Best Engagement Rings for an Active Lifestyle

By Jamera McNeil on January 8, 2019 at 9:15 am

Engagement Rings for Active Lifestyle

Have a hobby or job that involves using your hands a lot? Does it seem like you mess up a new manicure 10 minutes after you walk out of the nail salon? More likely to flash jazz hands than a royal wave? You can still have your perfect engagement ring. We’ve handcrafted rings for rock climbers, swimmers, people who bike everywhere, avid gardeners, glassblowers, teachers, and doctors. 

Everyone needs to take off wedding rings sometimes depending on the activity, but those who are athletic or always have their hands in motion will want to consider settings, gemstones, and metals that are ideal for an active lifestyle. Once you’ve found a partner who can match your energy, you’ll need an engagement ring that can do the same. These Bario Neal designs won’t fail you.

Low Profile Engagement Rings and Bezel Engagement Rings

The closer your entire engagement ring sits to your finger, the less chance there is of it running into trouble. You can skip a gemstone and not give up the flourish with a piece like our Bend Ring. But if you really want a gemstone, the bezel setting is a go-to for hands-on ring wearers. No prongs means no snagging. A full bezel surrounds a gemstone, while a half bezel leaves the sides open. Even if you choose one of the hardest gemstones—diamond, white sapphire, moissanite—a bezel setting makes a more safely ensconced home for a stone. (Avoid soft opals altogether unless you don’t mind taking off the ring often.)

Some people think a full bezel setting might overshadow a gemstone, but try telling that to the show-stealing diamond in the tapered bezel setting in our Allium Round Diamond Ring. Our Pear Trillion Ring, Allium Diamond Ring, Half-Moon White Sapphire Ring, and Trillion White Sapphire Ring prove you don’t need prongs to shine. They also show how you can play with shapes of bezel settings, from octagonal to triangle. Our bezel-set Half-Moon Dyad Ring with two ethically sourced white sapphires is adventurous (its open space hints at exploration) with feminine strength.

Aira Diamond Ring embraces the bezel boldly. In the 14k yellow gold version, this ring is a good reminder of how metal choice is a factor when thinking about best engagement rings for an active lifestyle. Platinum and 14k metals are tougher than 18k metals, so keep this in mind as you pick a metal.

Our Crescent Diamond Ring is part band, part diamond engagement ring and is great for people whose active lifestyles, jobs, or personal preference make them not want two rings. Five diamonds shine from their subtle setting, and the ring tapers in the back for comfortable daily wear.   

If you prefer the look of a prong setting but want to stay very low profile, the Ray Fringe Diamond Ring manages to wink both at bezel and prong settings and still do its own thing—with a fringe on top. You can also go with smooth prongs: Our Lash Solitaire Blue Sapphire Ring is a nice combo of both, with a top row of smooth prongs and a half bezel setting. The lineup of smooth prongs in our Linear Diamond Ring keep a whole row of ethically sourced diamonds safely nestled in a low-profile engagement ring that fits an active lifestyle.

The bar setting in our Baguette Solitaire Diamond Ring is another alternative to a bezel-set engagement ring. It has enough solitaire style to make it a modern classic.

Stacking Rings

We love to break supposed “wedding ring rules” at Bario Neal. And we’re always ready to help couples find something that might not match formulaic national jewelry store ads. If you love the look of a classic prong-set solitaire ring like our Avens Radiant Diamond Ring, but you just know that won’t fit your lifestyle, stacks can be a way to stand out with wedding jewelry.

Stacking wedding rings works well if you’re looking for flair with the security of low profile. Our Reticulated Two Band and Half Eternity Wide Diamond Band are a perfect pair for a wedding ring finger. Go for a 14k gold tower of pretty rings without gemstones, such as our accessibly priced Reticulated One Band, Fishtail Band, Dais Narrow Band, and Ray Fringe Band. Or get a sculptural mix with a wedding stack foursome from our Vibrant Collection: Fishtail Fuchsia Sapphire Ring, Reticulated One Fuchsia Sapphire Band, Ray Fringe Fuchsia Sapphire Ring, and Dais Narrow Fuchsia Sapphire Band.

Engagement Rings With Small Gemstones

Many Bario Neal clients pick engagement rings with small gemstones due to their work environment. Some people get two engagement rings: one appropriate for their work or daily lifestyle, and another for dressier times. Either way, when you visit one of our showrooms, in Philadelphia or New York City, to talk about buying an engagement ring, we don’t make any assumptions about your perfect pick or push any agenda about spending budget or gemstone size.

Although many jewelers can’t attest that their smaller diamonds are conflict free, we found an ethical source for melee diamonds (small diamonds) for the ring designs below and all of our eternity bands like the Half Eternity Wide Diamond Band.

 

With a small gemstone, metal design has a role in making your engagement ring feel personal, like with our Bend Diamond Ring, which plays with open space.

For a more delicate-looking but still durable engagement ring, there’s our petite Aira Mini Diamond Ring, Reticulated One Diamond Band, or Fishtail Diamond Ring.

Whatever engagement ring you choose, and no matter how fit to an active lifestyle, you should take it off for swimming, lifting weights, hiking, or rock climbing—or any outdoor activity that involves heavy use of your hands. (Really, this goes for all your jewelry, such as drop earrings, bangles, bracelets, and necklaces.) Get in the habit of storing jewelry in the same place at home when you remove it. Make that a spot that’s out of reach of kids. You might even put your engagement ring back in its porcelain Bario Neal jewelry box if you have one. If you need to stow in your car or a locker, put your engagement ring in a small zippered pouch made of a soft material like cotton or silk (don’t toss into a gym bag’s bottomless pit!) and lock it up tight. Always remember to insure your fine jewelry, so that in the case of damage or loss, you are covered for repair or replacement.

For more inspiration, shop our engagement rings and wedding bands. Or, next time you’re done summiting that mountain or harvesting that organic garden or winning that tennis match or on break from that tough job, visit one of our showrooms. We promise: We’ll help you find a ring that can keep your pace.

Active Lifestyle Engagement Rings

Bario Neal’s No B.S. Guide to Ethical Jewelry

By Jamera McNeil on December 27, 2018 at 9:30 am

 

Photo of Bario Neal Mini Lash Studs for Guide to Ethical Jewelry

Shopping for and custom designing jewelry should be fun, not homework. You might not buy a diamond engagement ring on a whim, but picking one out doesn’t need to be an “assignment” either. When it comes to being an ethical jewelry designer, however, the Bario Neal team likes to help curious clients figure out what’s sustainable and what’s questionable.

We’ve put together this (totally non-classroomy, we swear) guide about the jewelry industry, our push for fair-to-all practices, and our drive to be 100% transparent with our clients about where we buy the gemstones and metals that go into our engagement rings, wedding bands, and all the jewelry we craft.

How does Bario Neal design and create jewelry with sustainability in mind?

From the moment we pick up a pencil and start drawing new jewelry designs, we’re thinking about sustainability and ethics. Anna Bario and Page Neal, Bario Neal Principals + Lead Designers, have only ever wanted a company that creates meaningful, lasting pieces.

  • We know that well-crafted jewelry (for kids too!) is handed down through generations, along with personal stories, and we take that responsibility seriously.
  • We’re Made in the U.S., for real. We make our custom jewelry and collection pieces in our Philadelphia workshop, and also collaborate with local artisans on Philadelphia’s historic Jewelers’ Row to craft some of our jewelry.
  • We don’t just craft our jewelry with sustainability in mind. We also work and live in our communities in a mindful way. We shop at neighborhood businesses. We volunteer in our community.
  • We work with Fairmined gold. Bario Neal was one of the first jewelry companies to participate in the Fairmined Assurance label, and we now proudly offer Fairmined gold extracted by empowered and responsible small-scale and artisanal miners. The Fairmined certification is supported by a third-party auditing system that ensures that all participating miners meet rigorous environmental and social standards.
  • We work closely with U.S. refineries that share our vow to minimize environmental impacts while producing recycled precious metals. The refineries are LEED certified, which means they find ways to reduce waste and air pollution and use minimal energy and water as they work. They treat and re-use production wastewater (called a “closed loop water system”).  
  • We work with clients to use heirloom gemstones in custom jewelry. We also use “recycled diamonds.” All of our reclaimed gemstones have been repurposed from old stock or other jewelry, which requires no industrial processes and avoids further human or environmental impacts.

Photo of Cluster Hex for Bario Neal's Guide to Ethical Jewelry

How does Bario Neal advocate for improvements in the jewelry industry?

The jewelry industry has a complex history — one that includes great beauty and artistry, as well as horrific examples of exploiting communities and damaging environments around the world. We hope the Bario Neal approach to creating ethical jewelry inspires others, but our efforts don’t stop there. We advocate for change among all jewelry designers and retailers.

  • We are members of Ethical Metalsmiths, a professional group with a goal to educate jewelers and jewelry buyers about how precious metal and gemstone resources can be a development tool, not a curse (and help the environment too).
  • Bario Neal Principal + Lead Designer Anna Bario serves on the board of the Jewelry Industry Summit. She helped to organize the very first Jewelry Industry Summit in 2015 to create an annual gathering where we can actively work toward sustainable, ethical jewelry making in a way that benefits everyone who works in the industry. Bario Neal team members attend the summit every year to learn, talk about challenges and opportunities, and keep the momentum going for a fully sustainable jewelry industry.
  • In 2014, we were part of the first group of jewelry makers to import Fairmined gold into the U.S. The Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), a leading expert on small-scale and artisanal mining, established the Fairmined standard and sets fair pricing to make sure that miners and their families and communities are economically and socially improving while staying environmentally responsible.  
  • We fully support an Obama-era law that requires U.S. companies to take care when sourcing metals from certain vulnerable regions, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The law helps to ensure a purchase from a gold mine doesn’t end up funding an armed group or human rights abuses. We oppose all efforts to relax this law. We also recognize that by creating pathways for traceable, conflict-free minerals, our industry can help support sustainable development.
  • We call for meaningful reform of the 1872 Mining Law. The outdated U.S. law allows mining on public lands (which big corporations have exploited for big profits) while failing to set up any protections for the environment and neighboring communities.
  • With donations and gemstone purchases, we support the work of organizations such as Pure Earth and Pact. The first is a nonprofit that’s addressing pollution in low- and middle-income countries by training artisanal gold miners about alternatives to using the highly toxic (but unfortunately all too common) mercury. Pact is helping artisanal miners, many of them women, learn to accurately identify and sort gemstones so their work can become more lucrative.
How does Bario Neal choose to work with a gemstone or metal supplier?

We do relentless research and outreach to find people in the industry who share our priorities around ethical and sustainable sourcing. Our protocol requires sources that follow local labor, health, and safety laws, prioritize employee well-being, and don’t use child labor.  

  • We partner with sustainable mining organizations and initiatives. One example is the Tanzania Women Miners Association, a nonprofit formed to help women miners be financially sustainable.
  • We didn’t launch an emerald jewelry collection until we found an emerald source in a mining collective in Northern Zambia that values people and the environment.
  • We guarantee our diamonds and colored gemstones are fully traceable. If a Bario Neal diamond isn’t a recycled diamond, then it comes from Australia, Canada, or Namibia. We go deep — following a supply chain from mine to market.
  • Many suppliers don’t want to invest in tracing smaller diamonds, also known as melee, for rings like eternity bands. We make sure our diamond suppliers are willing to go above and beyond to verify the standards of their stones. We were the first to bring traceable, ethical baguette diamonds to the market.
How does Bario Neal work to generate positive social impact?
  • Advocating for human rights in the jewelry industry is a non-negotiable part of our mission. We’ve made a commitment to support healthy and happy working conditions for our entire supply chain, from miners to jewelers, and the larger communities that support them.
  • We are an inclusive jewelry designer for every couple. When we work with clients, we don’t make assumptions about sexuality or gender. We’re longtime supporters of LGBTQIA rights and worldwide marriage equality. As a women-owned business, it is very important to us to support global feminist issues such as women’s reproductive health, equal pay, and access to education. We find ways to support entrepreneurial women inside and outside of the jewelry industry.
  • We collaborate with like-minded artists and businesses so the effect ripples well past our own studios and neighborhoods. Supporting our local economy by hiring artists and artisans in our community is part of our business mission. We donate to worthy causes advancing all of the above! We make charitable giving part of our business model.

Guide to Ethical Jewelry

How does Bario Neal monitor and evaluate our environmental and social impact?

There’s not one industry enforcement group that oversees and makes sure jewelry designers and retailers act in a way that protects all people economically and socially. So Bario Neal has taken the lead, setting and following the highest standards for ethical sourcing.

• We put our standards in writing so everyone on the Bario Neal team and our clients know what they are — and can hold us accountable. We are hard at work on our first-ever Sustainability Report (due out February 2019), which will detail our efforts to both mitigate/offset our environmental impact and create positive social impact through our jewelry.

Bario Neal’s Guide to Giving Jewelry as a Gift

By Jamera McNeil on December 5, 2018 at 1:16 pm

Bario Neal Gift Guide

 

Bario Neal’s ethical, handcrafted jewelry make for wonderful presents. We believe that by valuing thoughtful design, high quality, and all the people involved in making and sourcing our jewelry, we create lasting rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings that every recipient — and gifter! — can feel good about. While we work all year with clients on custom designed jewelry by appointment, we love helping shoppers in our Philadelphia and New York City showrooms figure out what to buy same day for a loved one. We hope this jewelry gift guide, with the bonus of our staff’s picks, helps you navigate your way to a meaningful holiday season with a dash of shimmer.

Diamond Earrings

Diamond earrings make a gift so classic and timeless they suit almost every taste and personal style. Even better, some of our very popular designs, like the Lash Studs that blend a prong and bezel setting and the Aira Studs that play with space and solid gold, now come with different gemstones. The Lash Diamond Studs and Aira Black Diamond Studs are new this year. We also introduced Ray Diamond Studs, Ray Diamond Drops, and Ray Black Diamond Studs to our fringe-with-flair Ray family.

Staff Picks

“At the top of my wish list are the Aira Black Diamond Studs. In January, I’ll be having my first child. Anything beyond some simple stud earrings feels too fussy as a new Mom, and yet these are special enough to treasure for a lifetime. My new everyday earrings — perhaps stacked with some Lash Mini Studs in the future?” — Sarah Francks, Creative Director

“One of the most beautiful things about Bario Neal is our strong roots in both marriage equality and ethics. The top item on my wish list would have to be the Lau Diamond Studs. They are sparkly, yet subtle, and their tiny rainbow shape represents everything that Bario Neal stands for.” — Emily Shank, Bench Jeweler + CAD Designer

Colorful Earrings

Pick a color, any color (your gift recipient’s favorite color?)! Our Lash Morganite Studs (available to purchase in-store only), Aira Blue Sapphire Studs, and Ray Blue Sapphire Studs bring pops of pink or blue fun to designs that are still understated enough to be jewelry for any occasion. If you’re shopping for someone who likes to mix and match shapes, check out our standout  Sapphire Slice Studs.

Gift Guide Photo for Bario Neal

Staff Picks

Ray Blue Sapphire Studs — because my husband is a September baby with blue sapphire as his birthstone. I wear stud earrings every day, and it is the one type of jewelry that I prefer not to think about when I am getting dressed in the morning. It would be nice to be able to wear earrings that are thoughtful in their design and meaning but perfect for everyday wear!”  — Ariel Yaroslawitz, Sales Director

“I’m a sucker for delicate, ultra-feminine pieces that are more neutral than ‘princess.’ The one-of-a-kind in-store only Cluster Hex Morganite Studs are so sweet on their own, but I love them worn as second hole studs. These little babies flash just enough glittery diamonds and powder pink morganite — so pretty with our Circ Hoops!” — Tessa Kennedy, Production & Design Director

Diamond Necklaces

Even if your giftee isn’t someone who wears a necklace every day, a pretty pendant can be the perfect excuse to dress up. More reason to celebrate: Bario Neal’s ethical sourcing means the diamonds we use in our jewelry haven’t come at the price of hurting miners or their communities. Our limited edition Ombre Raw Diamond Necklace streams from white to champagne to black with a delicate ruggedness.

Staff Pick

Ray Diamond Pendant — I love the fringe detailing on the Ray pieces, and the way this pendant layers with a few delicate chains.” — Anna Bario, Bario Neal Principal + Lead Designer

Colorful Necklaces

Here’s a hint: If you’re buying a present for someone who prefers a wildflower bouquet over a pale carnation, who wears polka dots but avoids anything gray, or who loves our cluster rings, here’s where to head in our showroom. Top of list: our new one-of-a-kind in-store only Black Jade Shield Pendant and our Radial Cluster Hex Sapphire Pendant, with five different kinds of gemstones.

Staff Pick

“I’ve always been really into the Sapphire Slice Pendant. It’s both understated and unconventional. Not flashy, but the interesting use of a textured, perfectly navy-blue sapphire is something eye-catching you never have to take off. (There’s a Ruby Slice Pendant too.)” — Constance Mensh, Photographer

Bracelets

Buy a bracelet as a standalone present or to make a set with one of our earrings or necklaces or rings. A swipe of robin’s egg blue glass — and the ancient art of making enamel jewelry — separate our Arc Enamel Bracelet from the post-holiday return pile by a mile. For a diamond bracelet present, our delicate Lau Bracelet has three sophisticated charms.

Staff Pick

“The Gale Bracelet has always been one of my all-time favorite Bario Neal pieces. It’s elegant, versatile, and comfortable for everyday wear, which makes it a great gift — especially for someone who likes less delicate jewelry.” — Katie Dannenberg, Bench Jeweler and Fabrication Specialist

Jewelry as a Gift - Bario Neal
Jewelry Gifts Under $200

We refuse to accept that there are “rules” about spending when it comes to engagement rings or who wears what jewelry, so we’re certainly not going to force price consciousness into what should be joyful giving. Our most accessibly priced jewelry includes the Sol Pendant ($115), Octillo Studs ($92), and the sweet Knottedrush Ring ($115). Our Keepsake Bangles ($83-$95) make gifts of lasting value for children (and their go-to grown-up).

Staff Picks

“The Circ Hoops ($95) always get attention. They are playful and classic, and they’re delicate yet substantial. They’re just the right size. I think a wave in jewelry can easily not work, but the Circ Hoops have the right balance of structure and fluidity.” — Page Neal, Bario Neal Principal + Lead Designer

 

“Around the holidays, I’m always on the lookout for gifts that are affordable but still reflect my appreciation for craftsmanship and design. Our Circ Drops in sterling silver are versatile, lightweight, and at $98 a pair, they won’t break the bank during my holiday shopping.” — Sarah Rachel Brown, Sales + Shipping Coordinator

One-of-a-Kind Jewelry

Anything from our designed-this-year Ceres Collection will make a big and bold present, from these justly named Lash Garnet and Tourmaline Power Studs to the tower of stones in our Lash Vertical Asscher Cut Emerald, Cabochon Emerald, and Blue Topaz Cluster Ring. Ceres gave a home to spectacular emeralds we’d been saving for years — and mixed them in rings with blue topaz, carnelian, white topaz, and phenakite, like this Open Lash Emerald and White Topaz Ring. Like layers of meaning in the gifts you give? Well, the name Ceres is a nod to the Roman goddess of agriculture and fertility, and an asteroid between Mars and Jupiter that was once thought to be a planet.

Bario Neal Jewelry Gift Guide

P.S. We’re not kidding about “one-of-a-kind.” There’s only one of each of these pieces right now, so if your heart’s set on buying one, call ahead to make sure it’s still available.

With our handcrafted designs, our commitment to quality, and our desire to make accessibly priced jewelry too, we think we’re a must-stop for presents — whatever the style of the person you’re buying for (and really, whatever the season). We do have a 30-day return policy and gift cards, just in case.

If you plan to visit the Bario Neal showroom in Philadelphia, use our shopping guide to make a day of it in the neighborhood. You’ll be able to cross off a lot on your holiday gift list by visiting other locally owned businesses that have presents for kids, music lovers, foodies, and more. Ready to shop?

  • Bario Neal Showroom Shopping: Regular hours at our Philadelphia showroom at 700 S. 6th Street are: Wednesday and Thursday from 1 to 7 p.m., and Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. We’ll be open from noon to 7 p.m. December 19 through 23, 2018. We take all major credit cards and cash.
  • Jewelry Boxes: All of our jewelry comes in our pretty Signature Jewelry Boxes that are made in the U.S. with eco-friendly recycled paper. For rings or stud earrings, you can also buy our Porcelain Gift Box, hand cast by a small studio in Portland, Oregon.
  • Tips for Wrapping a Jewelry Box: Our boxes are pretty, but if you’re buying a Christmas present and want to go a little more incognito under the tree, here’s a how-to for a no-waste wrapping method we love.

The Bario Neal staff picks above are just a start. Stop into our Philly or NYC showrooms and our sales teams will happily help you find a personalized jewelry gift that celebrates any holiday and someone you love and your relationship. If you can’t make it to our showrooms, browse and buy online. We ship our necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings, and one-of-a-kind jewelry securely around the world. With such pretty presents around, you won’t even need tinsel!

Get 50% off Boutique Jewelry when You Support Philadelphia’s Picasso Project

By Sarah on November 30, 2018 at 10:43 am


We’re proud to support the PCCY Picasso Project this year with our in-store Holiday charity sale. When children have access to arts in school, they become creative thinkers and better students. Since its inception in 2002, the Picasso Project provided over 40,750 children access to innovative arts projects by providing mini-grants to their Philadelphia schools.

 

Bring your donation to our Philadelphia location to receive 50% total off your in-stock boutique purchase:

  • A minimum of 3 pieces from the list of supplies below
  • A minimum gift card donation of $20 (to AC Moore, Blick, or Artist & Craftman Supply)

Supply List:

-Paint brushes, assorted (student-quality)
-Paints: tempera, acrylic, watercolor (student-quality)
-Packs of assorted canvasses and canvas panels
-Packs of Construction paper- small (9×12″) & large (12×18″)
-Washable markers (thick & thin)
-Colored pencils
-Oil pastels (Cray-Pas or similar)
-Student scissors
-White glue and/or glue sticks
-Air-dry clay
-Tissue paper packs
-Colored felt packs

 

We invite you to visit our Philadelphia Flagship at 700 S 6th Street, put your donations under the tree, and pick out an ethically-sourced and handmade gift for the the Holidays. We have lots of Queen Village neighbors for shopping, celebrating, and enjoying the magic of the Season.

 

Hours:
Wednesday & Thursday 1-7pm
Friday, Saturday & Sunday 11-6pm

Extended Holiday Hours:
Wednesday December 19th –  Sunday December 23rd 12 – 7pm
*Closed December 24th, 25th.

Terms: All jewelry purchased under this promotion is FINAL SALE – no returns or exchanges.
This promotion is available only in-store at our Philadelphia location, and ends Dec 30th, 2018.

 

Bario Neal Brings Artistry to Custom Designed Rings

By Jamera McNeil on November 27, 2018 at 10:35 am

 

collage of Bario Neal Custom Designed rings

You only need two things to custom design an engagement ring at Bario Neal: a client who wants one-of-a-kind jewelry and our creative, skilled team. You might have to make one or two tough decisions along the way (like diamonds or white sapphires?), but everything that goes into handcrafting custom rings with us is – our clients swear – fun.

“I never thought about jewelry before, but the whole process kind of opened my eyes,” Mick Waterhouse says about custom designing a cluster engagement ring with Erin Murphy, who he proposed to in September. “It was fun, every time that we jumped on a call or sent emails back and forth to Bario Neal. It felt like a special time.”

The Bario Neal team pretty much shows up to work every day to make people happy with jewelry (OK, all the delish restaurants near our showroom don’t hurt). We’re passionate about helping clients who want a custom designed ring find the design that truly matches their style and love.  

“Getting to know people when they are designing an engagement ring is pretty magical,” says Anna Bario, Bario Neal co-founder. “When we’re working with clients, a lot of it is reading them. With a custom design, we’re interpreting and enjoying the experience right along with them.”

How to Start Custom Designing an Engagement Ring

Whether or not you make an appointment to visit our Philadelphia showroom, the best place to start your custom design with us is our Custom Design Questionnaire. If you don’t have ideas already about what you want in a ring, filling out the form will help.

If you make an in-person appointment, expect to spend about an hour in our Philadelphia showroom. (Here’s a breakdown of how our personal engagement ring shopping visits go.) We’ll ask all about you and tell you all about us. Then we’ll start creating. Why wait?

“We had ideas going into the meeting, but I think Ariel really kind of turned both of our expectations on their heads,” says Pam Lashbrook. She and her spouse-to-be, Sarah Morrison, met with Bario Neal’s Ariel Yaroslawitz in Philadelphia to custom design Pam’s engagement ring. “I knew that I wanted an Asscher cut stone, but I don’t think that we had really thought about including anything of color. We were going to stick with white sapphires. Then Ariel mentioned the iolites, and we thought they were beautiful.” The couple also liked the connection to Sarah’s Zodiac sign, Cancer. “Her horoscope always talks about her being a moonchild, so we thought having these little half-moon iolites on either side would be a good combination.”

If you can’t visit the showroom, we’ll work with you via phone, email, and Skype – whatever your time zone.

After looking at some ethical jewelers in London, where she’s based, Steph Siddall found Bario Neal online. “The ethical jewelers I looked at in London weren’t a fit for my style. But I absolutely loved all of Bario Neal’s rings, so I was really pleased that we were able to make it work from London.”

The Los Angeles-based Mick and Erin started their ring with an appointment at a trunk show. (We announce our pop-ins to other cities on Instagram, so follow us there for news plus plenty of ring inspiration.) They brought an heirloom diamond in the setting of what had been Mick’s grandmother’s ring” and an idea to use the stone in a cluster engagement ring for Erin. Bario Neal’s Sarah Francks talked them through different approaches, and suggested they keep the heirloom ring as a solitaire.” 

“The family ring is still special on its own that way, and then we designed a second cluster ring,” Erin says. “I don’t think we ever even thought about just getting one ring after that again. I feel like in that hour we got so much done and hit the ground running.” After that first meeting, they continued with the team in Philadelphia by email and phone. “Everybody that we talked to was just so helpful,” Erin adds.

Before you visit or start a long-distance custom design, you can do budget research with the build a ring feature on our website. Click on any engagement ring from our collection and select “Build Ring” to get a good idea about pricing.  

P.S. According to our clients who work together as a couple to custom design an engagement ring, teamwork doesn’t dampen how special this time is. “I think it was actually really kind of romantic to work on it together because every time I look at the ring it’s really a representation of our partnership and our ability to work together,” Pam says. “I mean, obviously it’s gorgeous, but when I look at it, I think of the process that we went through together to create it.”

Find Design Inspiration for Your Custom Engagement Ring

“Our collection is a good starting point. People like what’s in our collection and the style, but sometime they just want a personalized touch. That’s usually done through the stones, or maybe changing a band from round to square,” says Aliyah Gold, Gemstone and Custom Design Specialist at Bario Neal, about where to look when beginning a custom design. “Sometimes that won’t work, and then we start from scratch.”

Pam’s Asscher cut white sapphire ring is based on the Avens Ring. “It was really nice having so many rings to look at and compare in the showroom because it was easy for me to point to something and say, ‘I like that.’ Then we were able to break it down and say, ‘Why do you like it? Why don’t you like it?’ And that, I think really helped,” Sarah Morrison says.

Erin’s solitaire engagement ring with the heirloom diamond is based on Bario Neal’s Allium Diamond Ring.

There are dozens of personalized rings on our website to spark your imagination. Many of them were inspired by other custom rings. Remember that there’s many ways to change a design and make it uniquely yours. “We made the Custom Pear Sapphire Cluster Ring, and put it on the site, and since then we’ve ended up making slightly different versions, like the Custom 7mm Pear Cut Blue Sapphire Cluster Ring with Sapphires,” Aliyah says. “It’s a similar layout but with different stones and some subtle design changes.”

On figure image of Custom Designed Rings
Choosing Ethical Stones for Your Custom Ring

“I read a Human Rights Watch report about how so much jewelry is unethical. I was shocked and it was something I had never really thought about before, the implications of not knowing where your jewelry is made or where it comes from,” Steph says.

When she found out that Bario Neal sources ethical gemstones from many countries and diamonds from Canada and Australia, she and her now fiance, Matt, started to think about their love of travel. “We had an amazing holiday in Canada a couple years ago. So knowing we could get a diamond from Canada gave us the idea of getting the stones from places we’ve been,” she says.

In addition to the Canadian diamond in her cluster design with four stones set in a gold band, Steph’s engagement ring has a white sapphire from Sri Lanka (where the couple spent a 2015 holiday). Two smaller colored stones are an aquamarine gemstone from Mozambique (where they got engaged), and a sea foam from Madagascar. The latter is a promise of future happy travels. “We’ve never been to Madagascar, but we really want to go. And I think we’re going to go there on our honeymoon,” Steph says.

Our ethical sourcing sometimes requires an open mind. “The Custom Bi-Color Sapphire and Pink Trillion Sapphire Linear Cluster Ring was an interesting one,” Aliyah says. “That client had an exact vision, and there were so many different colored stones and custom cuts. She was open to allowing it to grow and change depending on the stones that were available.”

If the color of your gemstones in your custom designed ring is your biggest priority, Aliyah recommends sharing an image of the color that Bario Neal can give to stone suppliers. “We have a client at the moment who is looking for a sapphire that is the ‘color of the galaxy,’ with blues and purples. It will be a challenge, but I’m excited to find something,” Aliyah says.

Picture Your Custom Engagement Ring

Our sales associates, designers, and in-house CAD (computer-aided design) designer work together to create precise CAD renderings that help clients see their future ring from several angles. This step is a chance to tweak the look. You don’t have to be an architect to understand the images, and a Bario Neal team member will go over the drawings with you.

“I was surprised at how much detail I was able to see. I was surprised at how much info I was able to have at different stages. That meant I didn’t have any moment of worry that we picked the wrong thing because we could see how it was progressing,” Steph says.

When it comes to changes, we want to be helpful and patient. The goal, after all, is for you to walk away with a ring you’re hopefully going to wear forever – so we want you to take the time you need.

“There were times where we were second-guessing what we wanted. Nothing was over the top, it was just all minor tweaks, but there was just this sense of uncertainty at times on our end, but Aliyah and everyone else we worked with at Bario Neal was always receptive to us flip-flopping, and changing around things, and just kind of thinking things over,” Mick recalls.

For a $200 design fee, our CAD work can also help clients who just can’t decide.

“Sometimes a client is in between two different ideas. Before they commit to an exact ring they want, we can render it in two different ways,” Aliyah says. “Maybe they’re not sure if they want it in white gold or yellow gold, and we can send both drawings. Then they can decide if they want to move forward with one of the designs.”

On figure close up of Bario Neal's custom designed rings
Custom Designed Rings Are Accessible

With Bario Neal, “custom design” doesn’t mean a free-for-all with your bank account. While we go into each custom project with an open timeline – because we handcraft each ring in our Philadelphia workshop and allow for your changes along the way – we do welcome clients who want to get concrete about budget.

“I had no idea how much things cost, and we had a budget in mind. So I was able to tell Bario Neal what style and stones I really liked and the budget we had, to see what’s realistic,” Steph says. “That was really good. They could tell me what was in the budget.”

Sarah Morrison says she and Pam appreciate that working on a budget didn’t mean sacrificing their vision of a truly personalized engagement ring. “We’d seen a picture of a ring that was about $10,000, a five-stone Art Deco ring. It was absolutely beautiful and we thought, that’s the one. Then I remembered I work at a nonprofit,” she says with a laugh. “But it was really neat to look at other Bario Neal rings and say, ‘Okay well how can we get a similar vibe to that while staying within what we can afford?'”

Custom Designing Is About Relationships, Not “Point and Click” 

While some jewelry companies offer an online-only, multiple choice design for “custom” rings, our clients get to work with experienced and skilled people such as Aliyah, who fell in love with jewelry design in high school and went on to study it in college. We think it makes a huge difference.

My role is to be able to transform from idea into reality,” she says. “Being a designer, I know what is possible and how the ring will structurally need to function in order to make what they want.”

Mick values the expertise Bario Neal brought to Erin’s ring and how Sarah Francks explained to him and Erin how cluster rings come together functionally and aesthetically. “My advice after going through this custom design is to definitely consult with someone that knows what they’re doing,” he says. “While we all know what we like in certain looks, those don’t always work well together when you go to produce something. The technical jewelry design that they were able to provide us with went a long way early on.”

Bario Neal’s website is designed to be helpful in the custom design process, but we think a big investment like an engagement ring deserves our full attention and the back-and-forth relationships that we build with clients.

“I never would have been able to process the vision for what it would all look like once it’s actually in a ring,” Steph says. “Bario Neal made it so easy. Every step of the way, from choosing stones and layout.”

Sarah Morrison says she and Pam they learned a lot when they visited the Philadelphia showroom. “At our appointment, I did pick up a lot of terms in that one day,” she says. “I’ve since forgotten them, but in that moment I felt very educated and it was really neat just to understand what it is that the jewelers are doing.”

They were so happy with Pam’s engagement ring, they returned to Bario Neal for their wedding bands. Sarah’s band is hammered platinum. Pam’s complements her engagement ring. There will be five white sapphires set to curve around and hug the stones on the engagement ring.

So, fair warning: One custom designed ring might lead to – more rings.

When Erin mentions that they too plan to get their wedding bands from Bario Neal, Mick teases, “Oh, you’re getting a third one?”

She answers, “Yeah. Duh.”

Start custom designing a ring with Bario Neal today by filling out our Custom Design Questionnaire or making an appointment to visit our Philadelphia or New York City showrooms.

 

 

Heirloom Gemstones Tell a Story in These Personalized Rings

By Jamera McNeil on November 20, 2018 at 10:32 am

 

Heirloom Gemstones Tell A Story

Custom designing with heirloom gemstones is a meaningful way to create an engagement ring that honors the past and stays true to the modern you. Bario Neal has worked with clients around the world to handcraft rings (not only for weddings!) using diamonds, sapphires, garnets, and more sourced from grandma’s jewelry box and beyond. Not all jewelers use heirloom stones in custom designs, but the Bario Neal team loves the chance to create with storied gems. Heirloom stones mean affordability too, which makes a truly unique custom designed ring more accessible to more of our clients.

“I love looking at older pieces of jewelry and finding out the story behind them,” says Ariel Yaroslawitz, Bario Neal sales director. “Who did it belong to? Why does our customer have it now? There’s an emotional attachment to antique jewelry. I love it.”

Besides continuing to write a family legend, when you create a new ring with old jewelry that has been passed down to you, you up the ethical/sustainable factor. No new mining is required. 

If you’re thinking about creating a personalized ring with generations-old gemstones, there are a few things you should know before starting. Thanks to creative (and sentimental) Bario Neal customers, there’s also plenty of design inspiration below.

7 Tips for Using Heirloom Gemstones

  1. Make Sure You’re Ready for a New Jewelry Design

Rings from other eras can often be resized and worn as today’s engagement rings. “A lot of people come in with heirloom jewelry that’s really unique,” Ariel says. “One of our first questions is: ‘Are you sure you want to change this piece?’ We never push people to make something new.”

If you are certain about wanting a jewelry update, custom heirloom design can bring in the modern while still remaining timeless in a way that wouldn’t make your forebears roll their eyes. And sometimes sequels are better than the original. This Custom Heirloom Diamond & Melee Cluster Ring is like your gran’s favorite dessert recipe and the best old B&W family photo, all rolled up in one. The diamonds are from multiple heirloom jewelry pieces, so the ring combines two families as did the now-married customers. “They wanted to create a modern cluster combining all of their stones,” Ariel says. “The older rings were dated, and we worked to modernize and combine all the stones into one artistic setting. It was so interesting to watch the progression from where it started to where it ended.”

  1. That Heirloom Jewelry Is Not Your Style. Now What?

You love the garnets in your great aunt’s pair of earrings or your grandfather’s ruby signet ring. You’re not so enamored with the design. It’s dated, stuffy, or – truth like only family can tell it –  gaudy. No worries. Custom heirloom design is a way you can keep things ancestral and modern.

If you have jewelry with multiple stones, first decide which stones you want to use. This Custom Heirloom 8.26mm Cushion Cut Spessartite Bouquet Cluster Ring proves the more the merrier! Every stone in this cocktail ring is heirloom, including a cushion cut spessartite, several orange sapphires and peridots, and a princess cut garnet. We’d say that’s the best kind of family reunion.

When working with the Bario Neal team on your new personalized ring design, it will help if you can describe what you don’t like about the old piece. The prongs? The metals? Those details will help in creating a new piece that fits you.

  1. Get Your Heirloom Jewelry Appraised.

An appraisal will give you a value for insurance – and help you decide whether to use the old stones. Some family jewelry has great sentimental worth but not high monetary value.

The Bario Neal team uses a Presidium Gemstone Tester, an electronic gadget that has a pen and a gauge. When you put the wire tip of the pen to a colored gemstone, the gauge gives a reading on whether something is a semiprecious (jade, for example) or precious stone – or plastic or glass.

“Sometimes people bring in heirloom jewelry that has glass or something that isn’t identifiable or recognizable,” Ariel says. “We’ll do our best to test the stone on our end. Often the tester confirms what we suspect. Most of the time, customers are educated or have even obtained an appraisal and know what they have to work with.”

Heirloom Gemstones Tell A Story - Bario Neal

With any diamond or precious gemstone over one-quarter carat, once stones are removed from settings, Bario Neal staff gets them appraised if a client hasn’t already, for insurance purposes.

“You can also find out things about, say, a diamond during an appraisal process that you might not have known, like the strength of the stone,” Ariel notes.

Diamond durability means Bario Neal has often worked with this stone in heirloom form to build new family homes. This Custom Heirloom Oval Diamond Cluster Ring with Champagne and White Diamonds Pavé Shank, says Ariel, “was a cool heirloom project where the client used some of their heirloom stones and then we added some stones.” The citrine, tourmaline, and champagne diamonds add colorful presence to heirloom white diamonds in a setting that merges old and new effortlessly.

  1. Different Old Gemstones Mean Different Design Possibilities.

Bario Neal handles all heirloom jewelry with care. Occasionally, even hard diamonds might present a challenge. If the sales team isn’t sure gemstones can be safely extracted and re-set into a new personalized ring for you, they’ll get the opinion of the stone setter. Badly damaged gemstones might crack or chip when pulled out of old jewelry, but the Bario Neal team is up for most custom heirloom work.

“We can pretty much work with any stone,” Ariel says. “There will be, depending on stone type, limitations on how we need to build the setting or how we can design with heirloom gemstones. For example, we can’t do certain things with heirloom opals because opals are soft and more porous.” 

Bario Neal’s openness to working with heirloom stones means the opportunity to see unique gems and create new pieces that are like a strong blended family. The Custom Star Sapphire Ray Ring is a customer-inspired takeoff from a Bario Neal collection ring (the Ray Emerald Ring). “The vintage oval star sapphire was a very unique stone,” Ariel says. “We get requests for this ring all the time!”

Bario Neal works with gemstone setting specialists who can help if stone removal proves to be very tricky. Some jewelers may be more knowledgeable about a certain setting style and how to properly retrieve the stones without harm.

  1. Don’t Change That Heirloom Stone.

As a general rule, avoid trying to cut old stones. “You end up wasting a lot of the material, if you try to re-cut it,” Ariel explains. “If the stone is badly abraded, if there’s some scuffs from age, and the customer really wants to use it, we can polish it. But we prefer not to cut the stones, and if a stone is in poor shape, we prefer to not use it.”

This advice doesn’t have to limit your creativity or your ability to have a meaningful new piece of jewelry at all. The proof: This Custom Cut Granite Cluster Ring with Custom Heirloom Diamond Open Lash Ring. There are two awwww-inspiring touches in this highly personalized version of the Cluster Opal Ring from the Bario Neal collection. There’s the beautiful heirloom diamond. Then that flash of history is topped by a piece of granite that the client found that had meaning to him and his partner.

  1. You Can Design With Loose Gemstones.

While Bario Neal mostly custom designs rings with heirloom gemstones that arrive to the workshop set in old jewelry (some stones have even been re-set more than once through the generations), some customers have loose heirloom stones.

Ariel recalls a customer who had a loose diamond that his grandfather purchased in the early 20th century. “It was something that his grandfather had never set,” Ariel says. “He had the original bill of sale and an appraisal for the diamond. We set it in a solitaire engagement ring.”

  1. You Don’t Need to Live in Philly or NYC to Get a Bario Neal Heirloom Ring.

Bario Neal works with clients all over the world through email and phone to handcraft personalized rings. Contact the team for details about the process. You’ll start by having the heirloom stones that you want to use removed from old pieces by a trusted jeweler where you live. You’ll also need to get an appraisal and insure the stones before shipping them to Bario Neal.

If you have heirloom jewelry you’re curious about – or you have a piece with gemstones you love but a setting you don’t, make an appointment at Bario Neal’s Philadelphia or New York City showrooms today. Fill out the Custom Design Questionnaire and get started by phone or email too. Ariel and everyone else at Bario Neal can’t wait to hear your heirloom jewelry story – and help you write the next page.

Here’s What to Expect at a Bario Neal Engagement Ring Appointment

By Jamera McNeil on November 6, 2018 at 10:00 am

Collage of Bario Neal rings - What to Expect

Bario Neal™’s engagement ring and wedding band appointments happen in many ways: in our Philadelphia or New York City showrooms, on the phone, and over email or Skype. Yes, you might have to make big decisions. But we can promise it will be fun, whichever way you work with our team. Here’s what to expect at an appointment with us.

  • We make everyone who shops with us feel at home.

We don’t have any rules about what an engagement ring “should” look like. We don’t subscribe to gendered jewelry. Visit our showrooms solo because you’re planning a surprise, or bring a friend or someone from your family. Many couples shop for engagement rings together, and the stop at Bario Neal is just one hour of a magical day.

  • Making an appointment is really easy.

We ask that clients who want to talk about engagement rings make an appointment. That way, you get our fullest attention (not in a high-pressure sales way). We can take our time and focus on helping you search for your perfect ring. We don’t like waiting on hold either, so we’ve made scheduling an appointment online simple. View what openings we have, choose the best time on our calendar for you, and get an email in seconds confirming your appointment with details about the when, where, and how.

  • We want to get to know a bit about you.

If you’re up for a little pre-appointment homework and you want to keep things focused, start by completing our Custom Design Questionnaire before you visit. Whether you’re up for that or not, expect an inspiring and fun 60 minutes with us.

We want to hear about your wedding plans and dream honeymoon destination, but we also want to know the day-to-day you. Do you use your hands a lot in your work? Do you have a job where some jewelry might not be a fit? Are you an avid rock climber? Based on your answers, we can give you details about gemstones, metals, and settings to help in your decision about which engagement ring is right for your lifestyle.

Getting engaged isn’t a business deal, and we don’t think selling engagement rings and wedding bands has to be cold or transactional. The more we find out about what you like (or don’t) about jewelry design, the better prepared we are to help guide you to the perfect wedding ring. (Or rings “” because like us, you might love to mix and match and want to stack two, three, or four rings.) If you want to use gemstones from your heirloom jewelry, let us know at the start. You can bring family pieces that you hope to incorporate to your first appointment. We’d love to take a look and hear the stories behind them.

  • We’ll tell you about us.

Like the perfect first date, this getting-to-know-you stage isn’t one-way. We’ll tell you all about Bario Neal too. About how our founders Anna Bario and Page Neal started the company with the firm belief that jewelry should be handcrafted with care to last and done so in a way that doesn’t harm people (like communities where gemstone mining happens) or the planet.

If you visit our Philly location, you’ll get to see the workshop where our talented jewelers (this is the part of the appointment where you’re most likely to hear the phrase “kickass”) create engagement rings, wedding bands, and more.

We’ll happily answer all your questions about ethical sourcing of gemstones and the steps we take to make sure we’re a sustainable jeweler.

“People are often impressed with the quality of our recycled metals,” says Claire Lemétais, who manages Bario Neal’s New York City showroom on the Lower East Side. “I want clients to know they found the right jeweler, and that they can be confident in not only the design but also the quality and sourcing of gemstones and metals.”

  • We don’t have to talk about money. (But we can.)

If you and your partner are ready to talk budget, great. We’ll show you pieces from our collection that fit your price range. (You can get an idea about cost in advance on our website. Click on “Build Ring” to get a personalized engagement ring estimate.) If you’re making an appointment to visit with your partner and want to keep your spouse-to-be out of the purchase details, make a note in your online booking. If customers don’t mention anything to us in advance, we bring up budget in a low-key way and take cues from there.

  • We’ll figure out your ring size.

You might have a ring size or have been sized before, but every jeweler uses different sizing tools. We like to size your engagement ring finger (you choose!) so we have a number to refer to across our production, from order to delivery. (If you’re visiting alone and want to surprise your partner, check out our tips for engagement ring shopping for advice on sizing.)

 

Photograph of stack of rings from Bario Neal - What to Expect

  • You’ll get to see a lot of engagement rings (aka: Most Fun).

“I always start by asking clients about their ideas and inspiration,” says Ariel Yaroslawitz, Bario Neal Sales Director in Philadelphia. “I also like to find out if someone is set on a white diamond or if they’re thinking about a colored stone. Then I can start pulling rings from our case that are more specific to their style and vibe.”

Our collection is on display at both showrooms so you can see all that we’re able to do, from a more traditional diamond engagement ring to whimsical or bursting with color. While many of our rings fit into a classic engagement ring style, the whole case is yours to roam. You might prefer a textured band, like our Dais Narrow Band, or a few stackable rings instead of one ring with a single gemstone at the center.

“I don’t “˜label’ any of our rings,” Claire says. “Certain bands with diamonds, like our Bend Diamond Ring for example, can be an engagement ring or a wedding band.”

Claire says she loves to show clients looking for a classic solitaire diamond engagement ring the delicate Avens Ring, which can be made with diamonds of different shapes. See how diamond shape can change a design by comparing the Avens Round Diamond Ring to the Avens Raw Diamond Ring. For customers who prefer a bezel setting to prongs, Claire suggests the Allium Round Diamond Ring.

If a solitaire white diamond (or an accessibly priced twin like a white sapphire or lab-grown moissanite) doesn’t make your heart beat faster, you might pass on the 4Cs of diamonds and ask our sales team about the very modern 2Cs: colors and clusters. Two cluster rings that have tons of fans, especially when it comes to cluster engagement rings, are the Radial Cluster Blue Hex Sapphire Ring and Burst Cluster Diamond Ring.

“The Hex Sapphire is one of our most popular cluster rings,” Claire says. “Clients might personalize their engagement ring and change some of the stones for different color gemstones, but most of our cluster personalizations start with that. There’s also a beautiful matching band that goes with it, the Radial Cluster Blue Sapphire Ombré Band.”

Pro tip from Claire: Take your own photos with different engagement rings on your hand during your appointment. The pics will help you remember what you thought was the best fit and why.

  • You’ll get a quick lesson on diamonds and other gemstones.

We’ll walk you through the ins and outs of diamond facts that might be useful as you think about your budget. You can even look at loose stones (a novel experience for most customers, who typically only see gems already set in rings, earrings, and necklaces). We’ll show you diamonds at four sizes so you can see the difference between a half carat and 1.5 carats. “I encourage customers to hold them up to their hand because you get a sense of proportion and how a certain size carat looks on your finger,” Claire says.

  • You’re allowed to change the picture of your perfect engagement ring.

You might think your mind’s made up and that you and your partner are set on a princess cut diamond with a simple prong setting. Then you see Bario Neal’s Soma Rose Cut Diamond with Champagne Halo Ring. Or the Lash Solitaire Blue Sapphire Ring. That happens.

Loving many rings in our showroom shouldn’t stress you out at all. If you start to feel overwhelmed by the decision, our sales team will likely pick up on that and help refocus the appointment by zeroing in on what exactly you like about certain rings in our collection. Do the interesting shapes of the Lash Cluster Dyad Ring catch your eye? Do you prefer yellow gold or white gold? Are you a fan of symmetry or asymmetry?

You might just need time. That’s OK too. We’re not in a hurry, and we know this isn’t a decision that can be rushed.

“I’ve been working with a customer over the last year who was originally set on an all sapphire ring, with white and blue sapphires,” Ariel says. “Now we’re talking about an all-white sapphire cluster.”

You definitely don’t need to make up your mind by the end of the hour. There’s no pressure to buy. (If you are ready to order, put 50% down and we’ll get started!) You can make a follow-up appointment (you’ll be an old pro!) or continue with us over email or phone.

  • We’ll talk timeline on ring delivery.

Talk to us about when you’re thinking of proposing or getting engaged. We’re good with deadlines, and the delivery estimate we give you will be accurate. We handcraft all engagement rings to order, and rings from our collection take four to six weeks to make. A custom piece takes eight weeks minimum, and turnaround really depends on the design. Finding the right gemstones and making changes based on customer feedback can add days, weeks, or more to a project. That’s why we approach all custom work with an open timeline and don’t give a firm deadline while we design the just-right ring.

Good news for last-minute proposals: If you want to pop the question (surprise holiday engagement anyone?) and the personalized engagement ring you ordered from us won’t be ready in time, we have pretty, simple rings in stock that you can get in a week or less to use as a placeholder for the proposal. Our Ready Ring can be picked up from our Philadelphia location same day, or ordered online with shipping in two days. You can even return the Ready Ring with zero restocking fees when your personalized ring is complete.

  • You’ll receive a detailed post-appointment email.

Soon after your appointment, we’ll send you helpful follow-up notes about everything we discussed and discovered during your visit. This email has the basics like your ring size and details like links to our website of the rings you liked the most. We keep this on file so you can email or call us any time after your initial appointment and we can pull that up to keep the process going smoothly. You might not always deal with the same salesperson, but everyone on our team will be able to help you with your order.

“There’s so much information in an appointment. You don’t have to remember it all,” Ariel says. “The follow-up email is also helpful if you can’t decide between two or three rings, or you’re thinking more about what you want.”

  • Don’t see exactly what you want? We can work with you to get there.

All of our collection rings can be personalized with different gemstones and metals. We love working with clients to custom design rings from scratch (starts at $1,500).

We’re committed to ethical sourcing, and that means that on occasion we can’t get the exact color, shape, and size in a gemstone that a customer wants. If you’re as committed to buying an ethical engagement ring as we are to making them, we can work with you to figure out an alternative. “We have so many stones in stock that often we can come up with something else that you’re going to love,” Ariel says.

Image of hand wearing multiple rings - What to Expect

  • You order an engagement ring. What’s next?

When you purchase a collection ring you see on our website or in our showroom cases, that’s the ring you’ll get – made to order in the size and color of your choice. Place your order and, unless you have specific questions, we’ll email you when your engagement ring is ready.

Our custom designed engagement ring process requires more back and forth, though much of it can happen by phone or email. We’ll show you full-color computer drawings (CAD renderings) from several angles. You can make small changes and ask questions.

We’re also happy to see you in person again. “We can get two to three different options of a diamond or colored gemstone that fit what you’re looking for in terms of budget,” Ariel says. “If you’re local, it’s nice to come back and see the stone you are getting and have a hand in choosing it. Everyone’s eye is different.” We can send video and photos to remote clients.

  • You can do a long-distance appointment.

You don’t have to visit our Philadelphia or New York City showrooms. As much as we relish face-to-face time with our clients, we’re super easy to work with by Skype, email, and phone. Get started by filling out our online Custom Design Questionnaire.

Whether you’re doing some early browsing, or you have a million questions about engagement rings, a visit to Bario Neal is the best way to get started. Make an engagement ring shopping appointment with us in Philadelphia or New York City today.

“I want customers to know that this ring, which is going to be on their hand forever, is the right one for them,” Ariel says. “Even if you just want to come in to get your ring size and find out about different metal options, start with an appointment.”

Beautiful, Ethical Engagement Rings Under $2,000

By Jamera McNeil on October 24, 2018 at 9:36 am

There’s a unique engagement ring for every budget. Whether you’re not sure what an engagement ring should cost (hint: we think that’s up to you!), or you know the exact amount you want to spend, Bario Neal’s handcrafted ethical engagement rings are ready for your proposal. Nervous about such a big special purchase? We make ring shopping totally painless. Even better, we make it fun. Our welcoming showrooms in Philadelphia and New York City are stress free. Budget talk with clients is friendly and down to earth.

Collage of rose gold rings under $2,000
L to R: Nikko Pear White Sapphire Ring and Myrtle Blue-Green Sapphire Ring

Still think a trip to a jewelry store might be akin to sweating a final exam or being trapped in a Darren Aronofsky movie? We have plenty of advice “” and plenty of engagement rings under $2,000 “” for the budget-conscious shopper. Plus, there are four ideas for engagement ring + wedding band for under $3,000.

  1. Your love is NOT measured by how much you’re willing to spend on an engagement ring.

Ask us how much you should spend on an engagement ring, and we’ll say, “Tell us about your partner.” “I tell people it’s important to find a ring that will symbolize your sentiment, and that often means a design that speaks to their partner’s personality,” says Sarah Rachel Brown, a Sales Assistant at Bario Neal. In the 10 years since Bario Neal started, we’ve loved seeing attitudes shift when it comes to how much “should” be spent on an engagement ring. More and more clients scoff at the notion that how big a ring is, or how expensive a ring looks matters. They care instead about the story of the ring. Our Aira Oko Morganite Ring ($560) erases the notion that you need to pay a staggering ring price for a happy-ever-after tale.

  1. You don’t have to talk price right away to find an engagement ring that fits your budget.

The Bario Neal team doesn’t typically zero in on prices first thing. “It’s not that we’re not conscious of a client’s budget, but we don’t want it to be the only focus of the discussion immediately,” Sarah says. “We naturally navigate our way there.” If you or your partner starts to fall in love with a ring during an appointment, for example, Sarah might give a broad range of possible cost. An engagement ring price will go up or down depending on the metals or stones you choose. If you want to get a sense of how that works, check out any engagement ring on our site, go to “Build Ring” and play with the different options in the dropdown menus. You or your partner might be drawn to a diamond alternative, like the white sapphire in our Nikko Pear White Sapphire Ring ($1,360). A colorful gemstone like the one in our Myrtle Blue-Green Sapphire Ring ($1,920) might fit your style and budget perfectly.

  1. It’s totally fine to walk into our showrooms or email to tell us: “I want to spend $1,000 and no more.”

First, know that at Bario Neal, under $1,000 doesn’t mean you won’t have plenty of engagement rings to choose from. Our sunny Cluster Opal Ring ($875) taps into the current cluster craze and has two pretty stones, an opal and a sapphire. Second, we’re happy to hear upfront what you have to work with on spending. “I just worked with a client over email, and she really wanted a ruby ring, and she had $1,500 to spend, which isn’t realistic for a ruby ring. So we went with a lab-grown ruby, which is a great option when you have a modest budget,” Sarah says. If you’re visiting with your partner but don’t want to get into money during the engagement ring appointment, let us know your budget in advance by email or phone. “I won’t steer your partner to a ring that doesn’t fit your price range,” Sarah says. “And if someone falls in love with a ring, we will work with clients and find a way to make it work.”

 

Photo of Nikko Engagement Ring

  1. Buying an engagement ring shouldn’t come with sales pressure, awkwardness, or anything uncomfortable.

So many clients pay the Bario Neal team the best compliment by telling us how enjoyable “” and easy! “” we make the whole engagement ring buying process. Our sales associates don’t work on commission, and they’re completely committed to making every single visitor, every single couple, feel welcome regardless of budget. “We get clients who have had experiences at jewelry stores that are not ideal, and they come to us, and they just breathe a sigh of relief,” Sarah says. “When we’re working with clients, it’s not about how much we can get them to spend. It’s wanting them to find the right ring that’s going to make them happy.” Sarah has so much fun with clients, her love for stacking rings proves contagious. One of her “perfect” engagement rings is actually two rings: She stacks our Baguette Solitaire Diamond Ring (starts at $525) and Nikko Morganite Ring (starts at $630). Together, they’re $1,155. “Not everyone wants one big ring,” Sarah says. “Many clients with demanding jobs don’t want a giant ring on their hand all day. And they don’t want a ring that they can’t actually wear.”

  1. You don’t have to pay 100% of the cost of an engagement ring upon ordering.

You can make full payment right away, but a 50% deposit is fine at Bario Neal. You’ll pay the balance when you pick up the ring, which is usually four to six weeks from ordering “” a bit of a breather.

  1. You shouldn’t have to spend a lot to get a high-quality engagement ring.

“At the heart of our collection is really great design,” Sarah says. “With the Bario Neal aesthetic, you can often get a really beautiful ring for a price that will surprise you.” You also have the assurance of knowing that Bario Neal works with recycled metals and ethically sourced stones to create your ethical engagement ring. Plus, we’re a small company so your made-to-order engagement ring isn’t being robotically manufactured with 15 other rings that look exactly like it. Instead, it will be handcrafted right in our workshop by skilled jewelers who make sure every aspect is executed precisely.I do the final quality check on all engagement rings,” Sarah says. “I take them under magnification and I’m looking for every little thing on the ring to be perfect. There are multiple steps along the way where we’re ensuring that our rings are being made with attention to detail.”

Gold Rings Under $2,000
L to R: Cluster Garnet Ring and Fishtail Band
  1. Yep, you can do engagement ring + wedding band for under $3,000.

No magic number of rings makes you married. If you’re a couple looking for a pair of simple gold bands, we’ve got you. If you want an engagement ring and wedding band, and need to make sure the final total is under a certain amount, the Bario Neal team can suggest wedding bands that work with our engagement rings to fit your budget, like our Cluster Garnet Ring ($950) and Fishtail Band ($415), which tally to $1,365, or any of the ideas pictured here.

  1. The experience of buying an engagement ring together can mean so much more than a price tag.

Sarah has worked with clients who have planned a surprise engagement ring shopping day that becomes a lasting memory. “They might not have a huge budget, but they’ll create this day,” she says. “They’ll take their partner out for lunch and a walk, and then ‘end up’ at Bario Neal, and the partner is surprised with an appointment.” For one full hour, your partner gets the full Bario Neal treatment and attention. We walk you through our collections and talk about what your partner really wants in a ring. You get all the credit for showing your partner you really care that he or she gets a ring to love. “It really takes the attention off of how big a ring is or how expensive it was,” Sarah says. “The memory is this experience they had.”

As a designer of ethical engagement rings, we don’t just consider how our jewelry is made. We also value every client, and want you to feel fairly treated. “Caring doesn’t cost anything,” says Sarah. Shopping for engagement rings shouldn’t be intimidating. We use a jewelry handcrafting process from start to finish that we feel good about, and our clients do too. That meaningful story has more value than anyone can count.

These 7 Larger-than-Life Rings Make a Bold Impression

By Jamera McNeil on October 17, 2018 at 10:10 am

If you’re looking for a big, stop-in-your-tracks engagement ring or special occasion ring but you don’t want garish or overdone, we’ve got seven larger-than-life ring designs that bring the flash, but not the flash in the pan. They’re a perfect exclamation point””but not an ALL-CAPS TEXT. When it comes to high impact, we’ve introduced a new colorful halo opal ring that we know will be an instant hit. Plus, we’re updating several popular ring designs with new color combinations to amp up the excitement.

  1. Dez Halo Opal with Rainbow Melee Ring

“The new halo opal is wow,” says Tessa Kennedy, Design and Production Director at Bario Neal. She puts it that simply because our newest halo ring speaks for itself. In this design, “rainbow” doesn’t mean the Lucky Charms you had as a kid. “If you Google ‘rainbow,’ you’ll get the most primary, bright picture,” Tessa says with a laugh. “So for us, it was really exciting to take the many months we spent on colors for this sophisticated design, to really get it right. You rarely see something that considered in jewelry design.” The result: A muted yellow sapphire, green tourmaline, London blue topaz, Rhodolite garnet, and more, are all invited to a party that you’ll never want to end. (Our color streak didn’t stop there. We’ve released a striking Half Eternity Wide Rainbow Gemstone Band too.)

  1. Halo Aquamarine Ring

This classic halo ring was born with a round carat-plus aquamarine stone and 22 white melee diamonds. That pale blue is an inviting ocean to dive into, but the ring is so popular that we’re giving two new stones a chance to feel the love. The Stellium Morganite with Diamond Halo Ring will add on-trend pale pink into the mix. With the Stellium Diamond Halo Ring, you’ll get an engagement ring that fully embraces traditional and unforgettable at the same time.

Collage of Bario Neal's Larger-than-life Rings
L to R: Senna Blue Sapphire With White Enamel Halo Ring, Senna Diamond with Black Enamel Halo Ring, Senna Blue Sapphire with Black Enamel Halo Ring
  1. Senna Halo Black Enamel & Diamond Halo Ring

Our striking Senna Diamond Halo Ring stands out not just for its conflict free diamond but its black enamel digs. Many contemporary jewelers don’t use enamel, but the Bario Neal team has been working this colorful coating into ring designs for years. (The science-meets-art process of making enamel for our rings is fascinating.) A splash of new primary colors means this halo ring will get even more look-at-me wattage. Picture our Senna Blue Sapphire with White Enamel Halo Ring or our Senna Blue Sapphire with Black Enamel Halo Ring. Daily wear can be tough on soft enamel, but with this halo ring design the enamel is safely recessed.

  1. Cluster Hex Sapphire Ring

“Popular” doesn’t quite cover it for this cluster ring fave that proves you don’t need a diamond at the center to be the center of attention. “Everyone is bonkers for it,” Tessa says. She’s certain that devotion will extend to the four new variations and matching bands Bario Neal has designed that will be released next month. 

  1. Quince Diamond Ring

Diamonds for days. Scratch that. Make it weeks. Add an appointment to your calendar so you can sit and stare at the gorgeousness. This is a modern take on a halo ring. The round diamond in the middle gets dressed up with round diamonds pavéd in the halo. We’ll admit the addition of diamonds in the band too (every last one ethically sourced) takes us into giddy territory. If you want to turn up the volume even higher, the low-profile Quince stacks well with other rings. Our new design updates on this ring add mystery and lean less traditional by putting a blue sapphire or an emerald into a bold embrace of black melee diamonds.

 

Collage of Bario Neal's Larger-than-life Rings
L to R: Quince Blue Sapphire with Black Diamond Halo Ring and Quince Emerald with Black Diamond Halo Ring
  1. Cluster Fringe Diamond Ring

If you want to max out with a cluster ring, this one’s at the top of our “yes” list. “This is the ring that clients try on and instantly crave,” Tessa says, “and then they say, “˜Oh, I really shouldn’t.’ To which we reply, “˜Yeah you should!'”

  1. Avens Asymmetrical Raw Diamond Ring

Want to mix softer and more natural looking with a bit of forward cluster fun? The 1.15 carat rough diamond in our impression-making Avens Asymmetrical Raw Diamond Ring keeps things buzzing with apricot and yellow sapphires. (Our Avens Asymmetrical Ring and a new Avens Asymmetrical Cushion Cut Diamond and Champagne Ring design has an update too, with a big deep blue round sapphire found in the new Avens Symmetrical Round Blue Sapphire Ombre Ring.)

5 Tips About Our Larger-than-life Rings

At Bario Neal, we don’t just insert a flashy gemstone for wow factor and call it a day. Gorgeous bold designs with big gemstones and ethical sourcing can come all in one ring, and we’re passionate about maintaining that balance. And it’s not only about carats. Sometimes a different design or enamel or a unique color mix makes the standout difference. Shop our halo rings and cluster rings today to find show-stopping expression””in the most elegant way.