They say marriage is a 3-ring circus: the engagement ring, the wedding ring, and the suffering.
This is a completely incorrect point of view: suffering begins even before the first stage.
Which gemstone? What setting? Which material? Whats size? How many carats? What budget? Which jeweler? For the male species, choosing an engagement ring is a daunting and dreaded experience. But what it all boils down to, and the only thing that really matters, is “will she like it?”
You might feel that all diamonds are the same, and that learning the 4 C’s is like studying for an exam, but she will be wearing that ring for the rest of her life (hopefully) so you better put some effort into it. If you find it difficult to know her style and taste, then my solution to you is use a temporary mock ring and go choose the real one together. Many women prefer to be part of a joint decision for a purchase of this magnitude, and the experience can be equally as romantic.
Asking her friends what she likes is risky since there is a chance the secret will slip out. But if you have acting skills and want to gather some intel, try this instead: Next time you walk by a jewelry shop with her, look and pretend to be interested in a watch. Then casually point out the rings and say “That looks like the one Elton John wears! What do you think of it? Which ones are more your style?”
When it’s all over and the ring is in your pocket, you are not done yet. Planning the proposal is just as important as buying the ring, so make it count. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or over the top, but thoughtful and significant. After all, you only get one chance, so come up with a plan that she will truly love.