It seems as though more and more couples are delaying or even forgoing the commitment of marriage, but that’s not to say they are ditching the bling altogether. Promise rings appear to be becoming more popular among those eager to highlight their entwinement without the weight of that heady piece of paper. Usually given after you and your partner hit a significant milestone in your relationship. Promise rings are often the result of major life events in your personal life, such as the birth of your first child, moving, after moving in together, or after you reach a golden anniversary of your coupling.
Promise rings can generally mean one of two things. The first is that you and your partner have decided not to exchange wedding rings, but remain committed to each other nevertheless and want a future together that is on par with the scarcity of marriage. The second reason you and your partner may give each other promise rings is that you would like to be married one day, but are not ready to receive an engagement ring just yet or aren’t quite in the position just yet as you have other goals you want to achieve before you and your partner inadvertently settle down. In this case, the promise ring is a precursor to an engagement ring. Whichever way you and your partner interpret these rings to mean, they are all arguably built on one concept: a promise.
But when it comes to picking out the perfect promise bling, how do you go about doing so? Can any ring be a promise ring? Read on to find out.
Can Any Ring Be A Promise Ring?
While the concept of giving your partner a promise ring may seem like some radical new wave approach, it is actually a custom that dates back to ancient times. Evidence suggests that during the rule of the Roman Empire, women wore simplistic gold rings that were inscribed with romantic prose and poems. While in 16th-century England, members of the aristocratic society were known to sport gemstone rings that spelt out different words and abbreviations. And if these moments in history are anything to go by, it’s that yes, any ring CAN be a promise ring! Since their rise to prominence within the modern era, couples have worn anything and everything to symbolise this commitment. From smaller diamond rings and heart-shaped rings to cubic zirconia rings that mimic the design of diamond solitaire engagement rings, anything pretty much goes when it comes to promise rings.
But while there are no rules when it comes to the style of promise rings, that is not to say that couples haven’t formulated their own traditions when it comes to the design of a promise ring. As diamond engagement rings are the most popular choice for those popping the question, it should come as no surprise that diamond rings are also the number one choice for promise rings. But while only a handful will go for opulent designs that you would typically see among couples getting engaged, most will typically opt for designs that are more subtle and understated in appearance or pieces that are unlikely to cause confusion about their meaning.
Other popular promise rings include dainty rings with a smaller centre diamond, dress rings with diamonds arranged in a pattern or a cluster, a simple diamond band or even diamond pave rings. Certain couples will choose rings adorned with a unique shape or symbol such as infinity rings and Claddagh rings that are thought to have their own significance. Others will take a personal approach by opting for birthstone jewellery, rings adorned with personal messages or an initial and even their favourite gemstone. Then finally, there are those that go the budget-friendly route with the slightly more affordable zirconia rings and lab-grown diamond rings- a design choice that is particularly popular among those waiting to get engaged.
Which Finger Do You Wear Promise Rings?
We now know that any ring can be a promise ring, but can the same approach be used when figuring out which finger you wear your promise ring on?
The answer is yes. However, that is not to say that people haven’t adopted their own traditions and customs about which hand and finger they wear the promise ring on.
If you are wearing the promise ring under the guise that you and your partner will eventually become engaged and get married, you will likely want to wear the promise ring on your engagement finger. By wearing the promise ring on the second finger of your left hand, you are essentially indicating to people that an engagement is imminent and while you may not be ready to make that commitment just yet, you will in the future. Famously in western culture engagement rings, wedding rings and even promise rings are worn on this digit because there used to be a legend that there is a vein in this finger that runs directly to the heart. But while the existence of the Vena Amoris a.k.a the 'vein of love' has long proven to be a myth, the romantic sentiment behind this theory has lingered for years.
On the contrary, if you are wearing a promise ring or an eternity ring but have no interest in getting married or even becoming engaged, you may prefer to wear the jewellery on the ring finger of your right hand. This, however, will likely be dependent on your cultural background as while the engagement finger is typically worn on the left hand, certain cultures prefer the right hand. In countries like India, Russia, Norway, Spain, Germany and Serbia, it is customary for couples to wear bridal jewellery on their right hand because the left hand is considered “unclean” in some cultures and is occasionally associated with dark magic in others. So, regardless of the reason you and your partner are choosing to wear promise rings, the hand and finger you choose to wear it on should be based on what feels right in your mind and is completely up to you.
Do Men Wear Promise Rings?
We know that there are an increasing amount of guys sporting men’s engagement rings, but what about promise rings?
The answer is an overwhelming yes, and it is something that is not as recent as people may think.
Prior to same-sex marriage becoming recognised by law in many parts of the world, many couples would take part in commitment ceremonies that would celebrate their partnership and love for one another. These ceremonies may not have involved the signing of any paperwork but the sentiment behind these two different unions remains the same. As a result, many couples would exchange promise rings with the understanding that they would one day make their union legally binding when it was eventually recognised.
However, this is not to say that the tradition of men wearing promise rings is limited to same sex couples. Much like how both partners adorn wedding rings upon becoming engaged, couples will also do the same with promise rings-even to the point that they are gifting each other promise rings. Prior to his ill-fated marriage to singer Miley Cyrus in 2018, Aussie actor Liam Hemsworth famously sported a plain white gold ring on his wedding finger. While many people at the time assumed that the couple had secretly tied the knot, representatives for the couple revealed that they had actually given each other the promise rings to signify their dedication to one another. This essentially proves that essentially one can rock a promise ring if they choose to.