Are Promise Rings Just for Couples?

are promise rings just for couples

Promise rings have been exchanged for centuries. Their history dates back to ancient times, when a promise ring was meant to solidify a pact—between two people, between a person and God, or even between cities and the sea!

Around the 16th or 17th century, promise rings became a common token to signify love or friendship, a tradition that has carried over to modern times. With the rise of engagement and weddings however, many people are confused as to what role promise rings play in the 21st century.

Are promise rings only for couples? Not at all!

Today, promise rings are exchanged mostly—but not exclusively—by romantic couples. And just because a promise ring is exchanged between a couple, doesn’t mean the promise is romantic in nature.

Every promise is unique, so your promise ring can encompass many different meanings. Here are a few things to take into consideration for all levels of commitment:

Types of Promise Rings

Types of Promise Rings

What promise do you want to make? The larger the commitment, the more valuable the ring.

Friendship

A ring doesn’t always mean love…or marriage. Some couples may use a ring to symbolize and showcase eternal friendship and a spiritual and emotional bond that will never be broken. These rings may be exchanged between friends and perhaps even worn on the right hand.

What To Buy: The best friendships rarely need a grand statement. A simple, but elegant band will do the trick. A faceted band (pictured left) or twisted band in a unique metal offers a modern look, while an intricate, engraved band would be a perfect fit for vintage-look lovers.

Friendship

Future Engagement

Throughout the generations, promise rings were often given to ‘promise’ a future engagement. This was often considered a pre-engagement ring that was meant to showcase the seriousness and sincerity of a relationship. A promise ring may still be given as a promise of engagement, but the giver should make that intention clear.

What To Buy: Promise rings that signify pre-engagement should be more demure than an actual engagement ring. A thin band with a petite solitaire diamond is understated in its beauty, but clearly demonstrates your commitment to take your relationship to the next level. Choosing a unique metal, such as rose gold, with help distinguish it from an actual engagement ring.If your partner loves a little bling, an eternity ring with gemstones makes for a glamorous statement; plus, it can easily be worn with any other rings that may arrive in the years to come!

Future Engagement

A Lifetime Commitment

Marriage is becoming less popular among millennials, who are waiting longer to tie the knot. For couples who are unsure or ambivalent about marriage but who still wish to convey their devotion to a partner, promise rings may be exchanged to display this meaning. When using promise rings to display a lifetime commitment, both individuals should wear a ring.

What to Buy: Matching promise rings are great options for commitment rings. A simple band with a diamond would do for these rings too, but why not make your rings as extraordinary as your relationship? You can engrave words and other symbols of love to elevate any ring—and the more personal, the better.

One of the best examples we’ve seen of this are fingerprint rings. Engraving your partner’s unique fingerprint onto your ring is not only romantic, it’s a constant reminder of the special bond you share with your partner!

A Lifetime Commitment

Another Promise

The meaning of a promise ring may also remain unknown to everyone besides the couple. Perhaps the rings hold a deeper spiritual meaning or a hidden promise that is too deep and personal to share with others. There are no boundaries for what a promise ring should—or must—symbolize to a couple.

What to Buy: Let your intuition guide you. Any of the above styles would work, as long as it helps you remember and cherish the commitment you made.

Another Promise

What Promise Rings Do Not Symbolize

Engagement

A promise ring is not an engagement ring. While a promise ring may be a promise of future engagement, these rings hold two separate meanings and should not be confused. An engagement ring symbolizes an imminent marriage. A promise ring simply symbolizes a promise… and sometimes that promise has nothing to do with a wedding.

Purity

Don’t confuse a promise ring for a purity ring, which symbolizes a promise to oneself (and/or to God) to refrain from intimacy before marriage. The Jonas Brothers wore purity rings. So did Jessica Simpson and Miley Cyrus.

Wedding Vows

This distinction can be a bit tricky, especially if you’re wearing a promise ring as a symbol of long-term commitment. Both, promise rings and wedding rings, follow a simple aesthetic than engagement rings, which means these rings can be purchased interchangeably.

What is not interchangeable, however, is their meaning. If you buy a wedding ring—or any ring, for that matter—for your partner as a promise ring, you need to be clear of what it is. A couple may choose to exchange promise rings to symbolize any promise or commitment, but if you do not intend to walk down the aisle (at least not in the immediate future), then that needs to be very clearly understood by both parties.

From there, however… the possibilities for you and your partner (and your rings!) are endless!

a promise ring for everyone

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