Lesbian promise rings and commitment rings have particular significance in the lgbt community. In lieu of marriage, lesbian promise rings show your commitment, fidelity and love for your partner. So let’s take a deeper look at what the way we wear promise rings in the lesbian community.
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My personal experience with lesbian promise rings
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 for our promise rings. From memory (it was ten years ago!) they were around $30 or something! We were young, and didn’t have much money. They were similar to the one to the left.
And I freely admit that we exchanged them because we were in the throws of new love and infatuation. We weren’t thinking of long-term commitment at the time – 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 later that we started to feel the urge to exchange promise 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 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.
The history of promise rings
Commitment rings date back to the 1500s. A male lover would give one to his lass if he intended to marry her in the future, but couldn’t right away. For example, many hopeful suitors had to postpone the wedding until better off financially.
A man 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 commitment rings have always been enormously significant. In some ways, I feel that they echo the sentiment of their traditional use – many of us have to postpone our wedding day too!
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.
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 the world your taken!
(Editor’s note: Also, being left-handed often goes hand-in-hand with being a lesbian!)
How much should you spend on a lesbian promise ring?
With promise and commitment rings, there’s no reason to go into debt!
Unlike engagement rings and wedding rings, where the rule is two months salary, there is no rule to dictate how much you spend on a promise or commitment ring. That’s because promise and commitment rings can be given at any time, at any stage or age. Usually, you’re looking at between $30 to a few hundred dollars TOPS.
As I outlined in my personal story above, my partner and I initially purchased $30 rings, because we were young and poor. So what that they were cheap!? We were in love, and it’s all we could afford. I still love those little cheap rings – they mean so much to me, even though they’re not precious metal or inlaid with diamonds.
Even when we purchased our “upgraded” commitment claddagh rings, we still didn’t break the bank. We spent around $200 – $300 per ring. That’s far less than two months salary.
So don’t go spending hundreds and thousand dollars! Save that for your engagement and wedding ring!
Should you surprise your partner with a 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 is more often a shared experience. 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?
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 titanium and gold ring (above) 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.
I got carried away with this section, and so in the interests of making this article easier to read, I have created a new page for latest trends in lesbian promise rings. Please head over to:
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.