Promise rings (also known as commitment rings) are one of the most asked topics by our readers. Between engagement rings, purity rings, pre-engagement rings and promise rings, it is understandable to see why people get confused by them.
In this write-up, we will do a deep dive into what a promise ring means, a brief history, what they look like, where you can buy them and frequently asked questions about them. Let’s jump right in…
Here is a list of topics we will be covering:
A promise ring is a symbol of commitment or devotion between a couple. Typically, the giver makes a declaration of a commitment to the wearer and uses the ring as a tangible representation of that promise.
The idea behind having a promise ring on your hand also serves as a constant reminder of the promises that were made.
While the most common reason for a promise ring is to show devotion or to indicate a romantic future together, they can also be used to symbolize joint commitments that are not related to love.
Here’s a short list of promise ring meanings and how it can represent different things to different couples:
I promise to marry you in the future.
I promise to be faithful.
I promise to love you forever.
I promise to abstain from sex until marriage.
I promise to give up drinking.
I promise to be your friend in times of need.
I promise to change a bad habit.
While promise rings are usually exchanged between couples, there are many other use cases outside of romantic relationships.
For example, some parents may give their children a promise ring as a testament to their bond. Close friends or siblings may even share them to celebrate their relationship or pledge one’s commitment to abstinence or religion.
While both types of rings share a common meaning of having a commitment to another party, there are some differences between them and it depends on the stage of your relationship you are in.
Engagement rings are more expensive/flashy and presented during a marriage proposal. For example, engagement rings typically have a center gemstone (diamond) and are usually made of precious metals such as platinum or white gold.
On the other hand, promise rings are usually given to signify a joint commitment that may not be related to love. They may or may not feature any gemstones and tend to have a more subtle design.
The tradition of giving a ring as a symbol of love and devotion is an ancient one. As early as the 15th century, a promise ring may have been given from one person to another who was in a betrothed relationship. This meant they planned to marry someday in the future, but perhaps could not at that time.
Since then, other ideas have emerged about promise rings. The Victorian and Georgian time periods saw words fashioned with jewels placed on acrostic rings. For example, a secret message of “HEART” could be composed by arranging Hematite, Emerald, Agate, Ruby and Tanzanite gemstones on the ring.
It really depends on your personal preferences. Promise rings can be worn on any finger or hand and the decision is entirely up to you. As a guideline, promise rings are usually worn on the right hand if you are married and on the left hand if you are currently in a relationship.
In theory, the design of a promise ring can be whatever you want and there are subjective preferences when it comes to its appearance. That said, there are some guidelines that people tend to follow when shopping for a promise ring.
In general, it should not look as elaborate as an engagement ring and shouldn’t be mistaken as a wedding ring. Here are some further tips to help you out when choosing a promise ring:
Remember, it’s not about the bling. It’s about the commitment.
Depending on the wearer’s personality and style, the best ring design for different people would be different. In order to give you some ideas of the designs available in the market, we’ve handpicked our favorite designs and compiled a list of high quality promise rings below.
Diamond promise rings – Diamond rings are timeless and highly versatile to suit different styles. They are frequently used in promise rings that indicate a future engagement to the receiver. Unlike engagement rings, the diamonds used in promise rings are typically small (less than 0.25ct) and this makes them highly affordable.
A unique half-way diamond band promise ring that features 2 prong-set diamonds on the ends of this setting. This open design is an elegant choice for people who like something unique without stepping over the edge.
This chic looking ring features small round diamonds that are connected by an alluring metal pattern. It offers a discreet and yet symbolic meaning of connectivity.
This cluster ring showcases a trio of fancy cut diamonds with different shapes (marquise cut, princess cut and pear cut). While the diamonds add a little sparkle to the ring’s appearance, the dainty size of the diamonds gives it a laid-back appeal.
If you are a high roller and don’t mind splurging on an expensive promise ring, this modern looking bypass ring design features 2 colored lab grown diamonds on each end. With a playful-looking design made from yellow gold, the 2 diamonds also symbolize the promise made by 2 people.
Gemstone rings – Gemstone rings can be customized to add a unique color or flair to the wearer’s hands. Compared to diamond rings, they are generally less expensive and come in a variety of designs. For an added symbolic meaning, you can also select the appropriate birthstones for the recipient.
Presented in the form of a stacking ring, this yellow gold setting features a pear-shaped emerald and a round white diamond mounted in a bezel setting. The is also a choice to swap the emerald for a ruby or a sapphire of your choice.
This ring is made up of a cluster of sapphire, London blue topaz, aquamarine and diamond gemstones that emit an aura of cool, bluish light.
Set in a mesmerizing array of rainbow colors, this open heart shaped ring features a creative use of rubies, emeralds and multi-colored sapphires. Besides a yellow gold metal setting, you can also opt for a rose gold metal setting.
This infinity ruby birthstone ring signifies royalty, power and passion. The birthstone of July is also believed to bring about friendship, courage and friendship to the recipient.
Simple bands – If you are someone who is more discreet or prefers something plain, a simple band-style promise ring can be a suitable choice. There are plenty of options and metal choices like white gold, yellow gold, silver or even platinum to choose from.
And if you want to “customized” the ring to make it more personal, you could engrave your message on the inside of the ring.
A simple, no-frills 14k white gold ring is a suitable choice for people who want a low-profile and comfortable option. This highly polished ring goes well with other types of jewelry pieces or can be worn as a standalone ring.
This criss-cross ring is one of the latest trending styles of jewelry on the market. It comprises of 2 intertwining metals that add a contemporary and meaningful touch to your overall style.
A simple yet special looking ring with a curved chevron shape that gives the ring a cascading effect when worn on the finger. This stylish ring can be worn by itself or be paired with other rings that.
When it comes to jewelry, quality is the key attribute that I always advocate looking out for. That’s because well made jewelry looks better, lasts longer and is generally more comfortable to wear.
While you can easily find cheap promise rings online or at a departmental store, these are often low quality rings that easily deteriorate with frequent wear and lose their luster over time. Because of this, we can only recommend vendors that are known for their high-quality workmanship and settings that will last for a long time.
Here are the best places to shop for a promise ring that offer a wide range of selections and get you the best value for your money:
Blue Nile – They are the world’s largest online retailer of diamonds and fine jewelry. Whether you are looking for a diamond or gemstone promise ring, Blue Nile offers plenty of options across all types of budgets.
Brilliant Earth – With a commitment towards ethical and eco-friendly jewelry, Brilliant Earth has prided itself as a business with integrity and fair trade. Brilliant Earth has a superb selection of lab grown gemstones and diamonds. Their ring designs are also heavily influenced by a nature theme.
James Allen – One of our all-time favorite retailers when it comes to diamond shopping. James Allen provides a highly intuitive user interface and high definition videos of product listings. This means that you can see exactly what you are buying and shop with complete confidence.
While the websites above may not explicitly mention a “promise ring” or “couple ring” in their product listing and descriptions, there are many high quality options under the “wedding band” category that are suitable for the purpose of promise rings.
Question: I’m a guy and I would like to know whether there is any stigma of men wearing promise rings.
Answer: As far as I know, there isn’t any social stigma about men wearing promise rings. In fact, most couples wear promise rings with matching designs and if you don’t want to wear it explicitly on your hands, you could chain it up and wear it like a pendant. That would keep it hidden from view if you are apprehensive about wearing a ring.
Question: How much should you spend on a promise ring?
Answer: As much as you can reasonably afford without having to take on debt. Promise rings can be as simple as a plain stainless steel ring to something fancier with precious gemstones. You should assess your current financial situation and determine a suitable budget for the ring.
Question: How long do you have to keep a promise ring or after a commitment (e.g. marriage) is fulfilled?
Answer: Once a promise has been fulfilled, the promise ring can be kept or worn occasionally as a reminder of the oath. Vice versa, if the promise is broken, it would be proper to return the ring.
Question: Is a purity ring the same as a promise ring?
Answer: They aren’t. I would say that a purity ring is like a subset of the promise ring. A purity ring or sometimes called a chastity ring is largely used as a symbol of commitment against pre-marriage sex. Purity rings are often associated with religious groups and are given by parents to their daughters.