Every year, millions of well-intentioned people try to buy their partner a beautiful engagement ring without knowing anything about engagement rings (or their partner’s taste). With limited knowledge and experience, you still have a good shot at buying something amazing – especially if you’re trying hard to find something your partner will love. But the experience can still be intimidating.

How to Get an Engagement Ring If You Have No Idea What You’re Doing - ring, jewlery, enagagement, budget

Fortunately, there are several strategies that can make your life easier.

Learn Your Partner’s Ring Size

One of the first steps you’ll need to take is learning your partner’s ring size, so you can buy the best fit possible. There are several ways to inconspicuously learn this information, such as by measuring your partner’s current rings or talking to their friends and family members. But you can also just ask your partner directly if you don’t mind compromising the surprise.

Consider Getting a Placeholder Ring

If you’re not confident in your ability to find the “perfect” engagement ring for your partner, consider getting a placeholder ring. A placeholder ring will serve as a kind of temporary engagement ring, giving you something tangible you can propose with, but without locking you into a final purchase. You’ll get the benefits of presenting a ring to your partner on the day you propose, then you can shop together for a ring your partner is sure to enjoy.

Understand Your Budget

Next, understand your budget. Old-school recommendations encourage you to spend a certain percentage of your salary on an engagement ring, but these long-standing traditions originated as tricks to get consumers to spend more on jewelry. Generally speaking, buying cheap jewelry will often leave you with ugly, fragile, or uncomfortable materials – but you also don’t have to spend a fortune for something nice. Set your budget proactively and work with what you’ve got.

Learn About Your Partner’s Taste in Jewelry

If you want to buy an engagement ring your partner is going to love, you need to know their personal style and preferences. Pay attention to the types of jewelry they wear on a regular basis. Do they tend to prefer vintage pieces of jewelry, or pieces with more of a modern style? Do they like simple, minimalistic designs, or things that are more ornate? Do they have preferences in terms of color or shape? If your partner doesn’t typically wear jewelry, this will be much harder to determine.

Talk to a Jeweler

Consider talking to a jeweler directly. They’ll be able to provide you with advice on what type of engagement ring to buy, even if you have minimal knowledge on your partner’s taste. They can also educate you on stone, cut, and band options – and show you live examples for better context.

Research and Shop Online

In addition to shopping with an in-person jeweler, it’s a good idea to do some research and shop online. You’ll have a much wider selection of options available, and access to thousands of educational resources that can help you make the best decision.

Talk to Your Partner

In most relationships, it’s a good idea to simply talk to your partner about engagement, as well as the engagement ring itself. Some people find this type of conversation to “spoil the surprise,” ruining an otherwise magical moment. But if your partner is completely taken off guard or if they aren’t ready for engagement, it could cause problems for the relationship and create a rift between you. Additionally, the surprise won’t be very pleasant if you choose a ring your partner finds hideous, or if you discover you have radically different values.

Some people avoid this conversation because it’s awkward – especially if you plan on talking about money. But if you genuinely want to spend the rest of your life with this person, and manage many complex, tough problems together, you need to get used to having frank conversations on difficult topics. If you can’t manage to have a productive conversation about how much to spend on an engagement ring, how will you have a productive conversation about which house to buy?

Talking to your partner will give you a chance to have all your questions answered – and feel more confident about your forthcoming decision. You might even get the opportunity to go shopping together, relieving the burden on you and giving them a chance to find the absolute perfect ring.

No matter what your chosen approach is, you have a good chance of finding a great engagement ring if you’re willing to put in the effort. If you’re thinking about your partner’s taste and sentiments, and you’re doing your own research, chances are, you’ll end up with something they’re going to love.