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What Is a Promise Ring?


Although a promise ring was originally intended to mark the earliest phase of a couple’s formal commitment, giving way eventually to an engagement ring and, finally, a wedding ring, reality TV show stars are doing their best to confuse the issue.

During a July 19th, 2010 appearance on the CBS-TV program The Early Show, Bret Michaels stretched the modern definition of a promise ring to new bounds by claiming that he had given one to Kristi Lynn Gibson, his companion for the past decade and a half and mother of their two daughters. “It’s a friendship ring, with benefits,” he insisted. Meanwhile, Vienna Girardi, the woman scorned during the 2010 season finale of The Bachelor, subsequently revealed that she had swapped out her engagement ring from Jake Pavelka for a sapphire promise ring from her father.

Deep Meaning Behind Promise Rings

Promise rings have become something of a catchall, extending far beyond their traditional 16th and 17th century origins. As part of a 2008 online exchange debating the merits of promise rings vs. those of engagement rings, a 29-year-old male participant explained that he had given a promise ring when he was 19 to a girl two years younger not to signify a future engagement or commitment level but rather simply to designate a deep, lifelong friendship. “It was promising that no matter what happened, I would always be there for her. Ten years later, it’s still true, even though we haven’t been together since I was 21.”

Befitting the loose 21st century definition of a promise ring, the price range for this item on a leading e-commerce site ranges from $7.99 for a Round Cut Cubic Zirconia heart promise ring to $3,200 for a six-millimeter wide platinum and diamond solitaire number.



“Bret Michaels Not Engaged-Dating “With Benefits” – E! Online.” E! Online – Entertainment News, Celebrity Gossip, Celebrity News . N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2010.

“Promise Ring vs. Engagement Ring: Fight! | Ask MetaFilter.” Ask MetaFilter | Community Weblog. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2010.

“promise ring – Jewelry – SHOP.COM.” Shop Smart, Save Big with Price Comparison Shopping at SHOP.COM. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2010.

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