Lesbian promise rings and commitment rings have particular significance in the lgbt community. In lieu of marriage, promise and commitment rings show your commitment, fidelity and love for your partner. So let’s take a deeper look at what these rings mean, review the latest trends, and find out how to choose the right ring to reflect your unique relationship.
Q: Are the jewellers listed below gay friendly?
A: Yes! I’ve personally contacted each one to make absolutely sure!
Q: How do I buy rings online?
A: All you need is your ring size. If you’re not sure what ring size you are, ask your local jeweller or use this Ring Sizing Chart.
What do commitment and promise rings mean?
Commitment rings date back to the 1500s. If a hopeful suitor couldn’t yet provide for his beloved, he had to postpone the wedding until he was better off financially. He would give his loved-one a promise ring to make his commitment to marrying her one day, when he could.
In the lesbian community, promise rings make a similar statement – many of us have to postpone our wedding day too! And, unfortunately, not because of something simple like money! A commitment or promise ring is a symbol of your promise to never give up waiting to marry that one person, no matter how long it takes the law to change.
My own personal story of my partner’s and my commitment rings goes like this: early in our relationship, we gave each other relatively inexpensive stirling silver claddagh rings. We both have Irish heritage, and we both knew the story of the claddagh, so they were the natural choice. They looked like the one to the left. From memory (it was ten years ago!) they were around $30 or something! We were very young, and didn’t have much money.
And I freely admit that we exchanged them – not because of an awareness of a life-long commitment, but because we were in the throws of new love and infatuation, and the rings were just a spontaneous gift, a way of showing that love. We didn’t think of them as promise rings, but only as symbol of our affection.
It was years and years later that we started to feel the urge to exchange rings that were more lasting and more significant.
And so for our tenth anniversary we decided it was time to ‘upgrade’ to real promise rings! We had grown to love our claddaghs, and so we chose more expensive, glamorous versions of the same style. We settled on white-gold claddaghs with a diamond heart. We exchanged them while we were by ourselves on holiday in the mountains. It was very beautiful! (But I still have the old, cheapo ones in a box – for sentimental value!)
So that’s our story! Each lesbian couple has their own story, and their own profound reasons for choosing their commitment bands or promise rings. If you’d like to share your story, there’s a comments section below.
Do you wear a lesbian promise ring on your left or right hand?
Until recently, many gay couples weren’t sure which hand to wear their promise or commitment rings. Traditionally, comittiment rings are worn on the right hand, and wedding rings on the left.
It had been the trend for lesbians to wear their promise and commitment rings on their right hand. However, nowadays nearly all lesbians are wearing their promise and commitment rings on the wedding finger of their left hand.
By wearing the ring on your left hand, you declare to the world that you are in a lasting, long-term relationship that people should treat as a marriage. Why wait for the laws to catch up with you? Move that ring to your left hand and tell their world your taken!
Should you surprise your partner with a commitment or promise ring?
(In other words, should it be a surprise, like an engagement ring?)
Unlike an engagement ring, which you ‘spring’ on your lover as a surprise, buying your commitment or promise ring can be a shared experience. You can sit down together and choose the rings you want.
Should you buy matching commitment rings?
In most cases, the answer is yes.
When it comes to lesbian promise and commitment rings, most couples choose rings that are exactly the same, or very similar in design or material. The matching promise rings show the world that you are connected, and that you belong together. You’ll be surprised at how many people will notice your matching rings.
For example, a popular choice for promise rings is this titanium ring with hammered rose gold from Love and Pride (shown right).
On its own, it’s a beautiful statement piece. However, if both you and your partner wore this ring, it would really stand out. The human eye always seeks out patterns, and within minutes most people will make the connection between the two of you, without you having to say a word.
What if we don’t want to wear the same ring?
Make your own rules! You don’t have to wear the same ring! If you each have a different aesthetic, then it can be hard to find matching rings that you both love.
I will say this, though. If you decide to get different rings, it’s a great idea to choose rings that have a complementary aesthetic.
For example, the hammered white gold ring would be beautifully complimented by the elegant 14k yellow textured yellow gold band (shown left).
Like the titanium ring above, it is also hammered and textured. This connects the aesthetic, while allowing each of you to express your own individual tastes.
What are the ring trends for 2014?
Trend 1: Titanium
Although I always choose white gold for myself, I absolutely love the new trend in titanium for lesbian promise and commitment rings. While white gold is understated and sophistacted, titanium is bold and powerful. Titanium is probably the most remarkable material in jewelry design today. It never tarnishes. It never rusts. It has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of all metals. Let’s put it this way: NASA uses titanium in aerospace projects. To say it is ‘enduring’ is an understatement.
Here are some of my favorite titanium ring designs.
The plain titanium band (left) is a real stand-out for me.
The simple design echoes the traditional gold wedding band, but the titanium metal gives it an edgy, modern feel.
The fact that it is pure titanium is a positive for anyone who is allergic to other metals. Titanium is hypoallergenic, and can be worn by people who usually suffer allergic reactions to other metals. It’ll be safe to wear against your skin for many years to come!
I found this one on Amazonon sale (at time of writing – Jan 2014).
The ring to the right blends together traditional and modern into a ring that combines both yellow gold and titanium.
The ring is given a silky satin finish, making it hard to see where the gold ends and the titanium begins. The overall effect makes me think of a lake after the rain, with the reflected sunshine starting to shine through. A beautiful design from the gorgeous people at Love and Pride.
And if you’re feeling pride, there are now titanium rings that incorporate a little glimpse of rainbow joy. My favorite is the black titanium ring to the left.
The ring is polished to a glassy gloss, with the little hint of rainbow shining through. It is a statement ring for bold babes.
Trend 2: Tattoos!
Lately, lesbian couples have embraced the permanency of ink to symbolise their commitment to each other. The finger tattoos can appear on any finger, and can take any shape that you desire. Here are some tats to whet your appetite:
Feeling brave/creative/tipsy? Buy a tattoo kit and do your own!
Trend 3. Signet rings
I am LOVING the signet ring trend.
I first heard of it late last year when two of my closest mates have chosen signet rings as their promise rings. Since then, I’ve seen them popping up everywhere. Dating back thousands of years, signet rings were like an early form of a pin number. A signet ring, bearing a crest or personal symbol, declared that the wearer was who he said he was. (Yes, I am using the “he” pronoun! In some countries, it’s still considered bad taste for a woman to wear a signet ring! Maybe that’s even more reason to wear one!) The ring could be stamped into wax seals, to verify authenticity.
Signet rings are usually gold, and are most often worn on the pinky finger of the most unused hand. They are very simple in design, which is part of their appeal. There is nothing frilly or fancy about a signet ring. They are simply a gold ring with a wide space to personalise it with your crest. However, these days, people usually put their initials on their signet rings. Which brings me to the lesbian trend – lesbian couples each wear the signet ring bearing the initials of their partner. It’s a simple yet powerful statement that combines lesbian love with two thousand years of masculine tradition. Love it.
For your signet rings, I can recommend www.picturesongold.com. Don’t be put off by the huge range of religious gold jewellery on this site! These guys have heaps of gay people on staff, and they told me personally that they are happy to work with gay couples to make the perfect lesbian promise rings. I’m glad I can recommend them, because they have cool online tools where you can pick your font style, and choose your initials etc.
Tips for choosing the right promise or commitment ring
Tip 1. Personalize it
Choose a ring that has significance to you and your partner. For example, you could each wear the other’s initial, such as the sterling silver initial ring shown below.
Or your rings could include your birthstones – or you could each wear the other’s birthstones. You can find your birthstone on Wikipedia. The example below shows a sapphire ring (the September birthstone) from jewelry.com – a site with an amazing array of birthstones, but when I asked them if they were gay friendly, they said, in essennce, “You are buying online, so we can’t be discriminatory because we don’t know who you are.” It wasn’t the most enthusiastic of replies! (Not like the Pictures on Gold people, who were so lovely).
And of course, don’t forget all the personalized rings that you can get, like this cool one!
Tip 2: Mix it up
Lots of lesbians get matching rings, but if one of you is butch and one of you is femme, this is just not going to work. Consider getting two complementary rings that, although different, have a similar vibe. For example, the two rings below are both made of white gold, and both have a textured appearance, but clearly they have a butch and femme sensibility:
Both rings above are available from Love and Pride. Search for ‘Rings’ and then reduce your search to ‘White Gold’. (Sorry that I can’t link straight to the page!)
Alternatively, you might each have a different skin tone, and one of you prefers gold tones and the other silver. In that case, you can mix it up, but still keep the cohesive style with rings like this:
Again, both rings above are available from the super-gay friendly store Love and Pride.
Tip 3. Engrave it
And once you have your rings, remember to get them engraved with a special message that is meaningful to you two. It could be the date that you met, a few words from a poem, or simply your names with the word “Forever”. Some online jewelers like PicturesOnGold will do this for you for around $30 – you can let them know through their website what text you want.
Good luck finding your promise and commitment rings! All my respect to you and your partner as you embark on your life together.
For some more lovely rings, check out my post about Lesbian Wedding Rings.
Featured image and all other portraits on this page by the incomporable Phillippe LeRoyer.