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If subtlety isn’t your strongest suit, then mastering the art of the unexpected proposal will come as no easy task. And let’s not forget the ultimate threat to your discretion, that is, figuring out the size of your future fiancé’s ring finger. There’s nothing worse than having the perfect proposal planned out with the perfect ring, only to discover that on the day of, your partner won’t be showing off her new rock.
But fear not. We jewellers have a few tricks up our sleeves, and a little secret mission is half the fun. But despite your utmost efforts, there’s still a chance you’ll need to come back for a few touch-ups to achieve the perfect fit. If that’s the case, don’t be disheartened. If it’s wearable on the day, you’ll know you’ve done a pretty good job!
Here are some stealthy strategies for sizing up a ring finger on the sly:
1. Borrow from their jewellery boxIt may be one of the oldest tricks in the books, but finding a ring they already wear is the ultimate! It’s essential you take note of the finger/hand your partner wears said ring on (fingers on the dominant hand can easily be a half size or full size larger on average). Once you’ve whittled down all the variables, do some detective work to find out whether or not the ring they currently wear is a good fit. For instance; is it firm—or do they slip it on and off with ease?
Just a word of warning—apply this method at your own risk. If your partner isn’t the kind to suspect your covert behaviour, by all means go for it! That being said, you’ll need to take a few precautions before you go grabbing it and bringing it in to your jeweller. The last thing you want is for your significant other to suffer a panic attack when they discover their favourite piece has gone missing.
2. Draw a line where their ring sits on your own finger
If you can't get the ring away from them, it’s a good idea to try it on one of your own fingers, drawing a line with a pen where the base of the ring sits. If you can’t take it in to your jeweller right away, simply take a photo of the line on your finger.
3. Check for sizing stamps inside their ring
If you’re lucky, certain brands your partner might wear (like Pandora) come with the sizing stamped on the inside. Piece of cake!
4. Enlist some accomplices (like their family)
But if sizing up a diamond for their digit is proving to be a difficult assignment, it might be worth asking their siblings, parents or best friends to do some of the detective work for you. Make sure you confide in people who can be trusted. Not to mention those who won’t have a hard time putting on their best poker face prior to you popping the question.
5. Take a photo of their ring next to a ruler
Line the side profile of the ring up with a ruler and take a photo. Or, if time is on side, use a fine pen to trace around the inside of the ring a few times onto a piece of paper.
6. Ask a friend to take them ‘window shopping’
It’s not the most subtle approach, but if executed well, it can afford you the ultimate insider’s scoop into your partner’s personal preferences. A good way to pull this one off is by getting their friend to pretend they’re shopping for themselves and would like your partner’s advice. There’s no way they’ll be able to resist trying a few of them on themselves!
7. Show an experienced jeweller a picture of them
If you want to keep your proposal a complete surprise, your jeweller should be able to make a very good educated guess as to their ring size. How? Just by looking at a photo of them. In this case, the aim is to get the ring as close to their actual size as possible for the proposal, after which, the ring would need some slight adjustments to maintain supreme perfection.
8. Ask someone with a similar frame who’s been engaged
Although the accuracy of this tactic is a little questionable, it’s a good way of keeping your secret away from those loose-lipped friends and family members. Ask someone outside of their family or friend circle if you’d like it to be a surprise for all.
9. Sneak it into general chit-chat or conversation
This is arguably the most difficult approach on the list. And if you’re not the most artful of conversationalists, there’s a good chance you’ll blow your cover. But if you can manage to slip in a smooth segway that doesn’t lead them down the road of suspicion, you stand to win some very accurate measurements. A good fishing technique can be as creative as you’d like it to be. For instance, you could be purchasing a ring for your mother or sister and are trying to gauge an idea of sizing by asking your partner. Hot tip: be a good sibling/son/daughter and actually going through with it! It’ll work wonders for your cover too.
10. Measure them while they're asleep
Albeit, this method requires a serious amount of stealth. But if you do decide to take measures into your own hands (and manage to pull it off) your jeweller will have a pretty accurate indication of their size. Keep in mind that the good old fashioned ‘tie a piece of string around their finger while they sleep’ operation will only work on the deepest of sleeping beauties. But please, don’t breathe heavily or stand over them for too long… That’s just plain creepy!
11. Use a ring multisizer to measure their ring or finger
If you're not one for taking any chances, order one of our free York Jewellers ring multisizers to determine their ring size once and for all!
Or... You could just ask them!
If marriage is something you’ve been speaking openly about for quite some time, then the no-brainer solution is to simply ask. Besides, even if they know it’s coming, you’re still going to sweep your significant other off their feet. By all means, keep the ring or the proposal you’ve planned out a surprise. But if you and your partner like to keep things real, asking them outright will spare you the poetic pleasantries.
Our very own head jeweller, Douglas Ely, is no stranger to proposals. If you ever need help figuring out their ring size or picking out the perfect engagement ring — don’t spoil the surprise, pop into our Penrith store. He can help find a ring for yourself too. Read our definitive guide to men's wedding bands here.