What is a promise ring?
Promise rings symbolize love. Worn on any finger, a promise ring represents a couple’s commitment to their relationship. The gesture and meaning behind a promise ring runs much deeper and is suitable for couples of all ages. A promise ring is often given as the first symbol of commitment between two people in a romantic relationship. However, it does not signify a marriage proposal.
Promise rings are gaining popularity among couples that may not feel the need to put a label on their relationship or stick to a timetable. For them, a ring is an outside symbol to people who move in together and have no immediate plans for marriage but are clearly in a committed relationship. If an engagement ring comes along in the future, the promise ring often moves over to the opposite hand.
What the promise ring symbolizes between couples is highly individual, but most often it represents love and commitment. That could be a promise to someday become engaged at an unspecified time, perhaps after graduation, the end of a stint overseas or when it’s easier financially. It shows the world that your heart belongs to another and that you’re devoted to protecting and nurturing that relationship. These days, a promise ring is most commonly given as a precursor to an engagement, but that is not always the case.
There are a few important rules you should follow when giving a promise ring:
1. Be sure that you’re serious about your promise of lifelong commitment. A promise ring should not be given lightly.
2. Explain clearly that it is not an engagement ring. Otherwise, your partner is likely to think you’re proposing marriage.
3. For the same reason as explained in point 2, don’t get down on one knee when you give the ring. Instead, simply present the ring box to them, and let them open it.
Promise rings typically are smaller and subtler than engagement rings, and may or may not be worn on the traditional wedding band finger. Diamonds are popular, but in smaller sizes or clusters, or with gemstones — usually the focus is not on the diamond, but on the overall design.
Metals, too, are often different. While 18K and 14K gold and platinum lead the way for engagement rings and wedding bands, 10K gold or sterling silver are more affordable and popular options for promise rings.
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.
Whatever the reason you want to give or get a promise ring, it’s a beautiful, tangible symbol of love and commitment.
Here are some popular trends in promise ring styles:
- 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, whose moonstone eyelet ring is a popular cluster promise ring style. “It can be worn on either hand and doesn’t make people look engaged when they aren’t actually engaged.”