Promise Ring Meaning: What Is It and Do You Need One?

By  Mac Molli
Updated on 06/06/24
Promise Ring Meaning: What Is It and Do You Need One?

Promise Ring Meaning: What Is It and Do You Need One?

By  Mac Molli
Updated on 06/06/24

Part of the Engagement

Promise Ring Meaning: What Is It and Do You Need One?

By  Mac Molli
Updated on 06/06/24

Promise Ring Meaning: What Is It and Do You Need One?

Many rings are involved in a marriage: engagement rings, wedding rings… Do we really need another one?

Not particularly, but if you’re keen to get engaged without actually getting engaged, then a promise ring can be a wonderfully thoughtful symbol of your commitment. Promise rings can be ultra-romantic and make a big gesture without proposing. And who doesn’t love new bling?

But what is the promise ring meaning? And what should a promise ring look like? Here’s everything you need to know.

What Does a Promise Ring Mean?

You can probably guess the meaning of a promise ring; it’s in the name. Also known as commitment rings and pre-engagement rings, the promise ring symbolizes devotion. In most cases, a promise ring represents monogamy, and promises a future engagement, but it can represent other things, too, like chastity and purity.

Ultimately, a promise ring is a physical representation of serious commitment.

The History of the Promise Ring

Promise rings have been around for a very long time, but their history is somewhat elusive, and their exact origin is unknown. However, the concept of giving a ring as a symbol of commitment has been around for centuries.

One of the earliest known instances dates back to ancient Rome. Betrothed couples would exchange rings as a promise of future marriage. Roman brides and grooms would wear rings of iron to symbolize strength and permanence.

In medieval Europe, posy rings were tokens of commitment between lovers. The rings were engraved with romantic phrases or poems, representing love and fidelity.

The posy ring was dropped during the Georgian and Victorian eras, and acrostic rings became fashionable. These rings featured gemstones arranged so that the first letter of each stone spelled out a secret message or name.

Promise rings, as we know them today, took off in the 20th century, particularly during the 1970s and 1980s. This time, the ring symbolized commitment between couples who were not yet ready for engagement but who wanted to express their dedication — a kind of pre-engagement ring.

Today, the promise ring remains popular for this purpose, but other types of promise rings also exist.

Other Promise Ring Meanings

Other Promise Ring Meanings

Promises come in all shapes and sizes, and one might wear a promise ring for all sorts of reasons. Some show your commitment, while others serve as a deeply personal reminder to stay true. Here are a few variations: 

  • Purity rings: Made mainstream by the Jonas Brothers, the purity ring represents the promise to abstain from sex before marriage.
  • Monogamy rings: These are worn by couples who don’t necessarily want to get married but still want to make a promise to be faithful to each other.
  • Personal promise rings: A buck from the trend, some people wear rings representing a promise to themselves, for example, to stay clean from addiction, stay away from negative influences, or remain strong and focused.
  • Friendship rings: Friends with a strong bond may choose to give each other rings as a symbol of friendship.

What Do Promise Rings Look Like?

What Do Promise Rings Look Like?

There’s no hard and fast rule for what a promise ring should look like. Unlike with notoriously plain wedding bands, you can be creative with a promise ring and tailor it to your loved ones’ unique tastes and styles. Here are some options:

  • Birthstone rings: These are popular because they have personal meaning and are different from engagement rings.
  • Simple bands: Whether made from yellow gold or sterling silver, the minimalist style is very on-trend.
  • Cluster rings: Several gemstones grouped together make a statement, making this option perfect if your partner prefers fine jewelry!
  • Small diamond rings: Save the big rock for the engagement and make a promise with something more discreet. You can choose natural diamonds or, if budget is a concern, go for lab-created diamonds, such as those created by Brilliant Earth.
  • Stackable rings: These are a great choice if you want to wear the promise ring on the same finger as the engagement and wedding rings. Stackable rings fit perfectly together for a stunningly cohesive look.

How to Buy, Give, and Wear a Promise Ring

How to Buy, Give, and Wear a Promise Ring

How to Buy a Promise Ring

Many wonder if the promise ring cost should be high, but the answer is “no.” Save the big money for the engagement ring and wedding band, and go sentimental rather than expensive. There are so many stunningly beautiful gemstones you can easily have a high-class ring without breaking the bank.

How to Give a Promise Ring

Give the promise ring to your partner in a relaxed setting. Save the knee ache for the proposal. You don’t want to risk your recipient confusing the promise ring for an engagement ring.

Which Finger Does a Promise Ring Go On?

A promise ring goes on either ring finger. A promise ring worn on the left ring finger will typically move to the right hand after a proposal. 

(Promise rings can also be worn in place of an engagement ring when going on vacation or doing another activity wherein the wearer might worry about theft or loss!)

Frequently Asked Questions

When Do You Give a Promise Ring?

You can give a promise ring at any point during a relationship. Usually, it is given when a couple decides to commit but isn’t yet ready to get married. 

Is Giving a Promise Ring Proposing?

Giving a promise ring is not the same as proposing. A proposal signifies the intention to marry, while a promise ring can represent several things, such as a general commitment or a promise to be faithful or abstain from sex until marriage.

Do You Kneel When Giving a Promise Ring?

Do not kneel when giving a promise ring. Doing so can create confusion and the impression you’re going to propose. Instead, give the ring in a more casual manner. 

What Finger Do You Wear a Promise Ring On?

People typically wear the promise ring on the ring finger of either hand. If the ring symbolizes the intention to get engaged, it is worn on the left hand and then swapped to the right hand when the wearer receives an engagement ring.

For Rings, Bling, and Other Wedding Things, Head to The Groom Club

The Groom Club is your one-stop shop for all things groom-related. Everything you need to know about wedding and engagement rings is here, including info on getting the right insurance, how much you should pay for a ring, and how to get a ring custom-made.

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