Promise Rings are for Promises
So, what is a Promise Ring? What is the difference between a Promise Ring, an Engagement Ring and a Wedding Ring?
Promise rings are for promises. As a result, Promise Rings come in different forms reflecting the precise nature of the promise: the meaning of a promise ring will be different for different people.
Whereas historically a Promise ring had a specific meaning, the situation nowadays is less clear. There are Promise Rings for girlfriend, Promise Rings for men and guys, couples Promise Rings as well as Friendship Rings, True Love Waits Rings and so on. The question what is a Promise Ring and what is the difference between a Promise Ring, an Engagement Ring and a Wedding Ring will get a different answer depending on who you ask.
Even so, for most people the giving of a Promise Ring usually represents a couple’s early commitment to each other – a symbolic gesture that they are taking their relationship seriously, although they are not yet ready for an engagement and the commitment of marriage. Here is our selection of some of the best promise Rings around. Just CLICK on the description for more information.
A Promise Ring may be given after a couple have mutually declared their feelings for each other and they exchange couples promise rings. A Promise Ring may also be given by the man when he suspects that his girlfriend cares about him as much as he does her and wishes to make these feelings known.
The common denominator over time is that a Promise Ring is a sign of commitment, usually – but not always – associated with marriage.
Promise rings have been around in one form or another for hundreds of years – as long as there have been betrothals. And betrothals are mentioned in the bible. For many years – until replaced by the Engagement Ring – the Promise Ring was a formal, outward symbol of commitment to marriage from one family to another or one individual to another. This was the situation for centuries.
However, Engagement Rings started to replace Promise Rings in the 18th and 19th centuries as the symbol of commitment and the role of the Promise Ring became less formal – often just representing an expression of feelings from one individual to another.
The popularity of promise rings declined substantially until they started to reappear in the latter half of the 20th Century. In the 1950s and 1960s it became common for boys to give their girlfriends a ring, fraternity pin or some other emblem that meant there was a commitment to date each other and no-one else. The popularity of Promise Rings started to grow again and by the end of the Century, Promise Rings were again frequently being used as an expression of feelings of one person for another. It was in the 1990s that the term “promise ring” really started to be adopted
Promise rings are not betrothals or engagement rings:
Whilst it is interesting to make comparisons between historical betrothals and Promise Rings of today, there are significant differences too – the main one being that, historically, betrothals were primarily about women as property. A betrothal was commonly an agreement made in the interests of the family, to safeguard property, strengthen bonds between families and other strategic reasons.
Historically (and particularly) in royal and wealthy families, many betrothals occurred when the couple were only children, as strategic planning for the future. As such, betrothals and marriages were not about love and feelings but about a business transaction between families. For this reason a betrothal was more like an engagement, where a fixed agreement had been made.
The reason for a Promise Ring these days, is really quite different – and one where (one would hope) that the girl has free will to agree to or decline the relationship. Whilst there are still some cultures where the giving of a dowry is still discussed prior to an engagement, for the majority of women, the choice is theirs as to the degree of commitment they are willing to make – if at all.
Promise Rings today
Nowadays – certainly in Western culture – a Promise Ring can mean several things. For some couples, a Promise Ring may signify that they have agreed that they will eventually marry – couples often choose to wear a Promise ring prior to moving in to live with each other, since it provides them with a ritual to symbolise their commitment. However, for others a Promise ring may simply represent an agreement to only date each other and see how the relationship develops over time.
A Promises Ring can also act as a temporary engagement ring in situations where the guy cannot afford the ideal ring but wants to be able to make a symbolic gesture of his commitment to marry. Promise rings are generally far less expensive than engagement rings and can provide a very acceptable temporary solution.
Other Promise Rings
Promise Rings don’t have to be bought for purely romantic reasons. They can symbolise a wide range of promises. These include Purity Rings, Friendship Rings and Religious Promise Rings. A recent trend is the giving of journey rings: see the two examples on the right: The Diamond Journey Ring above and the Round Diamond Journey Ring below.
Purity Rings, Chastity Rings or True Love Waits Promise Rings:
These symbolise a commitment to abstain from any sexual activity until marriage. They are commonly worn by teenagers and either bought by themselves or by a parent
Friendship Promise Rings:
These are for platonic relationships – either same sex or opposite sex relationships, where each person promises to be a good friend and support their friend in both good and bad times.
Religious Promise Rings:
These are worn by followers of a particular religion to symbolise their faith. They tend to be simple bands that may be engraved or display a religious symbol.
It is important that if you are planning to give your girlfriend (or boyfriend) a Promise Ring – or even considering buying matching promise rings – that you define precisely what you are promising, so that it is clear to both of you.
Whatever your reason for buying or wearing a Promise Ring, make sure that you are quite clear about what you are promising – and in the case of a partner, that they understand what your intentions are and that they, in turn, make their intentions clear to you too.