Which Finger Does a Promise Ring Go On?

man and woman holding hands and looking at each other rocky landscape

Between promise rings, purity rings, commitment rings and pre-engagement rings, the confusion around what a promise ring means is totally understandable. What’s the purpose of a promise ring? Which finger does it go on? Are they just for women, or are there promise rings for men, too? Promise rings often symbolize love, worn on any finger, it represents a couple’s commitment to their relationship. Let’s learn about promise rings, their meaning, history and how to give one. 

What Is a Promise Ring?

Promise rings are given for many different reasons and can have any number of recipients and wearers. Essentially, it’s a ring that signifies or symbolizes a promise. It can be exchanged between couples or best friends, it can serve as a common symbol for a group of people with a particular affiliation or a cause, and you can even gift yourself one as a reminder of a promise you made to yourself, i.e to stop smoking or drinking, or a push to achieve a goal. The meaning of a promise ring in a relationship is unique to each couple, while they’re not engagement rings, they can signify a future engagement, a general symbol of devotion to one another, or they can serve as placeholder rings when a couple is waiting on marriage or as mementos when a couple is apart due to geographic distance.

From posy rings inscribed with romantic poems to Acrostic rings spelling out a word in gemstones, trinkets of love and devotion have been around for centuries. In the Late Middle Ages, men gave posy rings as tokens of love to their romantic interests. Posy rings from poésie, French for poetry or poem, were often inscribed with romantic phrases such as, “united hearts, death only parts” or “love conquers all things.” Choosing an apt inscription reflected on the giver’s literary giftedness or education. A more elaborate type of promise ring, the acrostic ring became popular during the Georgian and Victorian eras. These rings were set with gemstones and the first letter of the name of each gemstone spelled out a secret message. For example, putting lapis, opal, verdelite tourmaline, and emerald together on a ring spelled out “love.”

Although a promise ring may point towards an engagement, they shouldn’t be treated lightly and you should only give or wear one when you’re ready for the commitment. When giving or exchanging promise rings, couples will often talk about what their relationship means to them in the present and what the ring promises for the future. Promise rings are often given as a birthday, Valentine’s Day or holiday gift and unlike often elaborately planned engagement proposals, this exchange is more of a conversation about the meaning and the promise that’s being made. Promise rings should also not be confused with purity rings, which are self-purchased or given by parents to children to encourage abstinence before marriage.

How to Wear a Promise Ring?

Which finger or even which hand you wear your promise ring on is entirely up to you. A common way to wear a promise ring is on the ring finger of your left hand if you’re not married, and on your right hand if you are. The reason they’re typically worn on the ring finger of the left hand comes from an ancient superstition (that’s unfortunately not anatomically correct) that there’s a vein that runs directly from that finger to the heart. Couples who marry will often switch their promise ring from their left hand to their right hand after their wedding, and some wear their promise ring on a chain around their neck. The important part is the commitment that a couple is making to each other, not what finger the ring is worn on.

In terms of style, anything goes when it comes to promise rings, although simplicity is key as most don’t want them to be mistaken for engagement rings. Rings with heart-motifs, love knots, infinity symbols, engravings of names and fingerprints, and roman numerals are popular designs. Claddagh rings, fede rings, eternity bands, and simple diamond jewelry are also popular choices. Couples who intend to marry one day can buy simple promise rings that can double as wedding bands later on, or buy stackable promise rings that can be incorporated into a wedding set. Promise rings can be made of any metal and incorporate any gemstone. When choosing a gemstone, consider birthstones for added meaning and a splash of color.

When you hear “promise ring,” you might immediately think of a man giving one to a woman, but guy promise rings are quite common. Some couples give promise rings to each other, other times one person will give their partner a ring as a pledge of their commitment and demonstrate how much they value the relationship. The point is, anyone can give or wear a promise ring. Browse a gallery of rings for inspiration here

If you are looking for a momentous way of expressing your love and commitment to yourself or someone else, The Diamond Reserve can help you find the perfect ring. Please give us a call at 303-385-8449 or click here to schedule your appointment!