When the phrase ‘promise ring’ is uttered, what do you think of? An old emo song you loved in your teens? A cartoon involving pink unicorns fighting crime? Broken pledges, rather than kept ones? Whatever your response, it’s unlikely that it’ll be recognition. It may, indeed, take a little time to work out what one is, and you’d certainly be forgiven for questioning the difference between a promise and engagement ring. Since one of the most common reasons of giving one is with the intent of getting married, then the confusion with a proposal is understandable.

But, there is more to these two words than just crippling confusion. Yep, the wonderful thing about promise rings is that one can mean whatever you want it to mean. Unlike an engagement ring that has one symbolic purpose, a promise ring can be given for many reasons, conveying a meaningful significance to the wearer, and only to that wearer. With an increasing amount of specialist stores offering a wide range of promise rings in UK, we thought we’d dig deeper. So, here are 6 IDEAL reasons to give a promise ring to someone you love.

AS A TOKEN OF LOVE

If you’ve ever watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you’ll remember the episode when Angel gave Buffy a Claddagh ring, depicting two clasped hands holding a heart (see above pic). To paraphrase, what he told one of the most loved teen heroines of our time is that the Irish exchange these rings as a sign of devotion. The hands represents friendship, the crown represents loyalty, and the heart… well, you know. If you wear it with the heart pointing towards you, it means you belong to somebody. Indeed, the ring represents a visual sign of love or friendship and serves as a warm reminder of commitment – pretty special, don’t you think?

TO YOUR BEST FRIEND

Speaking of friendship, promise rings aren’t just worn by romantic couples. Friends also share promise rings, for many reasons. It can be to celebrate a long-standing relationship and a promise to always support them and be good and fair to each other, through tough times and hard, even if busy lives get in the way. Ok, we know that sounds kind of like wedding vows – corny, even – so instead think of a promise ring as one of those braided colour bracelets you used to make your BFF as a kid, but a grownup kind. 

AS A PRECURSOR TO AN ENGAGEMENT

Promise rings are often called “pre-engagement” rings,  given as a ‘promise’ of marriage, sometime, somewhere down the road. However, even if you don’t end up actually getting married, a promise ring is a symbol that you are committed to your partner and have eyes for no one else at that moment in time. Now that’s a romantic gesture, if ever we saw one.

BECAUSE YOU DON’T WANT TO GET MARRIED

Have you ever questioned if marriage even makes sense anymore? You’re not alone. Western women no longer live in a patriarchal society, and thank god (a female version) for that.  As such, marriage is waning in popularity in contemporary culture and many millennials are deciding not to tie the knot. That said, sometimes it’s nice to have a symbol of commitment. Indeed, if you’re in a longterm, monogamous, cohabiting couple, then a little token of  loyalty and faithfulness is a whole lot cheaper and less stressful than having a wedding to affirm the same ideas.

TO RESTORE HOPE & FAITH IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP

Hope, faith, chastity (no, wait; the last one is the wrong type of ring). Jokes aside, a promise ring can act as an apology and a promise to never do something again, therefore becoming a symbol of hope and faith in a relationship. Perhaps your partner, husband or wife has done your wrong and you’ve been arguing.  A promise ring can be a sign of commitment between two people to show intent to right a wrong or make an effort to listen to each other instead of argue.

As previously mentioned, there is no particular type of ring you should give as a promise ring, however you could consider personalising the ring. For example, if you’ve just promised to try and listen to each other more, then consider a ring with an aquamarine gemstone, which symbolises courage and communication. Or perhaps you’ve pledged to help out with the chores more, maybe do some more cooking, or clean the house more frequently? If this is the case, then stores like Perkin Knives have an amazing collection of promise rings made from Damascus steel, the same material used to make knives – of which you’ll be picking up more of in the kitchen too, of course.

TO MAKE A PROMISE

Exchanging promise rings can equally be a symbol of a joint commitment which is not related to love – emphasis on the word promise. Life is full of promises, some are routine like looking after your friend’s pet when they go on holiday and some are more cherished, like becoming someones Godmother. It’s for these cherished promises where such a ring is often exchanged.