What Does a Promise Ring Mean in a Relationship?

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While promise rings are popular among young couples in the early stages of romance, their sentimental value and significance extend far beyond youth and fleeting infatuation. These meaningful symbols are suitable for couples of all ages, symbolizing commitment and dedication. However, they can have other meanings too.

Before you and your partner decide to exchange a promise ring, it’s essential to answer the question on everyone’s mind, “What does a promise ring mean?”

What are promise rings?

A promise ring is a visible representation of dedication and faithfulness to another person, both when given and worn. A promise ring signifies a progression beyond casual dating. It openly declares commitment to another person and your dedication to nurturing and safeguarding that relationship. 

According to premier jewelry company M.Khordipour, promise rings have roots in ancient Rome, where two people in love exchanged them as a commitment symbol during the waiting period before marriage. In the 14th century, romantic posy rings emerged, engraved with poetic phrases to express affection. In the 19th Century, acrostic rings spelled out meaningful words using gemstones. 

The modern concept of promise rings as pre-engagement rings arose due to longer courtships, providing reassurance that the relationship will continue until marriage. M.Khordipour explains that a promise ring signifies the intention to marry while acknowledging that both parties aren’t ready for marriage yet.

In the 20th century, promise rings became popular in the United States, representing a commitment to exclusivity and future engagement. 

What does a promise ring mean?

Today, promise rings have evolved to encompass various commitments, such as romantic, abstinence from premarital intercourse, personal goals, and self-love. Individual preferences shape the meaning and significance of promise rings.

While one person may view a promise ring as a symbol of exclusivity, particularly if they don’t adhere to the idea of marriage, another person may interpret it as a promise of future engagement. Alternatively, some may perceive it simply as a romantic gesture. 

Furthermore, promise rings often serve as an alternative when individuals aren’t yet financially prepared for an engagement or a wedding. Sometimes, couples may opt for promise rings if they feel it’s too early to get engaged.

Ultimately, the essence of a promise ring lies in how you and your partner choose to understand and embrace its significance. It’s a deeply personal expression that your unique beliefs and intentions can shape.

Why do some people dislike promise rings?

Opinions on promise rings vary among individuals. While some embrace the concept wholeheartedly, others are less enthusiastic. As we’ve pointed out, the ambiguity surrounding the meaning of a promise ring is one reason for a mixed reception. 

Unlike engagement rings, promise rings may carry less weight in terms of commitment. They’re often associated with teenagers and those in the early stages of dating who seek to define their relationship with a symbol of dedication. 

However, some people feel that the significance of a promise ring may differ from their personal beliefs or the level of commitment they desire in a relationship.

Promise rings vs engagement rings

Sometimes there’s confusion between a promise ring and an engagement ring. Here’s a table showing the basic difference between the two ring types.

Promise RingEngagement Ring
Symbolism Making a promise Proposing marriage 
OccasionMeaningful exchange  Engagement ceremony or before 
Outcome   The bond might get stronger The couple may commence wedding preparation or throw an engagement party 
People Involved    Usually, only the couple Friends and family might be involved 

Promise ring FAQs

Whether you’re figuring out whether to get your partner a promise ring or still trying to comprehend its meaning, you might still have questions about it. Fret not; we’ve got you covered. 

When to give a promise ring?

While a promise ring doesn’t carry the same significance as a wedding ring, you should take it seriously. Proper etiquette demands that you exchange promise rings after a substantial dating period, typically a year or more, to demonstrate the depth of your commitment to the relationship. The timeframe reflects the couple’s seriousness and dedication, making it much more meaningful and thoughtful.

What do promise rings look like?

The design options for promise rings are limitless, with no strict rules or guidelines. Some common styles and themes for promise rings include:


PAVOI 14K Gold Plated Heart Halo Ring for Women | Promise Rings for Her (White Gold, 7)

This exquisite heart-shaped halo promise ring features brilliant cubic zirconia stones set in a 14K yellow or white gold band.

Infinity symbols 

Amazon Collection Sterling Silver Diamond Accent Heart Ring, Size 6

This elegant sterling silver promise ring has a twisted heart design adorned with a band of pave-set diamonds. It’s crafted with care in .925 sterling silver, symbolizing infinite love.

Intertwined designs 

14k White Gold 4-Prong Petite Twisted Vine 1.0 CT Genuine Moissanite Engagement Ring Promise Bridal Ring (3)

This classic intertwined promise ring is handcrafted with 14K white gold. Thanks to its genuine moissanite or simulated diamond, it offers a unique luster.

Claddagh rings 

Oxford Diamond Co Irish Claddagh Lab Created White Opal Ring Sterling Silver Size 7

Capture the essence of your love with this Oxford diamond Claddagh simulated gemstone promise ring. This sterling silver piece symbolizes loyalty, friendship, and love.

Eternity rings 

PAVOI 14K Yellow Gold Plated 925 Sterling Silver Stackable CZ Ring for Women | Thin Band for Stacking | Simulated Diamond Eternity Wedding Band | Size 6

Experience elegance with this 14K gold-plated stackable ring. These eternity bands are available in gold, white gold, and rose gold, offering timeless beauty and versatile style.

Birthstone bands 

Muses Art Design Birthstone Eternity Band Ring (Channel Set/Full Round), Stackable Fashion Ring with Crystal Birthstone

Celebrate your love with this birthstone eternity band featuring a channel set design. This stackable fashion ring showcases a crystal birthstone, symbolizing your unique bond and adding a touch of personalized elegance.

Stone mosaic

21C-R02 Stackable Ring (Rose Gold Plated, 5)

These stone mosaic promise rings are also a great choice. These 14K gold plated stacking rings for women feature a classy design adorned with sparkling cubic zirconia crystals and opal. Available in rose, white, and yellow gold, they make perfect everyday jewelry.

Promise rings can also be simple bands made of silver or gold with engraved messages. Diamond promise rings are also a great option. However, they often feature smaller carat sizes and are set in clusters or rows rather than the traditional solitaire setting seen in engagement rings.

What finger does a girl wear a promise ring on?

A girl can wear a promise ring on the ring finger of either hand. But, if it’s exchanged and accepted as a representation of future commitment, it’s commonly worn on the left hand.

How much do promise rings cost?

Prices vary widely, ranging from $10 to $2,000, depending on your budget and personal preferences. It’s essential to consider your future financial commitments, such as buying an engagement ring and planning a wedding, while purchasing a promise ring. 

Is it worth getting a promise ring?

Getting a promise ring is a personal decision that depends on individual circumstances and preferences. It can be valuable for couples who want to express commitment and dedication to each other. For others, it might be a frivolous expense. 

The significance of a promise ring lies in its symbolism and the meaning it holds for the couple. Ultimately, evaluating your relationship dynamics, intentions, and beliefs is important to determine if a promise ring aligns with your values and serves as a meaningful gesture in your journey together.

A promise (ring) worth keeping

Promise rings can have a meaning as deep as the bond you share with your partner. Promise rings hold deep sentimental value, whether to express exclusivity, signify a pre-engagement commitment, or simply as a romantic gesture. Now that you know what a promise ring means, you’ll use it in the best way that suits your relationship.

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