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What are Promise Rings?

Promise rings often feature gems such as amethyst.
Promise rings can be thought of as pre-engagement rings.
Receiving a promise ring can be just as exciting as receiving an engagement ring.
A couple who feels they are very much in love, but are not ready for marriage, may exchange promise rings.
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  • Written By: R. Kayne
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 05 September 2014
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Promise rings are typically inexpensive bands exchanged between young couples that have pledged exclusivity in their relationship. While they can be thought of as pre-engagement rings, promise rings might fall more along the lines of exchanging class rings, or a commitment to "go steady." Additionally, they can symbolize any promise or pledge made between people, even friends. For this reason, they are also referred to as friendship rings.

In the case of romantic relationships, promise rings remind each bearer of the monogamous link to his or her partner. Once they are exchanged, both people assume they can rely on the promise of the other to remain true. This often ushers in the first serious relationship between young people.

Though there are no formal rules or traditions regarding these rings, generally speaking the more expensive the ring is, the more serious the promise. Girls that receive promise rings with expensive gems might very well expect these to be precursors to engagement rings. There is nothing more awkward than giving a heartfelt gift only to have more read into it than intended. Therefore, make the promise clear when exchanging rings.

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Friends might exchange promise rings for any number of reasons, from sealing a vow, to making a wish, to simply celebrating the bond of friendship. These rings are a great way to make any commitment real, and keep it foremost in mind. Though these are traditional reasons to exchange promise rings, a ring is a nice reminder for nearly any significant promise — including a promise made to yourself. Even a moderately expensive gold or titanium band or pinky ring can be a constant daily reminder of the investment you are making in yourself to meet a desired goal too long put off, rise to a difficult challenge, or fulfill a lifelong dream.

Like the eternal circle that has no beginning or end, promise rings speak of infinity and bonds that cannot be broken. That which is bound to a ring 'benefits' from the symbolism and beauty of the ring, which serves to strengthen the bond or promise. Promise rings are a beautiful way to remind ourselves of the allegiance we feel to those people and things that mean the most to us.

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Discuss this Article

LisaLou
Post 8

I don't know if anyone else has ever done this, but I bought myself a promise ring as a promise to myself that I would lose the weight I needed to. I have been overweight most of my adult life, and got tired of losing and gaining over and over again.

I needed to lose the weight, change my eating habits and keep it off for good. While there is nothing magical in the ring, it was a visual reminder to me every time I got ready to put something in my mouth. It helped me stay aware of what I was eating, and every time I saw the ring, I was reminded of the promise I had made to myself.

I don't like to break promises that I make to my friends and family, so thought it was just as important that I keep the promise I made to myself.

myharley
Post 7

My mom has a simple white gold promise ring that my dad gave to her years ago. She wears this on the ring finger of her right hand, opposite of the hand she wears her wedding ring on. She considers this promise ring to be very special. Even though it isn't worth nearly as much as her wedding ring, it holds just as much sentimental value.

SarahSon
Post 6

I have never received a promise ring but have personally known some women who have received them. Usually they are quite young and this might be their first serious relationship. Many times the relationship doesn't work out and they never get married.

In a situation like this it is a good thing they gave themselves time before rushing into marriage. While the promise may have been very sincere at the time, somewhere along the way, one of the partners backed out of the commitment.

Most of the time it was a good thing this happened sooner rather than later. Even though it was heart breaking at the time, if they had continued on in a relationship where one party was not as interested, it probably wouldn't have lasted for the long term.

honeybees
Post 5

I find it interesting to read about the different reasons people wear a promise ring. Before reading this article I was pretty narrow minded in what my idea of a promise ring was.

When I thought of a promise ring, I thought of a girl receiving a simple ring as a promise of future marriage. While this is still a very common example, I also like the idea of using a promise ring as a bond of friendship or a promise to yourself to keep a certain commitment.

anon282859
Post 4

I want a promise ring to remind me of the time that I promise myself to only wear two rings in my whole life: the promise ring and the ring that my future husband would give to me.

I mean the promise ring is to save my ring finger from an unnecessary band of jewelry given by some boy who just thinks I am pretty or something. I want to reserve this finger for the right ring.

It is my promise to God, my parents and my friends that I will stay pure and devoted to the right one at the right time.

LittleMan
Post 3

My fiance and I are high school sweethearts, and we've worn silver promise rings for years. We just got engaged last year after dating for 7 years, and I think that wearing a promise ring is a fantastic way to show your love and commitment to a person.

And they're not all chintzy, girly looking things -- they actually have some really nice mens' promise rings out there that you would think was just a regular ring, if you didn't know.

Although it's totally a personal choice, I think that wearing a promise ring can be a really nice gesture in your relationship.

StreamFinder
Post 2

This may be unpopular, but I've never been overly fond of the whole personalized promise rings thing, whether as a commitment to another person or to celibacy.

I guess to me that kind of commitment would be such a special thing that I wouldn't want to symbolize it with something like jewelry, especially in the case of celibacy. I mean, think about how awkward that would be if you changed your mind later and everybody noticed you had taken it off.

If it comes down to it, I guess I'd rather wear something that doesn't look like a promise ring, like a Celtic style promise ring or something -- at least that way I don't have to broadcast my intentions to other people, and I can keep a private and personal commitment to myself.

yournamehere
Post 1

Some people also wear promise rings as a symbol of their commitment to remain celibate before marriage -- I know that a lot of people buy engraved promise rings with Bible verses and what not to remind them of that choice.

These are usually pretty plain though, not like the diamond promise/engagement rings -- every one that I've seen is just a plain band, kind of like a wedding band, but not so distinctive. Although I have known people to wear gold wedding band promise rings as a sign of their spiritual marriage to God.

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