Promise rings! Hot symbols of engagement since the 16th century!

What’s all the fuss about promise rings? Are they something new or have they been around for a while? What do they mean and why is my teen wearing one? If you’ve ever wondered what rabies is all about, you’ve come to the right place!

What exactly is a promise ring?

When an agreement or oath has been made between two people, a promise ring is a jewel that is given as a token of the commitment that was made.

Sounds simple enough doesn’t it? Well, be careful because the promise made between two people can be practically anything. It is imperative that both parties are clear about the meaning of the covenant or commitment. For instance:

  • Monogamy: A promise to remain faithful to each other.
  • Chastity or Purity: A promise to maintain virginity until marriage.
  • Friendship: A promise to seal a promise of eternal friendship.
  • Substance or sobriety: A promise to remain free from addictive behaviors (alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, etc.).
  • Religious or Christian: A promise to remain committed to one’s faith or belief in the God of one’s understanding.

These are just a few of the most popular reasons to gift or wear a promise ring.

Prior commitment

That said, the most popular reason to give a promise ring is for prior engagement.

Are you still confused? Actually, pre-engagement isn’t as bad as it sounds. It has always been popular to exchange promise rings, so a couple can show their commitment to each other before getting engaged. In other words, this ring is a symbol of the promise that there will be an engagement ring soon.

If you’re old enough to remember to “go steady” with someone, then giving this kind of promise ring is kind of an updated version of going steady. The symbolism of the promise ring is actually no different than a girl from years ago who wears her boyfriend’s high school ring on a chain around her neck or who wears her regular boyfriend’s letter jacket. If you are too young to understand this analogy, talk to your parents or grandparents and they can enlighten you.

This pre-engagement trial period is a good way for a couple to test the waters before actually committing to marriage. Some may scoff at this gesture of prior commitment. However, with the rise in divorce rates in this country, it may be wise to start slowly in the relationship rather than rushing toward something you’re not ready for.

The other good news here is that a promise ring costs significantly less than an engagement ring. It’s a wonderful alternative for the couple who choose not to spend a fortune on a ring right now, but still want to make a statement about their commitment to each other.

How do you wear a promise ring, what finger, what hand?

Basically, it is strictly a matter of personal preference, however the finger and hand you choose can completely depend on the type of ring it is and in some cases the type of engagement. For example, an Irish Claddagh ring can have several meanings depending on its shape:

  • Worn on the left hand, the user has made a promise of love and fidelity.
  • Worn in the right hand with the heart out, the user’s heart is free.
  • Worn in the right hand with the heart inward, the heart of the Bearer is taken.

If you are exchanging friendship rings, it may be convenient to wear the ring on your right hand so that there is no confusion about romantic ties. There are many different types of rings that you can share with a friend that will be meaningful to both of you. A fun vacation you went on or a love of a hobby or an animal, for example. My best friend and I share a love for cats. So we bought matching kitty rings, no less diamond pave gold! These rings are special just for us and are a symbol of our friendship.

Most people associate wearing a ring on the ring finger of the left hand with the meaning of a significant engagement of some kind.

If the promise is before the engagement, many couples choose to wear this ring on the ring finger of the left hand. Then, they change the ring to their right hand once the actual engagement ring or wedding band is received.

Similarly, a ring exchanged for the promise of monogamy or fidelity would be worn on the ring finger of the left hand to symbolize that the wearer’s heart is taken.

Where did the promise ring originate?

The rings themselves have been a symbol for many thousands of years. The circle has no beginning or end and is a strong symbol of eternity.

Have you ever heard of a scribble ring? In 16th century England, uncut diamond crystals were set into rings and exchanged by lovers. The bearers of these scribble rings would use the tips of the diamonds to etch (or “scribble”) romantic writings on each other on glass, mirrors, or windows.

Another popular ring that was traded during Shakespeare’s time was called the Posey Ring. Posey rings are inscribed with poetic phrases or important dates for the wearer.

Wearing words next to the skin is believed to have a magical effect. These symbolic words can be engraved on the outside or inside of the ring, or on both sides, there is no right or wrong way to do it!

Posey rings are a romantic way to share an expression of love and are engraved with beautiful sayings. It’s no wonder that since French is said to be the language of love, French poseys are very popular. Some special prayers include:

  • A Ma Vie De Coer Entier – All my heart for all my life
  • To Vila Mon Coer, Gardi Li Mo – Here is my heart, keep it well
  • Love Meus – My love
  • Autre Ne Veuil – Nobody except you
  • De M’Amoure Soiez Sure – Of my love, be sure

Okay, maybe French isn’t your thing, how about one of these?

  • In Gaelic – Anam Cara – Soul Friend
  • In English – I belong to my beloved and my beloved is mine
  • In Latin – Semper Amenus – Our love is forever
  • In German – Mine Genyst – My heart
  • In Hebrew – Mazel Tov – Marriage Good Luck Ring
  • Christian – With this ring, I will marry you
  • In Italian – Mani In Fede – Hands together in faith
  • In Spanish – I have nothing more to give you – I have nothing more to give you than my heart

Use your imagination and write your own Posey!

The list of sayings of the Posey ring is endless! If you really want to “surprise” the love of your life, think of a special phrase that is meaningful only to the two of you. Having a special ring engraved with one of your own poses would be a very romantic way to share your most sincere feelings with someone special that you care about.

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