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What Is A Promise Ring?

When it comes to love, there are few gifts quite as sentimental or as rich in symbolism as the exchanging of rings.

Engagement and wedding rings are nothing new. For hundreds of years, couples have used engagement rings to symbolise their commitment to one another and their intentions to share the rest of their lives together.

However, whilst the sentiment behind engagement rings has remained the same throughout history, relationships and proposals have certainly changed. The dating – or ‘courting’ – stages of relationships were once commonly much shorter, with couples often becoming married or at least engaged within just a few years.

In today’s dating landscape, this is somewhat rare. Modern couples are more likely to spend several years together, often sharing homes, pets and children before making the decision to get married.

Whilst such meaningful commitments are certainly clear in communicating a couple’s love for one another, it’s undeniable that there’s something uniquely romantic about showing your affection for a loved one with the giving of rings.

Perhaps this is why the popularity of promise rings has soared in recent years…

What is a promise ring?

Promise rings are given as a sign of commitment between couples who share a deep love for one another but aren’t quite ready to become engaged or married just yet.

It’s thought that promise rings were first exchanged between couples as early as 1576, though they weren’t widely used until the 20th century.

Since then, they’ve become a popular way to show your partner that you want to build a life with them. In the same way that getting engaged is a precursor to marriage, the gifting of promise rings symbolises a couple’s intentions to get engaged in the future.

While engagement rings are generally given to only one half of a couple, promise rings are often worn by both parties.

Promise rings differ from engagement rings and wedding bands in many ways, including appearance.

Whilst engagement rings and wedding bands are often associated with a number of aesthetic characteristics – engagement rings set with diamonds, simple wedding bands with only subtle design details – there are really no established expectations for the way a promise ring should look.

They can be crafted using any metal, feature any motifs and may be set with multiple gemstones or none at all. There are also no expectations that both partners’ rings should look the same, rather they are chosen based on personal preference.

So, what should you look for in a promise ring if you’re choosing one for your own partner?

Promise ring ideas

There is no shortage of gemstones and designs that are seen to represent love and romance, making them perfect for use in promise rings.

While diamonds are, of course, a popular choice when selecting a ring for a partner, they are a less common feature of promise rings due to their significance and popularity in engagement rings. However, this is a matter of personal preference – a cut diamond is a stunning addition to any promise ring.

Promise rings more commonly feature an alternative gemstone. Moonstone, rose quartz and lapis lazuli are all famous symbols of love, making them a great choice for use in promise rings. There are plenty of other gemstones with similar connotations, so be sure to take a look through our own round-up of gemstones associated with love for further inspiration.

Other popular design features within promise rings include motifs and patterns associated with love, such as hearts and doves.

The shape of the ring may be selected due to its romantic connotations, too. Crossover rings are a popular choice, as the shape of the two gemstones meeting at the centre of the piece often resembles the common symbol for infinity, a popular symbol for everlasting love.

However, there really are no rules – the only important factors to consider in the design of promise rings are the features that you or your partner likes the most.

Finally, antique rings make fantastic promise rings. Every vintage ring comes with its own story and rich history – why not write yourself and your partner into this history by selecting an antique promise ring

Promise rings at Gatsby Jewellery

With so many design possibilities to consider, the Gatsby Jewellery collection contains an abundance of beautiful pieces that are perfect for giving your loved one as a promise ring.

The design of this stunning Art Nouveau pearl & diamond crossover ring makes it a beautiful symbol of everlasting love, with its ornate design incorporating several stunning stones and a lustrous pearl at its centre.

If you’d like to select a ring based on the significance of its gemstone, this moonstone and diamond trilogy ring is a stunning choice. One of the gemstones most famously associated with love, the central moonstone is complemented beautifully by two diamonds and a slender gold band.

Finally, there are few symbols of romance quite as iconic as a heart, making the motifs featured within this mid-century old cut diamond engagement ring particularly appropriate. While an engagement ring and promise ring are, of course, different in their meaning, there’s no reason why this piece couldn’t be beautifully utilised as a promise ring.

Discover our collection

Each and every ring available with Gatsby Jewellery has been crafted and collected with love.

If you find yourself searching for a promise ring, we feel that our extensive collection of antique rings contains something perfect for everybody, whatever the stone, metal or design that you desire.

For more information or to arrange a viewing appointment for any piece on the site, get in touch today.