April 08 2014 Tuesday at 03:49 PM

How To Secretly Arrange the Engagement Ring Before You Propose

So you’ve decided to pop the big question but want to impress your special lady with a romantic, surprise proposal? You know an engagement ring is probably the single most important piece of jewelry you will ever buy. You want her to love it and you want the ring to be perfect. So how does one go about selecting the perfect ring she will love—on the sly? How do you determine the correct shape of the diamond, the band’s composition and color, or even her ring size without tipping your hand? Here are a few time tested and sneaky tips to get that perfect ring on her finger while preserving the element of surprise.

Borrow a Ring From Her Jewelry Box

The first thing you need to find out is her correct ring size. The easiest way to do this is to borrow a ring from her jewelry box (making sure it’s a ring that still fits and is sized for her ring finger). Take it to a jeweler to have its size determined and you will have at least one piece of the puzzle checked off the list. If it is a ring she will miss, you can trace the inside of the ring with a pencil and piece of paper, or simply put it on your own finger. Mark the place it stops with a pen, then have the jeweler get the size from that.

Ask Her Best Friend

This gambit is a calculated risk. The BFF can completely blow your cover if she’s unable to keep a secret. Ladies who are contemplating marriage often tell their best friends or sisters or mother what kind of ring they want. Just be advised, you bring these co-conspirators into your plot at your own peril. If they can keep their lips sealed, this may be the single best way to find out what your girl wants without being too obvious. Besides her ring size you will need to know the diamond shape (round, princess, oval, pear, marquise, etc.), type of metal (white or yellow gold, platinum) and setting preference. The setting is the way the diamond sits on the band and the prong setting is the most common. Some others include the bar, bezel and cluster.

Ask Her

If that sounds like a lot of information to have before spending two or three month’s salary on a ring, you’re right. It is. Sometimes the best way to get the ring she truly wants is to just ask her. You can still be sneaky about it if you’re crafty enough. Faking a pretext like getting a battery changed in your watch is always good. Take her to a jewelry store and have her try on rings while you’re there getting your watch battery changed—you can joke about it being for sometime far, far, down the road. Or if you want to be super sneaky, get creative and have a buddy go along and ask your bride-to-be to shop for your pal’s girlfriend as a favor to you. Pretend your buddy is the one doing the covert op for an engagement ring, not you. Then pick her brain about what kind of ring she would want—if you were even thinking about getting married soon, which you’re not. Wink, wink.