According to her, yes.

In a recent survey close to 90% of women said they want to be involved in some way when her engagement ring is designed or selected. So, unless your girlfriend deliberately sent you on a solo mission, it’s time to start thinking about ways to get her in the loop.

90% of ladies want to be involved

The rule of thumb here is pretty straight forward; if she doesn’t want to be involved she’ll tell you.

There is a massive disconnect between males and females on this topic.

But – you’re in luck. After years of studying the female psyche we can finally give you a sneak peak into the workings of her mind. At least on this topic…


1. This is the norm. Really.  

After the massive 90% “yes, I want to be involved” score, I asked my sales team if this number accurately represents girlfriend involvement. Every consultant said they think it’s a conservative number.

Back in the day (Great Gatsby Era) you could stroll by any Tiffany store and the most popular rings would all be showcased in the window. If she hinted towards a certain ring and you’re a few inches off and pick the wrong one when you visit the store 3 days later in buying mode – you’re probably still close enough. The amount of designs jewellers carried for engagements were only a handful.

Google Images, Pinterest and Instagram have notched this up a step. If your girlfriend follows a handful of jewellery brands she’ll see at least 30 designs… per day. If you google “engagement ring designs” (did you notice we’re snuggling up at position 1?) and hop over to Google’s Images section you’ll see an infinite stream of designs. If you steadily scroll down 1 page per minute, glancing over every design on your screen you’ll see over 160 designs in 5 minutes.

Page 1 of the Google Images search result for engagement ring designs;

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*I hope you grasp the sheer volume of designs any girlfriend is bombarded with every day.

Although we actively keep designing jewellery pieces for our engagement ring collection based on trends and popularity, the over supply of ideas and concepts on social media have us at a stage where over 70% of the rings we manufacture are custom. Most include slight variations of our collection, but every woman has a very unique and specific design in mind.

I recently had a laugh with the gent who cuts my hair at 6:00am (that’s commitment) every 2 months or so. I commented that the hairstyles of 10 year olds baffled me. Always super trendy, and pushing limits that would have had me expelled in my time. He said they usually order an actor’s haircut. 2016 was the “Brad Pitt Fury Cut” year. He then adjusted it to “Brad Pitt Fury Cut: Holiday Edition” or the more conservative “School Term Edition”. No 10 year old walks in and mumbles “just cut it”. They used to though.

That’s pretty much where we are in the engagement ring world. Every lady has a specific design in mind and you ordering a vanilla or “what’s the most popular style” just won’t cut it.

You can stroll by her side through every mall in the country and chances are no jeweller will have that one absolutely perfect design she has in mind.

Somewhere in the bombardment of designs she has found her dream engagement ring. Or a collection of ideas she wishes to morph into a single unique custom engagement ring.

2. She IS in fact expecting the engagement. (Hopefully)

The main, obvious objection to including your girlfriend in the engagement ring design and selection phase is spoiling the surprise.

If you have never had a conversation about marriage and your future together, it’s probably a good idea to hold back with that diamond ring until you have had that chat. During one of these conversations (once you pop the lid on marriage talks there is no end in sight), you will surely discuss some form of timeline. After you have set the timeline she is expecting a ring at some stage. Your proposal can still be a magnificent unexpected moment, but the ring design doesn’t have to be.

So, she is expecting a ring, has a dream ring in mind… what are you spoiling?

Tackling this process as a couple is great fun – and you’ll know was money well spent when she can’t stop staring at her ring after your proposal.

3. You can’t guesstimate the ring size correctly.

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There are many larger mistakes in life than getting the size of the engagement ring wrong, but this is a great moment that you want to fully enjoy and celebrate. You want to take photos to share with friends and family, she wants to feel the excitement of a new piece of luxurious jewellery adorning her hand and you want the ring you paid a fortune for to fit like it should.

You don’t want the ring constantly toppling over, falling off or squishing her finger until it looks like a cheap red vienna.

I promise you no app, PDF printout or cable-tie can 100% accurately measure her ring size. You need to either get the girl, or a ring that fits perfectly on her ring finger to a reputable jeweller to measure the size properly. Unfortunately there is no average size, and even a single size too big or too small is an awkward fit.

If you’re wondering who would know her ring size, here is a nice breakdown;

ring size.png

Tip; don’t ask mom, sisters or her group of friends. As the survey results show chances are slim (13%-ish) that they’ll have the ring size ready. If you think you can sms her mom a simple “Hi Mrs Kentley, what is Bridget’s ring size? Ring finger to be specific. Please reply and delete this message immediately” – you’re wrong. They’ll squeeze every proposal detail out of you and way more than 13% go on to spill the beans about your proposal plans. The details (when, where, how) of your proposal should be a surprise. Asking Mom & Co is too risky.

4. OK, OK. I get the why. How do I extract this dream design from her mind?

Rohypnol or any strong sleeping tablet. Stay patient till she seems drowsy and then pull out your phone and ask her to show you her dream design. You have about 5-7 minutes. Then let her dose off safely and in the morning this would all seem like a nice dream.

Although you’ll have a sky-high success-rate; you’re ordering a “break-up with extra jail time”.

There are safer, legal ways that don’t include drugs.

You hopefully know this woman you’re proposing to so you’ll have to match one of these “types” to her personality and the sort of relationship you have. During one of the marriage talks you’ll get some insight into which bracket she falls;

The “Hands On”

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This can be a bomb if you don’t stick to the script.

If she tells you she wants to be intricately involved – then you do just that. Otherwise you’ll be knocking on our door in a few months for a complete remodelling. I won’t mind, but obviously there are costs involved. Our remodelings are priced exceptionally well by the way… just saying.

Roll with it and make it a wonderful (and secret) pre-engagement project for the two of you.

The proposal is still yours to plan.

The “Hinter”


This is the most common scenario. From the survey results you can see 90% of girlfriends want to be involved, but when it comes to details like sizing – she wants to see some effort.

The challenge here isn’t to read her mind and select the perfect design out of a million options. She just wants you to be involved in picking the ring. She values your involvement in the creation of this piece of jewellery that is so close to her heart.

I can’t tell you when the hints will start pouring in, but it will be hard to miss once you catch on to it. She’ll start commenting on jewellery advertisements in magazines. You’ll be nudged towards some jewellery displays in malls. You shouldn’t be snooping on her phone… but if you do… you’ll see engagement ring photos pop up in her camera roll. Also remember to keep a close eye on her Pinterest and Instagram feeds. Let me be captain obvious here; she’s not creating a folder of designs she hates.

Personally my listening skills rival that of a meatball. If yours do to – it’s time to focus son. When the topic of engagement rings pop up – tune in those ears. A few key phrases like vintage, halo, no yellow gold, low setting might be all you need.

If these terms don’t make sense – no worries. Fake a restroom break and go type notes of whatever you can remember. We’ve decrypted some interesting notes over the years.

If she has a best friend you know you can trust with this secret, bring her along to our studio. Having an engagement ring designed by your Fiancé and your best friend makes it extra special.

The “Surprise Me”

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We had a very charismatic gentleman visit us the other day, ready to place an order for a certain ring design. After picking a diamond and running through details like lead-times he hit a blank on her ring size.

We offered him some tips and sent him out into the wild with a ring sizer to maneuver at home and get an estimate of her ring size.

Poor chap was caught in the act. As with 99% of girlfriends she was ecstatic when she realised what was happening. She insisted on seeing the design he picked though…

…and really didn’t like it.

Where Surprise Me’s get tricky; these ladies aren’t necessarily free minded individuals who don’t care how their engagement ring looks. They still have something in mind.  

Although you won’t have an abundance of hints to work with you’re bound to hear micro hints every so often. Keep a close eye on the jewellery she wears and consider reaching out to 1 (one!) of her close confidants who you can threaten with whatever you threaten people with, and tell her she’s the only one who knows. So if Bridget finds out – you’ll know who the culprit is.

Any reputable jeweller will be of great value to guide you in browsing a few of the most popular (yet evergreen) engagement ring designs. You really shouldn’t be looking for anything over the top.

I very often recommend that a gent opts for a classic solitaire. These designs are timeless and no one ever dislikes a solitaire. After your proposal you can always visit us to have it remade into her dream design. This way she’ll get her surprise engagement, you’ll be able to pick a diamond well within your budget, AND you can have the couple’s fun of having it remade into her dream design later on.

We always try to offer the gent as close as possible to full credit for a solitaire when he has it remade into a more elaborate ring. Nice!

In all honesty, very few solitaire engagement rings ever get remade. A classic solitaire will always be the quintessential engagement ring. By adding complementary wedding bands she can dress up the solitaire to any style she adores. It’s always a great, safe starting point for a wedding set;

solitaire with band.jpg

Before you leave anything to chance – have a chat with us. At the Poggenpoel Studio, we sit down with around 400 couples a month and do our utmost best to see what’s the best avenue to get a couple to their dream ring – all within the allocated budget.

Chat soon.

Johan Poggenpoel (

PS: You’re welcome to e-mail me directly with any questions. We’re here to help.

Final Emphasis For Engineers;

Engineers, we love you, we appreciate you, but please get your girlfriend involved as much as possible. We have had more than one case where a girlfriend accepted the proposal but refused to wear the ring he designed.