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Promise Rings

Jewelry, with its many symbolizations and meanings, has been around for millennia, and aesthetic adornment is just as quintessential a human art form as music, painting, or writing. For every occasion, for every intent, there is a piece of jewelry to match. Promise rings are one such example.

What Is a Promise Ring?
Promise rings are known by a variety of names: "commitment rings" , "pre-engagement rings" and others. The meaning behind all the names, however, reveal the same intent.  While the exact definition of a promise ring may vary between couples, the rings are widely used as a symbol of commitment. At its core, a promise ring signifies a partner's love and commitment to the relationship. It is a pledge of devotion to a single individual: a person’s partner. 

Promise rings do not necessarily precede marriage, though many partners who gift each other with promise rings are later married and/or happily cohabit. Certainly, a promise ring may be a promise of marriage, received before a formal proposal is made. It may also simply be used a sign of commitment, no strings attached. Others use promise rings as an officiator -with a physical symbol of the relationship shown to the outside world, the relationship between a couple becomes more than 'just dating'. Promise rings, in short, take many meanings. The beauty of promise rings is that they can be whatever you want them to be. 

The History Behind Promise Rings

Rings have always carried a rich history in human culture. In fact, in Ancient Greece, the very purpose of a finger ring tied into the idea of a promise, and keeping something constantly on one’s mind (the finger being a very apparent place). Not surprisingly, promise rings in the form we know them today hark back centuries, when the dance of courtship was significantly more laborious and complex than it is today. In Ancient Rome, betrothal rings, featuring the engraved names of the betrothed couple, were popular. Promise rings, then known as "posy rings" , were also a feature of 16th century England, when they were engraved with romantic poems and given as a promise of love. Acrostic rings, featuring words spelled out in gemstones, saw great appreciation in the Georgian and Victorian eras. It is only in the past few decades, however, that promise rings carry their modern-day name. 

Promise Ring Etiquette

A promise ring does not carry the same weight as an engagement ring or wedding ring, but, all the same, it should not be taken lightly. A promise ring should be gifted only to a dedicated partner, after a couple has been in a relationship for a significant period of time. Remember, a promise ring is meant to show how serious you are about the relationship. Its power is only as strong as your intent, and regardless of what qualities you ascribe to it, your promise ring should not be given on a whim. 

Styles for Promise Rings

As promise rings mean something to every individual, they vary widely by style and design, too. When it comes to promise rings, anything goes. From simple, subtle themes, to popular "intertwined" designs, there are promise rings to suit every taste.

If engagement is your eventual intention, you would be well advised against choosing a promise ring style that is too similar to an engagement ring. After all, both rings serve a specific purpose, and you don't want the rings to look the same, or, indeed, even similar. 

Lastly, keep in mind that a promise ring shouldn't break your wallet. While high quality promise rings are available at very reasonable price points, there is no need to spend lavish amounts on a simple ring. Given that most people purchasing promise rings are younger, promise rings tend to be reasonably priced, anyway. After all, they are supposed to be a symbolic, not a financial, commitment. 
Promise Rings vs. Purity Rings 

Promise rings are distinct from purity rings. While both represent loyalty and fidelity to a concept, promise rings are given as a token of promise within the context of a romantic relationship. They are meant as a symbol between two people in love, and are given by one partner to another.

Purity rings, on the other hand, symbolize abstinence. They are either purchased for oneself or given to a child by a parent. Purity rings are particularly popular among religious communities, but provided that the means to the end - in this case, abstinence - are the same, anyone can use them - regardless of the cause. 
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