Purity rings, custom engagement rings, commitment rings and the promise ring—there certainly is a lot! There has been tons of confusion surrounding the engagement ring and the promise ring.

What does it mean? Which finger should you put it on? Is it another name for an engagement ring? How do you even get one? Should you return it?

The question goes on for miles. Yes, there are both minor and major differences between the engagement and the promise rings, such as the material, cost and the size of the stones. Others consider the difference to be the emotional or sentimental value of each ring.

Let’s demystify the meaning behind this modern-day pre-wedding trend.

The History

Giving of promise rings wasn’t invented a decade or so ago. In fact, this dates back much further, appearing as early as 1576.

A type of promise ring, dubbed as a posy ring, originated in England back in the 16th century. These rings were engraved with lines taken from romantic poems or even short but sweet messages.

Then, this was followed by acrostic rings a couple of centuries later, specifically during the Georgian and Victorian eras. The gemstones used in acrostic rings were arranged in order to spell out specific words, creating a secret message for the couple.

For example, arranging lapis lazuli, opal, verdelite and emerald in that order would spell out love. The first letter of every gemstone creates the acrostic.

The 20th century witnessed women giving promise rings to men.

The Meaning

Now, you might be wondering, what is a promise ring?

The promise ring could symbolise different between couples. However, often, it represents commitment and love. This could be a promise to one day be engaged without a specific timetable.

These rings grew in popularity among couples who do not yet want to tie the knot. For them, a ring symbolises their commitment to their relationship but yet do not have any immediate plans for their marriage.

Promise Rings vs Purity Rings

There are others who have interchangeably used both purity rings and promise rings.

Sometimes called chastity rings, purity rings are backed by a different motivation. The trend of wearing chastity rings began in the 1990, and this was largely associated with religious organisations.

This ring symbolises abstinence until marriage. They are typically given by parents to their daughters, while some women voluntarily purchase them. Then on their wedding day, this ring is replaced with a wedding band, symbolising marriage.

The Etiquette in Giving a Promise Ring

It is given if the couple has been dating for some time—often more than a year. This is to show how committed they are and their possible plans for a future together.

Now, unlike engagement rings, there are no hard and fast rules on how much to spend on a promise rings or its design. Additionally, there isn’t a right way or a wrong way of giving one.

Other Considerations of a Promise Ring

Compared with custom engagement rings, a promise ring is more subtle and smaller. Also, it may or may not be worn on the left ring finger.

Diamonds are popular stone choices, but often in clusters or smaller sizes or with different gemstones. The focus usually is not on the diamonds itself, but on the ring’s overall design.

When it comes to metals, 10K sterling silver or gold are more popular options because they’re more affordable compared with the 14K and 18K platinum or gold for engagement and wedding rings.

Summing up

Simply put, custom engagement rings are given when a wedding proposal has been accepted wholeheartedly, while the reasons behind giving a promise ring vary but often this conveys a promise.

Bio: For more than ten years, Daniel Greenberg has been hand crafting DG Bespoke Jewellery and is known as a trained master diamond mounter and goldsmith. As he was taught by one of the best jewellers in London (his father), Daniel makes certain that all his unique pieces are pure perfection.