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Buying an Engagement Ring

Updated on April 5, 2010

How to Pick the Best Engagement Ring

Buying an engagement ring can be a scary and daunting task. Most of us have never done this before. And if you're like most guys, you probably never asked all your friends growing up for tips on buying an engagement ring. In fact, you have probably never even thought about it until you got serious with your girlfriend!

Well you're here at this article, trying to figure out everything involved in getting an engagement ring. This is a great step in the right direction, so congratulations! Let's get right to it...

In this article I will be sharing the top five things you need to know before shopping for an engagement ring. Also, I will weigh the two primary options you have for getting that important piece of jewelry (take her with you to shop or get it on your own) and explain the pros and cons for each approach.

Engagement ring and wedding band
Engagement ring and wedding band

Getting an Engagement Ring- Top 5 Things You Need to Know

Before you jump in and start looking around at different types and styles of rings, you need to do a little research. Don't worry guys, it's worth every minute of it because 1. it could save you some serious dough and 2. your future fiancée will love hearing you tell her how much time you spent on this. So trust me on this one and figure the following five things out beforehand:


First things first, you need to decide how much you are willing and able to spend on an engagement ring. You don't want to go bankrupt getting a ring and you probably also don't want to look like a cheap-o. Crunch the numbers and figure out what you can afford.

Something to keep in mind: Don't forget you will also be purchasing a wedding band for her and (in some cases, depending on what you work out with her) a wedding band for yourself. (Check with wedding expense etiquette to learn who pays for what traditionally.)

Her Ring Size

Shopping for a ring cannot happen unless you know her ring size. Find a discreet way to figure this out and get that all-important detail before you look around.

Funny story: I actually bought a ring that was two sizes larger than what my girlfriend actually wore. She was graceful and didn't make a big deal out of it, but I zipped out to the jeweler really fast to have them resize it (and they did it for free!). Trust me, it is better to simply know the right size before buying anything!

Ring sizer stick
Ring sizer stick

Her Ring Preferences

If you decide to go solo when buying a ring, make sure you have a solid idea of her likes and dislikes when it comes to jewelry. Does she prefer more traditional jewelry, modern jewelry or antique jewelry? Would she like diamonds, gemstones or something completely unique?

Gathering this information can be tricky, especially if you want to keep things secret. For tips and tricks on how to obtain this information, skip down to the section called "How to Secretly Get an Engagement Ring".

Pertinent Details about Engagement Rings

Here's a no-brainer: you need to know a few things about engagement rings before you go shopping for them. If you don't (and trust me on this...I've learned from experience) you will get ripped off by a "kind" and "helpful" jewelry salesperson.

The most common types of engagement rings are diamond engagement rings and they come in all sorts of designs, styles and flavors (such as three stone engagement rings). There are also gemstone engagement rings and cubic zirconia engagement rings (if you wanted something very affordable) or celtic engagement rings and expensive engagement rings (if you wanted something truly unique).

Do your research beforehand and you won't regret it.

The fifth and final thing you need to know before getting an engagement ring is...

Store's Return Policy

Let's face it- some women say "no" when they are proposed to. Hopefully you have better luck, but you need to have a "Plan B". Figure out what the return policy is of the jewelry store you shop at so that you can return the ring if necessary.

Are you going to get the ring in secret?

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Getting an Engagement Ring- Your Options

When you are finally ready to go out and get an engagement ring you really have only two viable options- take the girlfriend with you or go at it without her. I will talk about both of those options here, weighing the pros and cons and offering tips for each approach.

Take Her With You

If you go this route, the ring (and the engagement) won't be much of a surprise to her. Sure she will probably be excited when you tell her what you're doing and ask her to go along, but after that be prepared to have one super-excited girl on your hands. She might be impatient for you to, "hurry up and propose" after you get the ring.

The huge positive if you go this route is that you know she will love the ring you choose! You won't have to rush back to the jeweler to get your ring resized because you bought it two sizes too large (like I did).

Tip to make the most of this option: Since your big surprise (proposal) won't be much of a surprise, create a surprise with what you've got. In other words, make the "big surprise" be your question to her to join you in shopping for a wedding ring. Play it up like an actual proposal because when you ask her to shop for the ring with you, you are essentially saying, "I will be proposing to you soon!"

Get the Ring in Secret

The second option you have in buying an engagement ring is getting it yourself. This has been the "traditional" choice for many couples over the years so you wouldn't be alone. The drawback of this option is that you might not get a ring that she likes, especially if you don't do your homework.

The huge positive if you go this route is that she will probably be very surprised when you pop the question. Even if she "knew it was coming", she probably didn't know exactly when you were going to ask her to marry you. Use the element of surprise to your advantage! Although it might seem like a lot of work to determine what she wants and design your own engagement ring, it will be well worth it!

Tip to make the most of this option: Since she won't know the proposal is coming, have a blast thinking up the most outlandish, hilarious or crazy proposal that you can! Some couples propose have proposed underwater and others while skydiving. Personally I preferred to propose with both feet on solid ground, but find what works best for you and your girlfriend.

How to Secretly Get an Engagement Ring

So you have chosen to get a ring for your girlfriend without her knowing...awesome! Here are some tips on getting the perfect engagement ring without her even knowing.

Remember: You have to be a super-secret ninja for this to even work. Keep everything a secret from everyone until you have a game plan, then stick with your game plan afterward.

Step 1: Come up with a game plan. Figure out who your "sources for information" will be. Then figure out who out of those sources you can trust. Determine who you're going to go with questions and how you're going to ask them. If someone can't keep a secret but might know exactly what your girlfriend wants in a ring, is there a creative way you can get this info from him/her without giving anything away?

Step 2: Write out everything you need to know about the engagement ring. Ring size, metal preferences, diamonds vs gemstones, etc, modern vs traditional vs antique...I think you get the idea.

If you already know her ring size and that she prefers platinum over white gold then there's no reason for you to probe your sources for this information and let them know that you're going to propose soon. Remember: use ninja stealth.

Step 3: Do recon on your girlfriend. Look at the jewelry she wears now to see what she likes to wear. Pay special attention to hints she might drop (and believe me- women do this often!). You could even use a ring sizer stick on one of her existing rings to see what ring size she is. Caution: put everything back where you found it so she doesn't know any better!

Step 4: Stick with your plan. The fewer people that know your secret, the better.

Step 5: Consider talking with her about marriage. This is somewhat controversial because you are technically letting her know you're thinking about proposing. But which would you rather have- a girl who knew it was coming but who is prepared to say "yes" on the spot or a surprised girl who rejects your proposal? (see video below)

When You Get The Ring Don't Get This Reaction During Proposal


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    • Sun-Girl profile image


      7 years ago from Nigeria

      Great information which is well shared.

    • selena6581 profile image


      8 years ago

      Angela, this is one of the best hub i have found on this topic. keep it up. Thanks for such nice work.

    • WeddingConsultant profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from DC Metro Area

      Angela, I'm glad you liked it.

    • couponalbum profile image


      8 years ago from Sunnyvale, CA

      Nice hub! great information..


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