Promise Rings Are A Waste Of Money

Promise Rings Are A Waste Of Money Cover Photo
5 min read18 December 2023

A promise ring is typically a ring that symbolises a commitment or intention between two people. It is different to a placeholder ring (a ring that you propose with before designing a ring together, a cocktail ring (a ring you wear to a fancy occasion) or any other piece of gifted jewellery because of its intent. It is given before an engagement ring and is intended to hold sentimental value.

But what sentimental value exactly? And what comes next? At Four Words, we don’t believe in promise rings, and will actively persuade you to not get one. Below are 5 reasons why, and what we recommend instead.

Landed here looking for a placeholder ring so you can propose and design a ring together? Reach out to us and we can arrange that for you for free.

Already married and want an anniversary or push present? Reach out for a cocktail ring.

Hardly anyone in NZ even knows what a promise ring is

Promise rings is a very “American” ceremony (which isn’t even that popular by the way) invented by retail jewellers for you to spend more money with them. Luckily that hasn’t caught on in New Zealand.

In New Zealand, there are more meaningful ways to signal the next stage in your relationship. This can be with other pieces of jewellery (i.e., earrings), going on a long holiday together (i.e., Europe), or moving in together (but not into a flat — obviously).

What gemstones go on it?

With gemstones such as sapphires and rubies becoming popular as engagement ring stones, it is difficult to even know how to design a promise ring in the first place. When we searched online, they seemed to be around $1000 with tacky looking designs that kind of resemble an engagement ring. And yeah sure you could go with their birthstone or a 1 carat solitaire diamond promise ring in yellow gold but it’s super awkward. Awkward though because it’s not an engagement ring. Maybe a necklace is a better shout.

We believe there are more cool and romantic ways to take the next step in your relationship with $1000 than a promise ring.

Different coloured sapphire rings featuring diamonds.
Different coloured sapphire rings featuring diamonds.

Promise rings are awkward to give

Suppose you buy a promise ring for your partner. How do you even give it? What do you say? Do you get on one knee or two? Or do you just stand? It’s just an awkward experience especially if it is a really nice ring! Imagine getting her ring finger on point, with an aquamarine cluster ring with accenting garnets or amethysts in rose gold or white gold with a hidden halo. Heck, it may even look like an engagement ring.

3 stone engagement ring featuring an aquamarine centre stone and two accenting pear diamonds in a white gold band
3 stone engagement ring featuring an aquamarine centre stone and two accenting pear diamonds in a white gold band

Elation may quickly turn into despair or confusion when it looks like an engagement ring, feels like an engagement ring, even has the experience of maybe even giving an engagement ring — but is not an engagement ring. It’s a... promise ring? Can you imagine the IG comments?

It’s not an engagement ring

We all love to flaunt an engagement ring. But have you heard of someone flaunt a promise ring? Neither. You will get so many questions from your friends around what it means, that even you will start questioning it — like why didn’t they just propose with an engagement ring?

And yeah sure, they may wear it on their left hand, be of a cheaper precious metal and they read about it in a gift guide and thought it was cute. But it’s not. If you are going to buy a ring for your boyfriend or girlfriend, make it an engagement ring or nothing. Don’t get something that is open to interpretation. Hell bent on jewellery? Topaz stud earrings are perfect for loved ones and are much easier. Best of all, you don’t even need to know their ring size.

What signal does it send? We don’t know

When you uh...propose with a promise ring, what do you expect your partner to do or say when they receive it? If it isn’t an engagement ring, does it mean that you are not as committed? Does it mean you still have some questions that need to be answered? At Four Words, we reckon it leaves more questions than answers.

What to do instead of buying a promise ring

Go on a holiday together

Queenstown, Europe, heck even going camping 30 mins down the road is better than getting a promise ring. Couples that holiday together stay together.

Buy other jewellery — pendants, bangles, earrings — whatever. Just not a ring

Yes, Priyanka Chopra got a promise ring but it’s not trending. And let’s be honest, promise rings aren’t actually cool. Earrings rings are cool. Meaningful presents are cool. Experiences together are cool. And if you aren’t already engaged, rings are just a big no no — even with special offers and free delivery.

Diamond earrings
Diamond earrings

Move in together

This is typically the biggest gesture to suggest a strong and healthy long term relationship before an engagement ring. No need for some weird heart promise ring that is stackable or comes with a strange ring set in sterling silver.

Get a pet

Nothing screams commitment more than an engagement ring than getting a pet together. Nothing more to be said here!

Just get an engagement ring?

What are you trying to express with a promise ring? And what is stopping you from getting an engagement ring? This might be something that you need to explore with yourself and your partner. If you want to take the next step in your relationship, be honest with yourself on what exactly that next step is meant to signify, and where your relationship is heading.

Common Questions

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Diamond Illustration

Whether you’re just starting out or have done all your research, we are here to help.

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