Guys always come into La Bijouterie with one noble goal: they want to make their girlfriends sublimely happy with an engagement ring from the heart. When you’re creating the ring she’ll wear for life, you want to be sure you get it right. After intimately working with our Bay Area clients for nearly five years, we’ve found that there are a handful of tried and true ways to buy the perfect engagement ring for the woman you love.
To help guys out, we’ve created this straightforward guide to help gentlemen decide on the best approach for selecting an engagement ring. Here are 7 ways to choose her dream engagement ring.
1. Design the ring together.
Despite the bevy of romantic comedies that suggest otherwise, about 90 percent of couples design the engagement ring together. Most girls have an idea of what they want. In fact, they secretly come into our store every day, doing reconnaissance without their boyfriends. It's a straightforward approach: you can decide on the ring style, diamond shape and size together. Then we’ll procure about 5 different diamonds for you to choose from. We design the setting based on your preferences and ideas. We create a 3D model for you to review and approve before the final design is created. Once the ring is complete, we can inform you privately (excluding her) and you can come pick it up, then you can present it to her when she least expects it.
Pros: When you design the ring side by side with her, she can specify exactly what she wants. Couples seem to really love this option because the guy can rest assured that he’s error-free. This is a good option for you if your girlfriend is very particular. Think of it this way - does she wake up saying “I’m hungry” or does she say specify “I want crab benedict for brunch”? Another way to gage her thoughts on this is to ask her what she thinks of her friends' rings. If she has lots of opinions on their rings, that means she may enjoy some level of input in picking her own engagement ring. Many girls find it really fun to pick out their own diamond. It makes women feel like queens. And it's really fun to geek out together as you watch the ring go from a 3D image to a real timeless piece of jewelry.
Cons: Some of the surprise element is gone, of course. Unless you plan a killer surprise proposal.
2. Learn what she wants by bringing her into the store to get an idea.
This option is a pretty James Bond status. It works pretty simply. First, let us know that you're coming in with her on a certain day. Next, you and your girlfriend come in “just to browse around.” We’ll pretend like we are meeting you for the first time. As you and your girlfriend browse, we’ll take serious note of her preferences and engage her in some questions to figure out what she wants. We'll also note down her ring size. On your end, you can be as secretive as you want; you can drop the subject for a few weeks or pretend like you want to keep shopping around. All the while, we'll be custom making the ring of her dreams.
Pros: This is a really popular option. It allows you to really surprise her, but still give her what she wants. It's also faster than designing the ring together because you turn over some of the design work to us since we’ve noted her preferences and she need not worry about each step of the process. Here's an example of a customer who really had fun with this process.
Cons: This is just a little less precise than designing the ring together.
3. Propose to her with a diamond in a silver setting, then design the final setting together.
Most girls already have an ideal shape in mind. Ask her casually to see if she has some ideas. You can buy the diamond before creating the ideal setting and propose with her perfect diamond in a simple silver setting. Then come back in together and create the setting together.
Pros: You’ll completely surprise her. She won’t have any idea it’s coming. Then after she’s had the joy of the surprise, she gets to take pleasure in designing the setting with you!
Cons: You’ll have to choose a diamond without her. You might pick a diamond shape that doesn’t suit her hand or that she doesn’t like as much as another. There are 10 different diamond shapes, and various diamond colors (many brides want a yellow diamond or blue sapphire), so be careful.
4. Ask her best friends or her siblings what she wants.
You may want to ask her best friends to help you shop for the ring. Or ask them to go ring shopping together without you and take photos of the rings she likes, then share them secretly with you.
Pros: If she’s told them about what she wants, her friends or siblings will be able to help you pick the perfect ring. Just make sure that you can really trust them to keep a secret and to find out her ring size.
Cons: They may be overly confident in their knowledge of what she wants. Also, there is a danger that they’ll accidentally ruin the surprise.
5. Ask her mom what your girlfriend wants.
This gets her mom's opinion and lets you ask for her hand in marriage - two birds with one stone. A good way to go is to have a secret lunch or dinner with her family and get all of your questions answered. This needs to be executed with caution, but if you can be sure not to be caught, it can be very beneficial to your ring search.
Pros: It will be a bonding experience that will bring you closer to her family. In some cases, moms may know exactly what their daughters want, but be sure that her opinion is solid and was formed while ring shopping, not from guessing. Also, if her mom loves jewelry and knows a lot about the process of buying a diamond, she can be a great help in choosing the ring and stone.
Cons: Moms have a tough time keeping it a secret because they get really excited and can’t keep a poker face. She might think she knows what her daughter wants, but since styles change every decade, she might be very wrong. In most cases, moms aren’t necessarily the best sources. We’ve heard stories where moms started asking their daughters about their ring preferences and ruined the surprise because the daughters caught onto the loving espionage. Another issue to watch out for is that even if her mom knows what her daughter wants, she can be shy to tell you the truth. For example, some women really care about stone size. And your future mother-in-law might not feel comfortable telling you that her daughter really wants a 2-carat ring.
6. Try to find her secret Pinterest board and figure out what she wants from that!
See if you can simply snoop on her Pinterest board by logging into Pinterest and selecting the "find friends" option. Don't friend her of course, unless you use Pinterest already. But snoop through her Pinterest boards to see if you can find some ring styles she's already pinned.
Pros: Her Pinterest board will give you an unfiltered, honest sampling of what she wants. This is a modern day hope chest, where she’s secretly stashed her design ideas and wishes. You’ll get an honest idea of her imagination. This only works if she specifically pinned engagement rings, and if they’re all pretty similar.
Cons: She may have pinned a dozen things that she sorta likes - meaning she liked only certain elements of 20 different rings. That will leave you a bit confused and may leave you stuck with a crazy concoction. The board should be engagement ring-based, ignore cocktail rings and fashion jewelry boards.
7. Create your own ring for her.
We've also had many customers who've come in and purchased from our design selections, as well as those who've designed from scratch. One gentleman even came in with a mood board of all of her favorite things. He created a beautiful, one of a kind ring just for her that incorporated waves and a lotus flower.
Pros: This will allow you to completely surprise her. You can make it as simple or intricate as you like. You can even bring in a mood board or collage of all of the things she loves in order to create a ring just for her.
Cons: It’s of course a bit risky, since you’ll be creating a custom design without her input. If you choose this option, be sure you really know what her jewelry tastes are.