Valentine’s Day is the third most popular time of the year to get engaged, right behind Christmas and New Year’s, according to weddingwire.com. All of which means that now is the time for the purchase of an engagement ring.
Engagement rings have been found to exist all the way back to ancient Egypt, but they were given to women on a large scale during ancient Roman times. However, they were not a romantic symbol of love then, but the acceptance of a contract and a symbol of ownership.
The diamond engagement ring we know today didn’t exist until the mid-20th century when DeBeers began marketing that “Diamonds are Forever.” Diamond sales increased by almost 100 percent from 1939 until 1979. Today’s millennials are however moving back to colored stones, which were popular from the Middle Ages until the Victorian age.
Cut, color, clarity, and carat weight are the most important characteristics to understand when making a diamond purchase. The cut determines the amount of sparkle. Colorless diamonds are of higher grade. Clarity refers to the number of imperfections in the diamond. Carat refers to the weight of the diamond, not the size. A big, colored diamond with lots of imperfections will have less value than a small one with fewer imperfections and less color.
According to bluenile.com, there are ten diamond cuts: Round, princess, emerald, Asscher, oval, radiant, pear, heart, or cushion.
There are many great jewelry stores in Rutherford County, but here are three that are locally owned with strong histories in the community.
821 NW Broad Street
Phone: (615) 893-9162
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 am until 6:00 pm
Saturday, 10:00 am until 5:00 pm
When looking for the right engagement and wedding ring, Bell Jewelers has 142 years of experience. Originally founded in 1879 by William Bell, the store was for many years located on the Murfreesboro city square. They have been located on Broad Street for more than 23 years.
Bell Jewelers has always been primarily a jewelry store, but it has evolved from selling eye glasses, crystal, and china to now selling ninety percent jewelry and the other ten percent being a combination of Waterford crystal, personalized gifts, and watch repair.
“I’ve heard stories of when Bell Jewelers was on the square,” said Taylor Hailburton, a co-owner with her mother Lisa Haliburton and uncle, Greg Tidwell, “there was only a small case or two where we sold pre-set engagement rings in a yellow gold solitaire setting. The marquise shape diamond was incredibly popular at that time.”
Nowadays, most of Bell’s settings are designed to be customized to fit any size or shape of center stone, with round and oval diamonds being the store’s most popular shapes in 2020. The halo setting where smaller diamonds surround the center stone is one of the most popular ring styles currently. The halo gives the illusion of a larger center stone. Colored stones can also be set into these settings.
2J. Mulllins Jewelry and Gifts
352 West Northfield Boulevard, Suite 1C
Phone: (615) 962-7164
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Closed Sunday and Monday
Another jewelry store with a long history in Murfreesboro is Mullins Jewelry. Opened in 1938 on Murfreesboro Public Square by James Hershel Mullins and his wife Mildred, they stayed in the same location for almost 70 years. They passed the business on to their son, Charles. When he retired in 2009, James’ grandson, Jeff Mullins, moved the store to its current location and changed the name to J. Mullins Jewelry and Gifts.
Mullins was long the place where farmers would come into town to purchase a watch, and couples would come to get that special engagement ring. And they still are loved as a place to get an engagement ring.
Currently, Mullins makes a point of carrying unique pieces. Brides today are not just interested in gold and white gold engagement bands. Rose gold is growing in popularity. As are alternative metals like platinum and palladium.
Halos can be very classic rings of small diamond chips, or they can be a burst of larger diamonds looking more like a flower, with the central diamond acting as the pistil. Accents are also available. Like a halo, they surround the primary stone, but they offer more embellishment.
1602 West Northfield Boulevard, Suite 100
Phones: (615) 890-3254
Hours: Monday through Friday, 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
Opened by Gary Coleman in 1995, Coleman’s is another family run jewelry store. Customers rave about how Coleman goes out of his way to make sure his customers are happy.
While carrying a diverse collection of engagement rings, they also have rings for the groom. Grooms almost have more options than a bride for a ring these days. It is no longer the plain gold band. Gold bands are now highly embellished, or there may be an inlay. The hottest inlay is wood from a whiskey barrel.
Men’s rings are also being made out of diverse metals, like tungsten, rhodium, titanium, platinum, and black gold. They may be made of two metals, like tungsten on the outside, and rose gold on the inside of the band. Gaelic patterns can be found engraved into some of them. Or they may be distressed.
Custom and Vintage Rings
All three of the stores carry vintage engagement rings, which are growing in popularity, or they will make a custom ring. Custom rings can be made from an old piece of jewelry, or they can be made from scratch.
Said one customer, Gary Coleman made the most amazing engagement ring I’ve ever seen! I get compliments constantly!””