See the first close up photo of his dazzling photo!

By Alex Apatoff
January 05, 2016 09:44 PM

When Ryan Phillippe was planning his proposal to longtime girlfriend, Stanford law student Paulina Slagter, he didn’t want just any ring.

Seth Browarnik/Startraks; Inset:Neil Lane

“He wanted it to be truly special — and he had a vision,” says jeweler Neil Lane, who worked with Phillippe, 40, on finding the perfect sparkler. The actor came by Lane’s L.A. store in early December and the two pored over options, the celebrity jeweler tells PEOPLE exclusively. “He wanted a ring that was beautiful, elegant and classic. We looked at dozens of rings but he kept coming back to this one and after a while he was certain that this was it!”

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His pick — a round, brilliant-cut diamond set in platinum and surrounded by more than 184 smaller diamonds — appealed to Phillippe for its “simplicity, elegance and detail work,” says Lane. “He thought it was perfect.”

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But it’s the star’s affection for Slagter, 24, who first stepped out wearing the ring on New Years Eve in Miami after the couple’s engagement over the Christmas holiday) that really shines. “Ryan’s really happy, very much in love,” says Lane. “He’s such a cool, really sweet guy and I’m so happy for them!”

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–Elizabeth Leonard