Promise Ring Meaning and Purpose: What is a Promise Ring?

A promise ring is a piece of jewelry that symbolizes a promise to one’s self or another person. It can be worn by both men and women, and some people choose to wear it on their left-hand ring finger as an alternative to a traditional wedding ring. However, the meaning behind a promise ring varies from one person to the next since they’re not required or expected when you start dating someone new.

Promise Ring Meaning and Purpose

The Meaning of a Promise Ring

A promise ring is a symbol of commitment, not marriage. A couple may choose to give each other a promise ring as a way to show their commitment to each other prior to marriage, or they may decide on one after they’ve been married for a while. These days, it’s increasingly common for couples who aren’t planning on getting married anytime soon—or even at all—to exchange promise rings instead of engagement rings.

Promise rings can be worn by either men or women; however, wearers often prefer styles that are more feminine in nature. It’s also not unheard of for both partners in an unmarried couple to get matching versions of the same style promise ring so that they look like part of a set (and this will make it easier if one person wants something different from the other).

The History of Promise Rings

You may have heard of promise rings, but what are they exactly? A promise ring is a pre-engagement  ring given by one partner (typically female) to the other partner (typically male). It’s often given during high school or college, but it doesn’t have to be. A promise ring can represent any type of commitment between two people—whether it’s an intention to marry someday or just a promise that you’re not going anywhere.

Promise rings have been around for centuries! According to Khordipour, the concept of promise rings dates back to the Roman era. He says Romans were required to wait a certain amount of time before marrying, and they gave rings as a sign of commitment during that period.

Next came the more romantic posy ring in the 14th century, which was worn as a symbol of affection between lovers. Sometimes spelled posey or poesy, the posy ring was a band engraved with a short poetic phrase (often written in Latin or French) to signify romantic feelings. In the 19th century, acrostic rings cleverly spelled out words like “regard” and “dearest” in gemstones. (“Regard” was communicated with ruby, emerald, garnet, amethyst, ruby, and diamond, while “dearest” consisted of a diamond, emerald, amethyst, ruby, emerald, sapphire, and tourmaline.)

Using a promise ring as a pre-engagement ring is a more modern concept. As courtships grow longer, people are now giving promise rings as a kind of midway guarantee. According to Khordipour, “With a promise ring today, we will eventually get married but as of now, we are not ready.”. As a result, both parties have reassurance that the relationship will continue.

Vintage Engagement Rings and Wedding Bands from Melanie Casey Jewelry #rings #weddingrings #engagementrings

What Does a Promise Ring Look Like?

There is no right answer to this question. A promise ring can have a wide range of styles, depending on the wearer’s preferences and budget. The most popular styles are those that match your partner’s engagement ring, or something similar to it. For example, if your partner has a diamond solitaire engagement ring with three prongs holding it in place, you might want to get a promise ring with diamonds set in platinum as well.

Another popular trend is for the couple to each wear promise rings symbolizing their love for one another—and then when they’re ready for marriage (or just because!), they can exchange those rings for wedding bands instead!

  • Smaller diamond rings. Large solitaires have long been associated with engagements, but stones at 0.25ct and below are a common way to give a promise ring that indicates a future engagement.
  • Simple bands. Whether it’s set with gemstones, engraved with initials, or solely a precious metal, a band-style promise ring is a more subtle approach.
  • Birthstone rings. Giving the wearer his or her birthstone is ideal for longevity, as the ring can be worn alongside an engagement ring later on.
  • Cluster rings. Several stones grouped together sparkle like an engagement ring without trying to stand in for one. “It bridges that gap,” says jeweler Melanie Casey. “It can be worn on either hand and doesn’t make people look engaged when they aren’t actually engaged.”

Vintage Engagement Rings and Wedding Bands from Melanie Casey Jewelry #rings #weddingrings #engagementrings


Do you need to spend more on a promise ring?

No! Also, there’s no hard and fast rule here. Don’t break the bank on your promise ring if marriage is in your future. For this moment, you can keep costs under $2,000. Save up for the engagement ring. “The lower price point is key to the promise ring, since it’s not the engagement ring gesture, but the precursor to that,” says Casey.

How do you give a promise ring?

Marriage proposals can be over the top. This involves grand gestures, romantic monologues, and getting down on one knee. Khordipour says that giving a promise ring should be as opposite as possible. “ You don’t want to fool your partner into thinking they are about to be proposed to.”Do you need to spend more on a promise ring?

What finger is a promise ring worn on?

A promise ring can be worn on the ring finger of either hand. If it is given and accepted as a symbol of future commitment, it is typically worn on the left hand.

After you give a promise ring, how long do you give an engagement ring?

Promise rings do not start the countdown to marriage, but they are something you should discuss carefully. Be open and honest about how your future is progressing as a couple, as well as your feelings about marriage in general.

How do you deal with a promise ring after your engagement?

You can do whatever you want! Some will keep it on their right hand, others may wear it as a necklace, and others may continue to keep it. As Khordipour recommends, you may wear it instead of your engagement ring while traveling, and Casey is seeing promise rings become part of the growing trend of stackable jewels. She says: “We’ve seen people combine promise rings with engagement rings, where they begin with a promise ring on their engagement finger, then add a wedding band, then a diamond band.”. “The left ring finger comes to represent phases of life and their relationship.”


The history of promise rings is a long one, and they’ve been around for centuries. In more recent times, they’re also known as friendship rings or promise bands. These days, you can find them in just about any color and style imaginable—from simple gold bands to elaborate diamond versions with ornate designs. And if you want to get a little fancier with it? You can even custom-design your own ring!