Look at the kind of things they already wear. It’s likely your partner has some rings that they already wear. These are great clues to the style your partner would be comfortable wearing. Is the jewellery bold or dainty? Does it have big stones or small? A person who loves wide rings might prefer wearing a single ring with stones as engagement and wedding ring in one, rather than two rings. Someone who glams it up with big cocktail rings will likely love a showstopper engagement ring design. Never wearing any jewellery may also be a big clue. A person who never wears anything on their hand may not be comfortable in something big and blingy. Something smaller and understated is a better choice.
Are there family jewels? You or your partner may already have a significant stone or ring that is part of family. This can be a great place to start. Often you can propose with this ring, and then work together to restyle it if it’s not quite the right look, or if it is suffering from a bit of wear and tear and needs some rebuilding. It can really add special significance and meaning even to add a small component of something that has been passed down from previous generations. Keep this in mind while you are choosing – the ring you select will become part of your family heritage.
What is your lifestyle like? Do you climb mountains? Are you into the latest tech gadgets? Does your personal style define your look? Are you trendy or traditional, classic or contemporary? Occupation can also direct your design decisions. A person who wears rubber gloves for their job may be better with a smooth, low setting. Think about how a design would fit into your life – your partner will likely be wearing it every day for the rest of their life.
How does your partner spend their money? Different people have different expectations of what should be budgeted for an engagement ring. A two or three month salary guideline would make some people uncomfortable. For others, this might make total sense. You want to present the ring that will match your lifestyle in the years to come and balances all the things you need for your life together right now. The important thing to consider here is that it’s better to knock their socks off than to disappoint. Be sure you exceed expectations!
Does your partner follow fashion trends, or is he or she different? Do you need to present the latest trend or is vintage their thing? Think about what words describe your partner: classic; edgy; fancy; modern; over-the-top. Look to what your partner wears, and how they decorate for style cues.
What is personal to both of you? Draw inspiration from your own story. Have you traveled together? Will you propose in a particular place? Is there something about how you met, or milestones that you’ve reached that can be incorporated into the design. Add a birthstone, a favourite colour, or a secret message.
Has she or he told you what they want? Sometimes if you listen carefully, you find out exactly what to get. Ask some strategic questions when admiring someone else’s new engagement ring. Or go shopping together and try some things on. It’s likely your partner will not find your proposal completely out of the blue, so it’s not a bad thing to shop together first, even if you do make the final decision on your own. Check their computer to see if there is a Pinterest page called ‘Engagement Rings’. More often than not, you will be handed a catalogue, sent an email, texted an image, or dragged into a store and told ‘Here – I want this one’. That’s usually your best clue.