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Promise Rings: Their Meaning & When to Give Them

The meaning behind a promise ring is its main purpose. More than just a simple piece of jewellery, these rings signify a bond between two people. With ties as far back as 1576, these classic rings are a thoughtful gesture to the one you love. But what exactly do they mean, and who can wear them? Our ultimate guide to promise rings will answer all your questions.

meaning of promise ring in a relationship
when to give a promise ring

What is a Promise Ring?

A promise ring, sometimes known as a pre-engagement ring, is a piece of jewellery given in a relationship to signify commitment. Whilst, for many young couples, a promise ring means a commitment to a engagement ring to come, others may simply use it to show their loyalty and devotion to their partner. The meaning of a promise ring can be defined differently by each couple, just like each relationship, the ring and its purpose can be completely unique.

Whilst the origins of promise rings can be dated right back to the 16th century, they didn't take on this name until the 1970s. However, the meaning of promise rings has withstood the test of time signifying love in one form or another.

Who Can Give and Receive Promise Rings?

Anyone can give a promise ring to their loved one. Traditionally, in heterosexual relationships, the man would give the ring to the woman as a token of his adoration and commitment. However, with an ever expanding market of men's promise rings, there really is a beautiful option for everyone. So whatever your relationship looks like, if you feel like giving this romantic gift you can. Just as anyone can give, anyone can receive also. The meaning of promise rings is so broad that it allows for everyone to be a giver and a receiver.

Some people even choose to give these rings outside of a romantic partnership, and instead use them to showcase a withstanding and important friendship. When given in this sense, they are more commonly known as friendship rings. However, as the meaning of a promise ring is whatever you make it, you may wish to refer to it in its traditional name also.

When Should You Give a Promise Ring?

When it comes to the timing of a promise ring, it depends completely on the people involved. This aspect is heavily inspired by the meaning you intend behind the promise ring. These sentimental rings are often given between young couples as a placeholder for a future engagement ring. This often happens when the couple believes themselves too young to be engaged but wants to display that their relationship is serious. Other times you may choose to give one could include when you are separated by distance, as a reminder to carry with you of your love wherever you go. If you're after a memento for a long distance friend, a friendship bracelet is an excellent alternative. Or if you don't intend to marry, but are in a serious long term relationship they're a perfect way to celebrate your love.

At the end of the day, like the meaning of these romantic rings, the timing of giving one is entirely down to you. If you think now is the right time to treat your partner to this special piece of jewellery, then it certainly is!

what does a promise ring mean
what finger to wear promise ring on

What Finger Does a Promise Ring go on?

How you wear your new promise ring is entirely subjective. The two most popular choices are your middle finger on your left hand (next to your ring finger), or your ring finger on your right hand. But it doesn't have a specific finger like an engagement ring, so you really can wear it however you like!


If you're someone who uses their hands a lot for work, you may choose not to wear it at these times. If this is the case, putting your ring on a chain so you can still keep your meaningful promise ring with you is a beautiful and versatile choice.

What's the Difference Between Promise Rings and Eternity Rings?

The meanings of promise rings and eternity rings often get mixed up, and whilst they are similar they are not the same thing. Whilst promise rings are traditionally given pre-engagement, eternity rings are given after marriage, often for a ten year anniversary. Eternity rings mean a commitment to eternal love. Both signify commitment, but the meaning behind a promise rings is slightly different to that of the eternity.

About Monica Vinader

We are a British jewellery brand founded in 2008. From the heart of our design process in Norfolk, we create wearable, contemporary pieces with a mixture of stunning metals and gorgeous gemstones. Sustainability is at the foundation of what we do, using recycled silver and ethical diamonds and gemstones. Since our beginning our beautiful pieces have added a touch of glamour to women's wardrobes, including Kate Middleton and Emma Watson. From necklaces, to earrings, our timeless jewellery is the ultimate elegant touch to finish every outfit.

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