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Promise ring vs engagement ring

on June 08, 2023

Engagement rings and promise rings are very similar in their overall symbolism: Expressing commitment between two people. The detail lies in the fact that "engagement" can mean many things depending on the context.

Promise ring vs engagement ring


Despite all the similarities, both pieces of jewelry are worn and given at different stages of a relationship, so they mean different things. It is important to know how to differentiate between the two, as the last thing you need is to give mixed messages to your partner.

If you are thinking of sharing a gesture of love with a special person and you don't know if a promise or engagement ring is ideal, stay a little longer, together we will discover the perfect answer.

Meaning of a promise ring

Promise rings symbolize a feeling of commitment and bonding. In this sense, unlike an engagement ring, a promise ring can mean anything the person who gives it as a gift wishes.

This type of ring is completely open to interpretation and can be used between couples, family members and even very close friends.

Among the most popular reasons why someone gives a promise ring as a gift are:



These jewels can represent the physical form of the wearer's or the couple's personal values, such as a religious commitment that binds them together, a special brotherhood, or more abstract elements such as a family heirloom. They translate into a value that two people share.



You can share a promise ring as a way to make good wishes to a special person and to keep them present in your mind while wearing the jewelry. Such as good fortune and protection.


Individual pledges

A promise ring is the perfect way to create reminders of a personal commitment you wish to emphasize to a partner.

A personal commitment can be: to always strive to keep the flame of love alive between two people, that you will take care of yourself every time you leave for work, or that you are committed to abandoning a behavior that has hurt you in the past.



One of the most popular reasons for giving promise rings is to express fidelity and chastity in a relationship, that even though it has not yet reached engagement or marriage, it is serious, stable and unique for both of you.



What better way to implement a promise ring than to make an oath to your special someone? This type of ring can be the perfect reminder of any commitment you wish to make to another person.


Meaning of an engagement ring

Engagement rings leave very little to the imagination. This jewelry is given at the time of the marriage proposal with the clear intention of initiating wedding preparations in the near future and definitively sealing a life together.


Traditionally, engagement rings were exclusive pieces for women who received them from their suitor (with prior agreement with the family) as a way to show their economic capabilities to support a family.

Today, these gender stereotypes have been erased and engagement rings have a more symbolic role of love and romance. In some cases, both partners choose to wear them as a token of their happy commitment to the future wedding and their upcoming life together.


Difference promise ring vs engagement ring

Now that we understand the general concepts... Can we say that promise ring is the same as engagement ring?

No. Both rings have big differences in design, meaning, intention with which they are given and the right time to do it. To understand much better the difference between both models, let's consider the following.


The Intention

One of the biggest differences between engagement vs promise rings is the intention with which they are given to the couple. Promise rings have an open-ended meaning that can even be shared among family and friends and do not necessarily represent a desire to get married soon.

An engagement ring is a clear wedding proposal and expresses the desire for marriage.



Marriage proposals that accompany engagement rings are often particularly elaborate moments that require a great deal of planning and there are usually high expectations attached to them.

Promise rings, while highly symbolic and romantic, are geared towards commemorative moments such as an anniversary, a special birthday, a temporary farewell, a long-distance love or a desire to express significant affection without being interpreted as synonymous with traditional marriage.


The style

Although there are nowadays very varied catalogs of engagement rings for all tastes, the most popular models are the classic jewelry with central solitaire diamond or with some small additional diamond inlays, on a white or silver metal band.

Promise rings usually have precious gems and personalized styles such as the Eternity, for example, which symbolize love that knows no limits and their setting allows the incorporation of birthstones or colorful designs according to the personality of the wearer.

Some promise rings can be very similar to a wedding band: simple metal bands with few inlays. It all depends on what you want to convey.


Promise ring vs Engagement ring vs Wedding ring?

In a fairly broad general sense, the "engagement" chain of the most usual rings between the couple start with a promise ring, which can be a wonderful birthday surprise or a nice way to express a serious relationship, but not on the verge of a wedding.

It is followed by the engagement ring, which symbolizes the desire to enter into a firm commitment to marry and live together with your ideal person. Finally, the wedding ring expresses a consummated and stable relationship. Thus a world of possibilities separates the wedding ring vs promise ring.


They are still a proposal

Although there are many elements to consider in the promise ring vs proposal ring, it is important to keep in mind that both are solid symbols of the affection that exists between two people.

If you have made it to the end of this guide, you will certainly know how to recognize well between the two models in the future, but don't forget to emphasize to your partner the meaning or intention behind the jewelry when you give it to them as a gift.

If you need a couple of good ideas on what to say when giving a promise ring that has great meaning and helps make that moment a really special and memorable one, perhaps you should check out this guide we've made to help you on your way: What to say when giving a promise ring


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