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Promise Ring Meaning

What's the meaning behind a promise ring anyway?  When I first came across the words promise rings, I got all confused.  Was it some kind of ring that was similar to an engagement ring?  What was the 'promise' that was attached to it?  Was it a declaration of one's undying love to another?  Or was it less serious a commitment and therefore didn't carry as much weight as the engagement ring?  We all know what the meaning of engagment rings and a wedding rings is, but a promise ring has a more ambiguous meaning.

 Well for a start, a promise ring is usually given as a promise to the other party that the couple is now in an exclusive relationship and would reserve themselves for each other only.  How's that different from an engagment ring?  Well, a promise ring is kind of one level down from the engagement ring, a kind of pre-engagment ring if you like.  It's not tied to a proposal to marry - as most engagement rings are, it's a declaration of exclusivity of the relationship.

Interestingly enough, in my research of promise rings I came across another meaning and it had nothing to do with a love between a man and a woman.  In fact, promise rings were also given to  virgin girls by the parents as an agreement between the parties that the girl would remain a virgin till she married and got her wedding ring.  I think however, that this meaning is the more obscure and in general, most believe promise rings to take on the earlier meaning.

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