3 min read

Whenever talking about promise rings there is a tendency to try and compare the promise ring to an engagement ring. I myself have wondered about this a lot during my early dating days.

In what ways are the two rings similar? And where do they differ? Are they mutually exclusive? Which one can I expect from my boyfriend?

Different Rings with Similar Meanings

Well, first of all, that really depends on the context of the promise offered along with the promise ring! Most commonly, a promise ring if exchanged between lovers in a romantic relationship promising to love and commit to each other, of course, this is very similar to what a couple getting engaged will commit to.

But the commitment that comes with an engagement ring, the commitment of wedding is much more formal and long lasting than the pledge of a promise ring. Usually, promise ring will be given when the couple is not ready yet to get engaged for whatever reason. It could be due to financial considerations, the early phase within the relationship or even when examining when promise rings are given you’d see it often simply a matter of age.

An Obvious Comparison

Due to the fact that the basic meaning of promise rings and engagement rings is the same - a pledge of love, of commitment - promise rings are often called pre-engagement rings. And as a pre-engagement ring the expectancy is that in time it will be replaced by an actual engagement ring as the relationship evolve or circumstances change.

In fact, sarcastic people are saying that “a promise ring is a promise to bring a ring”. And while it is said with a sense of humor it is exactly right.

Promise Rings & Engagement Rings - Hands On (Literally)

The rings also differ in how they are worn, while an engagement ring is worn traditionally on the left ring finger, a promise ring you can choose to wear on any finger and on either hand.

Some will still pick the left ring finger for a promise ring similar to what is custom with an engagement ring, but that's a personal choice and many will choose the right ring finger or any other finger even – at least to avoid the confusion.

Promise Rings are Less Than Engagement Rings!

While we are on the subject of comparing here you can defiantly say - the size does matter!

An engagement ring usually comes with a very big commitment - of love but also of money. Most often it will be quite an expensive piece of jewelry with extravagant diamonds nesting in it. As expected when making a proposal and taking the ultimate step in the relationship path towards 'happily ever after'.

A promise ring will usually be on the more modest side compared to an engagement ring when it comes to the looks, size, and price.

For the past few years, an average engagement ring in the US costs around $6,000. While prices of promise rings vary between $50-$1,000.

Different Kind of Proposal

What about how a promise ring is given?

An engagement ring is almost exclusively offered by the men to his girlfriend.

A promise ring can be offered the same way, it can be offered by the woman to her boyfriend and it can be a joined decision of the couple to buy matching promise rings together.

Promise Rings and Engagement Rings - Same Same But Different

While engagement ring basically has only one meaning, one intent, promise rings actually have many… Up till now, we’ve talked about promise rings in their romantic aspect because this is the obvious comparable version.

BUT, even though not as common, promise rings can represent virtually ANY kind of promise. It can be exchanged among friend, family members, or might even be given to yourself!

It can be a promise of loyalty, sobriety, chastity and so much more!!

Hope I've answered your question - if not - feel free to comment!