The meaning of promise rings is beautiful, unique or a little bit odd, depending on your viewpoint.

yellow and white gold claddagh ring for menThe most popular Irish promise ring by far is the Claddagh ring. It’s hands, heart and crown design is associated with a story of two lovers staying true to each other in spite of a long separation. But while Claddagh rings are often used as wedding bands, they’re also exchanged by lovers who are still a long way from marriage and by people who simply want to celebrate a close friendship.

Here, There & Everywhere
The idea of the promise ring has gradually spread far beyond the Irish world. You’ll find lots of them listed on jewelry sites today that have no connection to Irish culture or any other culture for that matter.

gents claddagh irish promise ringBut what do they mean? Wikipedia says a promise ring is often “the first token of a serious relationship that is just developing” or a symbol of “a joint commitment which is not related to love.” Others have called Irish promise rings the sign of “a commitment that isn’t quite engagement,” adding that giving one “does not mean that marriage is around the corner.”

You Promised…What?
Hmm…that sounds a bit non-committal. Also, the design element is a bit confusing. While Claddagh rings have long been the leaders in this category, the truth is that there is no official or even widely accepted style or design for a promise ring. Lots of the ones you’ll find at major jewelers are in Celtic styles, because people tend to associate Celtic “eternity” knots with a commitment that’s endless. But you’ll find lovely Irish promise rings in modern-looking titanium, silver, gold or other metals, and there are promise rings that feature stars, two roads interweaving or other motifs of no particular historical origin.

Beautiful infinity Celtic ring in titaniumHow promise rings are used:

  • A gift between good friends. Good buddies will sometimes give each other promise rings as a remembrance of a friendship that has weathered a tough shared experience. They’re sometimes called “love, loyalty and faith” rings.
  • classic silver claddagh ring for ladies

  • A symbol of growing romantic interest. If you’re getting closer to someone but not ready to walk down the aisle, a nice promise ring can help keep a relationship warming, before you’re ready to send out wedding invitations. It’s a nice gesture, particularly in a world where relationships are going on longer and longer before a marriage takes place.
  • A symbol to your one and only. We mean your one and only in a physical sense. An old use of Irish promise rings was to symbolize abstinence until marriage. In the modern world, they’re sometimes exchanged by couples who are, lets say, actively monogamous with each other.
  • C78 R120-Sil

  • A commitment to change. Sometimes, people will give their partner a promise ring as a sign of commitment that they are going to give up a vice like drinking or gambling that is causing trouble in the relationship.

It’s up to you what you want to promise, not promise or promise not to do as the case may be. Whatever you’re desire, have a look at our great selection of Irish promise rings. Many of them are wonderful either as wedding bands or friendship promise gifts.

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