Beyond aiding in self-expression and styling, accessories can be sentimental. Traditionally, rings have been associated with commitment, loyalty, and love. There are bands for important relationship milestones, such as engagements and weddings.
With rings being a popular piece of jewelry, you have unlimited options for styles and designs. However, the types of rings for relationships can be grouped into three categories:
Types of rings for dating couples
- Promise ring
- Purity ring
Types of rings for getting engaged
- Pre-engagement ring
- Commitment ring
- Engagement ring
Types of rings for married couples
- Wedding ring
- Eternity ring
- Anniversary ring
Each type of ring is discussed in more detail below, including average prices, meanings, and associated etiquette. Some tips for choosing a type of ring are also given.
Types of Rings for Relationships 101
Types of Rings for Dating Couples
1. Promise Rings
You can give your partner a promise ring at any point in your relationship. Furthermore, promise rings have many functions and meanings. Below are some of their symbolism:
- You and your partner have achieved a significant milestone in your relationship, such as an anniversary.
- You want to let your partner know you are serious and committed to your relationship.
- If you are currently in a long-distance relationship, giving your partner a promise ring will assure them of your fidelity.
Promise rings tend to be less expensive than other rings due to the relative simplicity of their design. You can expect to pay anywhere from $40 to $400 for a promise ring. They typically do not have stones, though if you want one, birthstones are more common.
Furthermore, you do not need to stress out about how to give a promise ring. Since it is a pre-engagement ring, you can present it to your partner anytime and anywhere — during a date, in bed before going to sleep, and more.
As for etiquette, you can wear promise rings on any finger you prefer. However, the most common option is your left hand’s ring finger. If the band has an engravement, you can show it off by using the band as a pendant.
2. Purity Ring
Purity rings are a specific type of promise ring with only one symbolism: abstinence. When you give your partner a purity ring, you are vowing to a life of chastity before marriage.
This type of ring for relationships is common for religious couples. Some belief systems, such as many Christian denominations, prohibit premarital sex. They believe that people in a relationship should only make love for procreation.
Proponents of purity rings call them a “commitment to oneself.” You vow to yourself, your partner, and God to stay pure and dedicated to His word. Consequently, couples sometimes perform a written or verbal pledge to mark this occasion.
Given this symbolism, people often wear their purity ring on their left hand’s ring finger. The band stays there until it is time to switch to a wedding ring.
Purity rings frequently come in sterling silver, but you can purchase them with any metal. Most of the time, there is an engraving on the band. The phrases vary, but all revolve around the idea of patience and waiting for the right time. Couples can also choose a specific Bible verse.
Types of Rings for Getting Engaged
3. Pre-Engagement Ring
Pre-engagement rings can refer to two categories: a specific band you give as a substitute for an engagement ring and a group of bands given before getting engaged (already discussed above).
You can give your partner a pre-engagement ring if you want to start planning your wedding, but you cannot afford an engagement ring yet. It is worth noting that the average price of engagement rings ranges from $3,500 to $5,500. Meanwhile, a pre-engagement ring averages $400.
Pre-engagement rings and engagement rings do not differ in appearance or style. You can purchase a cheaper band marketed as an engagement ring, then give it to your partner as a pre-engagement ring.
4. Commitment Ring
Some people say that commitment rings and promise rings refer to one thing. Others believe that the former is a variation of the latter with a more specific symbolism.
Furthermore, some believe that commitment rings are the more mature version of promise rings. While promise rings are more common among adolescents and young adults, commitment rings are prevalent among adults and older people.
Like promise rings, a commitment ring is a physical embodiment of a couple’s dedication to one another. Furthermore, you can also give a commitment ring at any point in your relationship — first anniversary, fifth anniversary, vow renewals, or whatnot.
However, commitment rings are non-engagement rings; you cannot give one to your partner and ask them to get married.
The reason why commitment rings fall under this category is that couples who give each other these bands often do so to enter a “forever engagement.” They have no plans of moving beyond engagement. They might think marriage is too much work, too expensive, too oppressive, and so on.
There is not much etiquette to observe for a commitment ring. You and your partner can exchange them in any way you prefer, whether during a random night or at a dedicated party with family and friends. Likewise, you can wear them on any finger or as a necklace pendant.
5. Engagement Ring
As its name denotes, giving your partner an engagement ring means you intend to marry them. This ring officially marks the start of your engagement; you two are now fiancées busy with wedding planning.
Purchasing an engagement ring is typically a highly stressful situation. You are not sure if your partner will like the design you chose, but everything is expensive. You do not even know if the size is right; your subtle ways of measuring your partner’s fingers might not be as subtle as you thought.
As mentioned above, couples spend an average of $3,500 to $5,500 on their engagement rings. This price reflects the more ornate designs of these rings. The bands tend to be gold or platinum, with diamonds and other gemstones on the surface.
Unlike the previous types of rings for relationships, engagement rings require a lot of planning. Some people book engagement photographers, make expensive reservations, and more. After, they throw an engagement party with many guests, heaps of food, and a custom hashtag.
Traditionally, couples wear their engagement ring on their left hand’s ring finger.
Types of Rings for Married Couples
6. Wedding Ring
The exchange of rings is one of the most memorable parts of a typical wedding. This ring embodies your commitment, dedication, and loyalty to one another. If you are religious, wedding bands can also signify your pledge to your god.
Wedding rings are typically less expensive than engagement rings, averaging $1,000. This relative affordability reflects the simplicity of wedding bands; they usually do not have a diamond or stone. In most cases, a wedding ring is only a plain band.
People are often unsure if they should take off their engagement ring once it is time to wear their wedding band. Likewise, they do not know which ring goes on top of the other. Etiquette states that you can stack your engagement and wedding bands, with the latter at the bottom.
7. Eternity Ring
Buying this type of ring for relationships is a milestone in itself. Couples typically give each other an eternity ring as a remembrance of significant events. You may purchase one for your partner during your 15th anniversary, the birth of children, vow renewals, or whatnot.
Symbolically, an eternity ring means you promise to stay committed. With this band, you tell your partner that your love remains strong and faithful.
There are two main styles of eternity rings: half, wherein only one side of the band has stones; full, wherein stones are present in the entire ring. Platinum and white gold are well-loved materials, with gemstone or diamond encrustations.
Eternity bands have the broadest price range; you can find them below $1,000 and over $50,000. Since you will wear it for a long time, it is a significant investment. Given that it is difficult to resize, make sure to get accurate measurements or go down one size.
You can stack your eternity ring on top of your other rings. The recommended order goes eternity, engagement, then the wedding. However, you can wear them in any order or way you want.
8. Anniversary Rings
Again, some say that eternity rings and anniversary rings are the same things, with the difference just a matter of nomenclature. Others maintain that they are similar but not exactly the same.
They both symbolize an oath to stay committed. However, there are subtle differences between the two types of rings for relationships:
- Eternity rings can have diamonds on the entire band (full) or one side (half). Anniversary rings have them only on the top half.
- You can give eternity rings for any occasion, including birthdays, graduations, vow renewals, and anniversaries. Anniversary rings are exclusively for anniversaries.
Historically, certain colors are associated with specific numbers of years. Here are some notable examples:
- First anniversary → yellow or gold
- Fifth anniversary → turquoise, pink, or blue
- 10th anniversary → blue or silver
- 15th anniversary → ruby red
- 20th anniversary → white or emerald green
- 25th anniversary → silver
- 50th anniversary → gold
- 75th anniversary → diamond white
You do not necessarily have to get a ring with these colors. You can simply wear something in that color, host a party with that theme, or whichever way you want to celebrate. However, incorporating these colors into an anniversary ring — such as a yellow-gold band — is a lovely touch.
Tips for Choosing Types of Rings for Relationships
You Can Resize or Change Your Rings
One of the reasons shopping for rings — regardless of the type or symbolism — can be stressful is worrying about your partner’s reaction. The ring might be too small or not of their preferred style.
If the problem is the fit, go to your jeweler and ask them to resize the ring. Keep in mind that some rings are more difficult to resize than others; some cannot be resized at all. Ask your jeweler to be sure.
Most retailers also have a return policy. You and your partner can go to the store and work with the jeweler to find the perfect ring. Make sure to bring everything that came with your purchase, such as the box and receipts.
While shopping for the ring, it is best to ask the jewelers pertinent questions. Other than return policies, ask about warranty, resizing, discounts if buying multiple bands, and more.
Down the line, there are some reasons why you may want to change your wedding ring. If you have the budget for it, then you can go purchase a new ring. However, reflect on the reason why you want a new one in the first place.
Be Mindful of Your Budget
You might feel pressured to buy an engagement ring — or any type of ring for relationships — outside your budget. However, you must remember that the value of the band is not in its price but in its sentiment.
Do not put yourself in debt just to buy a ring with the latest designs and several diamonds. Likewise, you are not required to scrimp extensively. Saving a portion of your salary for a few months to afford a ring is reasonable, but do not endanger yourself or compromise your health.
For instance, you can buy a pre-engagement ring to propose to your partner, then tell them you plan on buying an engagement ring once you have the money.
Be Clear About Your Intentions
As illustrated above, you must be honest about your intentions when giving your partner a ring. You do not want any miscommunication happening as it can have massive repercussions.
For example, if you will give your partner a commitment ring, explain what your gesture means. Are you entering a forever engagement? Do you plan on proposing down the line when your circumstances are better? Do you think marriage is not right for you, but you are committed to them regardless?
Communication is an essential part of relationships. It is important to be on the same page at all times. However, you can only do this with consistent and open communication.
Different kinds of rings have different purposes. You may want to give your partner one to symbolize your commitment, ask for their hand in marriage, or whatnot. However, do not stress too much about it; you can always get it resized, change it, or buy a new one in the future.