Featuring: New Custom Jewelry and Lookbooks

By Constance on August 26, 2015 at 8:32 am

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In the mood for new custom work? Lucky for you, we just added a fresh crop of projects. The above engagement ring is a recent standout, featuring an emerald cut diamond, bezel-set in in 14kt yellow gold, matte finish, with a hammered band. Subdued, yet substantial, this custom Hammered Emerald Cut is one of our favorite customer collaborations.

 

Custom Open PearCut Ring 18ky  Torque ring

 

 

Also featured is the Custom Double Pear Ring. The mod open shape with integrated pear-cut diamonds was handcrafted in our 18kt Fairmined gold. A re-imagining of a wife’s cherished lost ring from the 1960’s, made for a gleaming 50th anniversary gift! View this piece along with a collection of selected work in our brand new Custom Lookbook.

Find even more new featured custom jewelry to inspire a bespoke collaboration here. Or check out our recently revamped personalizations page to explore how our collection pieces might be altered to tell your story.

 

 

 

 

Dirty Gold: Ojo Publica Exposes London Bullion’s Dark Secret

By Constance on August 11, 2015 at 11:29 am
gold bullion ojo publico

Image Courtesy of Ojo Publico

 

The London Bullion Market is the union that sets the price of gold and concentrates

the biggest metal traders in the world.”

Ojo Publico, the well-respected online investigative journal based in Lima, Peru, recently reported on the companies financing the multi-million dollar trade of illegal South American gold in the article, Dirty Gold: Chasing the Trail Of the London Bullion Market.

These traders hail from the US, Switzerland, Italy, and the United Arab Emirates, and the kicker– some are ALSO members of the Responsible Jewelry Council (RJC), which is the only real third party auditing system for large companies in the jewelry industry. RJC, you had one job.

Ojo Publico’s investigation traces the routes of illicit gold trafficking in South America. It also takes a deeper look into how the companies from Switzerland, the US, Italy, and the UAE are responsible for the pollution and destruction of riverbeds in Bolivia that also affect rivers in the Brazilian rainforest, rivers and forests in Colombia, the Namija mountains of the border of Peru, as well as other vast areas of Peru. The damning report documents the amount of illegal gold being exported, where it’s coming from, and where it goes. OP investigators traveled to illegal mining camps in Hueptuhe and La Pampa, the largest illegal mining camps and area of deforestation in Peru. A boat trip up the Madre de Dios, Beni and Madeira rivers, discovered that Bolivian and Brazilian gold dredged there was exported illegally, mostly to the US. They found their way to mines in the mountains of the Cordillera del Condor, near the Peru-Ecuador border, where the gold is smuggled to the US. Peru, listed as the world’s fifth largest supplier of gold, exports such a large percentage illegally, that it’s likely it should actually be listed as the second largest supplier, after China. They were able to get in touch with some higher-ups in the importing companies from the US, Switzerland, and UAE, but most requests resulted only in promises to provide more information.

That this corruption is public knowledge with no consequence to their membership with the RJC is particularly disturbing. From the RJC website:

“RJC Members commit to and are independently audited against the RJC Code of Practices – an international standard on responsible business practices for diamonds, gold and platinum group metals. The Code of Practices addresses human rights, labour rights, environmental impact, mining practices, product disclosure and many more important topics in the jewelry supply chain.”

 

There are many questions still to be answered, but this report reveals an impressive amount of corruption destructive gold market.

 

Ojo Publico, reports on transnational organized crime, governmental corruption, threats to public interest, environmental issues, and human rights issues. You can read their in-depth report here.  If you want to join the cause, fill out this petition telling the RJC to clean up its act.

 

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New engagement rings coming soon: Half Moon and Trillion

By Constance on July 27, 2015 at 9:21 am

Summertime is cooking right along, so let’s take a peak at two of our newest engagement rings that are the epitome of cool-girl style.

First up, The Trillion Ring, featuring two trillion cut white sapphires arranged north-south for a sleek, elongated look:

sapphire trillion ring

 

Next, the The Half-Moon Ring, also featuring two white sapphires, set in a subtle, stylized crescent shape:

 

white sapphire half moon

 

These silhouettes will have you (and everyone else) staring at your hand, inspiring endless bouts of daydreaming and conversation. Stay tuned for the release (ASAP) of these hot-off-the-press statement rings.

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BNstyle: Viva la Françoise!

By Constance on July 14, 2015 at 5:50 pm

It’s Bastille Day, which gives as good excuse as any to kick off our inaugural post with a tribute to BNStyle Icon, Françoise Hardy.

This French muse has been at the top of the list of It Girls since she hit the Parisian fashion and music scene in the swinging 60’s. A seminal influence to a generation of future icons, including Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, who name-drops Hardy at least a dozen times in her recent memoir Girl in a Band.

Enjoy this little round up of some of Hardy’s most GOLDEN moments. Happy Bastille Day!

Francois Hardy in metallic Paco Rabanne mini dress knee-high gladiator sandals

Francois Hardy in metallic Paco Rabanne mini dress, 1968.

(Read More »)

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Maker’s Row meets Jeweler’s Row

By Constance on July 14, 2015 at 10:28 am
maker's row

Leslie setting a diamond in a custom Aparna ring wax.

From Making Ethically Sourced Jewelry in America, recently featured on Maker’s Row:

What does Made in America mean to you? Why is it important to you?

Our jewelry is handmade in our Philadelphia store, which houses our open workshop. In addition to creating our own collections, we also work closely with clients to create custom pieces, including redesigned heirloom jewelry. Certain fabrication techniques are completed with craftspeople on Philadelphia’s historic Jeweler’s Row who are specialized in traditional jewelry processes. Composed of nearly 300 small family-owned businesses, Jeweler’s Row is home to the oldest jewelry district in America (est. 1851) and continues to thrive as a creative and manufacturing hub in the industry. Supporting and learning from our local craftspeople is integral to our business.

We think the ability to make our ideas a physical reality ourselves is powerful.

–Page Neal

Read more

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Ethical Metalsmiths co-founder steps down

By Constance on July 5, 2015 at 3:46 pm
 
ethical metalsmiths

We want to thank Christina Miller – Ethical Metalsmiths Co-founder and Executive Director – for helping to build the responsible jewelry movement. Her work has helped both to educate our industry about our environmental and social impacts, and to support powerful initiatives like Fairmined gold.

“In 2004, when I co-founded Ethical Metalsmiths with Susan Kingsley, traceable and transparent sourcing and responsible studio practices were threatening topics.  Now, a jeweler is expected to know where his/her materials are coming from and to choose sources that purposefully empower people and protect the environment. I believe that the organization, with its dedicated board of directors, and engaged members is ready to advance the ethical jewelry movement in new directions. Moving into the future I am looking forward to applying what I have learned about mining, jewelry, education and collaborative change in new and creative ways.” – Christina Miller
Miller recently stepped down from her role, but will remain active with as chair of the Advisory Council and as a member of the Ethical Sourcing and Education committees.
Best Wishes Christina! We are excited to work with you on new projects in the coming months.
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Environment,FAIRMINED Gold

Same Sex Marriage Legalized Nation Wide

By Alyssa on June 26, 2015 at 11:18 am

We are thrilled by the news this morning that the Sumpreme Court has declared same sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states. Here are some images from Reuters and the AP:

 

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Read more on this breaking story here:

NPR

Washington Post

 Boston Herald

Wall Street Journal

Metals That Tell Stories: Fairmined Gold

By Constance on June 19, 2015 at 10:00 am

Those familiar with Bario Neal have heard by now of the Fairmined assurance label, certifying that your gold is sourced from an empowered, responsible, small-scale mining community. It is a great option when determining what story comes with the ring you choose to represent the union of a lifetime, because the money spent directly improves the well being of a Peruvian mining village.

You may not know, however, that we now offer Fairmined gold in both 14kt and 18kt for all our bands and rings, including this nature-inspired duo–

Reticulated Band Diamond Dais Narrow with Diamonds Band

Reticulated Band One with Diamond and Dais Narrow with Diamonds Band

 

If you are considering coupling your beautiful something with a beautiful story, we think it is worth noting that our Fairmined gold also carries a subtle color variation that, while making them even more distinct, may also affect your choice of metal.

 

18kt vs.14kt fairmined gold

Notice the above Dais in 14kt Fairmined is a little more warm in tone? This is due to a slight difference in the metals used in the creation of the gold alloy, something that commonly happens in any jump between 14kt and 18kt, but we find to be even more striking in the Fairmined.

Why choose an alloy? Since pure (24kt) gold is very soft, it is recommended to choose an alloy for strength and durability. The metals used to make 14kt and 18kt are silver, copper and zinc. 18K gold refers to 75% pure gold content, whereas 14kt gold, 58% pure gold content. 18K is more pure and costly, yet slightly softer than 14kt, and in the case of the Fairmined, more classically “gold” than the slightly rosy-hued 14kt. All that personality from a little grain of metal!

Whatever your choice, know that you are now the wearer of a unique piece of quality craftsmanship, created with the upmost respect for our customers and the environment. We are proud to be a part of your story.

Have more questions about metal properties? Here is a more in-depth look. Learn more about Fairmined gold on our blog and at http://www.fairmined.org/.

Top Notch Faceting x Bario Neal

By Roxy on June 14, 2015 at 4:38 pm

“The gemology equivalent of rock-royalty,” Jean-Noel Soni, of Top Notch Faceting, showcases his one-of-a-kind, award-winning gemstones right here in our Philadelphia store. Hailing from San Francisco and featured in French Vogue and Gem Gossip, Soni colorfully talks shop– in our shop, describing process, philosophy, and sourcing. Our own rockstar jewelers are always on hand to consult on custom projects using his precision-cut gems.

 

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The above stone is a 45 carat Tourmaline from Mozambique cut from a 300 carat crystal!

Imagine the possibilities…

 

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OCCUPY OAK FLAT: Copper Mining Interests Plunder Apache Holy Land

By Constance on May 29, 2015 at 5:44 pm
Maëlle Doliveux/NY Times

Maëlle Doliveux/NY Times

A protest by an Arizona Apache Tribe challenges the recent decision by the U.S. government to turn over access to the spiritual equivalent of Mt. Sinai to an Australian-British mining company. Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of the largest mining company in the world, Rio Tinto, gained this controversial grab of 2.400 acres of federally protected land as a midnight rider attached to the 2015 United States National Defense Authorization Act.    via the New York Times

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