“What kind of engagement ring should we get?” is one of the most common questions we’re asked by guys. The second is usually “figuring out her ring size”.

No surprise then, that while being interviewed for the Chicago Tribune we were asked these very same questions. They wanted to know some hard and fast ways for guys to figure out what type of engagement ring to buy, especially when they want the proposal to be a surprise.

Below is part of the interview:

Figuring Out What Kind Of Engagement Ring

What are some foolproof ways to figure out what kind of engagement ring she wants, besides outright asking her?

Unless she’s actually put a lot of thought into it and shown you the ring she wants prior to the proposal, you can never be a hundred percent sure of what kind of engagement ring to get and that you’ve made the perfect choice.

However, you can hedge your bets and significantly improve your odds of picking the right one by:

 paying attention
 doing some reconnaissance work
 objectively thinking about your girl and her personal style.

Engagement Ring Styles:  Steps 1 – 5

There are basically three components to choosing an engagement ring—the metal, the setting, and the stone/diamond.

Step 1. Pay attention to the type of metal used in the jewelry she wears most often. Is it gold? White gold? Mostly silver? If she tends to wear silver and white gold mostly, then platinum or white gold are good bets for the ring.

Step 2. What do her favorite jewelry pieces (or the ones that she wears most often) look like? Are they more contemporary? Classic? Vintage looking? Are they big and bold pieces or more understated? This can help you determine the setting as well as which diamond shapes to consider.

Step 3. Do some reconnaissance work by asking her friends and family about her possible taste in rings or if she’s ever mentioned a particular preference. Ask them if she has ever commented on someone’s engagement ring and what exactly she said.

Step 4. Consider her personal style and her lifestyle. How does she dress? How is her place decorated? How would you describe her sense of style to someone who didn’t know her? Would you classify her as bold, earthy, vintage, classic or elegant? These are all clues for you in determining what kind of engagement ring to get.

Step 5. Think about what kind of life she leads? Is she active, sporty, always on the go? If so, she’ll likely prefer a solidly set engagement ring (like a bezel setting) over one that is more delicate with sharp edges and high prongs that can easily chip and snag on things.

If these steps don’t help you figure out what kind of engagement ring to get, they will help you eliminate a bunch of options, which is still a good start.

Engagement Rings, Trickery & the Foolproof Method

One sure-fire way of figuring out what kind of engagement ring she would like is through a little trickery. Tell her that you want to buy a new watch and take her out shopping.

Once she’s in the jewelry store we guarantee that she’ll look at other things besides watches and you’ll get a great sense of her taste in jewelry within a few minutes of being in the store.

Engage her in conversation about what she’s looking at and her likes and dislikes. You can learn as much from watching and listening to her while she’s looking at pendants and bracelets as you can from studying her reactions to rings.

If you still need more clues about her taste and she hasn’t headed over towards the engagement rings, gently prompt her in that direction.

Want to completely take all the guess work out?

Speak to a salesperson at the jewelry store prior to going “watch shopping” and tell them the situation and why you are there. Have them lead your girl towards the engagement rings and prompt her for her likes and dislikes.

Get them to tease the two of you about getting engaged and have them make her try on some rings. Not only will you learn what she likes but they’ll also get her exact ring size for you.

Figuring Out Her Ring Size

How do you figure out her engagement ring size?

There are lots of ways to figure out her ring size. The most accurate was described above by talking a salesperson in a jewelry store into your confidence; however we have some others that will also do the trick.

  Ask her friends for help. Next time they’re on a girls night out, have her friends bring up the rings they are all wearing in conversation. They can discuss their likes and dislikes and try on each other’s rings for fun (this can also help you figure out what kind of engagement ring she may want). It’s likely that one of the rings will be a close, if not perfect fit so take that friend’s ring to your local jeweler to determine the size.

  Give her one of your rings. She’ll presume you want her to wear it on a chain around her neck but tell her you want it to be more of a promise ring and can have it resized. Ask her if she knows her ring size, tell her you’ll look into sizing it and then change the subject.

  Go costume jewelry shopping with her. Tell her you want to buy her a gift and have her try on some rings. Test a bunch out on different fingers keeping in mind which one fits her ring finger best and ask for the size. Buy her a cheap fun ring and walk out of the store knowing that you got what you came for.

  If she has a ring that she already wears on her ring finger, grab it next time she takes it off to do some messy work or shower. Then simply place the ring on a piece of paper and run a pencil around the inside of the ring and take the drawing to the jewelers. You can also push the ring into a soft bar of soap so that it leaves an impression. Or use our engagement ring sizing chart to get her size.

  If she’s a deep sleeper, cut a piece of string and wrap it around her ring finger marking the point of intersection with a pen.

One or all of these tips are bound to work. Use some, use all, then sprinkle them with a little gut-instinct and you should be stellar!