How to Get the Ring You Really Want—While Maintaining the Element of Surprise

By Shayna Seid | Photography by

Marika Creative

Picture this: Your friend just got engaged and shows you the ring—it fits her aesthetic to a T, but she swears she didn’t pick it out with her partner. If that is in fact the case: How on earth did she end up with the ring of her dreams while also managing to be surprised? If you’re starting to have serious engagement talks with your significant other—or he or she has suggested that the two of you take a long, romantic holiday trip together, then keep reading because we asked Boston-based private jeweler Hannah Florman how she helps her clients create the perfect ring, while also keeping the person on the receiving end of the proposal out of the loop as much as possible.

Florman explains that this past year there’s been a recent surge in couples coming in together to start engagement ring shopping. “I always like to get a glimpse into the bride/partner’s personal style through a Pinterest board and/or Instagram, but now there has been a marked shift towards transparency throughout the stone selection and design process,” she says. But she assures us there are certain ways to ensure the romance remains alive and well. Below, Hannah answers some of our burning questions surrounding the proposal process:

How early is too early to drop a hint to your partner?

“It’s never too early!” Florman exclaims. “You just want to make sure your partner will be able to access—physically or by memory—the information you provided them when the time comes. Pinterest boards or a saved photo album on your phone are always helpful—you can always send them to a friend or sibling, so they have them when the partner is looking for inspiration.”

Florman also has a handy feature on her website, where you can literally “send a hint” and upload descriptions, ring size, and inspiration images. She keeps everything in her files, and your partner gets an email informing them that Florman has all the info when they are ready to move forward. “This can really help focus our time together, as there are so many options to choose from when it comes to custom design—literally anything is possible!” Florman notes. “Also, sometimes it’s hard to know the exact style your partner will love in an engagement ring because it’s the one piece that will be worn everyday. While she may keep up with the latest fashion trends, a more classic ring will transcend time no matter her age or changing style.”

What if I or my partner have a stone or stones from a sentimental/family ring we really want to use?

“This happens all the time!” Florman assures. “And maintaining a family legacy through jewelry is a complete treasure. If the bride-to-be doesn’t love the center stone shape but is open to using the accent stones, we can find ways to incorporate those while keeping the design true to their taste.”

“Often my clients come to me concerned that their grandmother’s ring will still feel like their ‘grandmother’s ring’ and want to make sure it feels new and special for their partner,” Florman goes on to say. The benefit of working with a private jeweler is that they can completely reinvent the ring with a new setting while still using the original center stone.

What are some of the ways to maintain the element of surprise?

“There are plenty of ways to maintain that romanticized vision of getting engaged, even if both partners are involved,” Florman states. “We may embark on the process together and explore cuts and settings but reserve the diamond selection experience for just the person who will be proposing.” This allows for an open line of communication and also keeps things like pricing, more discrete. 

And going back to inspiration, offering up Pinterest boards and collages of inspiration images to your significant other or jeweler help tremendously when aligning a ring with someone’s aesthetic. “This often gives the bride enough confidence in letting me and her partner take it from there, so there is a final element of surprise at the end,” Florman says. “This holds true for many of my same-sex couples as well—more so than not, there’s one person who appreciates the art of a reveal!”

Hannah Florman offers a completely bespoke custom design experience. Book a complimentary consultation on her website here.