Everyone knows that June is the most popular month of the year for weddings. But did you know that long before the big day, and before the engagement, many couples are exchanging promise rings to signify their commitment? Often called a pre-engagement ring or a commitment ring, the promise ring is fast becoming a popular pre-matrimonial trend.
According to wedding authority The Knot, the rise of the promise ring has paralleled the growing trend for couples to live together or marry later in life. These decisions are personal, and unique to each couple. As such, the definition of a promise ring varies; it means different things to different people.
What is a Promise Ring?
While the promise ring may defy a strict definition, it is widely believed to be a symbol of a romantic commitment. Most couples use the promise ring as a formal pre-engagement ring, while some simply let it signify their devotion to one another.
Many people confuse a promise ring with a purity ring, an altogether different concept. In 2008, widespread publicity ensued when the Jonas Brothers announced that their rings symbolized a promise that they would remain chaste until their weddings. A ring given in a pledge of abstinence is called a purity ring. A promise ring is typically given to celebrate a relationship.
An Age-Old Tradition
The Knot reports that the promise ring tradition dates back many centuries. Posy (also spelled posey, poesy and posie) rings engraved with romantic poetry were widely exchanged in the Middle Ages. Acrostic rings, which feature words such as “Love” and “Regard” spelled in gemstones, were popular in the Georgian and Victorian eras.
Since the 1940s, school rings and class rings have been exchanged between men and women to signify they are “going steady.” Typically, a young woman might wear her boyfriend’s class ring wrapped with tape to fit her smaller ring finger, or on a chain around her neck.
It is only in the last 10 to 15 years that promise rings have gone mainstream — especially among Millennials. For some couples, the reasons may be a matter of economics. An engagement ring, a wedding, a honeymoon, and a mortgage all entail a big financial sacrifice, so many couples are postponing these events while they build their savings accounts or pay back student loans.
Promise Ring Styles
Promise rings come in many shapes and styles; there are really no hard-and-fast rules. Common themes for women and men include intertwined hearts and knots, Claddagh rings, and eternity bands.
So as not to compete or be confused with an actual engagement ring, a promise ring is likely to be more casual or feature a smaller stone than an engagement ring. As for price, promise rings at fine jewelers and on e-commerce sites usually cost significantly less than their corresponding selections of engagement rings.
Do you or any of your friends wear a promise ring? Please tell OBJ in the Comments section below.
Source: The Knot