What Is a Promise Ring? Here Is the Significance Behind It.

What Is a Promise Ring? Here Is the Significance Behind It.

One day you may have someone excitedly show off their new promise ring or, even better, someone might present you with your very own. We're here to help you avoid the awkward moment when you smile, look excited and then have to ask, “what is a promise ring?”

What Is a Promise Ring?

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A promise ring is a token of commitment between two people. It's not conventional and its meaning between two people is as different as the rings themselves.

Promise rings come in any style the giver of the ring chooses. They don't have to be worn, and often are not, on the ring finger that would normally sport an engagement ring. Promise rings don't even have to be between two people in a romantic relationship. We'll help you decide if a promise ring is right for you.

The History of the Promise Ring

It may sound like a contemporary idea but promise rings date back to ancient Rome and Greece. Here, these rings were worn by the upper class to keep your loved one on your mind at all times.

In the 1700s, Victorian women were given promise rings, often called poise rings, by their lovers. Men would give these rings engraved with romantic poems to always remind the woman how cherished they were.

Who Gives a Promise Ring?

There's a lot of flexibility in the meaning of a promise ring which means there's also leeway in who can give the piece of jewelry.

Romantic Partners

Friendship

Purity Ring

A Personal Promise

Who Can Wear a Promise Ring?

The short answer is anyone. These are not exclusively worn by women given from men. Because the “rules” of proposals and getting engaged have evolved, so have the traditions of promise rings. Either person in the romantic relationship can present the ring to the other. Couples can decide together to take this step in commitment together so it doesn't have to be a surprise and doesn't leave one person asking "what is a promise ring?"

Friends should decide together to wear the rings and agree on a style. Friendship promise rings are a mutual pledge of comradery, trust and availability so it's got to be a style both friends like and will be comfortable wearing.

When a parent presents a purity promise ring to their child, the child will probably ask “what is a promise ring?” so the parent should be prepared to discuss its meaning. They should convey the meaning positively and not as a cautionary tale. The feelings the ring evokes should be positive and not serve as a warning—it's less likely to be worn if it has a negative connotation.

Promise Ring Etiquette

Here's where things can get dicey if not treated properly. When these rings are given in a romantic relationship, it's so important to not give the impression it might be an engagement before its opened. Because these rings are most often given on a romantic holiday like Valentine's Day or on anniversaries, the presentation is crucial.

The best way to present the ring is not in the same way an engagement ring is traditionally given. There's no reason to get down on one knee—a sure sign a proposal is coming. This is more about an overall feeling than it is about the ring and a grand gesture. Before giving the ring, talk about what a promise means to you and how your relationship is evolving to be exclusive.

Avoid the little velvet box—another hint at a proposal. You can present it in a larger, wrapped gift with the ring box inside. A pretty card with a heartfelt message about the meaning of the enclosed promise ring will appropriately set up the moment and make it a positive and loving experience.

What Do Promise Rings Look Like?

Promise rings can be made of anything and cost little to present. They definitely should not be easily mistaken for an engagement ring. There's no need to pick a ring with diamonds or any gemstones at all. If you don't want a little sparkle, you can pick the gemstone corresponding to the month in which you met or either of you were born.

Promise rings can be simple bands but should have an embellishment that will set them apart from wedding rings. It can be engraved with inscriptions that are personal and meaningful on the inside or outside of the ring to add a bigger personal touch. Pretty examples of promise rings:

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Sweet heart shaped crystal rings like:

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Infinity knot ring signifying continuous love like this:

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Simple, delicate band promise rings with engraving like this:

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Friendship promise rings engraved with two names like this:

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Matching friendship promise rings like this:

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Purity rings with positive messaging like this:

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It's not about the amount of money you spend on a promise ring, it's about the sentiment behind the ring. Rings can range from $10 to $1000 so whatever your budget, you can make a loving impact of the recipient of the ring.

How Long Is a Promise Ring Worn?

That's completely up to the individual or couple. If the promise ring is a promise of an upcoming proposal, some people may put the promise ring away as a keepsake while others may just wear it on another finger as a reminder of stages of their relationship. If the ring symbolizes commitment and monogamy, they can wear the rings long after wedding nuptials because the message of the rings remain the same. Because these rings may be worn forever, couples often choose a ring to be worn on a finger other than the engagement and wedding ring finger.

Friends will often wear the rings forever, maybe not every day, but the sentiment never changes. The ring can be taken off and worn sporadically, often appearing when someone is missing their friend or when they need a little extra reassurance or encouragement.

Purity rings are often worn until the recipient is married or in a committed relationship. Young girls will wear them until the agreed upon stage of life or until they're mature enough to make big decisions on their own.

A Promise Is a Promise

Man is holding the left hand of a woman wearing a promise ring
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Now you know the different meanings behind promise rings. No matter which way a promise ring is given or worn, the sentiment is sweet and positive. We promise the recipient will love it!

Featured Image: Image by Barbara Jackson from Pixabay

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