Get Ready to Fall in Love with Emeralds

By Sarah on October 13, 2016 at 9:56 am

This season we introduce our Helia Collection, featuring emerald cut, octagonal cut, and pave emeralds, sourced from a mining collective located in the Province of Northern Zambia.

 

The Ray and Sol Emerald Rings, shown in 18kt and 14kt yellow gold.
The new Sol and Ray Emerald Rings

 

At Bario Neal we go above and beyond to create a high standard of ethics focused on traceable diamonds, colored gemstones, reclaimed precious metals, and Fairmined gold. Inspired by the majestic emerald hue, we diligently searched for an emerald source that adheres to our environmental and labor standards.

After many years of research, we proudly release our star of the new Fall Collection, Helia: celebrating both the natural beauty of the emeralds and our partnership with the Zambian collective. The mining collective processes rough gemstones without introducing harmful chemicals to the environment, while rehabbing the mine’s waste areas by planting new trees in fresh soil. Moreover, the mine supports two local farms, and provides both a school and teachers’ quarters to the local mining community. This particular collective’s miners use screens to sort and pick the finest emerald crystals by hand, providing us with the lush hues showcased within the Helia Collection.

Co-founder and designer, Page Neal, describes this collection as being “inspired by architectural drawings and photographs of transoms and window frames.” From there, our enchanting Zambian emeralds led the way. Emerald is the green to greenish blue variety of beryl, a mineral species that also includes aquamarine as well as beryls in other colors. Emerald, most commonly know as the birthstone for May babies, is first known to have been mined in Egypt as far back as 330 B.C.

“Cleopatra was known to have a passion for emerald, and used it in her royal adornments.” – GIA

 

The Ray Studs, in 14kt yellow gold and tiny bead-set emeralds with the Sol necklace and Ray pendant.
The Ray Studs, shown with the Sol and Ray Pendants

 

Our Ray Studs and Pendant are yellow gold bursts, adorned with tiny bead-set pave emeralds. The Ray Ring features a traditional emerald cut stone held tightly by eight soft prongs. This minimal setting showcases the gemstone’s rich depth of color.

Sisters to the Ray pieces, the bright, shiny Sol Pendant, Hoops, and Ring, radiate glimmering flares of sunshine on any day. The Sol Ring features a large, octagonal cut emerald. With this piece, our design team explored unconventional stone setting options, resulting in the emerald being set low, table side-down, and secured by twelve prongs in various sizes. This uncommon setting style highlights our stone’s mesmerizing, magical glow.

One of our team’s challenges this season was seemingly simple: gold hoops. And after many, many rounds of prototyping- we rocked it. Inspired by Caribbean style and mobiles created by the prolific artist, Alexander Calder, we hand fabricated our giant Circ Hoops from solid square wire. They may be big, but they are as light and airy as they look.

The Circ Hoops in 14kt yellow gold.
The Circ Hoops in 14kt yellow gold.

 

Up next, meet the Forma Collection, an eye-catching array of modern treasures, defined by graphic shapes set with precious, ethically-sourced diamonds. All our white pave diamonds (also known as melee diamonds, weighing under .18ct each) are fully traceable and of recycled, Australian, and Canadian origin. We worked extensively to find a reliable black pave diamond supplier that meets our rigorous standards, sourcing through a trusted ethical buyer who travels to three different mines in Brazil, Canada, and Australia. To us, an ethical diamond isn’t just certified as conflict-free. We go deeper; working with a fully traceable supply chain, from mine to market.

 

The Forma Collection: Lau Necklace in 14kt yellow gold & sterling silver with white diamonds, Lau Studs in 14kt yellow gold with white diamonds, Aira Studs in 14kt yellow gold with white diamonds, Linea Pendant & Studs in 14kt yellow gold with black diamonds.
The Forma Collection: Lau Necklace and Studs, Aira Studs, and the Linea Black Diamond Pendant and Studs

 

Our Lau Studs and Necklace might be teeny tiny, but these delicate classics symbolize Bario Neal’s values bigtime. Inspired by the Fairmined gold logo and our longtime support of LGBTQIA rights and worldwide marriage equality, the rainbow shapes are channel set with 1mm white diamonds.

Fairmined is an assurance label that certifies gold from empowered responsible artisanal and small-scale mining organizations. It transforms mining into an active force for good, ensuring social development and environmental protection, providing everyone with a source of gold to be proud of.

Since our classic Aira Ring motif is so beloved, we decided to rethink it and shrink it, creating the mini Aira Studs. These diminutive diamonds are perfect for a second or third piercing. With this pair, our team envisioned affordable and timeless diamond studs, since we believe that everyone should be able to own jewelry of lasting value and ethical origins.

 

 

Aira Studs and Ring
Our Aira Studs and Classic Aira Ring

 

Other Forma Collection rockstars are the Linea Pendant and Studs. Our designers describe this bold pendant as a gestural squiggle, a quick scribble, and a border line- but what can’t be denied is how glam the black diamond/yellow gold combo is. And if the pendant wasn’t striking enough, how about the killer matching asymmetrical Linea Studs? The duo might just give you vixen super powers.

In case you haven’t noticed, we are cluster crazy. If you head over to our Diamond Ring, Gemstone Ring, Personalizations, or Custom pages, you’ll find a captivating array of sparkling, clustered constellations, designed for their lucky owners to wear and admire.

 

The Cluster Collection: Hex Cluster Studs, Ring, and Necklace in 14kt yellow gold. This collection features an array of blue-green and seafoam sapphires, aquamarine, and champagne diamonds.
The Cluster Collection: Hex Cluster Studs, Ring, and Necklace

 

Inspired by our most popular cluster, the Hex Sapphire Cluster Ring, is the Hex Cluster Pendant: a geometric bouquet of ethically sourced sapphires, and one champagne diamond surround a sublime Montana (Go USA!) hexagonal cut sapphire. Enter our new Hex Cluster Studs, featuring color-coordinating gemstone bunches– one champagne diamond, and one aquamarine adorn two blue-green sapphire sprinklings– the perfect, asymmetrical pairing.

While you’re checking out the new collections, please remember that when you shop with Bario Neal, you support the craft and manufacturing community of Philadelphia, environmentally conscious studio practices, and the responsible mining and sourcing of diamonds, gemstones, and metals. Thanks for helping us design an ethical way forward for the jewelry industry, one handmade piece at a time.

Want to see more? Explore the new collections in our Fall Lookbook.

Worthy Causes: Pure Earth and Planned Parenthood

By Constance on April 11, 2016 at 11:01 am

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The Pure Gold Auction + Benefit Bash

 

Happy Monday! This week we switch out the winter wardrobe for spring party attire to celebrate two of the most worthy causes we can imagine:  The Pure Gold Auction + Benefit Bash and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern PA’s annual spring fundraiser. 

First, we teamed up with Pure Earth’s Pure Gold Auction and Benefit Bash to prevent mercury poisoning caused by gold mining. You can bid from wherever you are on our “nuggets of pure gold,” the Bog Earrings in 14kt Fairmined, until the actual benefit on Tuesday, April 12.

“Mercury and gold mining are inextricably linked. A quarter of the world’s supply of gold comes from artisanal gold mining, which leads to the release of approximately 1000 tons of toxic mercury a year. Of the 20 million artisanal gold miners, an estimated 2.5 million are women and over 600,000 are children.” – www.pureearth.org 

To learn more about the dangers of mercury exposure through artisanal mining and our efforts to avoid it by using Recycled and Fairmined gold, read Pure Earth’s recent interview with Anna Bario and our existing blog post. 

Visit the  Auction + Benefit Bash page to see event details, bid, donate and watch a video detailing the hazards of mercury globally and mercury’s relation to gold mining.

 

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Swing into Spring at the Young Advocates of Philadelphia

 

This weekend brings a chance to dust off the dancing shoes right here in Philadelphia at the Young Advocates of Philadelphia’s Annual Fundraiser in support of Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania. Women’s reproductive health is very personal cause for the staff at Bario Neal and we are so proud to be a sponsor for what is sure to be the event of the spring.

Please consider supporting Planned Parenthood at a local or national level, and if you are in Philly, maybe we’ll see you at the William Way Center on Saturday night?

See event details for the Planned Parenthood benefit here or on Facebook.

Ideas Form Actions at Jewelry Industry Summit

By Constance on March 18, 2016 at 10:21 am
Bario Neal team members pose with Anna at the Jewelry Industry Summit.
 Actions and the agents of change, BN team members at the recent Jewelry Industry Summit.
At last weekend’s Jewelry Industry Summit, stakeholders from across our industry came together to create a shared vision of responsible sourcing across our industry. The summit coalesced knowledge from our industry and others, as well as NGO and government organizations so that we can learn from an build on others’ experience.
Attendees separate their thoughts into strengths, opportunities, and actions.
 Participants discuss and identify key issues. Photo courtesy of the Jewelry Industry Summit.
One of the summit’s greatest accomplishment was to support traceability, transparency and sourcing initiatives in order to produce materials in a manner that both protects and sustains the environment; and benefits the individuals and communities where our jewelry is mined, manufactured, traded, and sold.
Attendees separate their thoughts into strengths, opportunities, and actions.
Groups separated their thoughts into strengths, opportunities, and actions. 
Several groups at the Summit committed to advancing specific issues within the supply chain, including helping gem cutters in developing countries who need education and equipment to avoid silicosis, a disease that occurs from inhaling stone dust. Another specific initiative created an artisanal colored gem mining site project in Brazil that adheres to responsible social, ethical, and environmental practices.

 Anna Bario presents at the Jewelry Industry Summit.Anna Bario, key summit presenter and organizer, spoke of the urgent need for progress.

 

Overall, the summit was a spark– a much-needed first step toward greater transparency in our industry and greater benefit to the entire supply chain.  Anna reminded the attendees of the importance of a long-term investment in sustainable advances in her talk:

 “Time is the biggest investment. Not just to do it, but to tell the story.”

Former Tiffany’s CEO Thinks Gold Isn’t Worth Cost to The Environment

By Constance on November 10, 2015 at 3:00 pm
Photo by Carl Johnson
Photo by Carl Johnson from www.SaveBristolBay.org

When Gold Isn’t Worth The Price, a recent New York Times OpEd, written by the former CEO of Tiffany starts in the pristine wilderness of Bristol Bay for a good reason. An off-contested swatch of Alaskan wilderness, prized by fisherman and sought after by mining and oil-companies alike, Bristol Bay is again a hot topic as House Republicans, backed by special interests, criticize the EPA’s decision to uphold an order of protection. Simply put, he states that as it stands, gold isn’t worth the impact it has on the environment. The second half of Kowalski’s piece gives a great summary of the overall strategy of what needs to be done in the industry, which coincides with the goals of the upcoming Jewelry Industry Summit. Read more about our involvement in the summit committee and stay tuned to detailed articles once it is underway about how we can make gold mining reduce it’s negative environmental impact.

“No amount of corporate profit or share price value could justify our participation, however indirectly, in the degradation of such indescribable beauty (…) The threat to Bristol Bay exemplifies a far larger issue: the enormous human and environmental cost of irresponsible mining.” –MICHAEL J. KOWALSKI

Learn more about how to protect the Bristol Bay from the proposed Pebble Mine.

Dirty Gold: Ojo Publica Exposes London Bullion’s Dark Secret

By Constance on August 11, 2015 at 11:29 am

gold bullion ojo publico

Image Courtesy of Ojo Publico 

The London Bullion Market is the union that sets the price of gold and concentrates

the biggest metal traders in the world.”

Ojo Publico, the well-respected online investigative journal based in Lima, Peru, recently reported on the companies financing the multi-million dollar trade of illegal South American gold in the article, Dirty Gold: Chasing the Trail Of the London Bullion Market.

These traders hail from the US, Switzerland, Italy, and the United Arab Emirates, and the kicker– some are ALSO members of the Responsible Jewelry Council (RJC), which is the only real third party auditing system for large companies in the jewelry industry. RJC, you had one job.

Ojo Publico’s investigation traces the routes of illicit gold trafficking in South America. It also takes a deeper look into how the companies from Switzerland, the US, Italy, and the UAE are responsible for the pollution and destruction of riverbeds in Bolivia that also affect rivers in the Brazilian rainforest, rivers and forests in Colombia, the Namija mountains of the border of Peru, as well as other vast areas of Peru. The damning report documents the amount of illegal gold being exported, where it’s coming from, and where it goes. OP investigators traveled to illegal mining camps in Hueptuhe and La Pampa, the largest illegal mining camps and area of deforestation in Peru. A boat trip up the Madre de Dios, Beni and Madeira rivers, discovered that Bolivian and Brazilian gold dredged there was exported illegally, mostly to the US. They found their way to mines in the mountains of the Cordillera del Condor, near the Peru-Ecuador border, where the gold is smuggled to the US. Peru, listed as the world’s fifth largest supplier of gold, exports such a large percentage illegally, that it’s likely it should actually be listed as the second largest supplier, after China. They were able to get in touch with some higher-ups in the importing companies from the US, Switzerland, and UAE, but most requests resulted only in promises to provide more information.

That this corruption is public knowledge with no consequence to their membership with the RJC is particularly disturbing. From the RJC website:

“RJC Members commit to and are independently audited against the RJC Code of Practices – an international standard on responsible business practices for diamonds, gold and platinum group metals. The Code of Practices addresses human rights, labour rights, environmental impact, mining practices, product disclosure and many more important topics in the jewelry supply chain.”

 

There are many questions still to be answered, but this report reveals an impressive amount of corruption still present in a highly destructive gold market.

 

Ojo Publico, reports on transnational organized crime, governmental corruption, threats to public interest, environmental issues, and human rights issues. You can read their in-depth report here.  If you want to join the cause, fill out this petition telling the RJC to clean up its act.

 

Ethical Metalsmiths co-founder steps down

By Constance on July 5, 2015 at 3:46 pm
 
ethical metalsmiths

We want to thank Christina Miller – Ethical Metalsmiths Co-founder and Executive Director – for helping to build the responsible jewelry movement. Her work has helped both to educate our industry about our environmental and social impacts, and to support powerful initiatives like Fairmined gold.

“In 2004, when I co-founded Ethical Metalsmiths with Susan Kingsley, traceable and transparent sourcing and responsible studio practices were threatening topics.  Now, a jeweler is expected to know where his/her materials are coming from and to choose sources that purposefully empower people and protect the environment. I believe that the organization, with its dedicated board of directors, and engaged members is ready to advance the ethical jewelry movement in new directions. Moving into the future I am looking forward to applying what I have learned about mining, jewelry, education and collaborative change in new and creative ways.” – Christina Miller
Miller recently stepped down from her role, but will remain active with as chair of the Advisory Council and as a member of the Ethical Sourcing and Education committees.
Best Wishes Christina! We are excited to work with you on new projects in the coming months.

Metals That Tell Stories: Fairmined Gold

By Constance on June 19, 2015 at 10:00 am

Those familiar with Bario Neal have heard by now of the Fairmined assurance label, certifying that your gold is sourced from an empowered, responsible, small-scale mining community. It is a great option when determining what story comes with the ring you choose to represent the union of a lifetime, because the money spent directly improves the well being of a Peruvian mining village.

You may not know, however, that we now offer Fairmined gold in both 14kt and 18kt for all our bands and rings, including this nature-inspired duo–

Reticulated Band Diamond Dais Narrow with Diamonds Band

Reticulated Band One with Diamond and Dais Narrow with Diamonds Band

 

If you are considering coupling your beautiful something with a beautiful story, we think it is worth noting that our Fairmined gold also carries a subtle color variation that, while making them even more distinct, may also affect your choice of metal.

 

18kt vs.14kt fairmined gold

Notice the above Dais in 14kt Fairmined is a little more warm in tone? This is due to a slight difference in the metals used in the creation of the gold alloy, something that commonly happens in any jump between 14kt and 18kt, but we find to be even more striking in the Fairmined.

Why choose an alloy? Since pure (24kt) gold is very soft, it is recommended to choose an alloy for strength and durability. The metals used to make 14kt and 18kt are silver, copper and zinc. 18K gold refers to 75% pure gold content, whereas 14kt gold, 58% pure gold content. 18K is more pure and costly, yet slightly softer than 14kt, and in the case of the Fairmined, more classically “gold” than the slightly rosy-hued 14kt. All that personality from a little grain of metal!

Whatever your choice, know that you are now the wearer of a unique piece of quality craftsmanship, created with the upmost respect for our customers and the environment. We are proud to be a part of your story.

Have more questions about metal properties? Here is a more in-depth look. Learn more about Fairmined gold on our blog and at http://www.fairmined.org/.

Jewelry Industry Summit

By Alyssa on May 15, 2015 at 11:58 am

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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:

  1. 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;
  2. engaging in actions designed to promote and sustain development of the people and communities where jewelry products are sourced, traded, and sold;
  3. 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.

 

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

MSDS Transitions to New and Improved SDS

By Alyssa on April 21, 2015 at 10:48 am

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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.