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Promise Ring Meaning - What Does It Mean To You?

Updated on January 15, 2016
Sterling Silver Round Diamond Heart Promise Ring
Sterling Silver Round Diamond Heart Promise Ring

What Does A Promise Ring Mean And Why It's Important?

What is the promise ring meaning? As strange as it might sound, the tradition of giving promise rings is still relatively unknown for many people. In fact while the idea of giving promise rings is as ancient as mankind itself, the tradition has only resurfaced around the 1990s in our society.

A dear friend of mine taught me everything I know about promise rings.

So here are a few questions I will try to answer related to promise rings with this article:

* What is the promise ring meaning?

* Does it symbolizes anything?

* is it different from an engagement right?

* Which is the best finger for the promise ring?

* What type of rings do you give for this occasion and how do you go about doing it the right way?

* What is the history of the promise ring and why do we have this tradition in the first place?

I hope this article will help you learn more about the meaning of the promise ring and help you make up your mind about finally taking the leap of faith and committing to your loved one for real :-)

Shown here is a gorgeous Sterling Silver Round Diamond Heart Promise Ring. Click through the link to find out more about the details and price.

14k White Gold Diamond Promise Ring (1/10 cttw, H-I Color, I1-I2 Clarity), Size 6
14k White Gold Diamond Promise Ring (1/10 cttw, H-I Color, I1-I2 Clarity), Size 6

This elegant solitaire ring showcases a single round diamond, held securely in a prong setting between graceful bypass bars of 14 karat gold.

The near colorless diamond has a lovely sparkle and shine and a weight of 1/10 carat. This classic style makes a beautiful promise ring. You can choose between white or yellow gold.


14k White Gold Diamond Promise Ring

I've seen this very ring on my friend's finger and this is what made me learn about promise ring meaning in the first place. The ring was given to her by her (at the time) boyfriend before being deployed to Iraq.

With this ring he sealed his love for her and promised that he would be back - and that he would marry her.

And he did return, upon which he married her and gave her a proper wedding ring. This is when she switched the ring to her right hand, and she was the one who taught me what I know about promise rings and wedding rings and the difference between them.

I found this story so romantic, that I wanted to learn more about promise rings, their meaning and the history behind them. It's fascinating!

promise ring
promise ring

Meaning Of A Promise Ring

Generally speaking the promise ring meaning is that of taking the first serious step in commitment between two people. While in most cases this relates to love and relationship, it can be any other sort of commitment as well.

Maybe the most important aspect of giving and receiving a promise ring is that both people know what exactly has been promised and it is accepted as such. If you give a promise ring to your girlfriend, make sure that she fully understands the meaning of what she is getting - and what she is getting into.

Here are are just some of the meanings of a promise ring. It truly doesn't have to be all about the first steps towards a marriage.

  • I will return (from war, college, etc)

  • I will be always faithful to you

  • I will be your best friend

  • I will always be there for you

  • I will follow a particular religion

As long as the promise is between two people, the ring can be given and accepted as a symbol of the promise made. However indeed, the most common occasion for a promise ring is as a pre-engagement ring.

Regardless of the promise ring meanings, however, you have to explain the reason why you give the ring. Never expect that the other person will know exactly your intentions. You have to spell them out clearly.

(Image courtesy of

Have you heard of a promise ring before?

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Can I Give A Promise Ring To A Man?

A definitely yes! You can give a promise ring to a man. For example if the commitment is towards a relationship, the ring can be easily worn as a pre-engagement ring, which is perfectly ok.

The only difference is that the man's ring will be a bit larger.

For example this ring is a beautiful promise ring for a man that you can give to your soon to be fiancé. It is a strongly 'male' type of ring that nobody will find too macho ever. The ring is made of titanium, it is surprisingly light to wear and is 8mm in width. Perfect for giving it to a man as a promise ring that indeed promises something.

promise ring for her
promise ring for her

On Which Finger Do I Wear The Promise Ring?

Usually the promise ring is worn on the left ring finger (the third finger on the hand) especially when it is a romantic relationship. Then once the engagement (or wedding) ring has been received, the promise ring is transferred to the right hand ring finger.

For a friendship commitment, the ring should be worn on the right hand, because the finger on the left hand is mostly associated with an engagement ring or a wedding ring as in committing to a relationship.

You can see from the image that the woman is wearing her promise ring on her left hand, third finger. It is an elegant ring that doesn't distract too much from itself, and it looks gorgeous on any finger. The ring shown here is the Three-Stone Diamond Promise Ring in Sterling Silver (listed below), and it costs just a bit over $50, which is a great price for a ring that will be topped later by an engagement and a wedding ring.

How To Give A Promise Ring

What Materials Can I Use For Giving A Promise Ring?

Early traditions required the promise rings to be made of gold, while later silver was also included in the popular materials. Nowadays, however, promise rings can be made of any affordable material - even of hard, durable plastic if you choose.

Most people take them off once they get engaged, so the promise rings can be as cheap as $5 or less. It is up to you how far you will go with the ring you will give to your loved one as a first promise.

Popular materials i've seen promise rings made of are:

  • gold
  • silver
  • titanium
  • platinum
  • stainless steel
  • hard plastic
  • copper

When choosing your promise ring material, there are a few considerations to take into account, however.

Depending on the skin, the material might be irritable, might discolor the skin or be totally uncomfortable. For example rings made of nickel and steel have this tendency, and rings made of copper might turn the area on the finger green.

In addition cheaper materials might not last as long as gold or silver.

Some promise rings can be plain, but most of them have some decoration on them (they are more decorated than a wedding band, but a bit smaller than an engagement ring).

Finally, don't forget, these rings are worn all the time, so when you're among people, they can see what's on your finger. You do want to show what's on your finger (or that of your loved one) with pride, rather than with shame.

Historical Promise Ring Meaning

The history of the promise ring dates back to thousands of years, going to the ancient civilization. One of the earliest mentions of something similar to promise rings is the betrothal ring. The betrohal was quite a serious business. The betrohal was officially announced with a contract following it.

It was part of this entire ceremony that the young man would give his soon to be bride a betrothal ring, which practically sealed the deal. The ring symbolized his promise to marry her. There was no way out of a contract once one has been made.

Eventually though around the 18th century the custom of giving a promise ring was replaced by giving engagement rings. Only recently, in the 1990s this ancient tradition has been once again made popular, especially in the Christian religion.

So based on this, a promise ring is the first to be given or exchanged by the couple, and this usually means that the wedding will take place sometimes within a year. At some point the engagement ring is also given, and finally the wedding ring is the third one that seals the marriage.

There is an awesome book that goes quite into detail on promise rings and the whole wedding tradition which is called A Bride's Book of Wedding Traditions. It's worth reading for learning more about this interesting tradition that goes so far back in history.

Now that you know more about promise rings, will you give one to your love?

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Promise Rings For Couples

When it comes to giving promise rings, similar to an engagement, it is much better and much more rewarding to give matching rings to each other. Afterall a couple is made of 2 people, and the link between the two will be that much stronger with a beautiful matching ring.

Then once more serious steps are taken in the relationship, the promise rings can be replaced by engagement rings, and then by wedding rings.

I've actually seen a couple who had all 3 rings on their fingers, they would never take them off. Talk about everlasting love!

How To Solve The Puzzle Of The Turkish Promise Ring

What Is A Turkish Promise Ring

A Turkish promise ring is something really cool. You HAVE to watch the video below to understand it better. First time I've seen it, I was in awe and I practically had my jaw on the floor.

Basically a Turkish promise ring is also called a Turkish puzzle ring simply because you have a set of 4 or 6 bands that you have to interlock in the right way to create the final ring. I love puzzles and this ring really caught my interest!

How did such an intricate ring come to be? One of the myths (or maybe it was true?) around the Turkish puzzle promise ring is that the ring is usually given by the father of the bride to the groom in the morning before the ceremony, while the bride gets herself all dressed up. Usually the groom has a long wait ahead of him, and the stomach is all knotted up in anguish (and anticipation). So this ring keeps the groom occupied until the bride is ready to take the step to the altar.

© 2011 Marika

What Are Your Thoughts On Promise Ring Meanings?

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    • nikahexplorer profile image

      nikahexplorer 3 years ago

      A ring is so important specially when it is a surprise gift.

    • bornagain16 profile image

      bornagain16 4 years ago

      Wow, Actually i did not know anything about such rings. nice lens. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      My boyfriend just gave me a promise ring and it really means a lot to me. We have been in a long distance relationship that isn't too far but we don't see each other every day like we used to. It is beautiful and means so much.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I love the idea. My boyfriend and I have been together a year and are thinking about doing this. He didn't know what it meant exactly so this article helped him. He thought they were only to give to daughters. Pretty rings shown!

    • profile image

      Gala98 4 years ago

      I'd heard of promise rings in films (usually the teen romance films of the '80's lol) so I thought they were kind of like engagement rings but when the couple were too young to be really thinking about marriage. I think it's kind of strange to have a pre-engagement ring to be honest, especially when I've known engagements to be 5 yrs or longer! Interesting lens though :)

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 5 years ago

      Never heard of this before! Thanks for introducing this new idea :)

    • Spiderlily321 profile image

      Spiderlily321 5 years ago

      I like promise rings. Great lens! Thanks for sharing

    • mrsclaus411 profile image

      mrsclaus411 5 years ago

      I love the Princess Cut Cubic Zirconia ring! Learned something on promise rings and it's meaning!Thank you for sharing this lens! Great job!

    • profile image

      Gigglesmith 5 years ago

      My friend and I gave each other promise rings. They're very special :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      The Turkish puzzle rings were made for the sultan to give his wife/wives so that they couldn't cheat on him. In order to do so they would have to take the ring off at which point it would have to be solved and only the king and the Chinese ring maker knew how to solve it.

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Really like some of those Turkish puzzle rings! Didn't really know much about promise rings before reading this.

    • Diane Cass profile image

      Diane Cass 5 years ago from New York

      I love the puzzle rings. I had a silver one for a long time, but didn't know it's meaning. Thanks for enlightening me..

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      I like the idea of the couples rings.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      The promise ring is a sweet tradition that can hold great meaning as a symbol of a vow or covenant. Many Christian youth have chosen a chastity or purity ring as a symbol and really are a type of promise ring. Very sweetly presented.

    • profile image

      john9229 5 years ago

      very nice Promise Ring! it is meaningful to me.

    • kcsantos profile image

      kcsantos 5 years ago

      For me it is just a symbol of your vow, what is essential is acting upon it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      My boyfriend gave me a promise ring over Christmas break, he currently serves in the army so this ring has a lot of meaning to me, to us. For many people it might just be a ring and not a big deal but it is so much more than that especially cause he is not around much it's a true commitment to this relationship (:

    • profile image

      CristianStan 5 years ago

      I did not know what promise rings were made for, but now I do, and I might use one some day.

    • JuliaAnnPayne profile image

      JuliaAnnPayne 5 years ago

      I love those rings great lens, merry christmas

    • chas65 profile image

      chas65 5 years ago

      I had no idea of the fairly recent resurfacing of the popularity of promise rings in the 90s. Have not really thought about it, but would have thought they had been around for a while, not forgetting the early history.

    • mariacarbonara profile image

      mariacarbonara 5 years ago

      Not aware of them before but it's a great idea. Often people don't want to rush into marriage because they have to so a promise ring could be a good way of showing commitment to each other. Great lens

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      This is very interesting! I always thought promise rings were for teenagers, but never really thought about the implications for more mature people. I also did not know that a woman could give a ring like this to a man. It is much more than simply a pre-engagement ring, and in fact may not mean that at all!

    • Sara Dowling profile image

      Sara Dowling 5 years ago

      It is a really special way for a couple to show their commitment

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      I think the engagement ring has taken over...had never heard of a promise ring before. Years ago I was given a friendship ring with a heart and initials on each side. Is that a form of promise ring?

    • MelissaRodgz profile image

      MelissaRodgz 5 years ago

      I never understood the actual meaning and history behind promise rings. That Turkish promise ring looks so elegant and I would have never guessed that it is given by the father of the bride to the groom.

    • Ardyn25 profile image

      Ardyn25 5 years ago

      I never knew the full meanings before, very interesting.The Turkish promise ring is one I wasn't aware of. Congrats on your purple star!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Now I'm defenetly getting my soldier a promice ring when he comes back home {:

    • irminia profile image

      irminia 5 years ago

      What a wonderful tradition! I also liked the Turkish promise ring information - years ago i have bought a copper one for myself and then lost it accidentally. But I liked ti so much (due to it being a puzzle). And now I found out where to get a new one here :)

    • aliciamaggie54 profile image

      aliciamaggie54 5 years ago

      These are interesting meanings for promise rings. I always thought that a promise ring was a symbol of a promise that you will someday marry that person. Kind of like a before an engagement ring commitment symbol. Thanks for sharing this information.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Wonderful rings i have ever seen. this rings shows an faith and trust over another person, as an nice gift also to give.

      designs are wonderful.

      so simple and elegant. LOved it.

    • IssacAlouf profile image

      IssacAlouf 5 years ago

      I dunno... I think if you're gonna get a promise ring you might as well just ask her to marry you :)

    • profile image

      Honeyb33 5 years ago

      My boyfriend and I gave each other promise rings. We were long distance for a year and a half and we gave our promise rings to each other as a symbol of our love and faithfulness to each other. That together we would hold each other accountable to purity and that we were going to persevere through the hard times of being long distance and eventually get married. It was a promise to save ourselves for one another. Well we aren't long distance anymore and are praying about getting married now! We love our promise rings. They are so precious to us.

    • profile image

      AnotherAnnie 5 years ago

      What an interesting lens! Actually, I didn't realize the idea of a promise ring was foreign to so many people. When my current husband and I were dating, he was just getting out of the military, and he didn't have a job lined up. He was going to be moving from Tampa, whe we both lived, back to the Houston area where his family was from. I didn't want him to leave me, but he didn't want to ask me to marry him until he had a stable plan. Instead, he gave me a promise ring to help me understand that while he was physically leaving me, he was committed to our relationship. In essence, it was a promise that we would get married some day, as soon as we could. Thankfully, I only had to wait about 5 months. I still have the ring, but I only wear it on special occasions now.

    • Camden1 profile image

      Camden1 5 years ago

      I thought they were the same as purity rings - now I realize how different they are! Thanks for the great write-up!

    • carolinarobin profile image

      carolinarobin 5 years ago

      I always thought promise rings were for young kids. I recently changed my mind when my boyfriend of 47 years of age gave me a lovely promise ring!

    • profile image

      TaylorLautnerWorkoutFan 5 years ago

      I think they are a bit out-dated, but to each there own.

    • RosemaryB profile image

      RosemaryB 6 years ago

      We don't do promise rings in Australia. There must be a reason.

    • kevingomes13 lm profile image

      kevingomes13 lm 6 years ago

      Silver is always a great color to get for a promise ring.