Certifiably Beautiful: Ethical Origin Namibian Diamonds

By Alyssa on September 28, 2015 at 11:06 am

namibian round cut diamonds

From top to bottom: The Cala, Allium, and Aira Rings feature a round-cut setting, perfect for our Namibian diamonds.

 

Bario Neal is proud to offer traceable diamonds that are responsibly mined on a small scale in Namibia. Each diamond comes with a Namibian Sol brand certification card verifying the mine of origin, as well as the cutting and polishing facility.

In order to provide jobs to those who live near the mines and cutting facility and to regulate environmental impact, the diamond mining industry in Namibia is highly regulated. This regulation is achieved through the partnership and equal ownership of the diamond mining industry between the Namibian government and what was once de Beers. This partnership is called Namdeb, and this is the governing body responsible for regulating the Namibian diamond industry.

Mines in Namibia are required to have a rehabilitation plan in place that goes into effect once a mine has closed. The environmental team that monitors the mines works closely with external stakeholders, researchers, mining operators, and support services to ensure the viability and longevity of the environmental management at each mine. Namibian mines are certified according to the ISO 14001 standard, or the International Organization for Standardization’s system for environmental management.

Our Namibian diamonds are cut and polished in a state of the art facility in Windhoek, Namibia’s capital. The facility is modern, safe, and comfortable, and workers are paid well and receive comprehensive health benefits. Locals receive training at all levels, including managerial, to provide better employment opportunities, with the ultimate goal of boosting the Namibian economy for the long term. The cutting facility also works to minimize the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on its workforce–levels of HIV within this community are below the national average.

The sale of Namibian diamonds provides financial support, healthcare, and education opportunities for the people and communities surrounding the mines. Approximately $6 million USD, or Namibian $80 million, goes to mining communities annually in the form of bursaries, sponsorships, environmental funding, town maintenance, wellness, and financial support for the local hospital and school. Children once had to travel many miles to attend school, putting a great deal of stress on both families and children. Thanks to funding from the local diamond industry, there is now a local school with an extensive library, computers, internet access, and teachers employed full time. The purchase of a Namibian diamond makes you the owner of a gem that is valuable in more than one way.

Bario Neal Philadelphia Open During Papal Visit

By Constance on September 22, 2015 at 3:31 pm

 

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Ring of Pope Paul II, 1464–71, from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

All popes wear a special ring, (called the fisherman’s ring after Peter’s initial job as a fisherman) and Pope Francis is no exception. While much of Philadelphia shuts down this weekend for the papal visit, Bario Neal Philadelphia will remain open if you want to check out (and hey, even kiss) a ring of a different sort.

Click Here to schedule an appointment to view our wedding bands, engagement rings, or to plan a custom design.

There is a chance we will close early. Please call us at 215-454-2164 before stopping by.

 

 

 

Bario Neal Featured in American Craft Magazine Jewelry Issue

By Constance on September 17, 2015 at 2:39 pm

Bario-Neal-Emily-Cobb-Cleaning

Bario Neal employs a team of skilled bench jewelers. Here, Emily Cobb steam-cleans a ring for the finishing touch. Photo: Constance Mensh for Bario Neal 

 

The course of true love is rarely conflict-free, but here’s the good news: The rings you buy for those entwined fingers can be. At least they can if your jeweler is Bario Neal, producing designs using responsibly sourced materials.  – American Craft, Good as Gold

 

We are thrilled to have an in-depth look at our designs, process and ethical mission in the annual jewelry issue of American Craft Magazine.

The entire text of this story will be available online next month, but is available in full with subscription.

Our New Fall Engagement Ring Collection Has Arrived

By Constance on September 9, 2015 at 3:32 pm

White sapphire rings trillion half moon

 

 

Do you believe in magic? We proudly unveil two of our most enchanting engagement rings to date: The Trillion and the The Half-Moon, each featuring two ethically sourced, custom-cut white sapphires. Recently deemed “drool-worthy” by Philadelphia Magazine, they are the epitome of alternative-bride style.

Want to make these rings appear on your own hand? Shop them here.

Photographed with the equally magical quartz crowns of Elemental Child.

 

New Ethically Sourced White Sapphire Engagement Rings

By Alyssa on September 7, 2015 at 11:52 am

 

White sapphire rings trillion half moon

The Trillion and Half-moon, photographed with quartz crowns courtesy of Elemental Child

This Labor Day, Bario Neal announces a new collection of engagement rings featuring our ethically sourced white sapphires. These precious gems come to you from a small family-run mine in Sri Lanka that uses fair labor practices and environmentally conscious methods. 

Sri Lanka’s gem industry has a long and colorful history. The South Asian Island, once called Ratna-Dweepa, or “Gem Island,” was named Ceylon under British Colonial rule until 1972 , a term that is now synonymous with sapphires. Our supplier recently visited Sri Lanka to confirm in person that our source of sapphires upholds strong ethical standards for environmental impact, fair working conditions, compensation, and benefits.

Passing the test with flying colors, this Sri Lankan sapphire mine performs its operations on an artisanal scale. A combination of hand tools, and some machinery for more substantial digging, are used. Compared with open pit mines, this type of small-scale mining has a very low environmental impact.

The images below, from our supplier’s recent visit, illustrate the workers in their working environment, the depth of the mines, and the type of mining activities employed:

 

Sri Lanka Mine and workshop for white Sapphires

 

Sri Lanka Mine and workshop for white Sapphires

 

All cutting and polishing is done on site at the mine, eliminating the possibility for stones to be shipped to a cutting facility where human rights abuses could occur. An added bonus to this technique is the ability to provide unique custom cuts, like the the half-moon shapes above. Workers are well trained and use up-to-date equipment in a clean, safe environment. Occasionally, we also reshape sapphires on Jeweler’s Row, right here in Philadelphia.

 

Sri Lanka Mine and workshop for white Sapphires

Workers cutting and polishing stones (above) and polishing tools (below).

Sri Lanka Mine and workshop for white Sapphires

Remarkably, none of the sapphires from this Sri Lanka mine are color treated–they come in their pure, natural colors. The rings pictured at the beginning of this article feature white sapphires, but we also source pink, white, yellow, apricot, and a variety of blue sapphires as well.

We hope you are as excited as we are about these new designs, especially knowing that the gems come from a trusted mine with a low environmental impact, where workers are treated well and paid fair wages–a more thoughtful approach to Labor Day, when most of retail is focusing on big flashy sales.

If you have questions or are inspired by our new collection or white sapphires, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or contact us directly.