While the concept of promise rings may seem like something new and original, mythology and sacred writings tell us otherwise. In fact, both promise rings for men and promise rings for ladies rings have long been used to seal promises and signify important meaning.
In short, a promise ring is a ring given as an outward and physical expression, or symbol, of a promise made between two people, either romantic or platonic. Popular reasons to give promise rings include:
Pre-engagement: If you're sure he or she is the right one for you, but not quite ready for engagement, the pre-engagement ring expresses commitment to the relationship and a promise for the future together. A diamond promise ring is considered to be the strongest form of expression.
Monogamy: In the absence of marriage or pre-engagement, promise rings can be exchanged as a mutual commitment of unity and monogamy. Again, diamond promise rings are considered to be the most enduring way to express this promise.
Friendship: Good friends have always made pacts, sealing them with the exchange of friendship rings and other small tokens. Whether your friend is moving halfway across the country or lives right next door, with identical promise rings on your hands, it is a tangible symbol that will always be there for each other.
Generally speaking, promise rings for men were reserved for the very powerful. For example, in ancient days, Bishops wore rings as a pledge of their spiritual union with the church. And dignitaries in Venice, Italy, once the maritime power of the world, renewed this city's "marriage promise" with the Adriatic Sea by tossing a ring into the turquoise waters on Ascension morning each year.
Although they may not have been called promise rings, it became popular during the 16th and 17th centuries in Europe to exchange rings as a token of love or friendship. One such ring was the "scribbling ring," which was set with uncut diamond crystals. Lovers used the exposed points of their diamond promise ring to etch romantic vows into windowpanes.
Promise rings can be worn on any finger, but those symbolizing pre-engagement or chastity are generally worn on the left ring finger.
Generally speaking, mens promise rings are not commons -- just as they are not given engagement rings. The exceptions are when promise rings are exchanged for a joint promise such as monogamy or when the ring is a gift from parent to child as a promise of chastity or abstinence from substance use.
When choosing a promise ring for a man, simple is best! Avoid gemstones or choose a very small diamond promise ring. A nice touch is to have the ring engraved with a brief synopsis of the promise, so that both parties are jointly aware of the promise that the ring signifies.