What Is A Pre-Engagement Ring?

ad. Throughout the history of human relationships, love and commitment have often been symbolised through tangible objects, with rings being among the most popular.


Throughout the history of human relationships, love and commitment have often been symbolised through tangible objects, with rings being among the most popular. While most people are familiar with wedding bands and engagement rings, there’s another important player in the ring game that often gets overshadowed: the commitment ring, also known as a pre-engagement ring, promise ring, or friendship ring. So let’s learn more about these commitment rings, their history, their symbolic meaning, and how they differentiate from other types of rings.

promise rings

History of Commitment Rings: An Ancient Symbol of Love

The tradition of gifting rings as symbols of commitment is not a recent phenomenon, but rather a practice that has deep roots in history. The concept of pre-engagement or commitment rings can be traced back to ancient times. In the Roman era, couples were required to wait for a certain period before getting married, and rings were gifted as a token of commitment during this period.

In 16th Century England, ‘posy rings’, rings engraved with romantic poetry were given as a token of affection, similar to a pre-engagement ring. The term ‘promise ring’ entered the jewellery dictionary in the 1970s, and has been popular ever since. In more recent times, the concept of commitment rings gained further prominence, notably in the 2000s, when celebrities like Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez popularised the trend.

Understanding the Meaning of a Pre-Engagement Ring

At its core, a commitment ring or a pre-engagement ring is a token of dedication and love. It serves as an assurance of a long-term relationship and dedication to one person. It’s like a pledge, a promise of commitment to a monogamous relationship. It’s a step up from dating, it’s a public display of the promise that you are ready to take the next step in the relationship, but not quite ready for marriage. It symbolises that the relationship is headed towards marriage but without a set date.

In essence, a pre-engagement ring is a placeholder, a symbol that represents a promise of future engagement. However, it’s important to note that this doesn’t necessarily mean that the couple will get married soon. It’s more of a symbol that the couple is serious about their relationship and is planning for a future together.

The Difference Between a Pre-Engagement Ring and a Promise Ring

Although pre-engagement rings and promise rings are often used interchangeably, there are subtle differences between the two. A promise ring can symbolise various types of promises, not just a promise to marry. It could be a promise of love, fidelity, or even of abstinence until marriage (like a purity ring). On the other hand, a pre-engagement ring is specifically given as a commitment to a future marriage.

Essentially, the main difference lies in the level of commitment. A promise ring can symbolise a serious relationship, but it doesn’t necessarily imply that marriage is on the cards. A pre-engagement ring, however, is a clear indication that the couple is planning to get married in the future.

promise rings

What Does a Pre-Engagement Ring Look Like?

Just like the ring’s meaning, its appearance can vary significantly. Pre-engagement rings can range from a simple band of sterling silver or white gold (like a wedding band) to elaborate designs adorned with gemstones or diamonds. The design of a pre-engagement ring is typically less extravagant compared to an engagement ring, as it’s meant to be a placeholder for the latter.

In terms of style, pre-engagement rings can be minimalist, with a singular small diamond or gemstone. They can also feature unique designs, like intertwined bands or heart-shaped stones. Some couples even opt for rings engraved with initials or romantic messages, adding a personal touch to the symbol of their commitment.

When and Why to Give a Commitment Ring?

A commitment ring is not for every couple. It’s for those who have a clear vision of their future together, but for various reasons—such as financial stability, geographical constraints, or even age—might not be ready to officially get engaged.

For instance, a couple in a long-distance relationship might choose to exchange commitment rings as a symbol of their dedication to each other. Similarly, a young couple who are still studying or establishing their careers might opt for a pre-engagement ring as a symbol of their commitment, despite not being ready for marriage. It could even be a sweet gesture between high school sweethearts. 

In essence, the decision to give a commitment ring should be a mutual one, based on the couple’s understanding of their relationship and their shared vision for the future. It’s a beautiful way to express love and commitment, without the immediate pressure of wedding planning.

How Much Should You Spend on a Pre-Engagement Ring?

Unlike an engagement ring, which often comes with expectations of a certain level of extravagance, a pre-engagement ring usually comes with less pressure in terms of cost. The price can vary widely, depending on the material and design of the ring. However, as a rule of thumb, it’s advisable to spend less on a pre-engagement ring than on an engagement ring.

It’s important to remember that the value of a commitment ring doesn’t lie in its price tag but in the sentiment behind it. Whether it’s made of sterling silver or white gold, adorned with a small diamond or a birthstone, the true worth of a pre-engagement ring lies in the promise of love and commitment it symbolises.

Which Finger Does a Pre-Engagement Ring Go On?

Traditionally, a pre-engagement ring is worn on the ring finger of the left hand, the same finger where an engagement ring would typically be worn. However, this is not a hard and fast rule. Some people choose to wear their pre-engagement ring on their right hand to differentiate it from an engagement ring.

Ultimately, the choice of which finger to wear a commitment ring on is a personal one, based on individual preference and comfort. What’s important is the meaning behind the ring, and the pledge of love and commitment it represents.

What Is A Purity Ring?

A purity ring, also known as a chastity ring, is a symbolic piece of jewellery often worn by individuals, particularly teenagers or young adults, as a symbol of their commitment to abstain from sexual activity until marriage or until they are emotionally ready to engage in such activity within a committed relationship. Typically associated with certain religious groups, particularly in the United States, the wearer of a purity ring makes a personal vow to remain sexually abstinent, and the ring serves as a constant reminder of this commitment. Purity rings are often given by parents or guardians in a formal ceremony and are worn on a finger, usually the left ring finger until the individual decides to enter into a marital relationship or feels they have achieved their personal goals regarding abstinence. While purity rings can be a meaningful expression of one’s values and beliefs, their significance and usage vary widely among individuals and communities, and not everyone subscribes to this practice. Critics argue that they may promote a narrow view of sexuality and lead to feelings of guilt or shame if individuals are unable to uphold their commitment. Ultimately, the decision to wear a purity ring is a deeply personal one.

The Next Step: What Happens to a Pre-Engagement Ring After Engagement?

Once a couple gets engaged, what happens to the pre-engagement ring is entirely up to them. Some people choose to continue wearing it on their right hand, while others may prefer to wear it on a chain as a necklace. Alternatively, it can be safely kept as a cherished keepsake, a tangible reminder of the journey of their love story.

​Find Your Perfect Ring

Jeulia has a fantastic collection of promise rings for her. So if you’re looking for a piece of jewelry that will be a real symbol of commitment, you can find your unique promise ring here. Juelia has something for every special occasion. I love the moissanite rings, a cheaper and sustainable alternative to real diamonds or a lab-grown diamond ring. They are a great option and a very thoughtful gesture. 

promise rings

The fashion rings are also fantastic, they are cheaper things that are still lovely with unique designs. They would make an ideal pre-engagement ring if you prefer popular trends. Remember, it doesn’t have to be an expensive ring – it’s the meaning of a promise ring that counts!

In the end, a pre-engagement or commitment ring is a beautiful symbol of love and commitment. Whether it’s made of yellow gold or sterling silver, adorned with a diamond or a blue nile, it’s a token of a couple’s intention to build a future together. While it may not necessarily lead to an immediate marriage proposal, it’s an important step that signifies a couple’s commitment to each other, making it a popular choice amongst young adults and young couples alike.

In a world where relationships can be as diverse as the people in them, a pre-engagement ring serves as a versatile symbol that can be tailored to fit the unique needs and desires of each couple. Because at the end of the day, it’s not about the type of ring or which finger it’s worn on, but the promise of love and dedication it represents. So, if you’re thinking about taking the next step in your romantic relationship, a commitment ring might just be the best place to start.

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