9 Ways a Solitaire Ring Turns Heads

In the timeless solitaire ring, a single stone exudes impressive power. The traditional solitaire diamond set in six prongs became an engagement standard in the late 19th century, and while solitaire rings come in so many shapes, colors, and styles today, there’s a reason they remain a popular classic. We’re drawn in by the appealing minimalism and the simplicity in a world that seems to revolve more on chaos than calm. We also love that there are countless ways to personalize solitaire engagement rings, and at Bario Neal the next idea for making a special solitaire is just one gemstone and one client away at all times. These are our reasons Bario Neal solitaires will always be special.

Bario Neal’s collection and custom designs give a twist to the classic solitaire engagement ring.

When Co-founders + Principle Designers Anna Bario and Page Neal launched Bario Neal in 2008, they didn’t start with engagement rings, but when they did turn their attention to wedding jewelry design, they started with the simple, classic Avens Diamond Ring. Bario Neal has added solitaire ring designs since — using gemstones other than diamonds, playing with prongs and bezel settings — but we always stay true to Anna and Page’s thoughtful process and create cleanly modern yet classic rings.

“The classic Allium Round Diamond Ring is one of our most popular solitaires and has the security of a bezel setting,” says Aliyah Gold, Bario Neal Gemstone & Custom Design Specialist. “And I really love the Allium Diamond Ring and its octagonal shape and the faceted look.”

Another collection favorite of Aliyah’s: our Myrtle Ring. Clients have personalized this solitaire ring in so many inspiring ways that we share the pics on our website. “I think it’s really sweet for clients who are looking for something that’s a little more delicate looking,” Aliyah says. “The design has evolved throughout the years. Right now it’s a six-prong setting with a split shank, and I think where it’s at right now is definitely my favorite over time.”

You’ll see another nod to Bario Neal aesthetics in the Aira Diamond Ring. While a solitaire diamond is traditionally centered, this ring reflects how we work subtle asymmetry into our jewelry design.  

We order gemstones for your solitaire ring.

Whether you want a white diamond or color like in our Lash Blue Sapphire Ring, after meeting with you and talking about what you want, our team will bring in the most beautiful gemstones we can find for your ring. In most cases, we’ll get two or three stones for you to see in your price and quality range. You can take a look in our Philadelphia or New York City showrooms or check them out remotely via photos and videos. We have the expertise to narrow down your choices, but then you can have the final pick!

For every diamond solitaire engagement ring, Bario Neal uses ethically sourced diamonds, with at least SI1 clarity, a Good cut, and an I color grade according to Gemological Institute of America standards. All cut diamonds over .25 carat are certified by the GIA.

  • Diamond clarity refers to the natural parts of a stone that don’t necessarily equal poor quality. Where some see “flaws” or “inclusions,” we see unique characteristics that make up your diamond’s identity. “SI” means “slightly included,” but unless you’re wearing a magnifying glass, you likely won’t notice these flaws.
  • The cut of a diamond determines its overall appearance and affects how light plays off the stone. From top to bottom on the chart, grades are: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. Again, we don’t go below Good.
  • Color gets letter grades from the GIA, from D to Z, with a D being the most colorless diamond and the end of the alphabet having the most color. Check out #5 in this list for more about diamond colors. We also break down the “4Cs of diamonds” in our blog post, “Forget the Diamond Myths. Here Are the Diamond Facts.”

As for carats, we don’t believe in diamond-industry-influenced rules about size — even when the stone is clearly the star of the show as it is in a solitaire ring like our Yucca Diamond Ring. That example has a half-carat round diamond. “Many people have the idea that a 1 carat diamond is the end-all of stones,” Aliyah says. “But a lot of factors come into play when buying a diamond. How big is your hand? What is your personal style?”

We can’t resist showing our earthy side in a solitaire ring design.

We don’t expect (or even really want, if we’re honest) life to be perfectly smooth. Enter raw diamonds and their appealing ruggedness. Our Kalmia Raw Diamond Ring and the Avens Raw Diamond Ring have a deeply natural elegance that make these solitaires as surprising as hearing a beautiful aria in the subway station.

All gemstones that we source for solitaire rings are conflict-free and ethically mined.

There’s a reason we can’t just write one sentence about our solitaire rings: Each one tells a story of our clients, and our commitment to ethical jewelry design is embedded in those tales.

This means we’ll wait to design and handcraft a solitaire ring until we can find a supplier who matches our requirement that each step of the jewelry process should aim to help communities and minimize environmental impact. We released our Sol Emerald Octagonal Ring and Ray Emerald Cut Ring in fall 2016, only after finding emeralds from a mining collective that values people and the environment in Northern Zambia.

Our white diamonds, down to the smallest stones (called melee), and fancy color diamonds (like the one in this Myrtle Champagne Diamond Ring) are fully traceable. We often use recycled diamonds to lessen the need for new mining.

We make our solitaire rings with recycled metals, so you can focus on your perfect gemstone/metal combo.

The fact that we use recycled metals or Fairmined gold in all of our fine jewelry means you don’t have to wrestle with sustainability and ethical worries when it comes to designing your solitaire ring.

The look of your diamond can change depending on what type of metal it’s set in. The Bario Neal team will talk to you about that important pairing, but Aliyah also says you should trust your instincts and what you like.

“I know for a really long time, people always thought that a diamond has to be set in white gold in order to make the diamond shine brightest and look whitest,” she says. “I don’t find that to be true. I think a white diamond can look beautiful in an 18kt yellow gold ring. That’s one of my favorite looks.”

She notes that some diamond grades look their best set in certain metals. The Gemological Institute of America grades white diamonds on a scale from D to Z, with D being the most colorless, or whitest. “With a yellow gold, you don’t necessarily need a D-colored diamond. An I or H will look just beautiful in a yellow gold ring because the metal color will be reflected back into the diamond anyways,” she says. “If you’re going with a white gold or platinum solitaire ring, we recommend your diamond is on the whiter side, closer to D, for the iciest look.”

We’ll design a custom solitaire using your heirloom stone.

Custom designing with heirloom gemstones is a meaningful way to create a solitaire 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 using diamonds, sapphires, garnets, and more from family jewelry boxes. Not all jewelers use heirloom stones in custom designs, but the Bario Neal team loves the chance to create with these storied gems.

“Among our many Nikko Ring personalizations, we made one with a client’s heirloom marquise cut diamond. The stone was over 1 carat, so we widened the band for a proportionate look,” Aliyah says. “Our collection Nikko Ring is lovely and sweet, but the proportions of that personalization worked really well together.”

We can custom design a cluster ring to complement your solitaire.  

Want to buy more than one ring? We love stacks, and even more, we’re obsessed with the flexibility of a wedding stack with three rings: a solitaire diamond engagement ring, a custom designed cluster engagement ring, and a wedding band. That’s one way many clients blend traditional and modern. That’s one of the beauties of the solitaire after all. You can dress it up any way you like.

Our Allium Diamond Ring with Notch has a little notch in the tapered bezel setting that allows more light into the stone at the bottom — and makes it easy to stack with other rings.

When one of our clients came to us recently wanting to use a diamond from a family ring in a cluster, we suggested two rings in order to keep the heirloom diamond on its own in a special way. “I don’t think we ever even thought about just getting one ring after that again,” the client says of her solitaire and cluster engagement rings.

We can handcraft a solitaire engagement ring working with any budget.

One visit to our showrooms or one call with our sales team if you’re long distance and you’ll see how comfortable we make engagement ring shopping. One way we make everyone feel welcome is by having no preconceived notions about your budget. Those jewelry stores that give off the “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” vibe? That’s definitely not us.

“The Aira Mini Diamond Ring and the Ray Fringe Diamond Ring are both under $500,” Aliyah points out. “Our Bend Diamond Ring is just under $600. We really do try to make rings at a price point for everyone.”

We can give you alternatives to the popular but pricier round white diamond too. If you’re up for playing with shape, for example, fancy diamond cuts can be more accessibly priced. Oval, pear, and marquise cuts have a larger visual presence relative to carat. White sapphires are more affordable than white diamonds while still bringing a bright colorless look. Fiery case in point: our Trillion White Sapphire Ring.

Our creativity when it comes to personalizing solitaire rings is boundless.

“For many clients, personalization means minor adjustments. Just the shape of a gold metal band, rounded rather than square, or a modern matte finish instead of a polish, creates a different solitaire that fits your style,” Aliyah says.

Changing the number of prongs or the shape and height of the prongs can intensify the profile of a solitaire gemstone, like the asscher cut diamond in this Custom Knife-Edged Split-Shank Ring and the ethereal green stone in this Custom Split Ring with Tourmaline.

You can add interior or exterior engraving or hidden stones set in the metal of your ring. “I’m in the process of doing a custom engraving on the exterior of our Myrtle Ring for a client,” Aliyah says. “That is exciting. It’s a scrollwork type of design.”

We may have unlimited creativity when it comes to handcrafting a solitaire ring, but we love to hear our clients’ ideas too. Over the years, we’ve introduced design twists based on custom rings we’ve made for about-to-be-married couples. A solitaire engagement ring might have only one diamond or color gemstone, but as designers, we embrace collaboration. Contact Bario Neal today to make an appointment for engagement ring shopping or fill out our Custom Design Questionnaire to join in on the fun.

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