If you and your partner have recently been discussing the whole love and marriage thing, it might be time to start dropping some serious hints about your dream engagement ring. You're going to be wearing that sparkler every day, so it's important to make sure it's something you'll actually enjoy looking at on a regular basis. Not sure where to start? Make sure you cover the basics, from the shape you're set on to the type of band you're into, and then dive into the details. Here are some general guidelines to follow for how to gently nudge (or lovingly push) your partner in the right direction.
1. Leave little ring notes everywhere.
If you share a computer, "accidentally" leave a ring jeweler's website open so he'll see the page the next morning when he goes to check his email.
2. Start loading up your Pinterest and Instagram.
"Like" rings you, well, like on Facebook. These little notes and hints will make sure you two are totally in sync; they're like love notes, just a whole lot more direct. Let him know what shape you want. The shape of the diamond is one of the most important parts of the whole design. It's what everyone notices first after they get over how sparkly it is.
The shape is usually just about personal preference. If you're a classic kind of girl, you might be drawn to the timeless appeal of a round diamond. If you're looking for something a little more fancy, the marquise cut might be more up your alley. No matter which shape you're into, drop a hint by talking about your friend's similarly styled engagement ring non-stop or gush over a celeb's new bling.
3. Discuss the diamond.
Do you prefer the classic white diamond or a colored stone? Either way, it's important to have a conversation with your partner to ensure you're both on the same page. There are a lot of options out there when it comes to the stone, so if you can't help but swoon when you see sapphires, that's a big detail to discuss! Set the stage for the perfect setting. If you're going into a store together to start the process, try on several different settings so you get a sense of which you like best. If your partner is planning to completely surprise you when it comes to the ring, start looking at your friends' rings and mention what you like and don't like (like that intricate design or how high it sits up on her finger). These little hints will help him when he's looking at all sorts of settings without you by his side.
4. Mention the metal.
Another major detail you need to think about is the metal. Do you want gold, platinum, mixed metal or rose gold? If you have a strong preference, start wearing nothing but that type of jewelry for a while. When your beau is looking up rings, he'll start to think about your favorite necklace or the watch you wear to get a sense of your style. He might even raid your jewlery box. So set him up for success by rocking only gold accessories for a while if that's what you want for your ring. Another thing to keep in mind is whether or not you want an eternity band. If your feeling is the more bling the better, be sure to share your sentiments.
5. Know your ring size.
One of the hardest parts of the engagement ring process is trying to determine how big or small to make the ring. It's not like he can measure your ring finger while you sleep or casually ask you if you know what size you wear (uh, dead giveaway). So leave a printable ring size chart on his desk with a helpful note of your size or start a conversation about how you think you lost some weight and need to go get a ring resized. His ears will definitely perk up! Of course, you can always resize the ring after the proposal, but it's easier if your get it right the first time.
6. Bigger isn't always better.
While most guys will try to get you the biggest ring they can afford, if you really don't want anything showy (or you can't wear a statement ring at work) let him know. When your BFF posts a picture of her four carat rock to Facebook, show it to your sweetheart and make a point to say, "Wow, that's WAY too big for my taste." Then, if you see someone share their modestly sized diamond, show that picture to him and say "Now THIS is a ring I could wear." It will definitely help take some of the pressure of your partner if he knows what size you'd like.
7. The four C's.
Once you've hinted at the basics, then it's time to talk details. The four C's are the must-knows for buying an engagement ring: cut, color, clarity, and carat. To be able to pick out the ring, your partner will first need to figure out his budget and do some research to educate himself on stones. Some general guidelines to keep in mind: avoid any color grade below H (it will look too yellow) or any cut grade below Very Good (it will not sparkle NEARLY enough). If your partner isn't sure where to start, urge him to go visit a store and talk to a jewelry consultant — they're like a ring wingman!