Promise ring, purity ring, commitment ring, pre-engagement ring, oh my! There’s been a lot of confusion around promise rings and what they really mean. What finger does it go on? How do you get one? Our jewellery experts here at J.H. Young have demystified the meaning behind this post-modern, pre-matrimonial trend.

The Meaning

The definition of a promise ring varies between couples, but they are commonly used as a symbol of commitment. The unique appeal of the promise ring is derived from the many meanings it can represent. While some couples use the symbol as a way to signify a future engagement, others simply wear the ring as a means of reflecting devotion to each other.

As the name suggests, promise rings signify that a promise is being made, but the meaning of a promise ring differs from couple to couple. At its most essential, it symbolizes a partner’s love and commitment to the relationship. The rise in popularity of promise rings echoes a growing trend for couples to happily cohabit and/or marry later in life. While they may not be ready or wanting to commit to marriage quite yet, a promise ring shows that their commitment does extend beyond merely sharing bills.

The History

The idea of giving a ring as a promise of love and affection dates back several hundred years ago. Posy rings date back to 16th-century England, while Acrostic rings were popular in the Georgian and Victorian eras. It’s only in the past decade or so that promise rings have become such a mainstream trend, largely thanks to the publicity surrounding famous owners of such rings like the Jonas brothers and Miley Cyrus.

The tradition of wearing a ring to demonstrate loyalty and fidelity dates back to ancient times with evidence showing that Roman brides wore engagement bands in the 2nd century BC. The reason they’re typically worn on the ring finger of the left hand is because there is a vein that runs from that finger to the heart.

The Etiquette

Although it doesn’t carry the same longevity of an engagement ring, a promise ring should not be treated lightly. A promise ring should only be given after a couple has been dating for a significant amount of time to show how serious you are about each other and the relationship.

In terms of style, anything goes when it comes to promise rings. Common themes include hearts, intertwined designs to commemorate the idea of a couple’s union, eternity rings, as well as bands with a mosaic or composite of stones. If your eventual intention is to get an engagement ring, we would caution you not to purchase a promise ring that is similar in style.

Unlike with engagement rings, there are no rules or guidelines around how much to spend on promise rings, but it’s usually significantly less. Most people that are purchasing these pieces of jewellery are younger and don’t necessarily have the financial means to be spending a lot of money.

There’s also no right or wrong way to give a promise ring. It doesn’t require the same down on one knee tradition as engagement rings, and they’re most often given as a birthday, Valentine’s, anniversary or Christmas gift. It’s more about the conversation behind the meaning of the ring and the promise that is being made rather than the ring itself. Whereas for an engagement, the focus is on the ring and the ‘moment.’

Which finger does the ring go on? That is entirely up to you as they can be worn on any finger really. Most commonly they are worn on the ring finger of the left hand if you’re not yet married or the ring finger on the right hand if you are already married. For many couples, promise rings do precede an engagement.

Whether you’re looking for that perfect promise ring to give to your true love this holiday season, or if you’re ready to upgrade from a promise to a proposal, be sure to check out our collection of rings from top brand names including Simon G., Fire & Ice, Kim International and more. We’re ready for that magical moment when you are. Visit our store today, located at 126 Lynden Road in Brantford, and take her breath away.