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Promise Ring vs. Engagement Ring: What’s The Difference?

custom engagement ring, diamond engagement ring, engagement rings, promise rings
Promise Ring vs. Engagement Ring: What’s The Difference?

Although it isn’t an engagement ring, a promise ring is a significant declaration of commitment. While the meaning of the jewelry is often unique to the person wearing it, most promise rings are given to symbolize an exclusive relationship, along with some degree of love and devotion.

Let’s compare promise rings with engagement rings to better understand when one may be more appropriate than the other. 

Understanding a Promise Ring

A promise ring is a symbol of commitment, often exchanged between romantic partners to signify their devotion and intention to marry at some point in the future. Typically worn on the ring finger, these jewelry pieces can also represent a pledge to maintain a strong bond, such as a promise of fidelity or to work through challenges together.

When to Give a Promise Ring

While the significance of jewelry often holds a personal touch for its wearer, promise rings predominantly serve as symbols of a distinctive bond, encompassing sentiments of affection and unwavering dedication.

A couple may feel they aren’t quite ready for marriage due to a variety of factors, from their age to their careers to their studies. If they still, however, wish to devote themselves exclusively to the other, a promise ring is a powerful and beautiful way to signify this commitment. 

Although promise rings occasionally foreshadow an impending engagement ring, their significance remains distinct. By presenting a promise ring, a person is essentially declaring their sincere intention to uphold a committed relationship with the recipient.

Alternative Meanings

While most people associate promise rings with romantic intent, they can also hold other meanings. In some instances, these versatile tokens are given to honor the bonds of brotherhood, sisterhood and profound friendships. They also possess the power to unite a collective, bearing the emblematic essence of a cherished cause or affiliation, such as a sports team, sorority or religious organization. 

Some people also wear promise rings as reminders of a personal vow or pledge to overcome an addiction. Alternatively, some people choose to wear a promise ring as a gentle nudge towards accomplishing important goals or objectives, such as the completion of a novel or the pursuit of a healthier physique.

John Atencio’s Promise Rings

Promise rings are generally made to be distinct from engagement rings. You won't typically see a large fiery diamond in the center of a promise ring. You will, however, usually see more delicate styles and unique gemstone designs.

A legend in jewelry designs, John Atencio crafts distinctive promise rings that can take a diversity of forms to honor the specific love and commitment being expressed. From intricate to slender, customized to thematic, he offers an intriguing assortment of designs, ranging from silver ring styles to simple gold or gold/diamond ring styles. 

If you know you want to give someone a promise ring but aren’t sure where to start; it can help to talk to the seasoned jewelry experts at John Atencio. Whether you’re interested in diamond promise rings, gold promise rings, silver rings, matching promise rings or something sleek, slender and simple; our experts can help you find the perfect piece for your big promise.

Understanding an Engagement Ring

Another symbolic piece of jewelry, engagement rings are traditionally given during a marriage proposal to signify a couple's commitment to marry. Usually made with a center diamond or other precious gemstone, they are typically worn on the left ring finger to represent the promise of love and fidelity between partners as they prepare for their wedding.


engagement ring


When to Present an Engagement Ring

When is the right time to propose? One year? Two years? While many people have opinions on the matter, the truth is there are no rules when it comes to getting engaged.

The appropriate time to present an engagement ring varies for each couple, often depending on key factors, such as the length and depth of their relationship, as well as their shared values and future goals. It is generally recommended to propose with an engagement ring when both partners feel emotionally ready, secure in their commitment, and have openly discussed their intentions to marry in the near future.

John Atencio’s Engagement Rings

If you’re thinking about proposing, you need a ring that’s worthy of the moment. It needs to meet the expectations of your bride-to-be, while also representing her unique style and the beautiful essence of your one-of-a-kind love story.

Every John Atencio engagement ring, and proposal ready ring, unfolds as a captivating tale of artistry. Each ring bears the mark of an exquisitely conceived and hand-drawn design, embodying a timeless dedication to unparalleled excellence and skillful craftsmanship. With nearly five decades of experience, John showcases an unwavering commitment to precision and an unmatched level of artistry.

Whether your preference leans towards contemporary elegance or enduring tradition, our collection of engagement rings offers an array of options to explore, from intricate pave settings to breathtaking solitaires. John also offers personalized engagement rings that are as extraordinary and unique as the love you share. 

Engagement Ring vs. Promise Ring

While they both carry symbolic meaning, engagement rings and promise rings differ in a number of important ways. Before you make a purchase, it can help to understand these differences, so you can find the right ring to represent your feelings and intentions.

Differences in Design and Style

Promise rings, or pre-engagement rings, typically feature simple, minimalist designs and may incorporate subtle gemstones, signifying a couple's commitment to one another. In contrast, engagement rings often showcase a more elaborate design with a prominent diamond or colorful gemstone, symbolizing the intention to marry and the strength of the couple's bond.

Symbolism and Meaning: A Contrast

Often serving as a prelude to a more formal engagement, promise rings symbolize a couple's commitment to each other and their intention to strengthen their bond over time. In contrast, engagement rings represent a mutual agreement to marry and a public declaration of a couple's intention to spend their lives together as partners.

Wearing the Rings: Tradition and Trends

Promise rings traditionally adorn the left-hand ring finger as a symbol of being unmarried. Once engaged, many women choose to transfer their promise rings to the right-hand ring finger to make room for an engagement ring. 

That said, the placement of your promise ring is a personal decision entirely up to you. In fact, some individuals choose to wear their promise rings as pendants on a necklace chain.

Price Range: A Comparative Look

Promise rings are typically more affordable than engagement rings, with prices often ranging from a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars, depending on the materials and design. 

Engagement rings, on the other hand, tend to be more expensive, with prices frequently starting at a few thousand dollars and going up to tens of thousands or more, primarily due to the larger or higher-quality gemstones and intricate settings involved.

Making the Right Choice: Promise Ring or Engagement Ring?

While engagement rings signify a couple's decision to wed, promise rings symbolize your commitment without the immediate implication of marriage. They are often given to express love, loyalty and devotion when a couple isn’t yet ready for the next step. 

If you’re not sure which option is right for your relationship, it can help to get some expert advice. Understanding the nuances of relationships, John’s consultants can provide valuable guidance to help you select a ring that represents your love story, while beautifully symbolizing your journey together.