The Difference between an Engagement and a Promise Ring

If you are not a jeweler, there is a chance that you do not know the difference between an engagement ring and a promise ring. Even though their purposes are different, these rings look quite similar. When it comes to what they signify, engagement rings are given as a sign of commitment to marriage, while the use of promise rings have a wider spectrum. These unique rings symbolize a special kind of commitment that a couple can define within the confines of their relationship. When a spouse gives you an engagement ring, it means that an action plan to wed you.

The Difference between an Engagement and a Promise Ring

There are countless options to choose from whether you shop for a promise ring or an engagement ring. As the receiver of the ring, you need to know how to wear them. After all, each ring has a specific finger on which they should be worn. Wearing a ring the wrong way conveys a totally different message.

So what is the Significance of Promise Rings?

Many people can determine the meaning behind an engagement ring from its name. However, with a promise ring, it is hard to tell. Couples make many promises to each other. Does that mean you can purchase a promise ring to reinforce a commitment you made to your loved one? Let’s find out. We have already established that just like any other ring, promise rings are symbolic. But before you get a promise ring for your girlfriend, you need to figure out what the ring symbolizes. When your partner sees the promise ring you got them, they should be reminded of a special commitment.

You can also use a promise ring as a public display of commitment. Which means, they are similar to engagement rings to some extent. The main difference between a promise ring and an engagement ring is that engagement rings have only one meaning behind them. Due to their limitless application, diamond promise rings can mean a variety of things to different people.

Here are some reasons why future brides and grooms wear engagement rings:

  • To communicate to the public that they are off the market
  • To remind their spouses of their future commitments
  • To symbolize the love between two people
  • As a show of respect to culture and traditional practices

As you can see, all the reasons behind wearing an engagement ring revolve around a commitment to wed. 

Promise rings, on the other hand, are worn to symbolize;

  • Monogamy
  • Serious goals
  • Pre-engagement
  • Chastity
  • A token of unconditional love
  • Special friendship
  • Religious commitments

Promise rings represent a more diverse set of commitments. Whereas this is a partial list, it gives you a rough idea of what a promise ring can represent.

Is there a Difference in Appearance between the two Rings?

There are no strict rules that dictate how a promising ring or engagement ring should look. However, there are standard practices that have been carried forward over the decades. Couples use these common practices as a general guide when choosing what to buy. However, quite a number of people have been seen to choose a different path.

Engagement rings tend to be more expensive than promise rings. You have a better chance of finding good quality cheap promise rings than you are finding cheap engagement rings. When it comes to physical appearance, both promise rings and engagement rings have a center stone. However, engagement rings tend to have bigger diamonds, hence the steepness in their price. Another difference is, engagement rings do not always have to come with a diamond as the center stone. It is quite common to have other precious gemstones on an engagement ring. To get a cheap engagement ring, you can go for look-alike gems like white topaz, cubic zirconia, moissanite, morganite, or white sapphire.

When it comes to the band of the ring, the common metal for engagement rings is usually white gold, yellow gold, or platinum. Promise rings, on the other hand, have inexpensive metals like silver, tungsten cobalt, stainless steel, and e-rings. Jewelers will coat a metal alloy with rhodium or silver even though coated metals tend to be less durable.

On which Finger should the Promise ring be Worn?

There are no hard rules that define where you wear either ring. Most people wear either of these rings on the ring finger of the left hand. However, while it is tradition to wear engagement on the ring finger of the left hand, a promise ring can be worn on any finger, of either hand.

Can you have Both, a Promise Ring and an Engagement Ring?

You already know that engagement rings are meant to last a lifetime. What about diamond promise rings? Can you wear yours even after the engagement? When you use your promise ring as a pre-engagement ring, you will need to move it to a different finger after you accept a proposal. However, you do not need to stop wearing them. You can wear it to the ring finger of your right hand. If you don’t feel comfortable wearing it on the ring finger of your right hand, you can wear it on any other finger. Some choose to hang their promise ring as a pendant on a necklace. This allows you to continue wearing your promise ring without crowding your fingers.


As you can see, there are many definitive differences between a promise ring and an engagement ring. Now that you know the difference, you can define the meaning before purchasing either of them. Make sure you shop for a ring from a well-reputed jeweler to ensure you receive high-quality rings.

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