What is a promise ring and what do they mean?
What is a promise ring? We know when to give a promise ring, who can wear a promise ring and what style of promise ring to choose. Learn more here!
What does a promise ring mean?
Back in our ‘Nonnas and Nonnos’, ‘Grannies and Grandads’ or ‘Nanas and Pops’ day, they didn’t muck around when it came to dating, engagement and marriage. The average courtship was no more than a couple of years, though after WWII, even that seemed like a long time and people often married within months of meeting their soulmates.
Nowadays we’re not in such a hurry to rush down the aisle. Or go anywhere near it in some cases! So, how do you make more than a pinky promise to tell your loved one that they’re stuck with you and you with them for as long as they’ll have you?
A thoughtful promise ring can make that promise for you in the most special way.
What is a promise ring?
A promise ring is also known as a “commitment ring” or “couples ring” which gives you a big clue about what a promise ring is for! A promise ring is essentially a ring that’s gifted from one partner to another, or chosen together, to emphasise their commitment to each other. Of course, the particular promise will differ from couple to couple. While some wear promise rings to show they are committed to the relationship, others tell the world they’re in an exclusive couple and many wear a promise ring to act as a placeholder for a future engagement.
At Hoskings we find that our customers choose promise rings that are usually slightly more restrained to show love and commitment and as a promise for a more extravagant engagement ring when the time is right.
When should you give a promise ring?
The simple answer is that you can give your loved one a promise ring whenever it feels right for you. If you’re lucky enough to have met the person that makes you feel like “you’re home”, then you can present them with a ring at any time that feels special to you. You can make it a surprise, or shop for your promise rings online together.
With a promise ring, there’s not the same pressure as you might expect with a marriage proposal, so there’s no need to get down on one knee, unless you want to, of course! At Hoskings, we meet a lot of couples who choose their promise rings together or sometimes one person will buy the ring to give to their loved one as a gift on a significant day.
Some romantics choose the anniversary of the day they met or when they shared their first kiss. Some prefer to go all out and deliver it with roses on Valentine’s Day. And we’ve had several beautiful couples who gift promise rings to each other when they’ve made a decision to live together, or even to start a family.
Is a promise ring a new thing?
The promise ring isn’t an entirely new concept. Back in the late middle-ages – no we’re not talking about the 80s here - we mean in the 13th to 16th centuries, European men courted their potential lovers with “posy” rings. These were usually simple gold bands with inscribed messages of love.
In the following centuries, acrostic rings became popular. Acrostic means to spell out a message using the first letter of the first word on each line. Clever jewellers created acrostic rings using the first letters of gemstones to spell out a special message, for example a ring with a diamond, emerald, amethyst, ruby, emerald, sapphire and topaz spells “dearest”.
What’s the difference between a promise ring and engagement ring?
A promise ring is given to a loved one as a promise to say you’re committed to the relationship, and it suggests exclusivity. It can also be interpreted as a commitment to the longevity of the relationship, without the officialness of marriage. Usually it says “I love you and want to spend my life with you but don’t want to put any other conditions on it right now, so let’s just promise to love each other ok?” In other words, you can wear a promise ring if you want to show the world that you’re really serious about each other without having to think about planning a wedding!
An engagement ring on the other hand is a signal to your lover, and the rest of the world, that you are engaged to be married and in the throes of wedding planning! But it’s ok if promise rings look like engagement rings and vice versa. There’s nothing off limits with the style of promise ring you can choose. This blog post about engagement ring styles might help you to choose a particular style of promise ring too.
Are promise rings just for women, or can men wear promise rings too?Traditionally the expectation was that a man would ‘woo’ his partner and purchase a ring for her. But times have changed thank goodness and now anyone can buy a promise ring. If your man wants to show the world he’s 100% committed, then this stunning 9ct gold ring with a diamond is sure to make a statement! Or you can choose a wide white gold band that looks like Liam Hemsworth’s promise ring from his ex, Miley Cyrus.
You can also find complimentary rings such as this handsome men’s silver band with a sparkly cubic zirconia stone which would be beautifully matched with this ladies white gold band with a 5 point diamond set in the centre. Or same sex couples can mix and match from our huge selection of promise rings for women here and rings for men.
What does a promise ring look like?
The style of promise rings can be just as diverse as the reason for giving them. There are no hard or fast rules. Traditionally, promise rings have displayed romantic symbols such as love hearts or intertwined bands to symbolise your joining together. This elegant yellow gold diamond ring is a perfect example of a promise ring that would delight any girlfriend.
As promise rings are increasingly meant to last a lifetime, gemstones and in particular, diamonds, are most popular. And honestly, what says “I love you” more than a diamond? This white gold crossover-design with round diamonds is the best of both words don’t you think? And who could say no to this stunning yellow gold diamond promise ring?
Which finger does a promise ring go on?
Just as the style of a promise ring can vary, so too can the position of the ring on your hand. You can wear a promise ring on any finger, on either your left or right hand. Heck, a few of our gorgeous customers even choose to wear their promise ring on a chain around their neck. Most however, prefer to wear their promise ring on their ring finger or the middle finger of either hand.
We’ve shared some advice about choosing the right fit of ring for you or your partner in a previous blog post about men’s wedding bands. Having a quick read of this will also help to clarify what types of metals are available in promise ring bands too.
Do any famous people wear promise rings?
There are plenty of A-list celebrities who showed the world their commitment to each other by wearing promise rings. Before Justin Bieber met and married Hailey, he gave his ex, Selena Gomez a “J” shaped promise ring. Kylie Jenner scored big with an enormous diamond promise ring from her then-boyfriend Tyga and Chloe Grace Mortez and Brooklyn Beckham wore personalised wedding bands to show their commitment to each other before they could get around to tying the knot.
We know that lots of other celebrities wear promise rings without ever publicly acknowledging it because that’s the wonderful thing about these rings, you don’t need to make a huge fanfare out of it unless you want to. Though Prince Harry and Meghan Markle never commented on their promise rings, we don’t think it was a coincidence that she wore a gold ring with the letter H on her right finger before they announced their engagement!
A promise ring can mean anything you want it to. It can be a loud statement to the world, or something that’s meant for just the two of you. However you do it, with a promise ring it’s always going to be a really lovely way to say “I promise to love you”.
Shop at Hoskings Jewellers for beautiful promise rings!
We’d love to help you choose a beautiful promise ring for your partner. Just pop in store, or browse our collection of promise rings online here.
Call 1800 819 796 in VIC/ NSW/ QLD & TAS. Or (08) 8981 8895 if you’re in NT/WA or SA.
Written by Niamh Hislop
Cover image: Ryan Franco – Unsplash
Cassie Lopez – Unsplash
Kristina Litvjak – Unsplash
Mindy Sabiston – Unsplash
Aranprime – Unsplash