How can I work out my girlfriend's ring size, without asking her or using a ring?

  • I'm looking for a subtle way to figure out my girlfriend's ring size. The most common advice you can find by Googling is:

    1. Take the size from a ring that she already wears
    2. Ask her

    However:

    1. She doesn't wear rings
    2. It's supposed to be a surprise

    I've been racking my brain with James Bond style ways to get her ring size, but I think lassoing her finger in the middle of the night might be a bit suspicious. Any ideas?

    For obvious reasons, I'm staying anonymous.

    Does she have any dental work or surgeries coming up that would require her to be put under? :)

    I'de like to use the phone a friend lifeline

    Buy a metal pin toy. Leave it around the house. Guaranteed she'll try it out and leave behind a nice impression of her hand. http://www.amazon.com/Rhode-Island-Novelty-Point-Impressions/dp/B002MUYTMG

    If she has a pair of gloves that fit snugly but don't stretch that much, you could guess off the size of those.

    I know it is The Thing You're Supposed To Do In This Culture, but surprising your SO with a proposal, ring in hand, etc. is a rotten thing to do to someone; it makes it too hard for them to say no. Have an honest and non-scripted conversation about whether the two of you actually want to get married. Then, if you are going to get married, go pick out rings together. I promise you everything will be easier this way.

    @zwol that happens to be what my wife and I did, and I can honestly say she would have rather I surprised her. It isn't always a rotten thing to do. Regardless, this is useful for any kind of ring, not just an engagement ring.

    @zwol yes, have enough conversations about potential marriage that you know you're on the same page. Make sure her parents are OK with the idea too. But no, don't make the final decision like that with all the romance of a local government committee meeting. Leave room for it to be a *little bit* of a surprise whether you're really going to propose, and exactly when and how. Make it surprising, special and memorable. Pick out *wedding* rings together.

    This question is protected so I can't provide this as a proper answer, but I feel the desparate need to tell you this trick. Wait until nobody is around, then unscrew some of the christmas crackers until you find one with one of those plastic rings inside. Print off a ring measuring thing from the internet and measure the plastic ring. Put the ring back and make sure that you and your wife pull that exact cracker at dinner and make sure she tries the ring on. Jokingly ask her if it fits ok or if it's too small/big. Based on your observations, make an educated guess at a ring size to go for.

    Since you say she doesn't wear rings are you sure getting her a ring is the right thing to do? Are you falling into a cultural trap here?

    I suppose suggesting knockout drugs so you can use a ring-sizing tool on her would be a Bad Thing To Do (TM) .

    More bypassing the question then an answer: When I proposed I had this problem, along with the issue of my (now) wife wanting to pick out a ring herself. I proposed with a nice-looking but cheap piece of costume jewellery, and then we went ring shopping together for the real deal.

    I did this when I was buying the ring: got a **ring mandrel** borrowed from my local jeweler, went home and set up a night out with her. Before going out I put one of her fake jewelry rings on her, secretly to see for myself how lose/tight it fit. After the day was over, I took the ring and matched/estimated the right size with the ring mandrel. I took suggestions from my jeweler and as well a trusted friend. When I purchased the ring it was a perfect fit. You could be off by 1/4 or 1/2 that's a risk you have to accept.

    To add to my previous comment, I also thought something rather simple: using a rubber band and with a little horseplay, wrap it around her ring finger, holding each end so the ring shape stayed in place, then smoothly withdraw to another room to draw the outline on a piece of paper. Even better if you have a ring mandrel to put the rubber band on.

    I'd suggest buying her a necklace!

    @zwol: Excuse me but what is "this culture"? There are like a gazillion different cultures on Earth. Did you mean to say "my culture"?

    Any decent jeweler will re-size a ring for you. Even long after purchase we all gain/lose weight, etc. If you insist upon surprising her make close guess as to her size with the help of jeweler, then size to fit after {if} she says "yes"

    So what happened? Did you ask her?

    Say something offensive to get slapped, and go to a mirror and measure the now red-marked ring finger on your face.

  • Ask Her Best Friend or Mother

    Especially if this is an engagement situation, ask her best friend or her mother if they know her ring size. If you've been dating seriously for awhile, you'd be surprised how often this type of thing comes up. If neither of them know her ring size, they will likely be more than happy to get in on the intrigue. They can (more easily than you) find out her size under the guise of buying a gift or some other type of conversational pretense like "damn, you really need to know such things just in case, y'know?" Of course, all oaths of secrecy apply.

    The Solo Scenario

    If you decide to go with this on your own — when you are buying a ring from a jeweler, you typically buy the ring in their "standard" size; I believe it is usually a size 7. Display case rings are typically made a bit larger by design because they want a prospective buyer to be able to see it on their finger; that plus it is typically less destructive to resize the ring smaller than to try and make it bigger later.

    Ask the jeweler about the design of the ring and if knowing the ring size is more or less important than sizing it later. If the shank is plain (the part that wraps around the bottom), re-sizing is easy. If it's too big, they simply slice out a small portion at the bottom and join the ends seamlessly. If it's too small, the metal can be heated and stretched, but the thickness of the band will determine how much they can size it before more material has to be added. Adding material can leave a slight line between the old and new metal, so it is better get the bigger ring.

    If the ring shank is more ornamental (encrusted with diamonds or something), the ring size is sometimes best known before the ring is even made. That may be a factor in your decision about which ring to purchase. Ask the jeweler.

    When I and my then fiancee were buying our wedding rings the jeweler told us that while it is possible to change the size of the ring both ways it's best to get the right size the first time because any later change weakens the ring.

    Agreed with Maurycy, although you can get a "standard" size its always best to get the correct size from the get-go. Case and point, I went to get an engagement ring, and they recommended '6' before I said her ring size. She was a 3.5, and if I had gotten the ring, they would not be able to resize to 3.5, which would have to be a special order. So depending on the specific jeweler, you may have some problems (not available in the correct size, the ring given cannot be resized, etc).

    I second the "ask her friend" option. When I proposed to my wife, I asked a mutual friend to find out (the day I needed to purchase the ring). She told my wife that she just received a bunch of rings from her aunt that didn't fit her and asked what my wife's size was. When my wife gave her size, she responded with, "That's a shame; you're the same as me!" Worked perfectly and she had zero suspicions!

    Her best friend could take her out shopping, and have her stop by a jewelry store to try on some rings and find out her ring size along the way. If her friend can pick up on what she likes or dislikes in engagement rings, even better.

    @ByronJones That's how I did it. Got both her sisters in on the plot, when the 3 of them went on their annual "Sisters day out shopping spree". She turned out to be a size 5, while my best guess (made from a photograph of her hand with a known-size object next to it) had been a 6.

    Depending on where you get the ring, it's sometimes even possible to exchange the ring for the same kind in a different size. Obviously easier if you get a ring from the standard collections of a large jeweller, as opposed to a custom design from the pop-and-mom jeweller around the corner, of course...

    The flaw I see here is that her friend will not know and she will probably rat you out.

  • If she is a sound sleeper you can try to measure with a printable paper ring sizer. TIP do not leave the paper in the trash when done. She will see it!

    This. It's how I got my wife's size for her engagement ring. Worked perfectly :)

  • Hide it in plain sight.

    Send her an email telling her you want to ask a personal question, to help you pick a gift, but you don't want to give things away to her, so you are asking a ton of questions.

    Then ask her everything you can think of that's size or color or clothes style related

    • Wrist size for bracelelts
    • Bra size
    • "measurements'
    • Ring size of each finger, on both hands
    • clothing sizes, (including petite, or slim or whatever other
      modifiers)
    • inseam
    • shoe size
    • Favorite color (if you don't knwo it already)
    • Colors she hates
    • loved or despised syles of clothing (Does she hate capris? Bell
      bottoms?)
    • Favorite brand of eye makeup
    • Favorite music
    • Favorite flower type
    • Hated flower type (if any)
    • Home delivery address
    • work delivery address (Sending flowers to her at work is an automatic 2x multiplier!)
    • Favorite stuffed animal
    • Favorite bands
    • Favorite kinds of music

    etc

    Now here is the clever part. Create a file on your docs area of your hard drive, called "(her name) important bio information", and save every bit of this information... If she's a keeper, you'll be referring to this file every Xmas, valentines, and Birthday for years to come.

    Every one add more things to ask in the comments please

    If you ask her about her eye color, you'll be in *serious* trouble.

    As soon as she gets to "ring size" the jig is up. No one asks ring size, unless its very specifically for a ring.

    I did, I told her straight up I was asking everything I might ever need as a smoke screen, so she couldn't' guess what I was actually looking for... (honesty and all that) As I remember I was buying her a fancy bustier she had her eye on. She clearly thought about it, because in her response she referred to it as the "bad" finger. We'd only been dating about 6-9 months. I cant' tell you how often I refer back to that doc when I'm buying gifts. You do have to pay enough attention to keep it up to date though.

    If you have to ask home address, it's probably too early to buy a ring of any sort.

    Remember the goal here is volume, not minimalism, you want lots of questions, the point is smoke...if you are just trying to be efficient, just ask her the ring size. The ability to drive there, and the ability to send flowers there are not always identical, in the case of my wife, her work address was very odd and had to be exactly right, whereas driving there was trivial. The best part of this answer is that it's helpful long after whatever you are getting her is already done, you can refer to it later if your memory fails you.

    I've been married more than 25 years now, and after reading this I'm seriously considering it. To be fair, after a quarter of a century I have figured out 4 or 5 of them...

    I'd recommend going through at least one of the decoys before popping the question. Once the bouquet of flowers shows up at the office, she'll know the question about the ring was just a decoy.

    Hmmm, you could spend the day measuring each other....!?

  • Cunningham's Law: Guess wrong.

    "Hey sweetie, I read that your shoe size divided by two plus three is your ring size. It's true for me, what about you?"

    "No, my shoe size is X and my ring size in Y"

    And how many people do you know that actually know their ring size?

    @Chenmunka: Indeed; and more on the point: how many people do you know **who own no rings** who know their ring size? The assumption of the problem is that the girlfriend does not own any rings.

    @EricLippert Just because she doesn't currently own a ring doesn't necessarily mean she's *never* owned or tried on a ring before. I've gone ring shopping before in previous relationships. I've also made the mistake of going into jewelers while window shopping and they practically *beg* you to try things on.

    @cimmanon: Indeed. The question is not "is it a logical necessity that someone who owns no rings has their ring size memorized?" but rather "is the suggested technique likely to work?" By way of analogy: do you know your hat size? Have you ever tried on a hat? I own a great many hats, have tried on many more, and I do not bother to memorize my hat size. I find it hard to imagine that someone who owns no hats would know their hat size at the drop... just off the bat.

    @EricLippert I think you underestimate what a woman might remember about what size she is :-). I haven't purchased or tried on a ring in 20 years (and I've only purchased 4 rings ever), yet I know the size of both my ring finger and my middle finger. Unlike shoes or hats, rings don't usually come with the size printed on them, so owning one isn't even a guarantee that you know what size it is. Meanwhile, my husband doesn't even know his own shoe size.

    @Chenmunka Does it count if they're already married?

    In the EU, my shoesize is 38. 38/2+3 = 22. I think that's a big ring

  • Play the "How well do we know each other?" Game

    Find one of those "how well do you know your partner" quizzes on the Internet1. Make sure the quiz is something you can download and print out. But before you print it, insert your own question asking what your partner's ring size is. Make sure the tone of the rest of quiz matches that type of question so it sort of blends in with the rest. Longer quizzes will incur less scrutiny on its contents.

    The "I don't know" Contingency

    If she doesn't know the answer to her ring size, act surprised. Amazed even. "I thought everyone knew their ring size!"

    Then bring it up again very matter-of-factly later. You can have a high school ring or something stashed away in the closet somewhere; preferably too small for you (borrow one from a friend if you have to and have it measured by a jeweler).

    "Here, try this. It doesn't fit me anymore, but I think it's a size 5 (or whatever) … Okay, there ya go."

    And then drop it.

    If the ring fits, you'll know the size. If it's a bit too big or a bit too small, you're in the right ballpark. You can try on some ring sizers later at the jeweler to narrow down (on yourself) just how much the ring size seemed too big/small on her finger earlier.

    Corny, but it will get you in the right ballpark.


    (1) Of course, I bear no responsibility for injury (emotional or physical) for having failed any relationship quiz recommended herein.

    Other "for fun" activities or games might be possible to pull off as well. Pottery or Painting: see if you can get a hand-print in there. (*Not as accurate, since you only really have width, but better than nothing*). "Minute to win it" type scenarios involving making a mold of her finger or "lassoing" and marking it for you in some way. Baby-sit somebody's children for a night and have everyone make play-dough hand molds.. Not the best ideas but maybe the brain storm will knock some better ones from others.

    If you're going to go the class ring route, I recommend finding a female accomplice and a bit of yarn. When high school couples swap class rings, the girl will sometimes wrap the boy's ring with yarn so that she can wear it on her hand. The female accomplice is so that she can wear the ring after you've added the yarn to give it an authentic "worn in" look (oh look, I forgot to take the yarn off after Betty and I broke up).

    I like the disclaimer. Hahahaha

  • I ran through various options before I proposed last year, and none of the standard advice worked (measure a known-good ring, ask a friend...)

    I went with: wait until she is tired and drunk, absent-mindedly play with a bit of string, wrapping it around fingers and so on, and just happen to score the string with my thumbnail when it's on the right finger.

    Mirabile dictu, it worked and she didn't notice. Not sure if I'd recommend it in general, though.

  • You can compare your fingers with her maybe your smallest one would be like her suitable finger. Or If you wear a ring you can try to put it in her finger and see the difference

    yeah, I was gonna say hold her hand, locking fingers, and compare her ring finger with your little finger. buy the ring based on that comparison, erring on the "large" side, because the ring can always be reduced easily.

    I did exactly this back then, and it worked perfectly :)

  • The cunning plan I devised was to get buy my (then) girlfriend a cheapish ring, and give it to her as a anniversary/christmas/birthday gift. Which would have annoyed her quiet significantly, with her being disappointed that it was not engagement ring. But she would have forgiven me.

    Then if it was the wrong size, take her to the jeweller to get the cheapish ring resized. and make sure the jeweller would take note of the new size. Which I would then use to get the engagement ring to give her a month or so later.

    Before I could swing my cunning plan into action, she took me aside, gave me a plastic ring that fit her, and told me basically: "You are going to ask me to marry you; and if you don't do it by the 29th of February, there will be trouble."

    Still I maintain my plan would have worked. Congratulations BTW.

    Sounds like you dodged a bullet there.

  • This is a refinement of the 'compare your fingers' idea, but is considerably more accurate and only requires a photograph:

    1. Find a high-resolution photograph of the two of you where both hands are visible and in close proximity (to ensure there is no foreshortening due to perspective effects).

    2. Crop the photograph to the portion containing your fingers. Enlarge and print onto paper.

    3. Measure (using a ruler) the image diameter of your finger on the photograph (call it a1) and the same measurement of your partner's finger (call it a2). These will depend on how zoomed-in the photograph is.

    4. Determine the actual diameter (d1) of your own finger by discovering your own ring-size and using a conversion table such as http://www.onlineconversion.com/ring_size.htm.

    5. Calculate the actual diameter d2 of your partner's finger by the formula d2 = a2 * (d1 / a1).

    6. Convert this into your partner's ring-size by the same conversion table used in step 4.

    The result should be accurate to within a fraction of a millimetre (so you'll be able to determine exactly which US ring-size is closest to your partner's).

    EDIT: I actually tried this out shortly after posting the answer. In particular, I designed a ring and had it rendered in platinum. The following image is proof that, at least on this occasion, the method indeed worked as intended:

    Ambigram ring

    This was eight months ago, and my girlfriend and I have been together ever since...

  • If you want to completely minimize the risk of her suspecting you're buying a ring, you can get a rough idea just by holding her hand and trying to remember how it feels. Then compare that sense impression against your sister, mother, friends, your own fingers (pinky, perhaps?) and those of the ring salesperson.

    Err on the size of being too big. If she says yes, at least you won't draw blood cramming it onto her finger. Then get it resized as necessary. If all else fails she can wear it on a chain around her neck until it's resized. Maybe you should carry a chain in your pocket when you propose, just in case?

    As pointed out in one of the comments, completely surprising her with the whole idea of getting married (rather than just the circumstances of when you'll ask) is not necessarily as good an idea as our romantic-fiction-driven ideals would lead us to believe. Make sure you and she are on the same page about marriage, without necessarily making her certain whether/when you will propose.

    Also, if her parents are at all present/important in her life, make the effort to get their blessing before you propose. Their refusal won't make anything worse than it would end up being anyway, whereas their blessing will make everything much happier for all.

    Oh and one final note, having read one of the previous answers. If you surprise her a little, and you make it romantic, and you offer to devote the rest of your life to her, and while offering her a diamond ring to seal all of this you explain the very reasonable fact that you didn't know her ring size so it might be a little too big---if after all of that she looks at the size and scowls and says "oh, so you think I'm that fat??"---then, my friend, this is what you do: marry someone else.

    "-if after all of that she looks at the size and scowls and says "oh, so you think I'm that fat??"---then, my friend, this is what you do: marry someone else." If only it were possible to +10. +1 will have to do

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM