A promise ring is a ring bestowed as a symbol of a promise that one has made to another person. In most cases, promise rings come prior to engagement rings, therefore, if it is not your intention to initiate a romantic relationship that should be made clear from the start. Both men and women can give and receive a promise ring.
Promise Rings can be given as a symbol of faithfulness to a partner, an assurance to return from a journey, a promise to self, to show commitment, promise to keep a secret, declaration of love, promise of marriage, as a vow of virginity, a symbol of special friendship, symbol of loyalty, as a valentines gift, or abstinence from a vice, the list is endless.
Most promise rings will look more or less the same in cases where they are given as a pre-engagement gift. In such cases, the promise ring will bear a heart on it. However, note that any ring can be a promise ring, even more flashy rings that have gemstones in them. A promise ring will be different from an engagement ring because engagement rings tend to have distinct appearances and are encrusted with diamonds or other precious stones, they also happen to be much more expensive in comparison to promise rings. Wedding rings, on the other hand, are basically band rings that are in most cases polished metal such as gold or platinum and sometime have precious gems on them depending on one’s preference. Both engagement and wedding rings are generally much more expensive than promise rings, and hold much greater meaning for a relationship and as such, they ought to receive that much more care.
In cases where the promise ring symbolizes the promise of marriage, the person wearing it can wear it on the third finger of the left hand and upon actual engagement; the engagement ring can take its place. In instances where the promise ring is not a symbol for impending marriage, the ring is primarily worn on the right hand. However, there are no rigid rules with regards to promise rings and the person wearing it has the luxury to choose where he or she feels comfortable placing it. Also, in some cases it is always a nice addition to the ring to have it engraved with a few words of promise on the inside of it.
There is also the question of whether one can change their mind and return a promise ring at a later date or when the circumstances related to the making of the promise have changed. There is no one answer to this question but in my opinion, a promise ring of a low value is not necessary to return, although it would be unwise to keep a promise ring that brings about uncomfortable feelings or emotions. The choice really lies with the person in possession of the promise ring. The most important thing about a promise ring is the pact that has been created and the efforts that ensue to ensure that the promise given and the commitment engaged is not broken.