Promise rings have been around for a while, but they've definitely seen a resurgence in the last decade or so. However, there's still a lot of confusion about promise rings. What do they symbolize? Who should wear them? How do you give a promise ring? How are they different from engagement rings or wedding rings? Let's get into it!
Promise Ring Meaning
The meaning behind a promise ring is right there in the name. It represents a promise—any promise—between two people. Exchanging promise rings can be seen as a symbol of joint commitment and love, but the true meaning behind a promise ring is often known only to the wearers.
The symbolism of a promise ring is highly personal and individualized. A promise ring is sometimes given as a sort of "pre-engagement" ring, as a promise to get engaged at a future time, perhaps after graduation or after one returns home from overseas.
Promise rings can also be exchanged as a promise to be faithful, a promise of chastity, or even a simple promise of friendship. The possible meanings are endless. They can be worn by romantic partners, by devoted friends, by parents and their children, or anyone who wants to wear a tangible symbol of their promise to another person.
Promise Ring History
Promise rings have been around for a long time. Records of promise rings date back to Biblical times, with Roman brides being known to have worn promise rings during the 2nd century BC.Rings very similar to promise rings were worn in England from the 15th to 17th centuries. At that time they were known as posy rings, and often had a line of poetry etched in the band ("posy" comes from the French word for poem, poésie). Posy rings were given as tokens of romantic affection and devotion, much like today's promise rings.
Promise Ring Styles
Promise rings have become popular again in the 21st century. Modern rings typically look somewhat like engagement rings, but smaller and less extravagant (especially in cases where they are given as pre-engagement rings, and intended to be replaced with a proper engagement ring later on).
While promise rings can take on any appearance, and be made of any material, precious metals and gemstones are often part of their design. Promise rings can also be made with birthstones, non-precious metals, or non-traditional, alternative materials like wood, leather or antler.
The most important thing is that the rings have symbolic meaning to the people who wear them. If you are planning on exchanging promise rings, they should be made from materials that feel significant, and which tell the story of the relationship with the other person.
How to Give a Promise Ring
There are varying traditions surrounding how to give a promise ring, and when. Some couples choose to exchange promise rings on a dating anniversary, birthday, or Valentine's day. It's up to you!
You don't really have to make an elaborate plan like you would when you give an engagement ring, but you can if you want to. Promise rings can be given from men to women, or the other way around. Some couples pick them out together.
If you are giving a promise ring, you don't have to do or say anything specific, but most couples should at least have a conversation about the meaning of the ring and the promise they are making. The moment will have different significance to every couple, so feel free to exchange promise rings in a way that feels meaningful to you.
How to Wear a Promise Ring
Traditionally, promise rings are worn on the ring finger of the left hand, similar to an engagement ring. The middle finger of the left hand is another popular option, along with the middle and ring fingers of the right hand. Some couples switch their promise rings from their left hands to the right when they get married.
Others don't wear them on their fingers at all, but instead keep their promise rings on a chain that they wear around their necks. There are plenty of creative options for wearing promise rings.We've always believed that rings should have meaning, and promise rings can have deep meaning to the people who wear them. If you know you want to gift a handcrafted Rustic & Main ring as a promise ring but you're still trying to decide on the perfect style, take our ring style quiz for some inspiration!