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Purity Rings

One of the visitors of this site wanted to find a purity ring engraved with the words I have decided. I don’t think there are any such rings on the market right now, but you can easily have one engraved through a number of websites. However, I can discuss the reasoning behind this inscription and you can decide if this inscription is for you.

Chastity and abstinence are often associated with religion. With good reasons, to be sure. However, moral choices of such importance can be made by people of little or no religious zeal. Although the most common purity ring inscription “True love waits” could easily be taken outside of religious context (particularly because “love” in this sense is not necessarily a Christian notion), it seems to me that many individuals would rather emphasise the fact that wearing the purity ring and remaining on the course of actions required by such a commitment is, above all, their personal choice, a decision that they consciously made. Also, this kind of resolution is likely to draw more sympathy and respect. Hence such possible inscriptions for purity rings:

  • I have decided
  • My decision
  • My choice
  • My path

Perhaps, the same mottos can be applied to promise rings of other types (a purity ring is, essentially, a promise ring), as long as the same sentiment of personal choice and decision needs to be emphasized.

purity ring

promise ring

Promise rings: Origin and history

Our life is full of promises. Many of them are quite routine: you promise to pick up someone at the airport, help a friend or sibling with a school project or volunteer to buy some groceries on the way from work. In fact, some of our promises are implied and unspoken. We build our lives around them. There is also a special kind of promises. They are meant to last a long time or even for as long as we may live. Such promises can also mean a great deal to a person who benefits from them, as they are to the promise-keeper. It is only natural that a long time ago mankind developed the practice of offering tokens that serve as reminders of such important promises. It only seems fit that promise rings – valuable in themselves – were chosen as the ultimate token of human commitments.

There is no reason to doubt that the use of rings as tokens is as ancient as the custom of wearing rings. This included, of course, lip rings, neck rings, nose rings, anklets, bracelets and ear rings – all known to be in use from prehistoric times. The custom of wearing rings on one’s fingers was much less common in primitive societies. This may be explained by the fact that a ring on a finger (unlike a nose-ring, for instance) can easily interfere with mundane tasks. A finger ring is often seen as an Egyptian innovation, but even the civilization of Ancient Egypt did not owe this invention to the tastes and leisurely life style of its wealthy members. Instead, rings, in form of signets, were used so seal documents, thus insuring their authenticity. This possession of such a ring indicated authority and power. As a result, rings quickly rose to the status of jewelry. Many beautiful rings from that era can be found in museums. It is unclear, however, whether Egyptian rings were ever employed as tokens.

Among the Ancient Greeks, however, the very origin of finger rings was connected with the idea of a pledge and keeping something constantly on one’s mind. After Zeus released Prometheus from the never-ending torture in the mountains of Caucasus, the rebellious god had to wear a finger ring forged from the links of his iron chain, “adorned” with a piece of the rock to which he had remained chained for centuries. This certainly sounds like an early promise ring with a simple message: I shall respect the will of Zeus!

Another variation of promise rings – betrothal rings – was well known in Ancient Rome. Anulus pronubus was composed of two rings having oval plates with the engraved names of the betrothed couple. These rings were originally made out of inexpensive iron, but eventually it became legal for all Roman citizens to wear gold rings.

Posie rings had their peak of popularity in England during the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. They were often used as tokens of love, affection and the prospect of marriage. These rings are known for the charming short love poems that were usually inscribed on the outside or on the inside. The quantities of the rings that have been preserved indicate that posies were quite affordable.

Memorial rings were once popular among people who wished to be remembered after death by their friends and relatives. Shakespeare, for instance, bequeathed rings to a number of his friends.

Interestingly, the very term promise ring appears to be rather recent. Some people claim that it is only a decade old. The earliest instance I could locate was in a 1970s dictionary of jewelry.

Promise Rings: Modern Types and Traditional Meanings

It is important to understand that the uses of promise rings can be both traditional and extremely creative. The promises that people give to each other vary quite a bit. If you ever feel that certain promises are significant enough to have a ring associated with them that alone constitutes a case where a promise ring is appropriate. Having said that, here are the most popular uses of promise rings:

  • Pre-engagement – many couples feel that there is a step in their relationship when an engagement is still far away, but the sense of commitment is already quite strong.
  • Purity rings – the most recently introduced variation of promise rings, also referred to as chastity rings. These rings indicate the wearer’s desire to abstain from sexual activities (the limits are variously defined). They can be given by a parent, in which case it is not uncommon to have a simple ceremony followed by the signing of a document that further asserts the agreement between the wearer and the parent/guardian. It is also possible for an individual (most often a teenager) to voluntarily obtain a purity ring and wear it, in order to indicate that he or she wishes to abstain from sex until marriage. Purity rings are intended to be worn until the wedding day, when they are replaced with wedding bands. Originally inexpensive, purity rings have recently evolved in their style and can be often found made out of gold, titanium or platinum. Technically, any ring can be designated as a purity ring. Typically, however, certain inscriptions are very commonly engraved on chastity rings. They are worn both by male and female teenagers alike.
  • Promise rings that symbolize an exclusive monogamous relationship – when a couple has no intentions of getting married or engaged, but wants to affirm their strong love and commitment to each other an exchange of promise rings often takes place, or alternatively one of the partners begins to wear such a ring. The style of such rings can approach that of wedding bands, both in the choice of gold and the characteristic use of diamonds.
  • Friendship rings – although the emotional importance of friendship rings is understandably not as strong as one associated with romantic relationships, friendship rings have been traditionally common. They may be especially appropriate if a friendship becomes more difficult to maintain because one of the friends has to move etc. Friendship rings do not typically imply exclusivity. Friendship rings are worn by both men and women.
  • Promise rings that serve as reminders of a promise to oneself – such rings can be worn in order to preserve the strength of one’s commitment to a personal cause or a crusade. Examples include an individual’s desire to break the bonds of substance abuse, smoking or negative influences and attitudes. Promise rings of this kind can be greatly enhanced by engraved inscriptions that summarize the wearer’s vow.

On what finger do you wear a promise ring?

The most important thing to remember is that in most Western societies the ring finger of the left hand holds the greatest significance, because engagement rings and wedding rings are worn on this finger almost without exception. Therefore, you have to determine how your promise ring correlates with this accepted practice. If you do not mind that your promise ring is mistaken for a wedding band or if the nature of the vow implies strong similarities with engagement or marriage – the choice is simple. Otherwise you can wear the promise ring of the right ring finger. This issue, in fact, can be quite sensitive. If the vows associated with the ring involve another person it is a very good idea to consult with them, using the rule describe above. Any misunderstanding in such cases may be a sign of misunderstood agreements. The rules regarding friendship rings are much more relaxed. They can be worn on any finger, but if the rings match, the fingers on which they are worn might as well be the same. In case at least one of the friends is married or engaged a finger other than the left ring finger should be chosen.

Good luck, and may you keep your promises!

For promise rings see also:

Promise rings for men
Purity rings
True love waits rings

The number 434 in relation to engraved rings may sound extremely enigmatic and somewhat similar to the cryptic approach to engraving your wedding ring . The mystery can be explained very easily. A popular Christian abstinence program that promotes its cause through wearing silver purity rings uses a passage from First Thessalonians 4.3-4 as a inspirational motto. The numbers are also featured on Christian purity rings that can be obtained through the program. These rings can typically only bought after attending one of the events sponsored by the program, also it is likely that there is some secondary market, as well as imitations (if you shop for jewelry at tiffany &co or at Zales you’re out of luck). The Scripture passage (1 Thessalonians 4.3-4) that is used for these purity rings goes like this:


It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable,


For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;

Vulgate (Latin):

haec est enim voluntas Dei sanctificatio vestra ut abstineatis vos a fornicatione ut sciat unusquisque vestrum suum vas possidere in sanctificatione et honore

Learn more about purity rings!

Design my own engagement ring I have looked at several different websites that offer applets for designing your own engagement rings. Amazon has a very attractive ring design feature that can help you achieve what you want through several simple stages. First, you narrow down the choices of available diamonds – by shape, price, cut, clarity, color and carat-size. All this is done on a single page, mind you! Then you have to pick the diamond you want from a list. After that you select the setting: the metal and the style. At that stage, the price will be shown and you can simply add the newly designed ring to your shopping cart. Whether you actually want to buy the ring you have designed, is entirely up to you. But it sure is fun to play with this applet! The only thing that is clearly missing is the ability to add a custom engraving to the design.

Create Your Own Ring!

Parisian cross engraved bible. mens wedding ring This beautiful engraved wedding band features the so called Parisian cross . It also has an inside inscription with one of the most popular Bible verses that can be engraved on wedding rings:

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”

This inscription is an all time favorite, so if you cannot come up with an unique idea for an engraving, this is a very fine choice. If you want to be creative, this site offers many resources. Also, unless you are working directly with the jeweler, you will not have clear idea of how your personalized ring might look until it is actually ready. This may be OK if the ring design is quite simple and it is rather inexpensive. Other than that, it is nice to see an ring that is already pre-engraved for you.

See also: Knights Templar crosses