Promise rings represent the unconditional love a couple has for each other. Worn on any finger, keep reading to learn more about these symbols of commitment, including the romantic history behind promise rings and how to give one to your significant other.
History of Promise Rings
During the Late Middle Ages (13th to 16th centuries), men gave posy rings as an expression of love and devotion to their romantic interests. Posy rings — derived from poésie, which is French for poem or poetry — were usually inscribed with phrases such as “love conquers all things,” “death only parts,” or “united hearts.” The inscription a man chooses has significant value, as it directly reflected his literary intelligence or level of education.
According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), a more extravagant promise ring — the acrostic ring — received immense popularity during the Georgian (1714-1837) and Victorian (1837-1901) eras. Craftsmen set these rings with semi-precious and precious stones, and the first letter of the name of each gem spelled out a secret message. For instance, putting lapis lazuli, opal, variscite, and emerald together on a promise ring spelled out “love.”
Promise Ring Symbolism
In the Middle Ages, as with present time, promise rings conveyed love. In general, when couples give or exchange promise rings, wearing them signals commitment to an exclusive relationship. However, the deeper meaning of a promise ring is unique to each couple.
Difference Between a Promise Ring and an Engagement Ring
Promise rings are not engagement rings, although they can serve as placeholder rings when two people in love are waiting on marriage. Promise rings also serve as mementos when a romantic couple is apart due to geographic distance. Promise rings announce to the outside world that a relationship is serious. In hindsight, they can likewise be proclamations of love and devotion to a partner, but without any intention of marrying one another.
Furthermore, although promise rings may point towards engagement rings, their connotations are slightly different. In essence, a promise ring signifies a vow to take the relationship seriously. In addition, it communicates hope for the relationship’s future development. Unlike engagement rings, however, a promise ring does not necessarily promise marriage.
Promise Rings vs. Purity Rings
Although a common misinterpretation, promise rings and purity rings are not the same. A purity ring is a sign of chastity. It is either self-purchased, or received as a present from parents to encourage abstinence before marriage.
The Right Finger to Wear a Promise Ring On
Couples can wear promise rings on any finger. Some popular options include the ring finger or the middle finger of either hand. Sometimes, couples wear their promise rings on a chain around their neck. And, once married, couples who wear promise rings on their left hand often switch them over to their right hand.
Promise Ring Styles
When it comes to the style of a promise ring, simplicity is key for women who don’t want it to be mistaken for an engagement ring. Still, your ring doesn’t have to look dull and boring. Promise rings with love knots, single or double infinity symbols, lock-and-key motifs, roman numerals of anniversary dates, and engravings of names are popular design options. Eternity bands, fede rings, and Claddagh rings are also popular choices.
Lovestruck couples who intend to tie the knot one day can buy simple promise rings (e.g., a plain band) that can double as wedding bands later on. However, it is important to invest in a high-quality metal to ensure that the rings don’t rust or discolor before the wedding.
Promise Ring Metal Options
Promise rings are available in an array of metals and can incorporate any gemstone. Rose gold, in particular, has been extremely popular in recent years, although yellow gold, white, gold, and platinum remain classics. For couples on a budget, sterling silver is a popular option, especially since it symbolizes truth and purity. Adding gemstones is optional, but consider birthstones for added meaning and sparkle.
How to Give a Promise Ring
One thing about promise rings that has stood the test of time is their general significance: a promise ring means the wearer is in a committed relationship. In the past, a man would surprise his girlfriend with a promise ring as a proclamation of his love, whereas now, many modern twosomes exchange promise rings. For example, in many Asian countries, couples shop for and pick promise rings together.
Promise rings are usually given on special occasions, such as anniversaries, birthdays, and the holidays. Regardless, couples can still give or exchange promise rings on any occasion. Keep in mind, however, that it is important to have a discussion with your boyfriend or girlfriend before giving a promise ring, or the receiver might mistake it for an engagement ring, and the confusion might ruin the romantic moment.
It is best to have a serious conversation with your beloved about what the promise ring signifies. Besides being statements of love and commitment, promise rings can have a more profound meaning to each couple. When giving or exchanging promise rings, couples often discuss what their relationship means to them at present, and what the ring promises in terms of the future.
A promise ring is more than a pledge of love; it is also a symbol of hope. Wearing a promise ring makes the relationship public and represents a couple’s hopes of having a future together. Thus, if you are looking for an unforgettable and momentous way to express your commitment and love, then consider giving or exchanging promise rings with the person who owns your heart.
What Happens to the Ring If You Break Up?
The purpose of a promise ring is to signify a lifelong vow. But sometimes, things happen and relationships change. If you are ready to move forward and are looking to sell your promise ring, Biltmore Loan and Jewelry buys valuable pieces of jewelry. Complete our online form here to request a free jewelry appraisal in Phoenix, AZ. We look forward to doing business with you.