Growing up, there are various jewelry milestones you hit representing a first. Studs, usually from a piercing endeavor, a birthstone bauble likely received on a birthday, a BFF necklace or charm bracelet shared with a friend. A popular first token to signify love is the promise ring, a trend currently buzzing on TikTok with more than 265 million views. But this piece of jewelry representing a couple’s commitment is hardly new. It dates back to the late Middle Ages and usually surges in popularity among teens and 20-somethings with every generation. “Promise rings have been around since the 16th century, and in some instances, used to be called posy rings,” Michelle Bar, designer and owner of Barbela Design, tells TZR. “These rings were usually engraved with quotes and exchanged as gifts between romantic partners.”
The ring’s social media prevalence on TikTok likely has to do with the swarm of Gen Z users — an age group currently in a phase of life where young love transpires. “When the trend comes back around every couple of years, it’s usually younger consumers taking part, which gives it a youthful edge that signifies a less serious commitment than the traditional diamond engagement ring,” Aurate co-founder Bouchra Ezzahraoui explains.
Aurate co-founder Sophie Kahn agrees that TikTok’s primary user base has much to do with the current promise ring buzz. “TikTok is flooded with teenagers, and teenagers are always looking for ways to act more mature,” she says of the ring’s social media prominence. “I also read that TikTok teens are ditching hook-up culture for more serious relationships because it looks better online. So, optics could definitely be part of it. But hey, if you’re looking to show your love for a partner, why not?”
The performative nature of social media has also possibly caused a peak in interest. “I think TikTok and Instagram have added some pressure creating certain relationship milestones, but then again, visual manifestations of love have always been popular,” Bar says. The designer notes Bond Touch bracelets and couples wearing each other’s class rings as other popular ways younger age groups signify meaningful relationships with jewelry. She adds, “I think people want to show that they are in a serious relationship. I think it has to do with aesthetics in the sense of what others think and see.”
On TikTok, the rings shared using the #promisering hashtag range from simple bands to classic-looking engagement rings and even band-and-center-stone sets, proving just about anything goes when choosing a commitment signifier. “Promise rings tend to be more lighthearted, fun, and playful than a full-on engagement ring, and because of that, there really aren’t many rules,” Ezzahraoui explains. This choose-your-own-adventure approach to rings means the style and how you wear it can vary, though many shared posts on TikTok demonstrate promise rings worn on the left ring finger.
“Want your promise ring to be a pinky ring? Sure, why not? Want it to be a plastic ring from a vending machine? That works,” Ezzahraoui says. “No matter the commitment, it only matters what it means and signifies to you.” Due to the promise ring trend’s youthfulness, the Aurate co-founder adds, “I would stick to something fun, such as our Infinity Heart Ring.”
Bar says 14-karat gold yellow bands are among her best-sellers and make for a modern promise ring. “They tend to be a bit wider and not necessarily masculine or feminine. Usually, they’re plain without diamonds but have some texture like a brush or hammered finished,” she tells TZR. To avoid confusion with an engagement ring, Bar says, customers tend to avoid diamond solitaire rings but also tend toward rings with birthstones or initials for a personal touch.
As for how much a promise ring should cost, Kahn says, “No need to spend a ton, especially if an engagement ring is right around the corner. It’s more about the sentimental value.” Bar recommends silver as a more affordable option and rings with a unique design rather than traditional bands or styles with precious stones.
Whether you’re shopping for a promise ring or simply want to treat yourself or a loved one to a meaningful new accessory, discover an edit of stylish rings at every price point ahead, from classic silver and yellow-gold bands to bold and whimsical designs.
We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.