Promise or pre-engagement rings might look like an invention of the modern jewelry biz. In actuality, they have been around since the 16th century, when they'd be exchanged by couples too poor or young to wed.. Keep reading to find out more about this ever-changing and intriguing heritage that is romantic.
While rings had always been used to signify commitment - there are Biblical references to the devout's religious rings, it was in the 16th and 15th century that sweethearts began exchanging rings solidify and to communicate their love.
There were several distinct kinds of rings during this period. In 16th century England, lovers exchanged scribbling rings, which were inlaid with crystals or uncut diamonds. The wearer would use the points of the diamonds to etch their beloved's names or vows into window glass.
During Shakespeare's time, poesy rings were popular among young couples. Each band was engraved with romantic sayings such as "vous et nul autre" (you and no other) or "a ma vie de coer whole" (my whole heart for my whole life), binding the lover's words into the beloved's body.
In 19th century Europe, pre-engagement rings reflected the era's optimism and romanticism. They also were more decorative representing the influx of wealth and the availability of stones to the classes.
Rings were used as engagement rings, but even friends and non-engaged couples exchanged them as well. Regards rings featured a series of semi-precious stones, the first letter of which spelled out "regards": emerald, garnet, amethyst, ruby, diamond, sapphire.
Other variations included the spelling of the beloved's name, the word "love" (lapis lazuli, opal, vermarine, emerald), along with the word "dearest" (diamond, emerald, amethyst, ruby, emerald, sapphire, topaz).
It's not surprising in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, promise rings are popular.
In a time where courtship - of relationship the period - is more than couples may get frustrated with the lack of ritual and progression. The exchange of rings is a way for a few to commemorate a transition in their relationship without the pressures of participation.
The tradition is open to interpretation when couples swap promise rings as a way of expressing their intention to eventually marry. For many, a decision might be signified by a promise ring. These rings are also occasionally referred to as "purity" rings. Other couples swap promise rings when they decide to live together before getting married, to indicate the transition.
There's also variation in promise rings are worn. Like an engagement ring, it is also popular to game a promise ring on the ring finger of the right hand, to prevent confusion while many women wear their rings on their left hand ring fingers. While their partners overwhelmingly give to women contemporary promise rings, men can - and do - wear promise rings too! A small but increasing subset of couples buy "set" promise rings that match, similar to wedding bands. Popular styles for rings consist of three small diamonds sterling silver, and heart shaped stone designs.
Thinking of getting your own beloved a promise ring? Consider the box! Unlike engagement rings, which are diamond, a promise ring can be anything you can imagine. In actuality, if you're planning to purchase a diamond engagement ring on, you might prefer to get a promise ring with a type of stone, placing, or style.