No Rules Engagement Rings: What to Spend and Why

Engagements and weddings are big business. Big, as in couples spend on average of $30,000-plus on a ring and ceremony. Slick and compelling marketing by the diamond and retail jewelry industry pushes spending between 1 and 3 month’s salary on a ring, suggesting the amount spent is directly reflective of the love you feel toward another person—illogical thinking, to say the least.

Over the years, expectations and traditions have relaxed as brides and grooms have taken a more personal approach to engagements and weddings. Despite this shift, diamond engagement rings continue to be extremely popular and pricey. Before getting caught up in the intoxicating current of an engagement, couples should pause and remember there are no rules when it comes to love.

Choosing an engagement ring should be a highly personal decision—a decision not based on monthly salaries, investment calculators, or societal pressure. For years, Braswell and Son have been helping couples find the very best in affordable luxury engagement and bridal jewelry. We recommend setting a budget reflective of income, goals, and lifestyle. Also, be realistic and discuss priorities, expectations, and considerations such as personal style, activity level, and meaning.

Braswell and Son carries an extensive and unique collection of exquisite vintage luxury engagement and bridal jewelry, hand selected by a discerning GIA trained staff. Our pricing is based on a small percentage of the actual value of a ring’s precious metal and gemstone components, and not over-inflated retail prices that often carry a markup of 1,000 percent. The way we do business allows us to take the time to get to know our customers, make solid recommendations and pass along amazing quality, character, and savings.

Love and life are all about balance. Most would agree that blowing big bucks on an engagement ring and accruing debt would equal a less than perfect beginning to a successful marriage. Don’t sacrifice a spectacular honeymoon or a down payment on a home for an expensive ring. Shop the best of both worlds—elegance at a reasonable price at Braswell and Son.

Engagement Ring Inspiration Worthy of Love Itself

Few things inspire hope and positivity as love does. Love influences our behavior and moves us to be better people for others and ourselves. No wonder an engagement with its details creates such a fuss—especially with the ring. The connection between two people is singularly unique and deserves a ring equally expressive. Here are three inspirational engagement ring trends worthy of a second look:

If she’s ethically minded or non-traditional, a colored stone or lower-profile stone may be just right.

Gemstone Alternatives
Diamonds have a tremendous following, but the earth is rich with exquisite stones. Colorful gemstones as an alternative to diamonds continue to gain popularity as more brides value self-expression and ethical sourcing. Most gemstones come in a countless range of colors and cost far less than a diamond of the same size and grade. Some women are choosing stones for their subtle energetic properties. For instance, a peach blush morganite stone is thought to attune to the heart chakra, encourage lightness within the spirit and symbolize deepening love.

The notion of the diamond being the quintessential engagement stone resulted from a well-crafted, exceptionally effective, multi-decade marketing campaign that positioned the gem as the one and only choice.

Stacks on Stacks
Mix it up with stacking bands—the ultimate way to showcase your own intimate love story. Completely customizable, each band fits together to give the illusion of a larger ring. Add a band for your engagement, marriage, milestone anniversary or the birth of a child. Choose a style where interlocking bands are part of a base design or take an edgier route, mixing platinum and rose gold with pavé diamonds and birthstones to create the ultimate statement in personal style.

Mixed Metal Details

Intricately patterned settings are perfect for showcasing a traditional and alternative looks.

Sometimes the smallest details make all the difference! Customizing a white round diamond set in a white gold setting with a rose gold halo creates a contemporary update to a classic look while giving the illusion of a larger center stone. Similarly, a brilliant citrine or yellow diamond set in platinum with elegant yellow gold prongs is a sublime presentation all its own.

As curators of fine engagement and bridal sets, Braswell and Son houses choice precious metals and stones, including yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, platinum, silver, fine jewels, and diamonds of every cut, color, and karat. Braswell and Son—your premier source for engagement ring guidance and inspiration.

Vintage Engagement and Wedding Rings: Tradition at its Finest

The first time you laid eyes on the Georgian beauty, you knew. The rich Bordeaux and ivy bouquet of gemstones—garnets, emeralds and seed pearls surrounding a rose cut diamond, all wrapped in an ornate, warm gold setting—you had just met your dream engagement ring.

Rings from the Georgian, Victorian, Art Nouveau, Edwardian and Art Deco periods are tradition at its finest, however, choosing an antique design may be a bit of a non-traditional move. While the most popular engagement ring remains the round white diamond solitaire, antique rings are a true celebration of style and craftsmanship for those women who want to express their individuality or admire a certain period in design.

Intricately patterned settings are perfect for showcasing traditional and alternative looks.

Consider yourself lucky to find a piece from Georgian period (1714-1830’s). Showcasing ornate and playful femininity, the intricate Grecian-inspired metalwork designs are valued for their beauty and rarity.

Victorian era (1837-1901) jewelry follows the influential and emotional path of Queen Victoria’s life. Bold by design, Victorian period pieces feature brightly colored stones, Celtic detailing and the introduction of larger diamonds following the opening of South African diamond mines.

Most popular for those in the market for an antique engagement ring style are pieces from the enchanting Art Nouveau era (1890-1915). An expression of creativity and nature, Art Nouveau era rings are recognized for flowing, abstract lines, and the use of brilliantly colored enamel and gemstones.

Edwardian Engagment Ring
Large, luminous colored gemstones, and delicate, lace-inspired metalwork make Edwardian era pieces an intoxicating choice.

Famous for intricate filigree, antique rings from the Edwardian period (1901-1910) are straight out of a fairytale. Large, luminous colored gemstones, and delicate, lace-inspired metalwork make Edwardian era pieces an intoxicating choice.

Eclectic and daring, rings of the Art Deco period (1915-1930) are some of the most sought after pieces among vintage engagement jewelry. Influenced by world travel and emerging social freedom, Art Deco era pieces are celebrated for their geometric design and bold, exotic patterns.

Art Deco Ring
A daring choice, Art Deco era pieces are celebrated for their geometric design and bold, exotic patterns.

Why just shop for an engagement ring when you can invest in a piece of art, rich with history? Your dream engagement ring is waiting to be discovered at Braswell and Son, your premier reseller of authentic, vintage luxury and estate jewelry.

Diamond Solitaire Engagement Rings—Classic for a Reason

A round, brilliant cut white diamond nestled into the center of a Tiffany setting is the one and only choice for couples in love with tradition. It’s no surprise that the classic stone has remained popular for generations. A diamond solitaire is the ultimate showpiece in an engagement ring, just as the bride is the crown jewel of her own wedding.

Just one of the magnificent diamond solitaire rings available at Braswell & Son.

sThe 58 facets of a round diamond are engineered to optimize light refraction like no other cut, and the open prong framework of a Tiffany setting allows for ultimate light penetration, magnifying fire and brilliance. Stones that rank lower in clarity and color will still manage to impress with a round brilliant cut.

Looking for more information on diamonds? Download our Diamond Buying Guide!

Diamond solitaires are simple and classic, demand attention, and will never go out of style. They shine equally as bright on an understated band as they do on a band featuring smaller stones or antique embellishments. A diamond solitaire is attractive set in white gold or platinum to accentuate its brilliance, or in yellow or rose gold for an extra pop of contrasting color. Though round is by far most popular cut, oval, square, emerald and princess cuts are equally fine choices. For those pushing the boundaries of tradition, consider a rustic band inspired by nature, or a modern channel setting. To maximize a budget, look to an old mine cut diamond solitaire embedded within a fluted platinum illusion setting.

For generations, Braswell and Son have provided our customers with the very best in affordable luxury. We take pride in knowing that the relationships we build with our clientele are as valuable as the premium pieces we offer. Our graduate gemologist and GIA trained staff guarantees accurate examination, grading and valuation. We deal in new, pre-owned and luxury vintage diamond solitaires and are continually amazed by the variety of stunning and unique pieces that come into our store each and every day. If you are looking for something specific, by all means let us know! We place our expertise at each client’s disposal and would love to help you discover your perfect solitaire style and setting.

Diamond Cluster Engagement Rings: Stunning and Smart!

Few events are as memorable as an engagement—a truly special moment where one soul feels the desire to commit to another. An engagement is customarily celebrated with a proposal and a diamond ring. But, why stop at the conventional diamond solitaire? Instead, take the opportunity to make your engagement ring an expression of creativity and individuality with a diamond cluster design.

Why should the value of a relationship be measured by the size of a diamond? Influenced by societal obligation and Hollywood trends, many couples feel drawn to the classic diamond solitaire—and the bigger the better! However, depending on the wearer, classic can become cliché. Larger stones, though impressive, are just not practical for most women living real, dynamic lives. A stunning and smart alternative to the diamond solitaire is the diamond cluster.

Here Are Just A Few Of Our Stunning Diamond Cluster Rings On Sale Now

In an industry where value is determined almost entirely on demand, big rocks get attention, but they cost a pretty penny. Investing in an array of quality smaller stones versus one huge showstopper can result in significant savings—resources that could be directed toward another asset or experience, such as a down payment on a home or travel. The larger the carat weight, the larger the price tag; for example, it’s estimated a 2-carat oval solitaire would cost 60-75 percent more than a design of the same size featuring a cluster of smaller diamonds and/or gemstones.

Popular in antique settings of the Edwardian and Victorian eras, the quintessential diamond cluster combines the simplicity of a solitaire with richness of design. With a celebrated following all its own, the diamond cluster lends itself particularly well to organic, floral inspired designs, as well as structured, Art Deco and Architectural Revival styles.

Create your own masterpiece of luxurious opals surrounding a golden topaz, or discover a pre-owned treasure, rich with history. Braswell and Son carefully selects all of our exclusive estate jewelry and loose stones for quality and unique character.

Don’t get mired in tradition—now is your time to shine! Discover the very best in vintage luxury diamond cluster engagement rings at Braswell and Son.

The Engagement Ring: A Financial and Emotional Investment

The modern engagement ring isn’t always considered a true investment because of its depreciation after the original sale. However, couples continue to spend outrageous amounts of money on an ornament that is to become the one and only tangible symbol of an emotional commitment. In a fluctuating market based completely on demand, there are several factors to consider guaranteeing the best value for your investment in love.

The value of components, rarity and history determine the worth of an engagement ring. The metal aspect accounts for only 5 to 25 percent of the total value, with yellow and white gold, and platinum being most popular. Platinum is five times more rare and is significantly more durable than gold. It will cost a bit more, but is well worth the investment. Choosing platinum will maximize the value of your ring by resisting wear and ensuring a secure, brilliant setting for your stone of choice.

Opting for an Asscher cut, brilliant oval, or pear shaped like the one pictured here can result in savings at the register.

The center stone is by far the most valuable element in any design, counting for 75 to 95 percent of total worth. Popular carat sizes come with a significant mark up. Staying just shy of common carat sizes will save up to 30 percent. Modern cut, white diamonds have become a bit mundane; instead, think about an orange, pink, green, red or black fancy cut diamond, which are around 1,000 times more rare and expressive.

Other asset worthy rarities to consider are antique, old mine cut and European cut diamonds. Cushion shaped and handcrafted, old mine diamonds are known for their square shape and were popular during the Edwardian and Victorian eras. Round in design, European cut diamonds have deeper proportions and were fashionable during the Edwardian and Art Deco periods.

Materials and workmanship, as well as history and commitment to love are the true measure of a ring’s value. Still, the single best way to invest in an engagement ring is to shop for vintage luxury and estate finds. For specialty pieces that are certain to hold value over time, look to the rich selection of affordable luxury at Braswell and Son.

Personal Expression: Looking Beyond the Traditional Engagement Diamond

Big, sparkly diamonds have been the traditional choice for engagement rings for over a century. It may come as a surprise to know that diamonds weren’t always considered the forever stone. In the 1900s diamonds were simply one of many choices among gemstones.

The notion of the diamond being the quintessential engagement stone resulted from a well-crafted, exceptionally effective, multi-decade marketing campaign that positioned the gem as the one and only choice.

Diamonds were a popular choice for engagement settings, however, tourmaline, pearl, emerald and even fiery carnelian were also fashionable at the time. The notion of the diamond being the quintessential engagement stone resulted from a well-crafted, exceptionally effective, multi-decade marketing campaign that positioned the gem as the one and only choice.

Today, social constricts have become more relaxed and people are waiting longer to marry. Many women are now moving away from traditional engagement rings in favor of pieces that are more personally meaningful, and a true representation their unique style and values.

While not a true “lovers’ knot”, this ring features smoky gemstones and a knot motif design.

The decision to forego a diamond for a colored gemstone is sometimes moral. Some choose to skip a stone altogether. One poignant example being the stone-less, “True Lovers Knot.” The romantic design is made of two interlocking overhand knots, in two parallel, precious metal bands; each free to move about the other, yet inseparable.

Perhaps your perfect engagement ring is made of warm rose gold and Oregon sunstone, and tells a personal story about how you fell in love in late summer, on a sun-kissed beach in the Northwest. Or, maybe you’ve always associated rubies with passion, would like to support a local artisan, or have a vintage, heirloom sapphire that would add emotional value to an alternative setting.

There is no hard and fast rule that an engagement ring must feature a multi-carat diamond sparkler. An engagement ring should be a symbol of commitment, as well as a personal expression of style. Choose a style and stone that speaks to you—something that gives you joy, and that you will love to wear every day.

Braswell and Son’s discerning staff, and distinctive selection of new and vintage luxury engagement jewelry will inspire you to look beyond the standard diamond to create your own story.

Shopping for Engagement Rings: Insider Tips

There is something insanely romantic about the idea of a man pouring over options with his lady in mind, and choosing a ring that will represent their lifelong love affair. However, let’s not overlook the daunting task that lies before him. His choice should be an elegant balance of quality, design, size and price. He knows the basics, but should keep the following in mind:

If she’s ethically minded or non-traditional, a colored stone or lower-profile stone may be just right.

It’s All About Her

Taking cues from her taste in art, fashion and décor, he must shop for her personality and sense of style. If she is non-traditional, she may favor a modern setting with a yellow, blue, or black sapphire over a diamond. Likewise, if she is ethically minded, a lab created diamond, or a lower profile stone-less ring might be an excellent fit.

Buy Smart

To ensure the once in a lifetime purchase is a wise investment that she will love, shop at a reputable, and GIA affiliated seller of new or pre-owned jewelry. Stones above 1-carat should have a written grading report detailing any stone characteristics, enhancements or custom work that affects value, and come with an exchange policy.

Consider incorporating an heirloom stone into a new setting as a way to combine the old with the new.

Get Creative

Custom doesn’t always mean expensive. Don’t be afraid to request the stone from one ring be combined with a setting from another. Or, think about incorporating a stone that belonged to her grandmother into a contemporary setting as a beautiful way to carry family tradition forward. She will be taken with the thought and intention behind the one of a kind creation.


Opting for an Asscher cut, brilliant oval, or pear shaped like the one pictured here can result in savings at the register.

Work the Budget

To capitalize on budget, consider a stone just shy of a most popular size. For instance, choosing a 1.8-carat stone over a 2-carat stone can save up to 20 percent. Of the ten fancy cut diamond shapes, round diamonds are by far the most popular and most expensive. Going for a brilliant oval or Asscher cut instead can result in significant savings and afford the buyer a larger stone.

Trust in Braswell and Son’s extensive showcase of new and hand-selected vintage luxury engagement rings, expert guidance and generous return policy for the ideal ring.

Now, time for the proposal…

Rare Detail, Rose Gold and Vintage Luxury: 2017 Engagement Ring Trends

Let’s face it, choosing an engagement ring is a big deal. The choice must perfectly embody your partner’s individuality and unique style preference, represent the love and depth of commitment you share, and be a wise investment.

No pressure, right?

For Braswell and Son’s engagement and bridal specialists, it’s an honor to assist Central Arkansas couples in discovering the stone and setting that speaks to them. Here’s a look at three stunning style trends we favor for 2017:

All About Detail
We are delighted by the return of understated, classic designs where the magic is in the finer details. Think of a soft-spoken classic round diamond set atop a contrasting yellow gold and diamond basket; or a gently colored gemstone paired with a surprise precious metal halo; or a deceptively simple band with a delicately jeweled filigree woven into the side view to showcase subtle elegance.

This gold filigree diamond ring evokes subtle elegance.

The Warmth of Rose Gold
Warm and romantic, the gold and copper alloy is a favorite among artisans. It flatters all skin tones and offers a lovely contrast for a classic diamond setting. Especially intriguing is the emerging trend of tone on tone; the play of a pale orange-pink morganite or a blush colored citrine set in rose gold. We also like no rules layering; the use of rose gold as a contrast in customizable stacking bands—the ultimate in personal expression.

Intricately patterned settings are perfect for showcasing traditional and alternative looks.

Vintage Luxury
Handsome, vintage era designs never go out of style. Alluring Deco and Edwardian period-inspired pieces marry bold geometry with intricately patterned settings, perfect for showcasing a traditional stone or an alternative black diamond or ruby. The daring yet delicate nature of the design is as important as the stone itself, and always reads as one of a kind.

If you’re looking for a trusted advisor to guide you through the process of selecting that just right engagement ring, you’ve come to the right place. Along with thoughtful guidance, Braswell and Son offers a choice of vintage luxury, new and pre-owned engagement and bridal jewelry, as well as a large selection of loose diamonds that will take you beyond the ordinary.