Introducing our new Demi-baguette Diamond Band
Fans of the Baguette Diamond, we have really big news! Until now, traceable baguette diamonds were unavailable on the market, but after two years of determined research and collaboration, we can now offer fully traceable, ethical Canadian baguette diamonds. Our technique involves sourcing rough Canadian diamonds, then creating custom cut baguette shapes in a Jeweltree-approved facility in Surat, India. To celebrate this achievement, we proudly announce the re-design of the popular Baguette Eternity Band and the NEW Demi-Baguette band, both featuring our exclusively ethical stones.
A little background on the facility and certification: The Jeweltree Foundation creates rigorous standards for ethics and safety in the industry. Because our baguette cutting and polishing facility has been evaluated by Jeweltree, we know that the company has established strict labor policies. Jeweltree-certified companies ensure that all workers are over 18 and paid a living wage, receive paid vacation, maternity, and sick leave; and are provided a safe, sanitary environment, with proper protective equipment and necessary training.
To compliment these origins, the baguette diamond stands out as one of the most avant-garde diamond cuts. Earning its name for its long, rectangular shape, the French word baguette means “long rod,” from the Latin baculum, meaning “a stick.” The baguette cut gained popularity in the 20’s and 30’s during the Art Deco era. Its predecessor was the hogback cut, which dates as far back as the 16th century. It featured a long rectangular table with a simplified crown characterized by either a ridge or a single row of steps. In the earliest uses of the hogback, jewelers created crosses, letters, and figures.
Art Deco diamond pendant necklace, c. 1925, Christie’s
Later, baguette diamonds lent themselves to the bold geometry, symmetry, and rich colors of the Art Deco movement when they became widely used as side and accent stones. Advancements in cutting techniques in the 1920’s and 30’s yielded diamonds that were more brilliant and dazzling than ever. Casting technologies became more accessible as well, allowing jewelers to create complex designs more efficiently. Following the sensuous curves, soft pastels, and intricate lacey filigrees of the Art Nouveau and Edwardian movements, jewelry became a way for women to assert their individuality during the Roaring 20’s and in the 30’s. Stylish and fun, Art Deco jewelry took on a new boldness and masculinity reflective of the energy and progressiveness of the era.
Our newly re-designed Baguette Diamond Band
Today, the clean, streamlined elegance of the baguette diamond still carries these associations. It can convey a 1930’s retro feel, and it’s clean lines and minimal aesthetic can also be incorporated into designs that are very contemporary. We decided to treat the cut differently, elevating the baguette from its former position as an accent, to the spotlight stone. Add that our distinctive Canadian baguette diamonds are fully traceable from the mine to your hand. What could be more now?
Not to be confused with moon rock, which actually comes from the earth’s moon, moonstone is an undoubtedly terrestrial gemstone characterized by an optical phenomenon called schiller. From German for “twinkle,” schiller describes a bronze-like luster, sometimes with iridescence, that comes from beneath the gemstone’s opalescent surface when light is refracted by its layers of feldspar. Because of it’s below-the-surface quality and connection to the moon, moonstone is characterized as soft, mysterious, protective, and a talisman of the inward journey.
Papillons et Chauves-souris’, an enamel, moonstone and gold pocket watch by René Lalique, c. 1899-1900.
Moonstone has been used in jewelry for thousands of years, dating back to ancient civilizations. The Romans and Greeks associated moonstone with their lunar gods. The Romans believed that moonstones had the power to bestow love, wealth, and wisdom, and in the Middle Ages moonstones were used to treat a variety of afflictions, from consumption to marital troubles. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, moonstone was particularly popular in Art Nouveau jewelry and was prized by René Lalique and other jewelers during this time.
An iridescent new addition: The Moonstone Dais ring.
Because of its neutral color and cool tone, moonstone is highly complementary while offering a luminous and eye-catching quality. Moonstone has been used in every kind of jewelry you can imagine, from pins and amulets to opulent chokers and rings. Bario Neal’s Moonstone Dais engagement ring (above) joins the bezel-set, Moonstone Studs in our collection, making for a romantic duo. We’ve also incorporated moonstones into many of our custom pieces.
More than magical, we ethically source our moonstones from Tanzania through a trusted dealer of rough stones. The rough stones are cut and polished in a facility in China that is regulated and owned by a U.S. company, ensuring safe working conditions and competitive salaries.
The Moonstone Dais pairs nicely with its collection partner, the Dais Narrow band and the just released Milla Ultra Thin Round band. Or, for maximum impact, rock it with our Black Diamond Channel Narrow band.
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.
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:
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.
Workers cutting and polishing stones (above) and polishing tools (below).
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.
On March 10-16, 2016 a summit on Sustainability and Responsible Sourcing in the Jewelry Industry will take place in New York City. Attendees will be from all walks of the international jewelry industry, from manufacturers and producers, to retailers, and everyone in between. The Summit Planning Committee is representative of this wide range of participants, and Anna Bario, co-founder of Bario Neal, is on this committee.
The committee has convened twice so far, once in January and once in March of this year, to plan the summit and define its scope. Committee members have collaboratively developed a working definition of “responsible sourcing,” which encompasses the following:
- procuring products that are sourced in a manner that protects and sustains the environment, respects and benefits the persons and communities where these products are found;
- engaging in actions designed to promote and sustain development of the people and communities where jewelry products are sourced, traded, and sold;
- actively engaging in and managing a business’s supply chain in order to implement legally compliant and transparent business practices and ensuring honest dealing
The Planning Committee invites those interested to submit questions and comments to be incorporated into the planning process, and hopes that you’ll spread the word about this event to increase participation–the bigger the event, the more inclusive the discussion will be. The summit will address current challenges in all sectors of the industry, provide information on the supply chain integrity systems that are currently in place, discuss expectations of government regulators, shed light on banks that finance the industry, and discuss consumer participation and attitude towards responsible business practices.
The overall goal of the summit is to provide a platform for open discussion across industry sectors, old and new, regarding challenges and opportunities in the jewelry industry. This open discussion and exchange of information will hopefully lead to increased best practice standards and will enable the development of tools to assist industry members in achieving those higher standards. Additionally, the high attendance this summit hopes to achieve will demonstrate to governments, civil society, the banking community, and consumers that the jewelry industry as a whole is actively working towards sustainability and ethicality, thereby benefitting people working at all levels of the supply chain.
JA New York, the premier trade show for high end jewelry, is providing registration services at no cost for this event, and will grant summit attendees admission to the trade show, which will follow directly after the summit from March 13-16.
If you’re interested in supporting this summit, please visit the indigogo campaign page.
Registration is $400. Please refer to this website for updates and more information.
Anna Bario, co-founder of Bario Neal Jewelry, attended the Cooperativa Multiactiva Agrominera de Iquira–Alliance for Responsible Mining Workshop in Colombia last November, 2014. Iquira is a gold and silver mining cooperative that was formed in 2004 in collaboration with the coffee farms in the town of Iquira—in fact, many of the miners and their families alternate seasonally between artisanal gold mining and coffee cultivation. The goal of the cooperative was to create a platform for community organization, enabling the development of safe and environmentally sustainable mining and cultivation practices that also yield a fair and livable income. Iquira has since achieved Fairmined certification. Anna will recount her experience at the workshop in three posts, first giving an introduction with an inside look at Iquira’s Fairmined practices, followed by a walk through the mining tunnels, and finishing up with a look at the processing plants. Each section will finish with a quick Q&A. We hope you enjoy!
If you’ve ever worked in a darkroom, art studio, chemistry lab, farm, car garage, or any other place that requires the use of chemicals, you’ve likely seen a big binder labeled MSDS (acronym for Material Safety Data Sheets) laying out safety guidelines for the handling of hazardous chemicals. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the main federal agency responsible for the enforcement of safety and health laws such as MSDS. The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires all chemical manufacturers, distributors, or importers to provide MSDS laying out the hazards of hazardous chemical products. Two things: first, MSDS are now known as SDS (Safety Data Sheets), and second, as of June 1st, 2015, the HCS will require new SDS to be in a uniform format, and include section numbers, headings, and associated information, as laid out by HCS (find more details on that here).
This is important to Bario Neal, and the jewelry community in general, because until now there was very little information in MSDS about jewelry chemistry disposal, such as liver of sulfur, pickle, acetone, and other chemicals, and every jewelry community across the country seemed to deal with handling differently. This made it very difficult for jewelers and metalsmiths to know how to protect themselves from and dispose of these chemicals properly. Additionally, many of the toxic chemicals jewelers use were not subject to rigorous testing because they were not determined to be “hazardous.” In this way, MSDS were misleading, because many of these chemicals are in fact detrimental to our health and the environment. The new SDS will include product composition and suggested disposal processes, making them more comprehensive and enabling a standardized way of handling.
Schools, arts and craft centers, studios, workshops, etc, will have until June 1, 2016 to transition studio MSDS binders to SDS, and to review expanded hazard information with staff and employees to ensure safe use, storage, and disposal of hazardous materials. It’s also important for jewelers to note that companies they source studio chemicals from, like Rio Grande, Otto Frei, and others are required to provide new SDS this year.
For more information on the new SDS, see OSHA’s website.
In February 2015, the first mining organization from outside of South America obtained Fairmined Certification. Over the past couple of years, the Mongolian mining NGO XAMODX has been working very hard to meet the requirements of the Fairmined Standard, and is now celebrating its achievements.
From the outset, the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), the non-profit organization responsible for creating the Fairmined model, has focused on facilitating the implementation of Fairmined standards and certification in mines in South America, where there are currently three Fairmined organizations. While any gold mine anywhere in the world can apply for Fairmined certification, achieving the rigorous standards that enable Fairmined certification is difficult. With the help of the Sustainable Artisanal Mining (SAM) Project of the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation in Mongolia, XAMODX has become the fourth Fairmined organization in the world, and is currently the world’s only producer of Fairmined Ecological Gold, a special label of the Fairmined Certification reserved for Fairmined Gold produced without the use of mercury or cyanide. Continue reading Mongolian NGO Obtains Fairmined Certification