The Diamond Pro

Promise Rings: Here’s What You Need to Know (with Jewelry Inspiration)

By Michael Fried
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Promise rings represent the love that a couple has for each other. The rings can be given at any time and are a symbol of commitment. Styles range from ornate diamond rings to yellow gold knot rings. Choose a design that represents your personal style and unique love story.

Above all, we recommend purchasing your promise ring from a reputable vendor like Blue Nile or James Allen. Although cheap promise rings may seem like the way to go, jewelry made of sterling silver or rose gold will last longer and carry far more beauty than a poorly made ring.

What is a Promise Ring?

Promise rings symbolize the love and commitment between a couple. They’re given as a sign of a serious relationship and signify a commitment to be with one another in the future.

promise-ring-buying-guide

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In a way, promise rings are pre-engagement rings, as they come before the commitment of marriage. The exchange of rings can mean that a future engagement is likely or simply that you have a devotion to one another. The meaning of a promise ring differs from couple to couple—and it’s best to decide between the two of you what it means for you specifically.

Which Finger Should a Promise Ring Be Worn On?

Sometimes rings are exchanged between both people or just one person. Promise rings can be worn on any finger on either hand.

Some people decide to wear their promise rings on their left ring finger. Some prefer to wear it on the right ring finger as to not confuse it with an engagement ring.

What Do Promise Rings Look Like?

Promise rings tend to be smaller and less extravagant than engagement rings. They often use precious metals such as gold and silver. Many promise rings features diamonds and a variety of other valuable gemstones.

promise-rings

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Most of the time, these gemstones are smaller and less obvious than the gemstones you’d find in an engagement ring, with a more subtle appearance. Some promise rings don’t contain any special design features at all, with a simple appearance similar to a wedding ring.

Promise rings and other couple rings can be diamond rings, such as this tapered baguette ring, or gemstone rings, such as this sapphire heart ring.

Some promise rings are also designed as Claddagh rings. This is a traditionally Irish design that features a heart held by two hands and a crown, representing love, loyalty and friendship. Some couples even decide to choose matching promise rings.

In general, promise rings are usually smaller and subtler than engagement rings. Diamonds are a popular choice, although the stones tend to be of smaller carat weight or grouped in a cluster rather than as a single stone.

Gemstone ring designs are also a popular choice for promise rings and other couple rings. Like with other non-engagement and wedding jewelry, there are no “rules” regarding the best metals for promise rings, making everything from rose gold to sterling silver rings popular.

When and How to Give a Promise Ring

While giving a promise ring isn’t as daunting as giving an engagement ring, it’s still a special and important moment for any couple. Thankfully, there aren’t any “rules” for giving a promise ring to your partner, making the process quite straightforward.

Promise rings can be given at any point during a relationship. Sometimes. couples date for one year or longer before exchanging promise rings. For others, the timeline is faster, with promise rings or other couple rings exchanged early in the relationship

Overall, promise rings are a visible sign of your commitment to the relationship, no matter what you’re planning for the future.

When giving a promise ring, you don’t have to plan anything elaborate like you might if you were giving an engagement ring. However, you can if you want to. For example, many couples opt to exchange promise rings as a dating anniversary gift, for Valentine’s Day or for a birthday.

Many couples also have a conversation when exchanging promise rings about what the rings mean for them specifically, adding extra significance to the moment.

As always, it’s up to you how you choose to give a promise ring. You can plan something a little elaborate and unique if you think your partner will appreciate it. Alternatively, you can choose a more normal moment to give the ring and focus on the moment itself instead of the setting.

The Difference Between Promise Rings and Purity Rings

While the terms “promise ring” and “purity ring” are often used interchangeably, they represent two distinct commitments.

Purity rings symbolize a commitment to abstinence until marriage. Giving a purity ring is usually accompanied by a commitment not to have sex until married. Sterling silver rings are commonly given as purity rings, often with an engraved message.

Unlike promise rings, it’s rare for purity rings to feature diamonds or other gemstones, or come in colored precious metals such as gold.

Promise rings don’t have anything to do with abstinence unless the couple decides so. With a promise ring, you and your partner are simply exchanging a physical symbol of your love and commitment to one another.

You might have also come across posy rings in your search for a promise ring. A posy ring, or posie ring, dates back to the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. These rings were given in England and France as lovers’ gifts. They’re different than a promise ring but could look similar.

Promise Rings for Couples

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The design of your promise ring is completely up to you. As with any piece of jewelry, it’s best to match the personality and style of the person wearing the ring.

Below, we’ve put together a list of high quality promise rings in different styles, gemstones and settings. Take a look through the designs below and take notice of any rings that stand out and catch your eye.

Diamond Promise Rings

Diamond rings are classic, timeless and make for beautiful promise rings for couples. Diamond promise rings often feature clusters of small diamonds, creating a beautiful shape like a flower or starburst.

The diamonds used in promise rings and other couple rings tend to be smaller than those used in engagement rings, making these more affordable than a lot of other diamond jewelry.

Diamond promise rings:

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Gemstone Rings

A gemstone ring can add color and flair to your significant other’s hand, making it a good option if you’re looking for something with personality. Popular gemstone couple rings range from ruby heart rings to pink sapphire halo rings, with countless other options also available.

Gemstone promise rings:

Promise Rings Without a Gemstone

It’s also totally okay to give a promise ring without a gemstone. In fact, many promise rings and couple rings don’t feature any stones — instead, they might have an engraved message, pattern or other unique design.

If you prefer a more simple style, a ring made out of white gold or a sterling silver ring might be the right choice for you and your partner.

Promise rings without gemstones:

Where to Buy Promise Rings

When you’re buying any fine jewelry, it’s important to verify that you’re receiving a high-quality product. In this case, promise rings are no different. While it’s easy to find cheap promise rings online, these will often deteriorate, causing them to look less beautiful as they get older.

Because of this, we recommend choosing a vendor that’s known for their high quality settings and gemstones. This way, you’ll end up with a beautiful promise ring that will last for decades, all at an excellent price.

Throughout our years in the jewelry industry, we’ve closely vetted sellers to determine the best and most reliable in the business. We highly recommend looking for a promise ring through the dealers below.

All of these dealers are reputable, trustworthy and offer great value for money. If you have any questions about these vendors, please contact us.

Blue Nile (Diamond and Gemstone Rings)

Blue Nile is one of the world’s largest online jewelry vendors. Their website is full of high quality rings that are suitable for giving as promise rings, although many don’t include “promise ring” or “couple ring” in their name. Read our in-depth review of Blue Nile.

  • Maintains the largest online inventory of diamonds and settings
  • Emphasizes diamond, gemstone and jewelry quality
  • Offers excellent prices and easy return policies

James Allen (Diamond and Gemstone Rings)

James Allen is another large online jewelry vendor. Similar to Blue Nile, James Allen focus on high quality rings featuring diamond and other gemstones, although they also stock a range of simpler promise rings and couple rings without gemstones. Read our James Allen review.

  • Provides high-tech imagery (allowing you to see every diamond and gemstone up-close before purchase)
  • Known for their excellent customer service
  • Offer appealing prices for their large collection

Leibish & Co. (Gemstone Rings)

Leibish & Co. is a smaller online jewelry retailer that’s known for its fancy colored diamonds. It’s also a good place to shop for promise rings, with a large online inventory that contains a diverse range of gemstone rings. Read our review of Leibish & Co.

  • Maintains a large online inventory of gemstone rings
  • Designs all jewelry with high-quality settings
  • Offers colored diamond alternatives

Leaning more toward an engagement ring instead of a promise ring? Check out all the different styles of engagement rings here

Frequently Asked Questions about Promise Rings

What’s the Difference Between a Promise Ring and a Couple Ring?

The terms “promise ring” and “couple ring” are often used interchangeably to refer to any rings exchanged between couples that aren’t engagement rings. However, there are a few differences between these two rings.

Promise rings are exchanged to symbolize love and commitment. They often feature diamonds and other gemstones. Although they’re available in a variety of metals, promise rings often use precious metals — it’s not uncommon to see a gold or sterling silver ring, for example.

Couple rings, on the other hand, tend to be matching pairs of rings designed for couples to wear as fashion jewelry, or just for fun. Search for “couple rings” online and you’ll find everything from fine jewelry to matching couple rings with artistic patterns, unique materials and cool designs.

In short, promise rings are given for a specific purpose, whereas couple rings tend to be a more generic, less specific form of matching jewelry for couples.

What’s the Difference Between a Promise Ring and an Engagement Ring?

Visually, promise rings and engagement rings can be quite similar, although promise rings tend to feature smaller gemstones. While they both symbolize a similar commitment, they’re given at different points in a relationship.

Can Men Wear Promise Rings?

Yes. Unlike engagement rings, promise rings are for men and women. Many couples choose to wear matching promise rings, while others choose a promise ring for their partner that matches their personality.

Are Promise Rings Statement Rings?

Although promise rings are given to make a certain statement to each other, they’re not usually considered statement rings. Statement rings usually refer to rings that make a visual statement, such as with a unique or eye-catching design that stands out from other jewelry.

How Much Are Promise Rings?

Like other jewelry, promise rings can range from affordable to highly expensive. Simple gold or sterling silver rings without precious gemstones can often cost only a few hundred dollars, while more expensive rings with diamonds and other gemstones can reach into the thousands.

Are Promise Rings Only for Religious People?

Although purity rings are often given for religious reasons, promise rings and other couple rings generally don’t have a religious connotation. Despite this, some people wear promise rings both as a symbol of commitment to their partner and to their religious faith.

Can You Still Wear a Promise Ring After Getting Engaged?

If you like your promise ring so much that you don’t want to stop wearing it, you can keep it on after you and your partner get engaged. Many people wear their promise ring on the opposite hand after getting engaged to separate it from their engagement ring and wedding ring.

About the author
Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, PeopleMoney, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more. See more
Top Recommended Vendors
James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is at the point where it's almost the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. Their customer experience is best in class, and they have recently upgraded their non-engagement jewelry inventory as well. They have the largest exclusive loose diamond inventory online and fantastic prices. For a limited time, take advantage of their huge 25% OFF holiday sale!!
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free International Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
  • Best-in-class high quality imagery of all diamonds in stock
  • 24/7 Customer Service
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Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well known internet jewelry seller. They have a very large exclusive online inventory. Their high quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. (Pick Up a Blue Nile Coupon Here for $50 off)
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
  • Best in class fulfillment

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