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What is a promise ring?

A revival of a stunning Irish tradition that dates back to the 17th Century, the Claddagh ring, as it was then known, has made its way back into the limelight with a new name – the promise ring.

The earliest promise rings, known as Claddagh rings, were given to symbolise love, devotion, and friendship in Ireland centuries ago. Claddagh rings are one-of-a-kind, with hands signifying friendship, a heart representing love, and a crown indicating loyalty.

Fine jewellery experts at Steven Stone have revealed everything there is to know about the symbolic rings – including which celebrities wear one.

What do they symbolise?

A gift can express a thousand words, especially if it is meaningful and well-chosen. A promise ring, also known as a pre-engagement ring, is  presented as a mark of commitment. The symbolism of a promise ring is unique to the person who wears it, however most prevalent symbolic use for a promise ring is to express love and dedication.

It is often used by couples who wish to take a big step before getting engaged. It’s an excellent way to show your love for one another. However, promise rings can also be used to represent friendship or unbreakable familial ties. Jessica Simpson was the first prominent celebrity to bring promise rings to public attention, receiving the ring from her father when she was just 12 years old. Simpson wore her ring until she married Nick Lachey, at which point she exchanged it for an engagement ring.

What do they look like?

Promise rings are often smaller and less ornate than engagement rings. They often use precious metals such as gold and silver. Many promise rings contain diamonds and other valuable gemstones. There are so many beautiful styles to choose from and options to suit a variety of budgets.

They are traditionally worn on the ring finger of the left hand – the same finger on which the engagement ring would be worn, however nowadays, you can wear it on any hand you like. The significance is in its symbolism, which remains the same regardless of how you wear it.

Who wears a promise ring?

While promise rings are most commonly presented between couples, they can also represent other promises. As a symbol of their love, parents may give their children a promise ring.

Close friends may share them to commemorate their bond. Consider matching “best friend” rings to celebrate your particular bond with your closest buddy. Furthermore, some people find it helpful to use a promise ring to commit to changing a negative habit. Having a promise ring on hand can serve as a continual reminder of the vow made.

Promise rings aren’t only for women, either. Men frequently wear promise bands, and a couple also might acquire a matching promise ring set. In contrast to the exquisite feminine promise ring with or without a gemstone, the male promise band is always thicker and of rougher design.

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth, Oprah Winfrey, Kate Middleton and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle all wore a promise ring on their engagement ring finger before they got married. Set on a rose gold Victorian band, Kate’s features two garnets to represent her birthstone and pearls to represent William’s.

Overall, promise rings represent a vow to a partnership, friendship, pre-engagement, a relationship milestone, or other personal significance. As with any piece of jewellery, it’s ideal for matching the ring to the wearer’s style and personality.

If you’re looking for some jewellery inspiration, why not take a look at our full collection? Whether you’re after a necklace osome diamond earrings, we’ve got you covered. We also have a vast range of engagement and wedding rings.

If you don’t see anything that takes your fancy, we also offer a bespoke service, where our designers will create a unique piece of jewellery that ticks all the boxes.

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