Circle Pins – How Wearing One Had Special Meaning in the 50’s

The circle pin is a classic piece of jewelry that was particularly popular in the 1950’s and 60’s and often worn on a cardigan or blouse. There were apparently different stories about the pins and their significance. It was said that they had different meanings depending on the pin style and where it was worn. Here are some examples of what wearing a circle pin might mean in the 50’s and how they were used.

“Circle Pins mean you’re a virgin.” The story is that this kind of pin was given by a guy to a girl in the 50’s to show that they were dating. It was also a symbol of ones state of virginity. Supposedly once the deed was done the pin couldn’t be worn again. Some sources say that if the pin was worn on the left side it meant you hadn’t “done it” yet. Afterwords, you would switch the pin to the right side. The musical Grease has a famous part involving the iconic pin: In one scene, Frenchie uses a “virgin” pin to pierce Sandy’s ear.

“Circle Pins symbolize undying love.” The round shape symbolizes eternity. Wearing a circle pin was a way to get “pinned” and show that you are going seriously steady without The Ring. A pin with a pearl meant one true love. Other gems and shiny additions on a pin would often have made up personal meanings by high school lovebirds. For example, a pin with a bow might mean “we’re tying the knot.”

“For friendship.” Girls would exchange matching pins to show friendship. Sometimes if they were all in the same sorority, club or school group, girls would all wear matching pins to show membership and belonging.

“Circle Pins are scarf holders.” Some people say that round pins were originally designed as holders to help keep a scarf neat and positioned perfectly. It actually works wonders and looks really great! When you pull one end of a sheer scarf through the center of the pin and then fasten the pin, it will help keep your scarf in place and complete the look. This actually makes sense since sheer scarves can be so slippery.

Do you attach meanings to your circle pins? Whether they are nostalgic for you, or you are just now getting into the trend, they are a great accessory with a cute and kitschy past. Vintage pins are the perfect small gift to give to the one you love.

A Brief History of Promise Rings

Promise or pre-engagement rings may seem like an invention of the modern jewelry biz. In fact, they have been around since the 16th century, when they would be exchanged by couples too young or poor to wed. Read on to find out more about this fascinating and ever-changing romantic tradition.

While rings had always been used to signify commitment – there are Biblical references to the religious rings of the devout, it was in the 15th and 16th century that sweethearts began exchanging rings to communicate and solidify their love.

There were several different kinds of pre-engagement rings during this period. In 16th century England, lovers exchanged scribbling rings, which were inlaid with uncut diamonds or crystals. The wearer would use the sharp points of the diamonds to etch their beloved’s names or vows into window glass.

During Shakespeare’s time, poesy rings were popular among young couples. Each band was engraved with romantic sayings such as “vous et nul autre” (you and no other) or “a ma vie de coer entire” (my whole heart for my whole life), binding the lover’s words to the beloved’s body.
19th century

In 19th century Europe, pre-engagement rings reflected the optimism and romanticism of the era. They also were more ornamental than their predecessors, reflecting both the growing availability of semi-precious stones and the new influx of wealth into the middle classes.

Regards rings were frequently used as engagement rings, but non-engaged couples and even friends exchanged them as well. Regards rings featured a series of semi-precious stones, the first letter of which spelled out “regards”: emerald, garnet, amethyst, ruby, diamond, sapphire.

Other variations included the spelling of the beloved’s name, the word “love” (lapis lazuli, opal, vermarine, emerald), and the word “dearest” (diamond, emerald, amethyst, ruby, emerald, sapphire, topaz).


It’s not surprising in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, promise rings are again popular.

In a time where courtship – the period of dating – is longer than ever, couples can get frustrated with the lack of ritual and progression. The exchange of rings is a way for a couple to commemorate a transition in their relationship without the greater pressures of engagement.

While most couples exchange promise rings as a way of expressing their intention to eventually marry, the tradition is open to interpretation. For some, a promise ring might signify a decision to remain abstinent before marriage or engagement. These rings are also sometimes referred to as “purity” rings. Other couples exchange promise rings when they decide to live together before getting married, to mark the transition to a co-habiting couple.

There is also variation in how promise rings are worn. While many women wear their rings on their left hand ring fingers, like an engagement ring, it is also popular to sport a promise ring on the ring finger of the right hand, to avoid confusion. While modern promise rings are overwhelmingly given to women by their male partners, men can – and do – wear promise rings too! A small but rising subset of couples purchase “pair” promise rings that match, similar to wedding bands. Popular styles for modern rings include sterling silver, three small diamonds, and heart shaped stone designs.

Thinking of getting your own beloved a promise ring? Think out of the box! Unlike engagement rings, which are commonly diamond, a promise ring can be anything you can imagine. In fact, if you are planning to invest in a diamond engagement ring later on, you may prefer to get a promise ring with a different kind of stone, setting, or style.

One tradition we like: birthstones, which men often gave to their intended brides in the Victorian era (Prince Albert surprised Queen Victoria herself with an emerald snake ring!). Promising your commitment with a birthstone ring makes a personal statement that she’s sure to cherish no matter how many years pass – and how many more rings you give her.