Promise ring vs engagement ring

Rings are known as one of the fanciest jewelry types. Both men and women give rings to show love for the person they value. Even if rings serve a decorative purpose, it has the most personal meaning for the wearer (person) of all types of jewelry. In most cases, promise and engagement rings appear to be the same, but both have differences.

Now, let’s take a look at the main differences between a promise ring vs engagement ring.

Promise Ring Vs Engagement Ring?

And although these two rings look a little bit too similar, which makes it difficult to distinguish which one is the best to give to your partner, they differ in the intention of giving, appearance, cost, and the giver. Here you can four basic concepts of difference between promise ring and engagement ring.

 Intention of giving

A promise ring represents the intention of future commitment or engagement. Mainly, a person who gives a promise ring depicts a thoughtful gesture, proving the worth of the receiver. This kind of band sometimes symbolizes a romantic commitment between two people, most especially in the early stages of the relationship.

Promise rings are worn by some as “pre-engagement adornment” and sometimes used to replace an engagement ring. For some people, if the partners are not quite sure of their marriage but still want to showcase their commitment, they wear promise rings.

Among friends, wearing promise rings is popular, too. It may likely represent a sense of bond between friends, especially if you want a constant reminder about your friendship. Also, parents hand down promise rings to their children as a part of religious traditions and family values.

On the contrary, an engagement ring is a costly ring given to a partner to indicate a greater level of commitment. Engagement rings symbolize one crucial thing, which is marriage. A man would give his partner an engagement ring to ask her for marriage.

Typically, the groom secretly selects and purchases an engagement ring before finally proposing to a woman. The culture may vary in how people deal with engagement and promise rings.

Why has your partner given you a promise ring or an engagement ring? That matters! If he asks for your hand in marriage and asks you to spend the rest of your life with him, then you are wearing an engagement ring. Engagement rings are representations of lifelong love and commitment to your partner.

But if your partner hasn’t asked for your hand in marriage yet, and has given you a promise ring instead, this could signify the following:

  • For those in a long-distance relationship, giving a promise ring could mean you vow your love and loyalty to that person even when you are miles apart.
  • Your relationship is getting more serious, and he starts seeing you as a part of his future which can, later on, lead him to give you an engagement ring.
  • For others, a promise ring shows other people that they are currently and exclusively dating someone.
  • A promise of purity while being in a relationship with your partner.
  • A promise ring celebrates a milestone in your relationship. A promise ring assures a person of where you stand in their life.

In other words, the engagement ring showcases the intention of getting married, while a promise ring represents a vow of love, commitment, loyalty, and the like.


Apart from the meaning behind the two, an engagement ring and a promise ring look very different.

Engagement rings usually have a center diamond or simulated diamond, but promise rings are generally less extravagant and flashy. Promise rings may feature simpler birthstones or designs for symbolism. Also, they may be just a plain band or have simple details.

Generally, both rings may depend on the jeweler and the style you want. An engagement ring has to be intricate. The man has to choose the best engagement ring for his partner. When buying an engagement ring, you consider that diamond’s cut, color, weight, and clarity of the details.

Jewelers talk about “style” and “setting” when discussing engagement rings. Style refers to a ring’s overall look–modern, simple, step-cut diamond, or vintage. Meanwhile, the setting refers to the entire ring, which discusses how the gemstones are mounted.

While engagement rings have diamonds, promise rings are often simple and less complex. Nevertheless, engagement rings can be any ring. They do not have to be diamond rings all the time and are expensive.

Today, there have been a lot of choices in having an engagement ring crafted. Many want engagement rings to have a solitaire center stone, and some incorporate stones with complicated designs. The man has the right to choose what the engagement ring would look like as long as it suits the taste of his desired woman.

The most important thing is that the woman would happily wear the engagement ring after the proposal. In addition, the engagement ring could also be the couple’s wedding ring, depending on the approval of both sides. 

On the other hand, promise rings appear to be more straightforward in design. They may or may not feature any stones or center detail. Primarily, promise rings tend to be smaller. Jewelers often use gold and silver and feature gemstones.

Some promise rings consist of uncomplicated designs, and some consist of unique designs but are not that detailed. When purchasing a promise ring, you may have a Claddagh ring. This kind of ring is a traditional Irish design with a heart held by two hands and a crown which symbolizes loyalty, friendship, and love.

You may also have matching promise rings. Since promise rings are more superficial, the stones have a smaller carat weight than a single stone. Just like engagement rings, it will depend on the person’s preference when choosing the gem, the particular metal, the birthstone, and the whole presentation of the promise ring.              


Knowing that promise rings have simpler designs, they have cheaper costs than engagement rings. On average, simple promise rings may cost 40 dollars. Promise rings with birthstones may cost 60 dollars.

 Generally, you may spend 400 dollars on promise rings for both of you! Again, that is just an average cost of promise rings. They still may vary depending on the materials used. Of course, the prettier it gets, the more expensive it costs.

Many people spend depending on their looks and style. Here are some cost ranges:

  • Less than 50 dollars: Rings are usually sterling silver, sometimes plated in gold or other special metals.

Fifty dollars – 500 dollars: Here, you may have additional designs. This promise ring could have small diamonds or split shank bands.

  • Five hundred dollars or more: This promise ring may have larger carat weighted diamonds, but not as complicated as an engagement ring.

Since engagement rings are more extravagant, they are more expensive. Thus, spending on your engagement ring depends on your bride-to-be’s taste and financial situation. Indeed, to have the best and most affordable engagement ring for your partner, you should purchase your ring from the most reliable and respected jeweler.

 Surveys say that buyers spend 5,000 to 7,500 dollars on engagement rings. That is the average cost of an engagement ring, according to surveys. Still, the cost would depend on the carat of the diamond and the intricacy of the details in the ring you purchase.


As stated earlier, promise rings are for romantic partners, friends, or family members. Meaning one does not need to sound romantic when giving a promise ring. Anyone can provide this type of ring, and any given time can be the best time. There is less pressure in delivering a promise ring since this may appear to be a symbol of friendship, love, or tradition.

Additionally, your partner can give a promise ring even at a tedious time of the day. However, the person must be clear about his intentions. He might be telling the partner about their covenant as partners or telling his partner that he would love her and continue to love her no matter what. Make sure not to be misunderstood because you might be assumed to be proposing even if not.

In terms of friendship, one might be giving the promise ring promising their friend that he would not leave them no matter what. This act of giving also applies to friends apart from each other. The rings tend to remind them of the bond of their friendship.

And again, a promise ring can be given by a family member, especially to families who stick to their traditions and cultures. Customarily, a mother would give her daughter a promise ring that she will also hand down to the next generations. Consequently, promise rings do not limit to the people who can give and receive them.

Unlike promise rings, engagement rings are much more straightforward. When one sees an engagement ring, they conclude that the person is engaged to someone. This kind of ring is a symbol of marriage and commitment. Indeed, engagement rings require more planning. The man strives to plan before giving his partner the engagement ring. Some organize a dinner date, party, program, or surprise before providing an engagement ring.

History of engagement ring

In ancient times, wearing an engagement ring was a sign that the woman had received the dowry. Among Egyptians, engagement rings are part of their tradition. They believed that circles, which are the form of the ring, symbolize eternity, so the couple who are about to marry would exchange rings.

Around the 2nd Century B.C, Romans gave engagement rings to the brides as a symbol of wealth and value. Nowadays, engagement rings are romantic symbols for so many couples around the world. Usually, the man would present an engagement ring during the proposal. It could be a diamond, plain band, or gemstone.

Does the man have to be the only one to give a ring? 

No. While it is typical for men to provide bands, everyone has the freedom to choose. Most especially in the 21st century, values and beliefs change. Thus, both men and women can give promise rings and engagement rings. Now, it has become usual and accepted for women to ask their partners about their relationship status.

When are promise rings and engagement rings given?

Usually, couples wear promise rings at the beginning of the relationship when they are less sure of the commitment. That is the reason why younger couples give promise rings. They are staying in the relationship but are not ready yet for marriage. Meanwhile, engagement rings are for the proposal of marriage. The timeline varies depending on the situation and the people, but the meaning is the same: you accept the proposal and agree to marry the person.

Do you still wear your engagement ring after your wedding?

Instead of removing the engagement ring, women usually wear both on the same finger. In most countries, women wear engagement and wedding rings on their ring fingers. When the woman marries, the wedding ring comes first, then the engagement ring.

Can I use the engagement ring as a wedding ring?

Yes, it is because there are no official standards or rules. Of course, this decision should go between the couple. Some traditional couples decide to have two rings, both engagement rings, and wedding rings. And yet, some do not purchase both since they prefer to save money.

Picking which ring is best for your partner is an intimidating and challenging task, so one must consider the following: the time you are together, desire to settle down, stand in being in a lifetime commitment, dedication, and determination to stay in the relationship, assurance to your partner, and physical, emotional, financial capability and stability. Remember that this is beyond giving rings and which ring to give. Placing a band in someone’s hand is choosing and committing.

Couples may perceive promise rings and engagement rings as similar, but they have differences in intention, appearance, cost, and giver of these rings. Now that you know the features between two bands, you better understand whether a promise ring or engagement ring fits you. In summary, promise rings are commonly given earlier in a relationship. It is to symbolize commitment without marriage. That is why most couples give promise rings. They are often committed to their relationship with their partner but not ready yet to settle down.

On the other hand, engagement rings highlight a marriage proposal. Both rings value lifelong commitment and relationships. Though they differ in many aspects, they both indicate great proof of life and love between two people. These rings contribute to keeping promises top of mind and binding things together with love.

frequently asked questions


Both rings signify love and commitment. There is no less important between these rings. Engagement rings are presented for marriage proposals and are meaningful as wedding rings, which have existed for hundreds of years until today, are the most potent symbol of a strong union between lovers.


Engagement rings and wedding rings have significant meaning. An engagement ring is given during the proposal or when the couple agrees to marry each other. Then, a wedding ring is exchanged at the wedding ceremony. Engagement rings typically have a dominant stone, while wedding rings traditionally are made of a plain metal band or a diamond-encrusted eternity band.


Promise rings are given depending on the circumstances and purpose. One can be creative in providing this type of ring. There are no rules followed. Historically, the man would kneel on one knee and present the engagement ring to the woman or vice versa. Accepting the engagement ring means accepting the proposal of marriage.

Wrapping Up

Now we’ve got you covered on the difference between promise ring vs engagement ring. Whether you give your partner an engagement ring or a wedding ring, your vow of commitment, love, and loyalty still weighs more than anything else.

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