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A guide to promise rings

Promise rings

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A promise ring is a symbolic piece of jewellery exchanged between partners to signify commitment, love, and dedication to a future together. These exquisite rings represent a pledge to a deeper relationship, often preceding an engagement or marriage. Promise rings hold significant sentimental value for couples and can come in various styles, allowing for personalisation and versatility.

Explore the enchanting world of promise rings and discover the timeless beauty they hold as a cherished symbol of eternal love.

What is a promise ring?

A promise ring is a significant piece of jewellery that holds symbolic meaning, representing a pledge or commitment exchanged between individuals. Typically given from one person to another, promise rings are closely associated with romantic relationships, carrying various meanings depending on the individuals involved.

Common meanings associated with promise rings include:

  • Pre-engagement: Couples who may not be ready for engagement but wish to express their commitment may exchange promise rings. These rings often serve as placeholders for future engagement rings.
  • Monogamy: Promise rings can symbolise a commitment to monogamy within a relationship, whether marriage is being considered or not.
  • Chastity: Among younger individuals, promise rings may signify a commitment to abstinence until marriage, often referred to as ‘purity rings’.
  • Friendship: Though less common, promise rings can symbolise a deep, platonic bond between friends.
  • Personal Promises: Promise rings can also represent personal commitments, such as sobriety goals or other personal achievements, and can be purchased by the own person who will wear it.

The design of promise rings varies widely, ranging from styles resembling engagement rings to simpler or more unique designs.

If you would like some guidance about when to get a promise ring, get in touch, and someone from the Ingle & Rhode team would be happy to help.

The history of promise rings

The history of promise rings spans several centuries, with various meanings throughout time. In ancient times, rings were symbols of commitment and ownership, such as Roman women wearing rings attached to keys representing their husbands' ownership. During the Middle Ages, 'posy rings' inscribed with romantic poems gained popularity as tokens of love and friendship, possibly one of the earliest forms of promise rings.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, 'acrostic rings' used gemstones to spell out words, often a lover's name, while the Victorian era saw the rise of 'regard rings' set with different gemstones spelling ‘REGARD’, by using the first letter of each gemstone.

Although the use of promise rings declined in the 20th century, there was a resurgence in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Today, promise rings hold personal meanings and can signify various commitments, not limited to romantic love. In modern times, promise rings are sometimes linked to ‘purity pledges’ or commitments to chastity until marriage.

Throughout history, promise rings have evolved in design and purpose, but their core symbolism of commitment and dedication has remained constant. They continue to be cherished as sentimental tokens of love, friendship, and personal vows.

Popular promise ring styles

Promise rings offer a diverse array of styles to cater to individual tastes and the essence of the promise being made. Whether simple or elaborate, the design can be tailored to the wearer's preferences. Several popular styles include:

Solitaire rings 

Diamond solitaire ring
A diamond solitaire promise ring

Timeless and classic, solitaire rings showcase a single stone, often a diamond or other precious gem, suitable for both engagement and promise rings.

Eternity rings

Rose gold eternity ring
A rose gold eternity promise ring

Set with small diamonds or gemstones around the band, eternity rings symbolise your eternal commitment to one another.

Heart rings

Diamond heart gold ring
A diamond heart promise ring

Symbolising love and commitment, heart rings are a beloved choice for promise rings. They can feature precious metals, gemstones, or unique stone arrangements forming the heart shape.

Infinity rings 

Infinity ring
An infinity promise sapphire ring

Representing eternity with the infinity (∞) symbol, these rings serve as a perfect emblem for a promise ring, often crafted from metal or adorned with gemstones.

Claddagh rings 

Claddagh ring
A Claddagh promise ring

Traditional Irish design, Claddagh rings portray hands holding a heart with a crown, symbolising friendship, love, and loyalty.

Knot rings 

Knot ring
A knot promise ring

Featuring a knot design, these rings symbolise unbreakable promises. They can be simple metal bands or adorned with diamonds and gemstones.

Birthstone rings 

An emerald birthstone promise ring
A birthstone promise ring

Personal and meaningful, these rings incorporate the birthstones of the wearer or both individuals in the case of a couple, adding a unique touch to the ring.

The perfect promise ring should reflect the distinct promise and bond between individuals. Therefore, considering personal style and the nature of the commitment is essential when selecting a promise ring. 

How to gift a promise ring

Gifting a promise ring creates a special and unforgettable experience, and it’s important to plan this unique moment ahead, like a memorable setting with a surprise location, intimate dinner, or fun outing.

It’s also helpful to prepare your words, so you can clearly communicate the ring's significance by expressing your feelings and commitment. Clarifying in a caring way that it’s not an engagement ring can help avoid confusion and prevent any misunderstandings.

And finally, being understanding of their reaction and respecting their response is just as important as the gesture itself, as the promise's significance may need time to resonate.

However, the way you choose to do it, the essence of gifting a promise ring lies in the commitment it represents and what it means to everyone involved. If you need help creating the perfect promise ring, book an appointment to come to our London studio, and one of our lovely team members will be delighted to assist you.

What finger does a promise ring go on?

If the ring has been presented as symbolising the promise of a future engagement, it is traditionally worn on the left ring finger. However, to avoid confusion with an actual engagement ring, some people prefer to wear a promise ring on a different finger or hand until the relationship progresses to engagement. This placement is not fixed and depends on the wearer's preference.

Ultimately, a promise ring can be worn on any finger, and the meaning won't change. The key thing is that it symbolises a promise or commitment, and the specific finger doesn't change that.


Do men wear promise rings?

The idea behind a promise ring is the commitment or promise it symbolises, and this applies to anyone, regardless of gender. They often have a more minimalist and less ornate design, with a wider band and less emphasis on gemstones, but still feature meaningful symbols, engravings, or designs.
As with all jewellery, the most important thing is that the ring feels comfortable, fits well, and suits the wearer's personal style.

Can you wear a promise ring with an engagement ring?

Yes, you can wear a promise ring with an engagement ring, and it's a matter of personal preference. Options include wearing them on separate hands, stacking on the same finger, switching hands upon engagement and marriage, or using a necklace chain. Remember, there are no strict rules when it comes to wearing promise rings, engagement rings, or wedding rings. What matters most is that you are comfortable and happy with how you wear your rings.

What does a promise ring mean?

A promise ring holds significant meaning as a symbol of commitment or pledges between individuals. Its interpretation can vary widely, depending on the relationship and agreement involved. Common meanings include pre-engagement, monogamy or exclusivity, intent for future marriage, abstinence, personal commitments, and even friendship.
The design, style, and price of a promise ring can vary greatly depending on the nature of the promise and the personal tastes of the wearer. The important thing about a promise ring is not the ring itself but rather the significance and commitment it symbolises for the people involved.


A promise ring is a type of ring that symbolises a commitment or promise between two people. It is often given as a symbol of love and devotion, but it can also represent a commitment to a specific goal or cause. The recipient of the ring wears it as a physical reminder of the promise made and the commitment that has been pledged.

A promise ring is a powerful symbol of love, commitment, and friendship and is a beautiful way to show someone how much you care. Whether you are giving a promise ring as a symbol of your love and devotion or as a symbol of your commitment to a specific goal or cause, it is a meaningful and cherished gift that will always be treasured.

Ingle & Rhode takes pride in crafting these timeless pieces with meticulous attention to detail, ensuring every ring is a unique expression of love. We offer a wide range of diamond eternity rings, as well as bespoke rings with traceable gemstones like sapphires, rubies, and emeralds. Get in touch, and someone from our team of experts will be happy to assist you.

Bianca Utihata
Bianca Utihata is part of the Ingle & Rhode sales executive team. Her role involves engaging with clients, managing sales, and providing expert advice so people can make a conscious choice. Bianca is passionate about ethical and sustainable practices, and she believes in promoting the use of responsibly sourced materials in the jewellery industry. She is commitment to transparency and is dedicated to helping customers make informed choices when it comes to purchasing ethical jewellery.