What’s a Promise Ring? And How To Wear One?

No, really. What is it? Read our guide on what it means, how to give one, wear one, and honor one.

Promise ring, pre-engagement ring, commitment ring…you say toe-mah-toe, I say toe-may-toe. Whatever you call it, this post-modern pre-engagement trend is on the rise, and we absolutely love the idea. More opportunities to celebrate the love? Count us in!

What’s a promise ring?

A promise ring is just that – a ring that symbolizes a promise, just not THAT promise (as in, marriage). 

The beauty of the promise ring is that its meaning is entirely up to you. Some couples use the promise ring as a pre-engagement ring or as an alternative to the wedding ring (because you may or may not want to get married, but having a beautiful ring anyway; why not, right?). Others use it to signify an important milestone in their relationship or a promise they’ve made together. 

It makes total sense – couples these days might already be living together, happily choosing to marry later in life or not at all. 

So, a token of commitment in the form of a thoughtful ring that was born out of an intimate promise between two loved-up people? Yes, please!

Who should wear A PROMISE RING? 

Anyone who wants to celebrate their union! 

A ring is a symbol of love, and not necessarily marriage.

 We've designed promise rings for couples in long distance relationships, people who are focusing on their careers and delaying engagement, those who choose to not get married, those who’ve been dating since they were high school sweethearts. 

We've even created promise rings for some best friends who made a vow of parenthood; making a promise to become parents together, and with each other, if they don't meet a suitable partner by the time they turn 40.

Where did it come from?

Miley Cyrus. Not. Although she did play a big part in making it so popular.

The promise ring reminds us of the good ol’ American tale of the guy giving his high school sweetheart his class ring. 

But actually, the idea of the promise ring goes way back. Posy rings – engraved with lovely poems – were common in 16th century England. Acrostic rings – spelling out names of loved ones in gemstones – were all the rage in Victorian times. 

The concept of a ring to symbolize love and loyalty dates back to Roman times, when brides-to-be would wear bands around their left ring finger.

What should IT look like?

Whatever your heart desires. We’re not exactly traditional here at Gardens of the Sun, and we’d never tell anyone how their rings should look, but even in mainstream thought, promise rings are a free-for-all. 

The more pragmatic folks out there tend to pick a promise ring with their engagement ring and wedding band in mind (nothing that would clash). 

And some couples see the promise ring as a chance to get creative and make it a fashion piece. 

Bands with a mosaic or a cluster of stones are popular as they signify fruitful years together. 

We think the Hidden Gems, Particles and Soul Searchers collections make great promise rings.

How to wear A PROMISE RING?

Some people wear promise rings on the left ring finger (if not engaged or married), because there’s a vein that runs from that finger straight to the heart. Others wear them on a chain or on their little fingers (pinky promise, get it?). 

How to give A PROMISE RING?

Giving a promise ring would be similar to making someone a promise. 

Do it over a candle-lit dinner, in front of the TV, at a baseball game, while you’re hiking in the desert, through a love letter, on Zoom... 

The point is, each couple expresses their love and enjoys their time together differently, so that should inform the whole process.

The main thing is, there’s no “on bended knee” expectation with the promise ring. It’s whatever floats your love boat.

We love the promise ring because it reminds us to stop, slow down, step back and talk about important and intimate commitments with the person we love. 

Sometimes we get so caught up in the wedding whirlwind that we forget about the most important thing: the true promise we make to each other.

What would be a good promise ring, you ask? Here are some from our jewelry drawer; our little gems and tokens to keep your promises in place.

For the person you've known since forever

She’s fossilized underneath fluorescent lights. Like opal, she dances with light. This opal ring is for those who love good stories. 

Sitting neatly in line are fossil opals from Australia, known to be found among ancient bones. Just like this ring, your love knows no expiration date.

For the elegant, old school soul

She’s dainty and smart, a collection of deep-sea wisdom and ancient tales. Pearl is the oldest gemstone known to humans, and comes with legends galore. This ring doesn’t need to make bold statements, because her gentleness already speaks volumes. 

For the spiritual lovers

This is the ultimate ring to keep your seven chakras in sync. With one color representing each chakra, this is a token for a safe spiritual journey within. Use this as a promise ring to keep your spiritual worlds close to your hearts.

For the tree huggers and adventurers

She’s a cocktail of happy thoughts and wise musings. Iridescent and patterned like dancing light on the sea bed, the larimar cabochon is an ocean of calm for you to tap into. This ring is perfect for tree huggers and nature lovers, champs at living in the moment.

For the vibrant, passionate ones

Rough and far from perfect. She knows this well, and so do you. 

This ring doesn’t need all that brilliance to stand out from the crowd. Juicy and sweet, this deep-pink ruby is a star in her own show.

For the urban hippie

Unique chunks of seafoam emeralds from the Panjshir mines in Afghanistan are the showstopper centerpieces in this quirky silver ring. One half hippie, one half city chic, and all around stunner. This will make a stunning promise ring for the adventurous soul who loves to experiment with styles. 

For the fierce and feminine

This promise ring is for the fierce and the feminine. For those who can carry these two energies with ease. A pair of ruby and sapphire, these two are the strongest contenders for tough gemstones after the diamond. It’s the ring for those who aren’t in a rush, because they want their love to grow to its full bloom. 

For the balance-seeker

She can be all glitz and glamour or wrapped cozy in her pajamas on a Saturday morning. This ring is perfect for those searching for that sweet balance, so their love lives can land safely at home.

For those who've been through a lot

She doesn’t need all the sparkly diamonds. She lets herself just be

Side by side, these two stones are like twins with their own unique destinies. Each stone a variety of different diamonds, this ring symbolizes a love that's survived many ups and downs. 

Like special treatment?