What Is a Promise Ring?

Although most people relate promise rings to teenagers, abstinence, and puppy love, these pieces of jewelry carry a profound gesture and meaning to people who wear them. In addition, the term promise ring is often used interchangeably with commitment, purity, and pre-engagement rings.

Promise rings have been around for centuries and used by couples of all ages, while others have misinterpreted their meaning. However, the confusion of understanding these rings has led to several questions: What is a promise ring? What finger is it worn on? Do women only wear it? How do you get or give one?

In this post, you will get more insights into promise rings, including their history, meaning, and how to give one, including our promise rings top picks.

What Is a Promise Ring?

A promise ring is a small custom jewelry or ring given to another person to symbolize a commitment. In most cases, it is used in a romantic relationship to signify purity and fidelity and precedes an engagement ring. Giving a promise ring to someone symbolizes devotion to a relationship, mainly when the partner accepts the ring.

Since promise rings signify a bond between two people, the person presenting the commitment ring can choose from a variety of styles available. These include yellow gold promise rings, diamond non traditional engagement rings with stones, rings with heart designs, and promise rings with a gemstone rather than a diamond.

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Promise Ring Meaning

Sometimes referred to as pre-engagement rings, promise rings represent a promise between two people, but the meaning depends on each couple. In the Middle Ages, promise rings were used as a symbol of love, but when given or exchanged, they symbolize a commitment to the relationship. Some promise ring meanings include:

  • Friendship: Two friends can exchange rings to signify a commitment to each other.
  • Pre-engagement: The most common meaning of a promise ring to couples is a commitment to the relationship leading to engagement. Most couples have promise rings because they are confident they will marry in the future.
  • Monogamy: Couples may wear promise rings to symbolize a mutual commitment to staying monogamous during a romantic relationship.
  • Abstinence: Parents can give their children promise rings – also called purity rings – to symbolize a commitment to remain celibate.
  • Promise to yourself: A person can wear a promise ring as a reminder to remain dedicated and committed to a particular cause. In addition, some people wear promise rings to maintain a positive attitude and be true to themselves.

Brief History of Promise Rings

Promise rings date back to the Roman era in the 2nd century BC, when Romans used to wear these rings as a commitment to wait for a specific period before marriage. During this period, couples also used promise rings to symbolize a pledge of fidelity and loyalty to their partners. In the 14th century, a more romantic posy ring was introduced and worn as a symbol of affection between romantic lovers.

During the 16th and 17th centuries, the precursor to modern promise rings emerged and symbolized commitment to friendship or love. The commitment ring was engraved with a promise to remain loyal to the other person. However, today's promise ring concept focuses on love and friendship as a midway guarantee of the relationship.

Giving and Receiving Promise Rings

Traditionally, heterosexual relationships involved a man giving a promise ring to a woman as a sign of adoration and loyalty. However, today's modern world allows anyone to give a promise band to their loved ones. This is because the market for men's promise rings continues to expand, making it possible for anyone to receive the gemstone promise ring.

Typically, the meaning and what promise rings symbolize is broad. Hence, everyone can give or receive the jewelry as a token of commitment. Sometimes, a person can give a promise ring to someone outside a romantic relationship to symbolize a meaningful relationship.

What Finger Does a Promise Ring Go On?    

How to wear a promise is often subjective, meaning you can wear the ring on any finger. However, the left hand's middle finger close to the ring finger and the right hand's ring finger are the most common choices for wearing promise rings. In addition, if the ring was presented to the lover as a pre-engagement promise ring, it can be worn on the left hand's ring finger to symbolize a future engagement.

Periodically, people put promise rings on a simple chain worn as a neckless, while others choose not to wear it at times. Unlike wedding and engagement rings, promise rings have no rules that require the recipient to wear them. Instead, recipients have multiple ways to wear them if they accept and commit to their partners.

Styles and Designs of Promise Rings

Promise rings are available in various options, designs, and styles, depending on the wearer's taste. Among the most popular promise ring trends and styles include:

  • Smaller diamond rings: Large solitaires are primarily associated with engagements, but gemstones below 0.25ct are ideal for designing promise rings that symbolize pre-engagement.
  • Simple bands: Whether featuring gemstones, solely a precious metal, or engraved with initials, band-style promise rings are more subtle.
  • Birthstone rings: Promise rings with birthstone are ideal for longevity, since the ring can be worn together with an engagement ring.
  • Cluster rings: Multiple stones clustered together sparkle like an engagement ring, but can be used as promise rings and worn on any hand and finger.

How to Give Someone a Promise Ring

Since men and women can wear promise rings to symbolize a special bond, these pieces of jewelry are usually given to a recipient on special occasions. These include dating anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays, but some people may consider giving it on any occasion. However, it is essential to discuss with your partner before giving a ring to avoid instances of mistaking the ring with an engagement ring.

In addition, discuss with your significant half what the ring means besides serving as a statement of love. Let your partner understand what the ring represents and its deeper meaning before giving it, to avoid ruining your commitment. For instance, couples can talk about their relationship by focusing on the present and what the future holds for them when giving a ring.

Promise Rings Vs. Eternity Rings Vs. Engagement Rings

Most people confuse the meaning of a promise ring and an eternity ring, and although both rings are similar, they are not the same. Promise rings are given to recipients as a pre-engagement commitment and symbolize other bonds between two people. In contrast, eternity rings are given after marriage – usually for a tenth anniversary – to mean loyalty to external love. Typically, the meaning of both rings is similar, but the difference emerges when they are given and the recipient.

On the other hand, an engagement ring is given to signify that a couple in a romantic relationship is planning to marry, and their wedding is forthcoming. Promise rings and engagement rings often boast sparkling diamonds to represent the eternal nature of love between lovers. In addition, both rings can be worn on the same finger as stackable but with a minimalist ring of a wedding band separating them.

Can You Return a Promise Ring After a Breakup?

Promise rings are intended to symbolize a lifelong commitment between two people, but relationships may change. In such cases, promise rings are often never returned, even if the pledge is revoked and both partners move on with their lives. However, whether you will return the ring or not may depend on the nature of the breakup.

Our Promise Rings Top Picks

When looking to give the perfect promise ring to your significant half, friend, or child, you need to select a proper ring. At CJ Charles, we have chosen some of the best promise and simple engagment rings with the main focus on clarity, carat, color, and cut.

  • 18 kt White Gold 0.75ct oink Sapphire Diamond Halo Ring: This sleek ring is designed with 18 karats white gold and a pink sapphire weighing 0.75 carats. It features 16 round-cut diamonds weighing 0.16 carat with G-H color and VS2-SI1 clarity.
  • 18 kt White Gold Pink Sapphire Diamond Split Shank Halo Ring: This stylish ring is designed of 18 karats white gold and comprises a central oval pink sapphire, weighing 0.88 carats. It also features 68 round brilliant cut diamonds weighing 0.28 carat with a clarity of VS1-SI1 and G-H color.
  • 18 kt White Gold 0.34ctw Diamond Rectangular Ring: This classic 18 karat white gold features a rectangular motif and 46 round brilliant cut diamonds. The diamonds have a total weight of 0.17 carats, including four baguette diamonds weighing 0.17 carats.
  • 18 kt White Gold Diamond Large Small Wing Buttery Ring: It is a playful ring crafted with 18 karats white gold designed in a butterfly shape. It features diamond lines that yield a butterfly shape and band weighing 0.316 carats.

At CJ Charles, we can help you get more insights into promise and engagement rings in San Diego and help you choose the right promise for your partner. For more information, contact us to learn more today.


Written By: Vahid Moradi

Vahid Moradi’s lifelong passion, dedication, and commitment for the jewelry industry led him to become the respected owner of CJ Charles Jewelers in 1988. From that moment, Moradi’s single focus in business was to become recognized as the pinnacle of value and world-class quality in the his Community. Over 34 years later, CJ Charles continues to grow and thrive as a successful, family-owned business that consistently provides exceptional service to all their clientele.


  1. https://4cs.gia.edu/en-us/blog/guide-to-promise-ring-meaning/
  2. https://www.brides.com/what-is-a-promise-ring-5069736
  3. https://www.theknot.com/content/what-is-a-promise-ring

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