A promise ring symbolizes just what the name implies: one person making a promise to another. There may be various types of promises behind such a gift, though some kind of emotional commitment is usually involved. A promise ring may symbolize pre-engagement, chastity, abstinence, monogamy friendship or a religious viewpoint.
Pre-engagement: A couple that is very committed to one another may have assorted reasons for waiting to get married or even engaged. Youth could be a factor if the couple is just out of high school, or perhaps a life situation compels them to wait, such as wanting to finish college or achieve some other goal before making official plans to marry. A simple promise ring might also indicate commitment while one partner saves to purchase a formal engagement ring; in time, another ring will replace it.
Chastity: This type of ring, also called a purity ring, is a symbol of a promise to remain a virgin until after marriage. Parents typically give these rings to their children as a reminder of the view that love is patient. It is a visible reminder of the view that sex can and should wait for marriage. Young people who accept these rings promise to honor the belief. These, too, are intended as placeholders for wedding rings.
Substance Abstinence: These rings symbolize a different type of pledge between parents and children: a commitment not to smoke, drink alcohol or use drugs. However, there is no reason an adult could not wear a ring to make the same promise.
Monogamy: A monogamy ring reflects a promise to remain faithful. Marriage, engagement or pre-engagement might not be a factor, yet a couple could still want to promise to be true to each other; a ring is a visible symbol of that commitment.
Friendship: Friendship rings may seem less important that other types of promise rings, yet they can be equally meaningful. As a platonic gesture, friendship rings show a commitment that sometimes lasts longer than marriage. Friends who are devoted to supporting one another may want a visual symbol in the same way a romantic couple would. Though not typically worn on the left ring finger, the gift is still significant.
Religious: A religious promise ring symbolizes an act of devotion or faith. This ring can be worn to show commitment to a particular spiritual path or to a specific saint whose teachings are meaningful to the wearer.
Written by Nicole Whitely on Behalf of Aston Royal Jewelers. "Ashley is a fashion-focused urbanite always on the lookout for affordable fashion. She has a particular passion for jewelry, specifically Promise Rings and Engagement Rings