Dear Preston: I Need Engagement Ring Help!


preston bailey dear preston engagement ring advice

Dear Preston,

My boyfriend recently told me he’s ready to get engaged. I know he wants the proposal to be a surprise, which is what I want, too. But he wants some guidance on the ring, and I’m sorta freaking out.

Most of my friends know exactly what kind of engagement ring they want, but I’m not sure. I know I don’t want gold, and I know I don’t want anything my grandma would choose, but how do I figure out exactly what I want? And what should I tell my boyfriend?


Dear STBE,

First of all, congratulations!

Now. Take a deep breath. No panic attacks. This should be a fun and exciting time in your relationship. Also, it’s wonderful that your boyfriend wants your guidance. (A very good sign!)

Whatever guidance you decide to give him, keep it straightforward and simple. You say you don’t want gold, but do you mean you don’t want yellow gold? How do you feel about white gold? My point is that you need to keep it simple but still be specific.

Emphasize what you do love instead of what you don’t. (Do you like platinum? If so, tell your boyfriend that!) Also, I suspect that saying, “Nothing my grandma would choose” will just confuse him.

It sounds like you aren’t very familiar with diamond shapes and ring settings. The Tiffany & Co. website has a great diagram that explains the different styles with photos. Check it out, and use it to come up with three key (and very clear) descriptors. For example, you might decide to tell your boyfriend: “I love platinumprincess cut and emerald, but I don’t like pear or marquise.

Don’t forget photos. After all, a picture says a thousand words, right? Show your boyfriend two or three photos of rings you like. Do you have any favorite jewelers? Any rings you’ve seen that you love?

Lastly, you didn’t mention cost in your email, so maybe that isn’t an issue for you and your boyfriend, but I think in general it’s a good idea to have a frank conversation about how much he’s going to spend on your engagement ring. Don’t show him photos of $30,000 rings if you know he can only afford a $6,000 ring.

Dear Readers, did I miss anything? What advice would you give? And, if you’re married, did you discuss ring styles and designs with your spouse before getting engaged? What kind of guidance did you give or want?

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