What is a promise ring aka commitment ring? A promise ring is as the name implies; a ring given to someone as a promise of something. The something could be anything. It could be a promise of marriage with someone in the near future, a promise to be faithful to someone and their relationship, a promise to keep ones virginity until marriage, a promise of eternal friendship and so on. That’s why a promise ring is also called a friendship ring.
The type of ring you give will bear your own idea of the symbolism the ring carries and the meaning of the “promise”. Obviously, you will need to include discussion as you present this gift.
The first ring that would be given (if he chooses to) is the promise ring. this ring symbolizes his promise and your promise to be faithful to each other and basically tells everyone that you are both off the market. This ring is thin and small…usually has a small diamond (under a 1/10th karat). The engagement ring is the ring given when you and he promise to each other to be married at some point. This ring is usually in gold or white gold with a large diamond (solitare) or with three stones like mine. This is worn on the left ring finger. The wedding band is either a plain gold band or a band that matches the engagement ring. this ring is given on your wedding day as part of the ceremony. it is worn together with the engagement ring on your left hand.
But what is a promise ring in modern day society? Despite it’s historic underpinnings, these pieces of jewellery have only really been labelled ‘promise rings’ since around the 1970s. Some will even argue that the term is only around a decade old.
Sometimes known as a ‘pre-engagement’ ring, a promise ring is a simple piece of jewellery given as a symbol of a committed relationship. In most cases, they symbolise monogamy, purity and, occasionally, a promise to remain celibate until marriage.
Promise rings come in a variety of styles including heart designs, yellow gold and the use of gemstones other than diamonds. They’re pretty, understated and rarely as flashy as their engagement ring counterparts.
Like any ring, the finger on which you place a promise ring is almost entirely up to you and it all depends on the significance it holds.
In most western cultures, the ring finger of the left hand is used to symbolise engagement and marriage, but if you’re comfortable with your promise ring being mistaken for a wedding band, you wouldn’t be the first to place it on your ring finger. You simply have to decide if the reason you’re wearing the promise ring correlates with the generally-accepted application for that particular finger.
With this in mind, many people will choose instead to place the promise ring on their right-hand ring finger to avoid any confusion.
Because promise rings involve two people, it’s advisable to speak to the provider of the ring to ensure they’re comfortable with the finger on which you intend to place it. This is a particularly good idea if your relationship spans continents; promise rings UK people are used to placing on a particular finger may not be quite as acceptable in other cultures.
Unlike engagement rings, promise rings can be put to a variety of uses. So, what is a promise ring? Here are some classic example of what they can symbolise:
Friendship: Good friends sometimes exchange promise rings that symbolize the commitment to always be there for one another.
Monogamy:Promise rings are often exchanged as symbols of a mutual commitment to remain monogamous while in a romantic relationship.
Abstinence or Chastity: When given by a parent to a child, promise rings are also called “purity rings” and symbolize the commitment to remain celibate until marriage, as well as to remain substance-free.
Pre-engagement: Perhaps the most common meaning of a promise ring for couples is the commitment to a relationship that is headed toward engagement. When you feel that your partner is the right one for you but you aren’t quite ready for marriage, a promise ring is also known as a pre-engagement ring.
Promises to Yourself: In some cases, a person may buy a promise ring for herself to serve as a reminder to stay strong and committed to a certain cause. These rings may remind the wearer to be true to herself, to stay away from negative influences, or to maintain a positive attitude in the face of adversity.
As you’ll see above, one of the main differences between promise and engagement rings is the wide range of applications for the former. An engagement ring, on the other hand, has only one job, which is to symbolise an intent to marry, and the only ring that comes after an engagement ring is a wedding band, symbol of unity in marriage.
Due to the many reasons a promise ring may be gifted, it is important for the provider of the ring to be upfront about its meaning. Although promise rings usually contain less bling and expensive diamonds than engagement rings, they may contain a stone of some sort, therefore incorrect assumptions by the recipient could all too easily be made.
We now know that promise rings symbolise something entirely different to engagement rings, so if you’re planning to give one to a loved one, be sure to include a handwritten note describing exactly what it symbolises. That’ll prevent any awkward confusion!
There is a long tradition behind how to give a promise ring. In ancient times, a promise ring was used to seal a promise, much in the same way rings of different types are used to symbolize promises today. Bishops would wear rings to symbolize their spiritual “marriage” or union with the church. In Venice, Italy, dignitaries renewed the “marriage promise” between the city and the Adriatic Sea by tossing a ring into the water once each year, on Ascension morning.
Fast-forward to the 16th and 17th centuries, and we see the precursors to today’s promise rings, which were exchanged as tokens of love or friendship. The “poesy ring” was engraved with a sentiment or promise and given to a friend or lover. Another popular style, set with uncut diamond chips, was the “scribbling ring,” which lovers would use to etch romantic vows into glass windowpanes.
Today, there are a few ways to describe the meaning of promise rings. Each promise ring is given as an expression of a certain promise two people have made with one another. Some of the most common promise ring meanings include:
Promise rings can be worn on any finger, however people usually wear their promise rings on the ring finger of their right hand so it is not confused with an engagement or wedding ring. If the ring was given to the recipient as a pre-engagement promise ring, the recipient may choose to wear it on the ring finger of her left hand to symbolize that an engagement is in her future. Sometimes, promise rings are even placed on a simple chain that is worn as a necklace. There are really no rules when it comes to wearing a promise ring, so the recipient can decide how she feels comfortable wearing her new ring.
A promise ring can mean many things, so what it means to you will be unique to your situation and your relationship. Hopefully, with this guide, you’ll have a better idea of what to do if you want to express a symbolic bond to your loved one with a beautiful promise ring.