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 She’s your girlfriend, your life partner, your better half, and she’s also smart as hell. So how do you pick out an engagement ring without her knowing? Don’t worry, it’s not impossible. You can secretly figure out what ring she really wants, her ring size, and plan a surprise proposal without her finding out using the following tactics we’ve seen work with our own clients.

Determine If She Wants a Surprise Proposal

Is she the type of girl who would love a big surprise party, or would feel blindsided and overwhelmed? Do you or does she plan the majority of your date nights and dinner parties? If she likes to be in control of events big and small, she might be the type that would like to be involved in ring shopping. Separately, if she’s really into fashion, she might have strong opinions on what she will and won’t wear. On the other hand, ask yourself if she’s more practical or more romantic. Does she melt when you get her little gifts or surprise her with a spontaneous night out? She might want an old-fashioned, just-like-in-the-movies complete surprise proposal. We’ve helped countless clients pull off a total surprise and design a ring without her knowing. Still others choose to involve their partner in some way: asking what stones or metal color she likes or having her collect images of rings she likes. It really depends on her personality, her style, and your relationship. If you end up asking for her opinion, don’t stress that it will ruin the surprise. At the first least (but most importantly) she won’t know when and where you’re going to propose, and that’s the biggest surprise of all.

(A proposal mid-hike? She won’t see that coming. Dave proposed to Andrea with a custom lab created diamond engagement ring.)

Find Her Pinterest Engagement Ring Board

If you want the engagement ring to be a complete surprise and can’t ask her what she wants, find her Pinterest account. 70% of future brides think about what they’d like before getting engaged and 50% create a Pinterest wedding board so the odds are in your favor. Fair warning: many women make these boards hidden (not viewable to the public) or even friends unless they specifically add them to the board.

(Proposing in the middle of a desert? Pretty badass. Andrew popped the question with a custom blue green sapphire rose gold engagement ring.)

Listen to The Hints She Inevitably Will Be Dropping

77% of brides-to-be report dropping hints, so you need to zero in on anything jewelry-related she’s talking about: opinions on a friend’s engagement ring, comments on jewelry commercials, what she gravitates to at jewelry stores . She might even point out rings she likes and the ones she doesn’t care for. When this happens, pop open your notes app and get typing.

Pay Attention to The Jewelry She Wears

Look at the jewelry she currently wears and even the hardware on her purse or buckles on her sandals. Is there a common theme in metal color? Women will typically have strong opinions on yellow gold, white gold, or rose gold. Then look for scale; is her jewelry dainty and delicate or big and bold? Is it quirky and handmade or sleek and symmetrical? Then pay attention to her personal style and how she dresses. Is she into vintage looks, trendy styles, or classics? Where does she shop? All of these questions can give you a better idea of her style and a jeweler should be able to help you translate her style into a ring if you’re unsure.

Ask Her Friends

Enlist one of her friends or family members, but do so only if you can trust them to keep the secret. About 30% of women drop hints to their inner circle about what kind of ring they’d like, so her best friend or sister may be waiting for you to give them the go-ahead to pass along the info. If your girlfriend hasn’t shared her preferences yet, then this trusted person can bring it up in a natural way, or at the very least can give you their expert opinion.

(Proposing with your dog there: cute. Having your dog do the proposing: epic. Augusta and Leah made it official with a pair of matching diamond and palladium bands.)

Consider Her Day-to-day Routines

She’s going to be wearing her engagement ring every day so think about what those metal and stones will go through. Does she work with her hands or constantly have to wash them and wear gloves? Does she have messy hobbies? Does she have kids? Does she do extreme sports? If she has a desk job and rarely uses her hands, a solitaire style on a dainty band may be just fine. But if she’s not careful with her stuff and is going to be banging her ring on the daily, a more low profile and durable style is best. You also need to think about the best materials for her lifestyle. Diamonds are the hardest and most durable stone, followed by moissanite, sapphires and rubies. There are only a few other stones that have a chance at surviving a lifetime of wear so make sure to read up on materials and styles that should be avoided.

Shop and Research in Incognito Mode

If you are searching for engagement rings online and trying to read up on diamonds and jewelers, make sure you’re in your browser’s “incognito mode”, one: in case you use the same computer and she searches the history, and two: because you’ll get targeted by engagement ring ads on Google, Facebook, and other sites you or she visits. This scenario has become super common in the past few years, “why am I suddenly getting ads for engagement rings?”

Secretly Figure Out Her Ring Size

One of the most common question most people have is–how the hell are you supposed to figure out her ring size? Short of trying to measure here ring finger while she sleeps (NOT RECOMMENDED) you can bring a ring of hers to a jeweler, just make sure it’s not something she’ll freak out about going missing. If you think she’ll notice, you can take one of her rings and place it flat on a piece of paper (so it looks like the letter “O”) and then trace the inside (circle) of the ring and bring it in to us. The ring that you get ahold of will most likely not be for her left hand ring finger, but it will help you get pretty close.

Pay For the Ring in Cash

It’s common for couples to share bank accounts and credit cards before getting engaged, but when you purchase a ring, you might not want a paper trail because of the surprise factor or the price. It used to be that you wouldn’t see the purchase until you got your statement the following month, but nowadays many people have purchase alert notifications on their phones. Along the same lines, avoid pocketing any jewelers business cards or print materials that could pop up without you remembering, like in the laundry.

Get a Placeholder Ring

If you really want the proposal to be a surprise, but are scared of messing up the ring, get a temporary engagement ring. A loaner engagement ring looks like the real deal but is actually a CZ stone that you can pop the question with and she can rock until and she figures out what she really wants for her forever ring. This takes the pressure of you and lets her get exactly what she wants, no guessing.
…Just Ask

The vast majority of couples talk about getting married. If you want to take that a step further and get her involved in the ring, there are fun, romantic, and still surprising ways to do so. Ask her to make a Pinterest board just for the two of you, for a potential future TBD proposal. Tell her to send you images of rings she likes and ones she doesn’t. Have her describe her dream ring and take note.

If you want to pick out an engagement ring without her knowing, you’ve got options! It all comes down to what makes the most sense for your relationship. We work with all types of couples–young, old, high school sweethearts, second marriages, third marriages, straight couples, queer couples, couples that have been together for 10 years, and couples that have been together just a few weeks. Everyone is different and every relationship is different (we like to say that “no spark is the same”). Sometimes the partner has NO idea a proposal is coming. Sometimes couples design the engagement ring as a team. Often, we’ll get somewhere in between– your girlfriend’s Pinterest board and idea of what she currently wears. No matter your situation, we’ve seen it before and we’re here to help!

Ready to get started on an engagement ring? Book a meeting here.