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Meghan Markle, Miley Cyrus, and the Jonas Brothers brought the world’s attention to an age-old concept: the promise ring. The resurgence of this ancient piece raised questions, like what is a promise ring and its meaning?


Many people associate promise rings with teenagers and puppy love, but the meaning of a promise ring and its history runs much deeper. In our guide, we explore everything you need to know about promise rings, including their tradition, why people choose to give promise rings and how to style them.


So, before you decide to give (or wear) a promise ring, find out the origins of this simple, and yet so powerful, gift of love.

lab diamond promise ring


Definition: A promise ring is a ring given as a gift to a romantic partner or loved one. It signifies a commitment or promise to another person.

gold promise rings


Promise rings have been around as symbols of eternal love since ancient times. In ancient Greece, they were worn as a way to keep a loved one constantly on their minds. During the 2nd century BC, Roman brides wore promise rings as a symbol of a promise of marriage, since the law stated that a couple must wait a certain period from announcing a marriage to the ceremony itself.


In the 15th and 17th centuries, ‘poesy rings’ emerged in England. They were engraved with a promise or poem and given to a lover or friend as symbols of romantic affection and devotion.


Poesy rings faded in popularity and were replaced with acrostic rings which were prominent in the Georgian and Victorian eras. These rings spelt out ‘love’ or ‘regard’ in gemstones and served as a token of romance between two people.


Promise rings have continued to act as promises of commitment in modern times, with the American and British tradition of high school students giving their significant other a ring as a sign of ‘going steady’.


The meaning of a promise ring has evolved, but the premise is always the same. They were designed as symbols of love, devotion, and commitment to another person. The specific meaning behind each promise ring will change depending on the individuals it’s passed between.


For some, it’s the next step up from dating – a way to show your loved one that your heart belongs truly and only to them. This could mean that an engagement is on the cards in the future, but that isn’t always the case. Some don’t necessarily believe in marriage and a promise ring is enough to show that their relationship will be eternal.


Promise rings aren’t just restricted to couples, you can give one to a friend to show how much you adore them and how you will always value their presence in your life. If you want to empower yourself, then promise rings are a great way of giving yourself a permanent reminder of the commitment you’ve made to value and love yourself.

promise rings for her


Personal preference means that promise rings can be worn on any hand, on any finger. If a promise ring is given with the intention of an engagement soon, then many couples like to wear them on their wedding finger – the ring finger on the left hand. Some prefer to wear it on the ring finger of the opposite hand to avoid awkward questions about whether the couple is engaged.


The possibilities of wearing a promise ring are endless. Whether you choose to wear it on any finger, as a pendant on a necklace or as a charm on a bracelet, it will always represent the eternal love between two people.


Ultimately, you’ll know when to give a promise ring. There’s no set timetable for relationships and love. When you know in your heart that you want to devote yourself and be together forever with another person, then it’s time to show them that.


However, when you give someone a promise ring, you must let them know your intentions. It helps if you’ve spoken about the future in conversations beforehand to ensure that you’re both on the same page. Whether it’s a promise of a future marriage or a symbol of your undying loyalty and love, you’ll know when the time is right.

mens promise ring


Choosing the right words to express your love can be difficult and if we’re honest, absolutely terrifying. If you’re preparing for that big moment to give your loved one a promise ring, then making a few notes of what you’d like to say can help you focus and calm your nerves.


Always speak from the heart. You can rehearse what to say, but the key is to be authentic. Don’t use words, phrases, or poems that you wouldn’t normally say just to impress them. It should be your own version of love, no one else’s.


Don’t feel pressured to do a big speech. Most of the time, just a simple declaration of how much they mean to you and a vow to love them always is enough to get the message across. But maybe pack a few tissues just in case.

silver promise rings


Now the fun part! Whether you’re gifting a promise ring, or just browsing, it can be difficult to narrow down one perfect ring.


The ring should always be tailored to the wearer’s individual taste and be refined enough so it can be worn every day, but still have an element of uniqueness and sparkle. Simply, the ring should personify the wearer and reflect the qualities that you love about them.


Popular choices include hearts or designs that intertwine to symbolise how the couple is forever connected by their love. Due to their increasing popularity, promise rings are no longer reserved for just women. There are a variety of styles for men too.


If you’re struggling to find the perfect style, we’ve put together a few suggestions.


  • Birthstone rings. Choosing a ring that is personal to your significant other is an ideal way to symbolise your promise to them. Plus, birthstones have longevity as they can be worn alongside engagement rings later on.

  • Smaller diamond ringsDiamonds will always be associated with strength and love, making them the perfect choice to represent your vow to stay with them through thick and thin. Plus, they will add a touch of sparkle to their every day.

  • Engraved ringsWhy not make your ring even more special by engraving your initials or a meaningful message? Then your loved one can carry you with them, no matter where they are in the world.


Now you know everything you need to know about promise rings. We hope we’ve given you the courage to express your love to those closest to you.


Whether you’re looking to make a promise to a loved one, friend or yourself, find the perfect men’s and women’s jewellery online at Primrose Hill. Browse our collection and find something as special as they are.


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