How to Get Involved this Earth Day

By admin on April 18, 2016 at 11:14 am

outdoor_work02

 

Earth Day 2016 is fast approaching and if you are like us, you might be looking for ways to spend the occasion helping the environment. If so, all week in Philadelphia Earth Day volunteer opportunities abound. Consider one of the following:

Tuesday, April 19th:  Delaware River Clean-Up at Pier 68 at Pier 70 Blvd, hosted by United By Blue

A Philadelphia outdoor lifestyle brand, United By Blue gets us hype with pride for our city. Their flagship store in Old City and two other locations feature their environmentally conscious apparel and accessories and serve their edition of locally roasted Reanimator Coffee. For every product sold, UBB removes one pound of trash from the world’s oceans and waterways- what a deal. They host clean-ups year-round and not just in Philadelphia- in states around the country.

Friday, April 22nd:  Hunting Park Clean-Up hosted by the Philadelphia Science Festival

The annual nine-day Philadelphia Science Festival is back with a ton of awesome events and activities for all-ages. Check out their site for more info on special exhibitions, lectures, and this clean-up in Hunting Park on Friday.

Saturday, April 23rd:  Darby Creek Clean-Up hosted by the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

Tucked down by the Philadelphia airport, the Tinicum Marsh is a natural landscape of freshwater tidal marsh, mudflats and woodlands that support hundreds of animal and plant species.  The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge settled beside the marsh in 1972 to preserve and develop this natural area within its urban setting of oil refineries, industrial sites and city life.  The refuge operates sustainably in its management of the wildlife habitat and focuses on providing environmental education on location in their classroom facilities and in Philadelphia and Delaware Counties.  They consistently involve the community in their cause, through events such as the Darby Creek Clean-Up on Saturday.

Saturday, April 23rd:  Naturepalooza! Family Earth Day Festival hosted by the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education

Hosted by the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, this Family Earth Day Festival will be an all-day outdoor event with fort-building, an animal show, two hikes and a pond exploration.  In partnership with the Philadelphia Science Festival, it’s bound to be fun and full of information.

Also, check out this great list of Philadelphia-area Earth Day events for the whole family at Metro Kids

 

Consider volunteering at Penn treaty park this Philadelphia Earth Day

Philadelphia’s Delaware River could use your help this Earth Day. 

More than just upcoming Earth Day events, this list features some of our city’s amazing environmental organizations to keep the charge going year round.  These orgs employ and engage hardworking people committed to improving the environment and helping others get involved here in Philly. They hold events and classes to educate us, remediate our water and land, improve animal habitats around us and are always looking for more hands on deck.

If you can’t help out this week, there will always be more opportunities. You can easily work a clean up into your daily routine, taking an afternoon off to volunteer along the Schuylkill with United By Blue. Or just get outside any weekend, spending a Sunday on a bird walk or taking a hike in Fairmount Park. If you just can’t find the time, consider making a monetary donation to support existing efforts. Whatever you choose, celebrate Earth Day by supporting those working hard to clean our environment right here in Philly.

This is Part 1 of our Earth Day 2016 series. Stay tuned for Part 2 this Friday.

 

Big News for Your Monday Motivation

By Constance on March 7, 2016 at 2:47 pm

SCOTUS Unanimously Reverses Alabama Court’s Refusal to Recognize Same-Sex Adoption

The Alabama Supreme Court. Image from the Human Rights Campaign’s website.

Mondays can feel a little… meh, but with spring weather finally imminent, we turn to those breaking new ground for fresh Monday motivation.

First up on the docket, the unanimous decision from the Supreme Court of the United States reversing the Alabama Supreme Court’s refusal to recognize an adoption by a lesbian non-biological mother. From the Human Rights Campaign Statement:

“Any attempt to deny legal rights to our families is reprehensible, and this ruling establishes that bias and discrimination cannot be allowed to undermine the bond between LGBT parents and their children,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “The nation’s highest court today ruled in the best interests of these children, setting a firm precedent for others across our nation. These children have two parents, and should have the security that comes with legal recognition.”

Though it may appear to be a small affirmation, the decision could affect other states that challenge or deny same-sex adoptions– a big victory in the fight for same-sex couples to stand on equal ground.

 

From left, Anna Bario and Page Neal. Anna will be speaking this weekend at the Jewelry Industry Summit.

Next up, we turn to an even more personal motivation, that of welcoming back BN co-owner and new mom (!), Anna Bario, who marks her return with a special event she has been planning for a long time, the upcoming Jewelry Industry Summit.

From the Summit’s website:

Though a number of responsible sourcing programs exist, there’s never been an industry-wide consensus on what constitutes a vision ALL stakeholders can support. At the Summit, the group discussion will include all viewpoints, representing every category and all levels of the jewelry industry.

And a recent article featuring Anna in Rapaport:

“One of the biggest challenges the KP (The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme) faces in expanding its scope to include human rights abuses is getting the various member countries to agree that it is a task worth undertaking. ‘I’m excited about the Jewelry Industry Summit in 2016,’ concludes Anna Bario, co-founder of Bario Neal, who is on the planning committee. The summit, an open forum on sustainability and responsible sourcing in the jewelry industry, will be held in New York City and is crowd funded. ‘I’m looking forward to the possibility of having a really open conversation about the challenges in the industry regarding responsible sourcing.'”

The forum is taking place at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City March 11–13, with an opening reception on the evening of March 10. Register here.

 

We are looking for a full-time Administrator for our Philadelphia location.

 

Lastly, if those two were not enough, we would like to announce an exciting opportunity to help us lead our growing team! We are looking for a full-time Design Administrator for our Philadelphia location. The position will require the candidate to work directly with our founders to promote and advance the ethical sourcing and marriage equality mission of the company, develop and oversee budgets, research industry trends, manage internal systems, develop and implement growth strategies. Other responsibilities include the management of the flagship Philadelphia store,​ book-keeping support, ​maintaining communication between the​ production, marketing, and customer service departments ​and ​assistance in organizing the bi-monthly staff meetings.

Skills required:
  • Strong interpersonal and problem-solving skills
  • Self-motivated &  ability to multitask
  • Ability to handle detail effectively and accurately
  • Ability to organize and prioritize tasks
  • Excellent communication skills, including ability to write clearly
  • Command of google calendar system, Excel, Word
  • The ability to research and learn new programs quickly

Sound like the perfect opportunity for a fresh start with a groundbreaking company? Please send a cover letter and resume to inquiries@bario-neal.com.

12 Days of Gifts, Collection Classics: Sapphire Slice Pendant

By Constance on December 13, 2015 at 11:19 am

Sapphire Slice Necklace

On the sixth day of our 12 Days of Gifts, we highlight one of the coolest classics in the collection, the Sapphire Slice Pendant, a shield-shaped pendant inlaid with an ethically sourced sapphire slice on a delicate chain and a handmade toggle clasp. Every sapphire slice is hand-shaped and has natural variations in color. Available in 14kt gold or sterling silver, this necklace also makes a perfect set with a pair of our large or small Sapphire Slice or the *brand new* Ruby Slice Earrings.

 

 

Sapphire Slice Necklace  and Earrings14KY

Sapphire Slice Pendant shown in 14kt gold with handmade large and small sapphire slice earrings.

 

Donate an art supply in store to qualify for 10% off these gorgeous statement-making-staples and 25% off the entire boutique line. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Malawi Dzone development project, which creates advancement in the education and health of communities surrounding the Chimwadzulu Mine, a major source of our sapphires.

 

art supplies under the tree

The art supplies go to help out Philadelphia’s Congreso after school program

 

Stay tuned to for a new gift idea daily! BNGood Sale in-store only through 12/23.  See locations page for more info about our extended Holiday hours.

 

Iquira-ARM Fairmined Workshop: Part 1

By Alyssa on May 11, 2015 at 10:16 am

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!

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 10.09.47 AM Continue reading Iquira-ARM Fairmined Workshop: Part 1

Top Notch Faceting’s Jean Noel Soni

By admin on September 13, 2014 at 5:38 pm

image (1)

Jean-Noel Soni is the mastermind behind Top-Notch Faceting. Jean creates award-winning, precision cut gemstones that are ethically-sourced, cut by hand, and created without the use of computer-aided design . In his words, the unique facets in his gemstones are “all figured by man.” I had the opportunity to take a peek at his notebook and the degree of detail and geometry that goes into every gemstone is remarkable. Speaking with Jean, it’s clear that he is incredibly knowledgeable about the materials he sources, and is passionate about his process and unique perspective on the industry.

Jean-Noel Soni’s interest in gemstones began at an early age. Raised by his mother, a collector of antique jewelry, Jean was surrounded by intricate vintage trinkets as well as his mother’s talented jeweler friends. His introduction to gemstone cutting started in 2009, taking a once-a-week class at the Randall Museum in San Francisco. The curriculum was solely in cabochon cutting, or stones that are polished and shaped without facets. Jean’s interest in gemstone cutting took off.  Jean states that cabochon cutting is very precise and this experience aided his understanding in creating the dimensions for a stone.

Since Randall didn’t offer classes in facet cutting, Jean decided to take matters into his own hands. Saving money to spend on gem cutting equipment every few months, Jean turned to how-to books in gemstone faceting, including a vintage German book his mother owned from 1896.  At this point, it seemed clear that gemstone cutting was Jean’s calling. Jean picked out other books from the library, paying close attention to the detailed diagrams, illustrating interesting facets and techniques.

16.10ctOregonSunstoneBefore

16.10ctOregonSunstoneAfter

More or less self-taught, Jean’s work is precise and thoughtful.  He strives to create heirlooms from gemstones with the understanding that the material is finite. Never creating the same stone twice, Jean takes the needed time to design each stone. “For me, I really enjoy the challenge of taking whatever shape is presented to me and changing that into a gemstone. It can be challenging depending on the shape of the stone.”

Browsing through Jean’s instagram he is clearly prolific. “I love to work. I love the challenge and the ritual.” He was kind enough to send us a few before and after shots of stones, as well as a few shots from his studio. The transformation of a rough stone into a gem is quite magical and even sculptural.

17.46ctRhodoliteGarnetBefore

17.46ctRhodoliteGarnetAfter

4.82ctImperialGarnetBefore

4.82ctImperialGarnetAfter

1.87ctBenitoiteBefore 1.87ctBenitoiteAfter

1.79ctNigerianSapphireBefore

1.79ctNigerianSapphireAfter

“I use an older faceting machine. By machine, it is only a motor that spins round grinding wheels in different grits, horizontally. Each facet on every stone is ground down in finer and finer grits until each is polished. The trick lies in keeping all the facets at the proper depth and keeping symmetry. [This is] all done by eye and hand. There is also a whole other slew of things that go into cutting a gem including orientation of the crystal, dopping (attaching) the stone to a quill with wax so it doesn’t fall off and polishing, which is it’s own science by itself. I do not use any computer programs for my work at all. The materials are all very different and I feel that computers can only account for so much. Besides it’s more fun to figure out the stones with my own head.”

image

image (2)

I asked Jean about his views in the gemstone industry and appreciated his honest and critical approach. He mentioned that often in the industry, gems are cut for optimal weight, rather than precision cutting, which brings out natural beauty of the stone. “In the commercial gemstone cutting industry, it’s business as usual.” Jean notes that in the industry, people source cheaper materials rather than the quality of stone, but notes that a few people, such as himself, are searching for high quality products.

Jean prides himself in his ethical sourcing, saying the best way to ensure that a stone is ethical is to work small and stay local. Jean works directly with miners, traveling to places as diverse as Romania, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Sri Lanka. His stones are  vibrant, clear, and untreated. Some of his favorite stones to work with are garnets and zircons. Every once in a while, Jean will find a zircon stone with a phenomena called double-refraction, which creates an almost double-vision effect. “You’re essentially watching the molecules vibrate.”

Please join us at NextFab Studios for a discussion with Jean-Noel Soni about his practice on September 24th, from 5-7PM. Please sign up here: https://nextfab.ticketleap.com/jewelry-lecture/dates/Sep-24-2014_at_0500PM

topNotchFlier1

Custom Allium Ring in Progress

By admin on June 19, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Here are photos of one of our jewelers, Jen, working on a custom ring last month. The customer has already proposed and is now happily engaged!

 

Fairmined Gold Now Available On Our Website

By admin on June 11, 2014 at 10:28 am

We are excited to announce that Fairmined gold is now available on our website in all of our wedding bands and engagement rings! Read more about Fairmined Gold.

Narrow Hammered Bangles

By admin on April 9, 2014 at 10:10 am

Available here in bronze and silver.

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.

Colored Gemstone Sourcing at Bario Neal

By Alyssa on October 28, 2013 at 4:34 pm

photo by Thomas Kluck

Several of Bario Neal’s collection pieces feature colored gemstones, and customers often request them in custom designs. As with all sectors of the jewelry industry, sourcing for colored gemstones can be tricky, erratic, and sometimes unreliable. While traceability is difficult, since no valid third-party certification system exists, the colored gemstones we offer come with certifications provided by our suppliers. Bario Neal develops relationships with suppliers we trust in our efforts to achieve transparency, and uphold high standards of ethicality for our colored gemstones. This article discusses how Bario Neal addresses sourcing and traceability for colored gemstones, and describes the origin of each colored gemstone we use. Continue reading Colored Gemstone Sourcing at Bario Neal