The world of rings is confusing at the best of times, but it gets even more bewildering when you’re trying to work out the difference between a promise ring and an engagement ring.
Not only that, but if you’re planning to buy one for your partner, is it just women who wear them or men too? Which finger is a promise ring meant to go on – the same as the engagement? And how much are you meant to spend?
Before you have a breakdown in the nearest jewellers, we’ve answered all your questions including the promise ring meaning and found you some of the best promise rings for men and women you can buy to inspire you.
If this is a step in your relationship you’re considering, read this first.
- Promise Rings for Her
- Promise Rings for Him
- What is a Promise Ring?
- What Does a Promise Ring Mean?
- Why Give a Promise Ring?
- What Finger Does a Promise Ring Go On?
Promise Rings for Her
1. Diamond Heart Promise Ring – from £300, Angara
This diamond heart ring is a really romantic choice - at the centre of the promise ring is a dainty open heart frame that sits a sparkling round diamond. It is flanked by a double band that features glittering accents so it'll sparkle and shine from all angles. Free engravings are available and if you are unsure on your partner's ring size you'll get one free re-sizing. Choose from eight different metal types.
Pros & Cons: We love how Angara rings can be customised to suit all budgets - prices vary depending on metal type, diamond carat and gemstone quality. The heart design is perfect for couples who love the sentimental stuff.
2. Hidden Lotus Diamond Ring – from £540, Brilliant Earth
If you want something a little more special than a plain band, this diamond ring from Brilliant Earth has a beautiful twist to it - hidden on the inside of the band is a diamond set in a lotus shape. Choose from 18K yellow gold, white gold, 14K rose gold or platinum.
Pros & Cons: You won't be able to see the diamond when it is being worn which is ideal for those who love simple designs without sparkle. The rounded edge means it'll be comfortable to wear everyday.
3. Clear Three-Stone Ring – £55, Pandora
This Pandora ring is timelessly elegant. Crafted in sterling silver with a trio of brilliant-cut cubic zirconia, it gives you the same glitter and glisten as a ring ten times its price. It would look great stacked with your other rings and you can choose from plated rose gold or sterling silver. See even more zirconia proposal ring designs.
Pros & Cons: The metal is blended but it makes this Pandora promise ring super affordable and excellent value for money. Reviews state that this style is very sparkly.
4. Garnet Claddagh Ring – from £126.32, Etsy
Claddagh rings are traditional Irish tokens of love with the heart, crown and hands symbolising love, loyalty and friendship. This vintage Claddagh ring is set with a gorgeous garnet at its heart. Fiery-red garnet is a stone of strength and safety, used to symbolise commitment, warmth, understanding, trust and honesty. It can be crafted from sterling silver, rose, white or yellow gold.
Pros & Cons: This promise ring is dipped in rhodium to prevent discolouring and tarnish. It is a rare find so if you fall in love with it, buy it quick!
5. Rose Quartz Pink Ring – £179, Thomas Sabo
The epitome of elegance, rose quartz takes centre stage in this rose gold and pave diamond ring by Thomas Sabo. Rose quartz is the most famous love stone, known for attracting and building unconditional love so it’s ideal in a promise ring. It comes with matching jewellery packaging.
Pros & Cons: The warm rose gold band matches rose quartz beautifully. It is a glamourous and pretty design which is perfect for those who like feminine styles.
6. Promise Me 14k Gold Twig Band Diamond Ring – £489, Chupi
Aptly named 'Promise Me', this 14K band ring by Chupi has such a beautiful meaning to it. Inspired by A. A. Milne's “Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think,” it is designed to easily fit into any wardrobe for everyday wear. Available in 14K gold or white gold.
Sizing: US5-8 or custom
Pros & Cons: The unique twig band is a great pick for nature-loving couples. Be careful that the delicate band details don't catch on your clothing.
7. Infinity Promise Ring – £48, Etsy
The infinity symbol has deep spiritual meaning: eternity; everlasting love; duality; empowerment; limitlessness. It’s dynamic and full of potential – exactly as your relationship is, so what could be better than immortalising it! This sterling silver ring is presented in a leather-style ring box which compliments it perfectly.
Pros & Cons: It is light weight which makes for a comfortable fit. As it is handmade, each promise ring will be completely unique to the next.
8. 18ct Gold Gemstone Rings – £25, Holly Blake
Diamonds might be the go-to choice for engagement rings but don’t be afraid of colour with promise rings. With this 18ct gold vermeil design, Choose from your choice of gemstone depending on your partner’s favourite colour or the meaning behind them. Moonstone, for example, is said to intensify passion in a relationship.
Sizing: Small / Medium
Pros Cons: There is the option to have your promise ring gift wrapped and arrive with a message card which is a lovely touch. There is only one metal choice but brushed gold goes with all gemstone colours. The sizing is a little bit limited.
9. Simple Silver Stacking Promise Ring – £16, Etsy
The perfect ring doesn’t have to come with bells and whistles – just a meaningful promise. This delicate, entwined sterling silver ring is made to wear everyday and can be easily stacked and incorporated into the rest of your daily jewellery.
Pros & Cons: As the sizing is adjustable, it's a great option if you aren't sure on your partner's ring size and don't want to ask and give the game away. The simple design will suit all styles.
READ MORE: 35 Dazzling Emerald Engagement Rings
10. North Star Tiny Signet Ring – £489, Chupi
The North Star signet ring, handcrafted in Chupi’s Dublin studio, is a beautiful, glittering gift. With a tiny sparkling diamond at its centre, it’s a promise to love someone more than all the stars in the sky. It’s also available in white gold too for those who love cooler metals. As with all Chupi jewellery, it comes beautifully wrapped, making it an extra special gift.
Sizing: J-P / Custom
Pros & Cons: The custom sizing option means it'll fit like a glove. It has limited stock so we recommend nabbing this one pronto! It's solid gold, so it looks beautiful, but take care not to scratch it.
11. Pearl Eternity Ring – £295, Edge of Ember
You’ll treasure this ring forever, featuring cute freshwater pearls and a slim silver band. It’s full of charm, goes with everything and you’ll never want to stop staring at it. Traditional and stylish, if your partner is always on top of fashion trends, they'll adore this promise ring.
Pros & Cons: It is one of the more expensive options as the band is dainty but it is crafted from 14K solid gold so it'll last a lifetime. All products come with a one year warranty.
12. Two Sparkling Hearts Ring – £55, Pandora
Two entwined hearts make this ring the ultimate symbol of love. It’s an incredibly romantic ring to receive and the rows of stones on the band are truly eye-catching. We love the idea of giving this to your partner during a date night.
Pros & Cons: As with all Pandora promise rings, this is a brilliantly affordable buy. There is the option to send this promise ring as an e-gift so the recipient can choose their sizing.
Promise Rings for Men
13. Gold Signet Ring – £71.49, JAXXON
JAXXON sells stylish men's rings at an affordable price - take their bestselling signet ring. It's a contemporary twist on this classic style, featuring tapered edges and a levelled top. It is finished with a fine brush to create a distinctive, satin-textured feel and look.
Pros & Cons: This promise ring can be engraved to add your own personal element. It'll be a statement feature on your partner's finger as the band is thick.
14. Diamond Love Knot Band – £995, Thomas Sabo
With no beginning and no end, the love knot is a symbol of eternal love in Chinese culture. Here, a delicate 18k yellow gold cord wraps around a black diamond-embellished band. It’s the perfect symbol of your love and would also make a stunning men's engagement ring.
Pros & Cons: Black diamonds are an unusual pick and are very popular with couples looking for something with edge. It'll stand out from the crowd amongst your partner's other rings.
15. Gemini Personalised Rose Gold and Silver Promise Ring – £49.98, Amazon
Made from durable titanium, this ring is lightweight, comfortable and will last your partner a lifetime. It can be engraved for free with up to 40 characters and we love the combination of the two-tone rose gold and silver if you can't decide which metal to go for.
Pros & Cons: Available on Amazon, it's a great option if you have left buying your promise ring until the last minute and need fast delivery. Reviews comment that it is slim-fitting.
16. Unisex Sterling Silver Promise Ring – from £31.99, Amazon
Made from solid sterling silver, this ring is incredible value. If you want to wear matching, simple promise rings, you can’t do better than this one. They are available in widths from 2 to 9mm so you can go thinner or chunkier depending on your preferred style. It has over 700 rave reviews!
Pros & Cons: If your partner doesn't typically wear rings, this is a great pick as it is simple and minimalistic.
17. Tom Wood Viking 9kt Gold Ring – £545, Mr Porter
Mr Porter is an amazing place to go for unique men’s rings. We love this Tom Wood ring, engraved with the markings Vikings used to value each piece of jewellery when they traded. These ones mean it’s a very valuable piece of jewellery – as you’d expect for a promise ring.
Pros & Cons: You might have to explain this promise ring meaning to your partner, but once you do it'll be seriously sentimental. Add it to your basket immediately while stocks last.
18. Sterling Silver Promise Rings – £57.95, Martha Jackson
This great value sterling silver set of rings is ideal if you both want to wear one. They come in either a plain or hammered finish, in two band widths, and they each be personalised with an engraved vow, name or secret message. They’re perfect for a couple who’d love matching or slightly differently finished rings.
Pros & Cons: The promise rings come in a luxury box, complete with a romantic poem inside. As they are made from sterling silver, keep them shiny with an anti-tarnish cloth.
19. Majestic Crown Ring – from £279, Thomas Sabo
Found the king or queen of your heart? This crown ring speaks volumes about the place this person has in your life. You can get gold and white diamond versions too and free express delivery. The elaborate embellishments are really unique.
Pros & Cons: This statement promise ring is best suited for those who love stand-out jewellery. Black diamonds are a chic and stylish option.
20. 9ct Yellow Gold Patterned Ring – £450, H Samuel
You can go more fun with a promise ring than you might with a wedding ring. That’s why a patterned ring like this H Samuel one is ideal for anyone who hates the idea of something basic. It has a distinctive pattern that you'll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.
Pros & Cons: Despite having no gemstones, this promise ring will glisten and shine. It's an investment piece but it is very high quality and can easily be worn everyday.
21. Pinky Promise Ring – from £12.50, Etsy
If your partner has a cheeky sense of humour, they’ll love this pinky ring. Pinky promises are law, after all! You can get it in aluminium for £12.50 or sterling silver for £30.50 and it can be hand stamped and personalised. Choose from two different playful fonts.
Pros & Cons: Your partner might not want to wear this ring everyday, but it is an adorable idea that is sure to have them smiling. It can be stamped with a design such as a heart, leaf or star.
22. Personalised Constellation Ring – £70, Jessica Greenaway
Inspired by the stories of the Greek gods, each ring is engraved with one of the constellations from each month of the year. If there’s a particular special occasion you want to mark, this ring makes a beautiful and sentimental piece of jewellery.
Pros & Cons: Reviews state that it arrived in well-presented box which makes it perfect for a gift. It has a matte finish so wouldn't be overly shiny if that is your preference.
23. Recycled Oak Wood Promise Ring – £55.22, Etsy
This recycled ring combines a silver core with an oak wood inlay. It’s stylish and incredibly cool and a great option if you want a ring that looks totally different from a future wedding ring. There are five widths available so it can be as understated or statement as you wish.
Pros & Cons: Avoid contact with water and lotions. As it is made from a natural material, the colour and grain of this promise ring may vary.
24. Wilshire Ring – £44.34, JAXXON
Looking for an edgy promise ring? This style is quirky, cool and affordable. The modern design is minimal but still makes a brilliant statement thanks to the dark metal. It can be engraved with a special quote and you can get free express shipping.
Pros & Cons: It is designed to be durable so is a great option for everyday wear. The dark metal might not be to everyone's taste but contemporary couples will adore it.
What is a Promise Ring?
A promise ring is a ring given to the person you’re in a romantic relationship with as a symbol of your love, commitment and devotion. Giving a promise ring usually precedes an engagement and the understanding is the ring will be replaced by an engagement ring when the time is right to propose. It has become popular as an option for couples who don’t want to put a label or timeline on their relationship.
What Does a Promise Ring Mean?
The promise ring meaning is thought to have originated thousands of years ago, all the way back to the start of the Roman Empire when it was given as a symbol of a legally binding betrothal. In 16th and 17th century England, posy rings – where rings were inscribed with words or poems which were religious or often amorous – boomed in popularity. Again, they had a revival during the Victorian and Georgian eras when they were given as a promise of love.
The appeal of a promise ring is that it has no exact meaning. A promise ring is a token of any serious promise you’re making to someone, not just the commitment to marry in the future. They can be used to pledge lasting friendships, given from a parent to a child, or to commit to a goal, like giving up smoking. In the USA, promise rings and purity rings are often wrongly confused, with the latter being a specific promise to God to remain abstinent until marriage (as made popular by the Jonas brothers).
In the case of being given as a pledge of a future engagement, the meaning you give the ring will be incredibly personal to you as a couple. Often only the wearer and the giver know the reason for the promise ring and that can make it a very special gift to share. The most common meaning behind a promise ring is still a tangible symbol of your love and commitment.
Why Give a Promise Ring?
There’s so many reasons why you might give a promise ring to your partner instead of proposing. For example, it can be a gesture that you promise to become engaged when you’re more financially stable, or one of you has returned home from a period working or studying abroad.
With a trend for couples cohabiting and marrying later in life, giving a promise ring is a bigger commitment than just dating if you’re not ready – now or ever – to get engaged.
Which Finger Does a Promise Ring Go On?
A promise ring typically goes on the ring finger on your left hand (the third finger) in the same place an engagement ring would. When the engagement ring comes later, you move the promise ring to the opposite hand.
However, which finger you wear it on is a personal choice. If it’s not linked to a promise of marriage, it’s best to wear it on the right hand to avoid confusion.
Do Men Wear Promise Rings or Just Women?
Anyone, regardless of gender, can wear a promise ring. They demonstrate your commitment to a relationship and the importance you place in it.
How Long Should You Date Before Getting a Promise Ring?
How long you date before getting a promise ring is completely up to the couple. Ultimately, a promise ring shouldn’t be given out lightly as it has a great deal of significance and meaning to it. A minimum of a year of dating is usually considered enough before a promise ring is given, when you know you want a long future with that person.
What’s the Difference Between a Promise Ring and an Engagement Ring?
We’ve been over the difference in meaning, but there’s physical differences too between a promise and engagement ring. A promise ring is given in anticipation of being replaced by an engagement ring so it’s usually much more modest, smaller and subtler.
While some promise rings have a central diamond or gem, it shouldn’t compete with the engagement ring. Think a simple band with stones along it or even a plain band for men. Motifs, like the hands holding a crowned heart on the Claddagh ring, or an infinity symbol, are common.
If you’re looking for the next step too, how about choosing one of these beautiful eternity rings?