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The Real Meaning of a Promise Ring

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Hello readers,

In today’s post I will be discussing the topic of Promise rings, what do they mean? what finger it goes on? how you should give one, and what do they actually mean? The speculation around promise rings has been an ongoing debate for sometimes now, I feel their actual true meaning has some how got lost in translation, and changed in tradition throughout the generations. In this post I will be addressing the frequently asked questions such as What finger does a promise ring go on? How do you get one, give one, buy one, return one?

promise ring

Meaning of a promise ring:

Promise rings can also be referred to as a purity ring, commitment ring, or a pre-engagement ring. The definition of a promise ring varies between couples, but promise rings are widely used as a symbol of commitment. While many couples use the symbol as a way to signify a future engagement, others simply wear the ring as a means of reflecting devotion to one another. 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, the symbolisation is that of love and commitment to their relationship. 

Promise rings date back to the 16th century England, were they are referred too as Posy rings, because they were engraved with romantic poems. while Acrostic rings—spelling out a word in gemstones, for example, a ruby, emerald, garnet, amethyst, ruby and diamond spelling “regard”—were popular in the Georgian and Victorian eras. The tradition of wearing a ring to demonstrate loyalty and fidelity dates back to ancient times. There’s evidence 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, she says, is because there’s a vein that runs from that finger to the heart.

When is the right time to give a promise ring:

Personally I think that promise rings should only be given to couples who are 100% serious about their relationship, and want to move forward (i.e. get married, have children) this would give them time to prepare mentally and financially for a wedding. 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, a promise ring shows that their commitment does extend beyond merely sharing bills.

Although a promise ring does not hold the same levity of an engagement ring, it should not be treated lightly. A promise ring should be given after a couple has dated for a significant amount of time (a year or more) to show how serious you are about the relationship.

Types of promise ring:

The simplicity of a promise ring is in the design, you don’t want it to outshine the future engagement ring. Promise rings are more of a fashion piece, therefore a simple band, or an infinity loop would be ideal. Common themes include hearts, intertwined designs to commemorate the idea of a couple’s union, Claddagh rings and eternity rings, as well as bands with a mosaic or composite of stones. Both engagement and promise ring serve a purpose, you want to make sure they don’t look the same or even close.

How much to spend on a promise ring:
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 who purchase a promise ring are young, and don’t have financial means to be splashing out. 

How to give a promise ring:
There’s also no right or wrong way to give a promise ring. It doesn’t require the same “on bended knee” tradition as engagement rings, and they’re most often given as a birthday, Valentine’s, Christmas gift, or Anniversary gift. A romantic dinner for two is sufficient to set the scene. In the case of a promise ring, it’s more of a conversation about the meaning behind it, and the promise that’s being made, whereas for an engagement, the focus is on the ring and the ‘moment.’ You want to be sure to fully explain to your partner that the ring you are giving them is a promise ring, to avoid any confusion.

Which finger does it go on?
Promise rings can be worn on any finger, It’s entirely up to the individual. Sometimes you may want to wear it as a necklace, and hang it from a chain. But usually promise rings are worn on the ring finger of the left hand (if not married) or the right hand (if married).

How to return the ring ? 

While promise rings are intended to be lifelong vow, sometimes you can’t determine the future accurately, if matters go pear-shaped, then it is totally ok to return the ring to its owner, some may accept it, others may not, it depends on the nature of the breakup. 

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