You might be wondering about the difference between a promise ring and an engagement ring. While the former often precedes an engagement, it is not a necessary feature of the brand. On the other hand, engagement rings always signal that an engagement has taken place and that a wedding is imminent.
Promise rings do not necessarily lead to an engagement, but they still signify a serious promise within a relationship. This promise can be to one day be engaged, to be exclusive, or even as a placeholder when two people are separated by geographic distance. As a long term commitment to a partner of either gender, these rings are an excellent purchase.
Before purchasing a promise ring, you should know the meaning behind these pieces of jewelry, their cost, and a few other important considerations. Keep reading through this guide to help you understand the significance of this purchase and how you can make the best decision when buying.
- The Meaning Behind a Promise Ring
- Differences Between a Promise Ring Vs an Engagement Ring
- Engagement Ring Commitments
- Pricing of a Promise Ring
- Brand Variability
- Traditional Promise Ring Designs
- Things to Consider When Buying a Promise Ring
- Things to Avoid When Buying Promise Ring
- Should You Purchase a Promise Ring?
- Final Thoughts
- Related Guides
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- Why Can’t Tungsten Rings be Resized?
- Remaking a Ring (Should You Do it & How Much Does It Costs)
The Meaning Behind a Promise Ring
Promise rings signify a commitment between one or more people. Promise rings date all the way back to the Middle Ages and were initially used as tokens to gesture a long term commitment between two interested parties.
Known as Posy rings (or poem rings), these romantic bands were often inscribed with phrases such as, “united hearts, death only parts” or “love conquers all.”
Today, promise rings vary quite a bit in style, commitment, and meaning.
In the modern day, the meaning of a promise ring can vary from individual to individual. In the most traditional sense, promise rings are gifted to signal the intention to become engaged or as a marker of exclusivity within a relationship.
Over time, promise rings have adopted more varied meanings. Beyond the signaling of an exclusive relationship, these bands can also be taken as a commitment to purity.
Also known as a Purity Ring, these bands are sometimes used to alert a promise to one’s self to “remain pure until marriage.”
Traditionally, promise rings have been gifted from men to women. However, promise rings in modern times are exchanged between both genders.
It is important that a promise ring not be given until the relationship is serious as these pieces symbolize commitment. Many experts recommend not gifting a promise ring until at least a year into an exclusive relationship.
Perfect as a stepping stone to marriage, these tokens can be used to symbolize an intent to stay together for a longer duration without the stress or permanence of marriage.
Because promise rings and engagement rings both symbolize long term commitments to another person, it is natural to wonder what the real distinction is between these two types of rings.
Differences Between a Promise Ring Vs an Engagement Ring
While both rings are serious in nature and should only be given when in a long term relationship, promise rings can make a broader range of commitments. This is the major difference that distinguishes between the two types of rings.
Promise rings can signal many things including fidelity, geographic separation, purity, or intention to marry one day.
Engagement rings, on the other hand, signal only one promise: to imminently marry.
Promise Ring Commitments
Promise rings can form many different kinds of commitments including:
For long term relationships where you want to signal that you are exclusive to one another, a promise ring can be the perfect way to pledge your love.
If you are looking at a major geographic separation between yourself and your partner, you may want to consider a promise ring. These rings can convey your intention to remain loyal even while being physically separated.
Taken as a symbolic gesture, purity rings aim to publicly announce the commitment one can make to remain pure until marriage.
Intention to marry
Finally, promise rings can be used as a small step toward a prospective engagement. Promise rings are perfect in long-term relationships where the couple is serious about each other but are not yet ready to commit to the permanence of marriage.
Engagement Ring Commitments
Much like promise rings, engagement rings also offer a serious commitment to another person; however, these rings differ in that their commitment has only one meaning: that marriage will occur shortly.
If you are ready for a promise ring, but not an engagement ring, you might be wondering what to expect in terms of pricing.
Pricing of a Promise Ring
The average price of a promise ring is around $500, but what you ultimately pay is going to depend upon the jewelry’s quality, materials, and design.
For instance, if you select a ring with a high quality material (such as 14k yellow gold or platinum), you will be paying much more than you would for a piece that is plated or of a lower karat gold.
You can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $2,000 when selecting a promise ring. While you can easily create a promise ring that rivals the price of an engagement set, these pieces have more flexibility in design, which can help lower the price.
Prices and styles will fluctuate based upon brand. For instance, custom made pieces may be far more expensive than purchasing from a mass retailer.
If you are looking to save money while making this serious commitment, you should consider purchasing a promise ring with a manufactured stone, such as cubic zirconia.
If you select a retailor that offers these types of stones, you can easily purchase a 1 carat cubic zirconia promise ring for as little as $100.
Price of Promise Rings vs Engagement Rings
The typical price of an engagement ring ranges from $6,000 to $10,000 and a typical promise ring is purchased in the $500 to $2,000 range. The difference in price lies in the types of materials that are chosen for each ring.
Because the price is determined based upon the types and quality of materials, the price of a promise ring can easily rival that of an engagement ring.
For this reason, if you opt for a promise ring in a 14k yellow gold band along with a high quality diamond, you will be paying the same price for this commitment stone as you would for an engagement set.
While promise rings can be as expensive as an engagement ring, they don’t have to be. With more design variability and options, these pieces of jewelry give you the flexibility to select lower cost stones, bands, and designs to save money.
Consider a satin finished tantalum band for a simple look at an under $500 price point. For a more dazzling look, you might want to consider a 14k yellow gold band with a 1/5 carat diamond. Rings in these styles are available under $1,000.
Traditional promise rings include minimalist designs, such as looks with thinner bands or fewer stones, as well as ones with prominent displays of hearts and infinity loops. Let’s take a look at some of these classic promise ring styles.
Traditional Promise Ring Designs
Promise rings are more versatile in design than engagement rings. This means the design possibilities for a promise ring are endless and completely up to your personal preferences and budget.
Here are some of the more popular designs:
Traditionally given in friendship and in love, these celtic-inspired rings convey the promise of your heart through beautiful imagery.
Infinity rings are one of the most classic symbols of forever. Simple bands with an elegant twist designed to convey the infinity of your love, these designs are perfect for your promise.
Promise rings traditionally have sentimental symbols and inscriptions to help express their commitment of love.
The heart design is a classic and timeless way to show you are serious about your relationship.
As a romantic gesture, you may want to consider the popular trend of adding birthstones to your promise ring.
For an extra bit of style, surround your stones in diamonds or an infinity loop.
Diamond Promise Ring
For a classic ring style that expresses the promise of love, there is no better stone than the diamond.
While diamond promise rings can easily become as expensive as engagement sets, you can offset the price by simplifying the piece or lowering the size of the stone.
For a more minimalist look when making your commitment, consider a simple band of gold or tantalum.
Any of the above styles can easily be personalized and made to suit your individual design preferences and budget. For the most traditional look, consider purchasing a ring that features the symbolism of a promise (a heart, infinity loop, or poetic inscription).
For a promise ring with an updated look, you may want to opt for pieces that feature diamonds, birthstones, or a sleek minimalist band.
Now that you know more about the traditional promise ring styles, what else should you be on the lookout for when considering which design to purchase.
Things to Consider When Buying a Promise Ring
Purchasing a promise ring is a fantastic way to display your commitment in a serious relationship. However, there are several factors you should first take into consideration before making such a big decision.
Personal Style of the Wearer
The first is the personal style preferences of the ring’s recipient. Will they want to wear a design that is more traditional or modern? You should also consider whether they will prefer more vibrant or minimalist designs.
For the most classic looks, opt for rings that prominently display infinity loops or hearts. Because these promise rings are usually made to symbolize one’s love for a long-term partner, the display of one of these symbols is perfect to convey a promise of forever.
Look to the celtic-inspired claddagh ring or the infinity band for one of these traditional styles.
If the recipient will prefer a minimalist look, you may want to consider simple bands with only one to three stones. A classic 14k yellow gold band with three 1/5 carat diamonds in the center will offer a stunning display of your commitment to the relationship.
While promise rings have a reasonable price range of $500 to $2,000, you should still consider what budget you would like to remain within when making your purchase.
Depending upon the quality, style, and materials you select, your promise band can easily exceed the higher end of typical price ranges.
You are free to personalize almost any promise ring style, but you should first consider whether this is something that is important to you.
For instance, inscriptions can come at extra costs, but you may find that they are worth the expense if there is a particular piece of writing you would like to include in the band.
Things to Avoid When Buying Promise Ring
Be sure your promise ring does not too closely resemble a traditional engagement ring, particularly if your long-term partner was not involved in the selection process. You would not want to accidentally cause them to mistake your gesture as one of an engagement request.
Finally, while it is okay to opt for lower cost materials than you would when selecting an engagement ring, you will want to make sure the piece still appears of a high quality.
You can do this by selecting metals that are resilient to wear and tear. For instance, a 10k rose gold will be highly durable due to the strong nature of copper.
Should You Purchase a Promise Ring?
Depending upon the sentiment, a promise ring can be a worthwhile purchase. If you have been in a long-term relationship and are ready to strengthen your commitment, these pieces of jewelry can be the perfect way to convey your love without the permanence of marriage.
Due to the nature of these rings and the often highly personal details that are involved in their designs, these rings can also carry tremendous sentimental value to the wearer and the gifter.
Purchasing a promise ring is a serious commitment. It signifies the intention to remain true to the receiver and should not be gifted lightly. When you are sure that this is the right step for you, be ready to consider the design features you would like to include, along with your personal budget.
From hearts to infinity loops and diamonds, you should take the wearer’s personal style into account in order to select the right promise ring for your relationship.
Finally, we recommend minimalist looks with yellow, rose, or white gold for more modern designs. For the traditional wearer, opt for a celtic-inspired look or one that prominently displays the love of a heart.
Our Team of 10 includes jewelry experts, antique Buyers & Sellers, baseball card collectors, and other appraisal experts.