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Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard of wedding rings and engagement rings. Actually, even if you have been living under a rock, it would be hard to get to far in life without coming across these very special rings. You might even be aware of some of the mythology and guidelines surrounding these rings. For example, engagement rings typically have diamonds and many people believe they should cost about two months salary. You might also know that rings are a symbol of continuity or infinity, meaning that this relationship will last forever. But promise rings are in an entirely different camp.
A lot of people have never heard of promise rings. In addition, many people go from a single to relationship to engaged to married without ever stopping off to pick up a promise ring. So, if a lot of people are skipping promise rings altogether, do you really need to get one? Read on, and decide for yourself.
What are promise rings?
While you might think that promise rings are an invention of today’s youth, this is simply not the case. They have actually been around in one form or another since the 16th century. Promise rings are a public symbol of a monogamous relationship. Sometimes they represent a promise that the couple’s love will last forever. Other times, they are given as a promise of future engagement when a couple is in love but not yet ready to be engaged. It could be that the couple is too young or that they will not be at the right life stage for engagement for many years to come. Perhaps the couple is still in high school or has a few years left of college. Or they have some other personal or financial goals to achieve before settling down and building a life together.
While promise rings do not come along with the same level of commitment as wedding rings or engagement rings, you should not take them lightly either. You might look at promise rings as something of a precursor to an engagement. They are intended for couples that are in a serious relationship and have been together for a good length of time (generally at least a year). If you have not yet reached this stage, there are still plenty of jewelry options for you to give that do not signal the same intention as a promise ring. For example, some necklaces can be worn virtually every day and are just as public and visible of a symbol as rings. Bracelets and earrings make great gifts as well. In fact, it is very hard to go wrong with jewelry provided that you keep the recipient’s taste in mind.
Some things to consider when shopping for promise rings
Wedding rings and engagement rings are meant to be worn on the ring finger of a person’s left hand. These days, this seems like just one of those traditions that no one really questions. However, there is actually some logic behind this tradition. There is a vein that travels from the left ring finger directly to the heart. So, this is the perfect finger to choose for a ring that symbolizes the love between two people. Promise rings may be worn on this finger as well. However, people often choose to wear promise rings on a different finger in order to avoid confusion or inadvertently send the message to the world at large that the couple is engaged. Common choices include the left middle finger or the right ring finger. When you go to buy a ring, this is important to keep in mind as there are ring size implications.
Ok, so engagement rings have diamonds, but what about promise rings? There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to promise rings, which leaves plenty of room for personal style or meaning. Some people choose to get a ring with their love’s birthstone as a personal touch. Other people like to get rings with a heart design, a timeless symbol of love. Claddagh rings can be a great choice, particularly for the Irish, with the hands symbolizing friendship, the crown symbolizing loyalty, and the heart symbolizing love. Inscribing promise rings with romantic messages is a good idea as well.
In terms of price, there is no reason to break the bank on a promise ring. There is no expectation that these cost two months salary or anything close to what an engagement ring would cost. Instead, think about how much you would spend on a nice piece of jewelry that you would give as a birthday or Valentine’s Day gift as a frame of reference.