Positive Design, Perfect Packaging

By Constance on July 6, 2017 at 2:11 pm

The power of positive energy is a core company belief– infusing every one of our handmade items with thoughtful, responsible intent. Naturally, our packaging design will follow suit.

 

Bario Neal Packaging Porcelain Box

We strive for our beliefs to shine as bright as the ethical diamonds in our Diamond Cluster Ring.

 

We want the protection offered to our meticulously crafted, handmade jewelry to be every bit as conscious of a positive impact as our pieces. That’s why we are so excited to announce a new way to present and display our finest, modern heirlooms. Our exciting new exclusive porcelain boxes are hand cast by a small studio in Portland, Oregon, and arrive enclosed in our signature paper box.

Designed right here in our Philadelphia studio, each handmade box fits one ring or pair of earrings. The fine, white porcelain box and display is stamped with a subtle Bario Neal logo, indicating that every one houses an object of lasting value, with minimal environmental impact.

 

Bario Neal Packaging Porcelain Box

Contemporary craft and a positive ethos are at the core of every Bario Neal design.

 

The reveal of an engagement ring or special gift is a big moment and carries with it a lasting story. We think this beautiful, minimal box adds a tactile and thoughtful touch to make the memory perfect. And because we care about the future, our positive design ensures that story will continue to live on as an heirloom and home for your beautiful, one of kind jewelry.

 

Bario Neal Packaging Porcelain Box

Our handmade enclosure protects your jewelry, through shipping and reveal, to everyday use and display. 

 

If you choose not to purchase the porcelain box, you will still find your item perfectly packaged in our new signature paper box– also thoughtfully designed for minimal environmental impact and manufactured in the U.S.A.

 

Our signature paper boxes are made in North Carolina from recycled materials.

Our signature paper boxes are made in North Carolina from recycled materials.

 

It was no small feat to find a domestic, small-scale eco-friendly manufacturer of paper packaging. We’re happy to say our signature paper boxes are made in North Carolina with eco-friendly, recycled paper by a small manufacturer. Also, though most are manufactured overseas, we found small businesses in Massachusetts and Rhode Island to make the fabric, foam, and paper that goes inside our boxes. These may seem like small details, but it matters to us.

Shop our new Porcelain Box here or add it to any Bario Neal piece in our “Packaging” section, when building your item.

 

One of a Kind Aluminum Collection

By Jenny on February 16, 2017 at 3:55 pm

We are now thrilled to share our new limited edition Aluminum Collection. When first daydreaming of a new limited edition series, we challenged ourselves to create a body of work large in scale but also light weight.  The sculptural and airy bracelets and collar necklace highlight our handcraft as well as our exploration of new materials and processes.

 

Limited Edition Aluminum Collection

Our New Limited Edition Aluminum Collection

We modeled the pieces here in our Philadelphia Studio through hand-carving foam. We then collaborated with a local foundry to make sand molds for the aluminum casting.

 

Aluminum Collection Cuff Bracelet

Aluminum Large Cuff 02

Aside from the lightness of aluminum, our commitment to using only sustainable, ethically sourced materials, attracted us to the material. According to the Aluminum Stewardship Initiative,

Aluminum can be infinitely recyclable. 75 percent of all aluminum ever produced is still in use, with no loss in quality. Recycling aluminum uses only 5 percent of the energy – and produces only 5 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions – of the average primary production rate.

Aluminum Collection Collar Cuffs Bracelets

Aluminum Collar 01 paired with the Aluminum Bangle 06

How we gather and source materials while retaining Bario Neal’s signature style can be found in every step of the fabricating process. To view the collection as a whole, visit our Limited Editions page.

If you are interested in purchasing a piece from the Aluminum Collection, email inquiries@bario-neal.com to request to be added to the waiting list.

Moonstone Mile: From Mystical to Ethical

By Alyssa on October 12, 2015 at 9:34 am

Moonstone

 

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 schillerFrom 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, circa 1899-1900

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. 

 

moonstone dais ring bario neal

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 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.

Top Notch Faceting’s Jean Noel Soni

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

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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.”

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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

Dalmatian Shields

By Page on July 18, 2012 at 10:43 am

Check out the beautiful Dalmatian Shield Stones that we just got in stock. Earrings coming soon!

Recycled Metals

By Anna on June 25, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Gold smelting

 

Working with recycled precious metals is an important part of our process at Bario-Neal. We focus on sourcing the most environmentally and socially responsible metals and stones possible. One hundred percent recycled precious metals are the best option currently available, as they don’t require additional mining.

Our recycled silver, gold, palladium, and platinum come from two primary sources: Abington Reldan Metals, a refinery about 40 minutes from our Philadelphia shop, and Hoover and Strong, a refinery in Richmond, Virginia. These refineries take in scraps of precious metals, dust and filings from jewelers’ workshops, old or unwanted jewelry, silverware, silver from photo processing, as well as metals from electronic devices. The refineries collect, sort, melt, and refine these materials into forms that jewelers like Bario-Neal can use again, such as casting grain, sheet metal, and wire.

Our refineries aren’t only committed to producing 100% recycled metals, they are also invested in the environmental and health impacts of their facilities. We’ve visited both refineries, and we’re impressed with their advances in reducing waste and energy use. Hoover and Strong has been in business since 1912, and their recycled metals are third-party certified to ensure the recycled content. They maintain four large fume scrubbers to reduce emissions that cause air pollution. Hoover and Strong also uses the Miller Process (http://bario-neal.com/bn/blog/?p=12) to refine gold, which reduces acid use by 85%. Abington Reldan Metals is a LEED Silver certified facility, and they’ve been operating for over 30 years. They also use waste heat from the refining process to heat the manufacturing plant and for domestic hot water, as well as for the sludge drying and water evaporation process. This heat recovery has reduced their energy consumption by about 20-25%. Both facilities maintain a closed loop for water, meaning there is zero discharge and all the waste-water is treated and re-used in the refinery.

Continue reading Recycled Metals

Metal Properties

By Emily on February 21, 2012 at 4:24 pm

This article describes in detail the precious metals we use at the Bario-Neal studio, and we hope it will be helpful in choosing the right material for your commitment band or engagement ring.

What does the karat refer to? Karat is a unit of measurement for gold. 24 karats is pure gold, or 100% gold. The higher the karat, the more pure gold a metal contains. Because pure gold is quite soft, 24kt gold is not used in jewelry but simply used as a reference for measurement. The most popular gold, 14kt yellow gold, is 14 parts pure gold and 10 parts other metal (also called alloy). So 14kt gold is 14/24 karats, or 58.3% pure gold. 18 karats can be figured out the same way: 18/24 = 75% pure gold.

What type of metal should I get if I am hard on my hands? What is the hardest metal? What metals resist scratching best? If you are hard on your hands, we recommend platinum or palladium.  Because of their ductility, platinum and palladium will not break or wear thin the way gold will. Platinum and palladium will sooner bend or deform than crack, which is usually an easier repair.  All metal will scratch overtime but you may notice it most on softer metals such as sterling silver.

What type of metal should I get for my engagement ring if it is a delicate setting style? Because of its strength and density, platinum is the best metal for rings with delicate settings.  As mentioned above, platinum will not wear away so the prongs will never become thin, as they would if they were in gold.  Palladium is not recommended for delicate setting styles. If you are interested in a yellow metal, then 18k yellow gold is a good choice as well.  If platinum doesn’t work with your budget and you’re interested in a white metal, 18k white gold or 14k white gold are also good options.

Will a brass or bronze ring turn my finger green? Yes.  Brass and bronze react with acids in your skin when you sweat.  The oxidation of the metal then rubs off on your finger turning it green. This is the same type of oxidation that happens to bronze sculptures or copper roofing, but instead the bronze is reacting with acids and chemicals in the air. In the past we have made rings with an inner band of gold and the outer band made of brass. This is a great solution if you really love the color of brass but want to avoid the skin discoloration.

 

How do I know if I am allergic to nickel?  If you’re allergic to nickel, your skin will turn red and become irritated where you come in contact with the metal. About 1 in 8 women have a nickel allergy. White gold is the only metal we work with that is alloyed with nickel so all other metals are considered nickel free. Therefore, platinum, palladium, 14kt yellow, 18kt yellow 14kt rose, 18kt rose and sterling silver are safe to wear if you have a nickel allergy.  Sometimes wearing a necklace that has a 14kt white gold chain is not always the best judge to decide if you have a nickel allergy because it is not worn every day. Because of this, customers in the past who thought they did not have an allergy discovered that they did indeed after wearing the ring for a couple months. If you are unsure about having an allergy or not, consider wearing jewelry containing nickel for a longer period of time, rather than just a day or two. If your skin becomes irritated from a ring that does not contain nickel, consider having it cleaned or cleaning the ring yourself.

Platinum: Platinum is a very strong and naturally white precious metal. It is also very dense and therefore the heaviest. It does not tarnish and is hypoallergenic. All of these qualities contribute to platinum being the best metal to work with- especially for prolonged wear. It is the purest precious metal we work with, containing 95% pure platinum and 5% ruthenium. Ruthenium is of the platinum family and is alloyed with platinum to make it harder.

Continue reading Metal Properties

MATTE v POLISH

By Alyssa on December 11, 2011 at 6:26 pm

A visual comparison of a matte finish and high polish finish ring.  Changing a ring from matte to high polish, or the other way around, takes a matter of seconds on our buff machine. Matte is on the left, high polish is on the right, shown on our Milla round bands.

Some Facts About Palladium

By Page on August 30, 2009 at 11:19 am

What is Palladium?palladium-ring

Palladium is a rare and lustrous silvery-white grey metal. Palladium, along with platinum, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium and osmium form a group of elements referred to as the platinum group metals (PGMs).

Palladium is similar in color to platinum, but is a bit more gray.  If we use the CIE lab system to refer to “whiteness” in  metals, where zero is black and one hundred is white, pure silver rates 93, platinum alloys are about 87, palladium alloys are around 84 or 85, and most white golds range from 78 to 83. Like platinum, palladium will develop a hazy patina over time. Palladium is much more affordable than platinum. It isn’t as dense as platinum, though it is about 12% harder.

We encourage customers to opt for palladium over white gold because it is a pure metal with naturally white properties, giving it no need for rhodium plating. White gold by itself is an alloy of gold and at least one white metal, usually nickel or palladium. Like yellow gold, the purity of white gold is given in karats. (Karats refer to parts out of twenty-four, so 14k gold = 14 parts out of 24 parts pure gold, or about 58% pure gold.) White gold’s properties vary depending on the metals and proportions used. As a result, white gold alloys can be used for different purposes; while a nickel alloy is hard and strong, and therefore good for rings and pins, gold-palladium alloys are soft, pliable and good for white gold gemstone settings, sometimes with other metals like copper, silver, and platinum for weight and durability.

Almost all white gold jewelry is rhodium-plated since gold alloyed with palladium or nickel never comes out true white, but tinted brown, therefore requiring a thin layer of rhodium to mask the tinted shade and make it true white. About one person in eight has a mild allergic reaction to the nickel in some white gold alloys when worn over long periods of time. White gold alloys made without nickel are less likely to be allergenic.

The rhodium is very white and very hard, but it does wear away eventually. To keep a white gold ring looking its best it should be re-rhodium plated approximately every 12 to 18 months.