What Is a Promise Ring and When Should You Give One?

A promise ring is often given as the first symbol of commitment between two people in a romantic relationship. However, it does not signify a marriage proposal. This article explains when, how and what ring you should give as a promise ring.

Why do you give a promise ring?

These are the most common reasons why people give someone a promise ring:

1. The relationship is new, and you or your family may consider it too soon to get engaged, but you already know that you want to commit to your partner in a serious way.

2. Both of you are too young or not financially ready for a marriage, but you know that you’ll always want to be together.

3. You might have to spend time living apart in different cities or countries. For example, because of work or studies. In this case, a promise ring symbolises the strength of your long-distance commitment.

4. You cannot afford an expensive engagement ring right now, but someday you will. A promise ring is a way to express serious commitment in the meantime.

What is the promise ring etiquette?

There are a few important rules you should follow when giving a promise ring:

  • Be sure that you’re serious about your promise of lifelong commitment. 
  • Explain clearly that it is not an engagement ring, as otherwise, your partner will probably think you’re proposing marriage.
  • For the same reason, don’t get down on one knee when you give the ring. Instead, simply present the ring box to them, and let them open it.

Should a promise ring be worn all the time?

Most people like to wear a promise ring all the time and not take it off. Some people prefer to wear theirs occasionally. As a couple, you can decide on that together.

What finger should a promise ring be worn on?

It can be worn on any finger. However, it’s usually not worn on the traditional ring finger, so that it doesn’t get confused for an engagement ring.

What if the promise ring is a ‘stand-in’ ring for a proposal?

You can wear a promise ring on your ring finger if you have bought the promise ring for a proposal, in lieu of a proper engagement ring which you’re planning to choose later.

You may also choose to wear your ring not on your finger at all – for example, you could wear it on a chain around your neck.

Can a man wear a promise ring?

Yes, both men and women can wear them.

How much should a promise ring cost?

A promise ring is usually more affordable than an engagement ring. But as your partner will probably wear it all the time, it should be good enough quality to withstand daily use. The thicker the precious metal band, and the harder the gemstone, the better. As with any important gift, simply buy the best quality you can afford.

What styles do promise rings come in?

Your ring should have a touch of personal style. However, it should not be so ornate or fashionable that your partner will get tired of wearing it or they cannot combine it with outfits. Here are some ring styles you should consider:

1. Solitaire

A single diamond ring, called a solitaire ring, is the most popular style for engagement rings. It is also often seen as the best design for promise rings.

What Is a Promise Ring

2. Diamond cluster

If you have a smaller budget to work with, consider a diamond cluster ring made of smaller stones. Several small diamonds set together are more affordable than a solitaire.

3. Gemstones

Gemstones make beautiful alternatives to diamonds and can be more affordable. However, be wary of ‘soft’ gemstones, such as opal, which are easily scratched or broken. Instead choose a hardy gem, such as a blue sapphire, pink sapphire, ruby, amethyst or blue topaz.

What Is a Promise Ring

4. Trilogy rings

Three-stone rings, called trilogy rings, symbolise the past, the present and the future of a couple’s relationship. The concept is based on the traditional Irish trinity knot ring. This romantic significance makes 3-stone rings ideal as promise rings.

What Is a Promise Ring

How to choose a promise ring’s metal:

Depending on how often your significant other will wear their ring, choose the precious metal carefully. For daily wear, jewellers recommend platinum as it’s the toughest and the best, but it’s also the most expensive. Gold is a great option because it’s beautiful and lasting and comes in white, yellow and rose colours. 9K gold is more affordable than 18K gold. Silver is the most affordable metal, but also the softest of all precious metals so it can bend and scratch. It’s a great option, however, if you’re on a budget.

How to measure up for a promise ring:

Ring size is very important. If the ring doesn’t fit, your gift recipient will be very disappointed. Measuring ring size is easy if you order a free ring size tool or visit a jeweller. But if you want to surprise your loved one, then finding out the ring size can be a little trickier. The easiest way to find out a ring size in secret is with a ring sizer app for your iPhone or Android smartphone. Simply find an existing ring that your partner already owns, download the app, then place the ring on your phone screen to find out the size.

You could also take your partner’s spare ring to a jeweller to be measured.

Order a free ring sizer tool

Looking for more promise ring inspiration?

Giving someone a promise ring is a big deal and it should not be done lightly. While not a proposal of marriage, it’s a heartfelt and serious symbol of lasting love and deep commitment. Therefore, choose the ring with love and care to ensure your loved one can wear and cherish it for a long time. If you’re not sure which ring to choose, get in touch with one of our experts, who will be happy to help. And even if you’re not ready to purchase yet, take a look at our selection of elegant promise rings for inspiration.