Enamel

By Elyse on December 5, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Many Bario Neal pieces feature enamel work. Up until very recently, we only worked in glass enamel, and are now happy to offer resin enamel on a selection of our boutique pieces as well. This short article will discuss the differences of the two types of enamel.

 

Glass enamel, also known as hot, vitreous, or true enamel, is essentially glass fused to a metal surface. Most often, the glass is a blend of silica (or sand), soda, lime, and borax. This mix creates a clear, colorless enamel called flux. Enamel can be transparent, opaque or opalescent (translucent), and an enormous range of colors can be made by adding metal oxides to the flux. Joan Strott Alvini, our enamelist who has worked with fine jewelry & enamel for more than 25 years on Philadelphia’s Jeweler’s Row, reminds us that many of the colors used today are the same as those used by early Byzantine artists.

 

 

Glass enamel’s color range and classic quality make it a beautiful and long lasting addition to fine jewelry as well as more casual pieces. Because the glass binds to the metal when fired, glass enamel can only adhere to specific alloys of precious metals.

 

Resin enamel, also known as cold or epoxy enamel, is a more economic alternative to glass enamel.  It is made out of epoxy resin and does not require being heated with a kiln or torch. It is also lighter weight and scratches more easily than glass enamel.  Resin enamel can be used on a wider variety of metals, including bronze, making it ideal for everyday jewelry.

 

 

We just released these fun bracelets which use resin enamel to create a marbling effect.

Enamel pieces may require maintenance over time, due to everyday wear and tear. Since enamel is made of either glass or resin, there is the chance it may crack with wear. If you work with your hands a lot, we would not suggest wearing your enamel pieces during very laborious hands-on activities. If something should happen, we offer re-enameling services if you need to repair your Bario Neal jewelry.

Beautiful Photo Shoot

By Elyse on June 27, 2013 at 4:29 pm

We are happy to have some of our pieces included in this gorgeous and delicious-looking collaboration between Birchtree Catering and Love Me Do Photography. Visit Love Me Do’s blog for more eye candy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traceable Melee

By Elyse on April 12, 2013 at 12:17 pm

.025ct diamonds from the Argyle Mine in Australia

The term “melee” refers to small diamonds and gemstones that are .18cts or less. They are used for embellishing and accenting jewelry, as well as the focal point of some pieces. Some of Bario Neal’s most popular pieces feature melee diamonds or gemstones. This article will examine the issues with traceability for these small stones and the efforts Bario Neal is making to source traceable melees.

The use of diamond melee in jewelry makes up the largest portion of the world’s diamond consumption, but because each individual stone is small and relatively inexpensive, it’s often not worth suppliers’ time to document their sourcing and keep them separate from other stones. Additionally, with larger stones, traceability can be achieved by laser-inscribing a unique tracking number on each stone, a process that is cost-prohibitive (and sometimes even impossible) for smaller stones.

This attention to larger stones applies to the cutting and polishing processes as well. It is easier to find larger diamonds and gemstones that are cut in facilities in China, India, Canada, Belgium, Israel, the US, and elsewhere that have high or extremely high standards for worker health, safety, well being, and compensation. It is easier to cover the higher costs of ethical sourcing with these large, very valuable precious gemstones. Likewise, it is more difficult to find small, and therefore less valuable, stones that are ethically mined, cut and polished because it is often not seen as cost effective (see our article on Stone Cutting and Polishing).

Continue reading Traceable Melee

New Custom Pieces

By Elyse on April 9, 2013 at 4:42 pm

New images of recent custom work are now up on our website! Here are a few of our favorites:

 

 

Ring and Band Combinations

By Elyse on March 29, 2013 at 3:43 pm

We are happy to announce that photos of our engagement rings and wedding bands being modeled “on hand” are now up on our website! Below are some of our favorite and most popular ring and band combinations.

Asymmetrical Avens Ring with Cushion Cut Diamond and Aldine Thin Band

 

Asymmetrical Avens Ring with Cushion Cut Diamond and Dais Thin with Diamonds Band

 

Asymmetrical Avens with Cushion Cut Diamond and Milla Ultra Thin Band

 

Avens Ring and Reticulated Narrow Band One with Diamond

 

Avens Ring and Aldine Thin Band

 

Avens Ring with Milla Ultra Thin Hammered Band

Continue reading Ring and Band Combinations

Stone Cutting and Polishing

By Elyse on February 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm

 

When thinking of the human rights abuses that occur in the diamond and precious gem industry, one conjures up images of dark, dirty, and dangerous mines with exploited and underpaid miners. Often, consumers are unaware that many of the human rights abuses in the diamond and precious gem industry occur in the cutting and polishing processes.

These abuses lie mainly in child and bonded labor, as well as the extreme health hazards the process can present.

Continue reading Stone Cutting and Polishing

Recycled Diamonds

By Elyse on January 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm

 

When sourcing a diamond for a customer, Bario-Neal offers the following options: Recycled Diamonds, Kimberly Process Diamonds, Canadian Diamonds, and Namibian Kalahari Diamonds. To help you choose which is the best diamond for you, this post will review Recycled Diamonds and their benefits and drawbacks.

Diamonds have been treasured as gemstones since their use in religious amulets in India dating as far back as 6,000 years ago. Approximately 4.5 billion carats of diamonds have been extracted from the ground since large-scale mining efforts began in South Africa in the 1870’s. This means many millions of diamonds are part of the world’s existing, above ground supply of diamonds. In order to reduce the industry’s reliance on environmentally damaging mining practices, these diamonds can be recycled and reintroduced back into the jewelry supply chain.

Continue reading Recycled Diamonds