 / 10:50 am

    Got tired of waiting so I bought a promise ring for myself 😉

    • July 31, 2018 / 5:11 pm

      Buying a promise ring for yourself is a great idea! Who says rings are limited to relationships. A bit of bling can be a great token of self-appreciation. 😉

  3. Nitika
    August 8, 2018 / 4:39 pm

    In my opinion, it’s really hard to define a promise ring – it symbolises some sort of commitment, yes, but cheaper versions are often exchanged by teens in the throes of romance.

    • jeweladmin
      August 14, 2018 / 10:17 am

      Hi there, that’s true. A promise ring’s commitment quotient is ambiguous but that’s the beauty of it. It symbolises your relationship at that time and can be anything you want it to be – and hopefully your partner is on the same page!

  4. Rajesh
    August 13, 2018 / 10:23 am

    How long should you wait to give a promise ring?

    • jeweladmin
      August 14, 2018 / 10:20 am

      There are no timelines when it comes to gifting a promise ring. Go with your heart – after all, it is a gift representing love!

  5. Leena
    August 14, 2018 / 9:56 am

    Is a pre-engagement ring a promise ring?

    • jeweladmin
      August 14, 2018 / 10:21 am

      It could be. A promise ring can signify anything from making your relationship ‘official’, to renewing vows or being a token of love and commitment. they come in different price ranges and are gifted between teens to those married for decades.

  6. thejewelcreation
    September 18, 2018 / 6:26 pm

    Amazing info !