Promise Ring vs. Engagement Ring

Posted on Friday, November 1st, 2019 at 11:31 am by Morgan

While less of a cultural tradition than engagement rings, promise rings have been growing in popularity over the past decade. In some social circles, promise rings are both common and expected elements of the courtship process for young couples.

So what is the significance of a promise ring, and how is it different from an engagement ring?

The Purpose of an Engagement Ring

Engagement rings have been around for ages, but only in the past century has the classic diamond engagement ring become a standard part of engagement in western civilization. Historically, symbols of betrothal varied by culture and social class, and there was no universal standard as we have today.

In the United States, engagement rings are typically worn by women to symbolize the following:


  • The love the couple shares
  • Their "off-the-market" status
  • Their commitment to their partner


Engagement rings also tend to be major investments, with the average cost of a diamond engagement ring now over $6,000. But that is a price many couples are willing to pay for a symbol designed to be worn alongside a wedding ring for the rest of their marriage.

Typical engagement rings are made with white, yellow or rose gold bands and contain one or more center diamonds, which are often accented by smaller stones around the main diamond or the band.


The Purpose of a Promise Ring

On the other hand, promise rings are not the cultural norm and can be worn for a variety of reasons. In fact, many promise ring wearers aren't even in romantic relationships. With no definite cultural prerequisite for a promise ring, these pieces are nonetheless symbolic and can be worn by men or women for the following reasons:


  • As a symbol of a couple's commitment to their relationship and faithfulness to one another.
  • As a pre-engagement symbol for couples who intend to marry.
  • As a symbol of a religious commitment, similar to a purity ring.
  • As a symbol of commitment to something significant besides a romantic relationship, such as a friendship.
  • As a symbol of a person's commitment to a dream or goal.


The meaning of a promise ring varies from person to person, but these rings have one major theme in common with engagement rings — they serve as symbols of commitment.

Promise rings are far less expensive than engagement rings because they are much less ornate and are typically fashioned with less valuable materials. Some of the metals used to make promise rings include sterling silver and titanium, although a mix of metals can be used. Some promise rings on the more expensive end include small diamonds, and most can be custom-engraved.


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Since 1952, Koser Jewelers has been lending its expertise in fine jewelry to central PA and beyond. Browse our beautiful selection of diamonds and more so you can Speak Without Words in the most perfect way possible. Visit us in person or give us a call today at 717-653-4941!