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.

The New Hexagonal Sapphire Cluster Ring

By Constance on April 14, 2016 at 9:54 am

 

Hexagonal Sapphire Cluster Ring

Introducing the dreamy new Hexagonal Sapphire Cluster Ring.

The concept of spring giving new life is one we fully embraced this year, choosing to debut the first part of our SS16 Lookbook, Spring Ceremony, highlighting an incredible new design– The Hexagonal Sapphire Cluster Ring.

The design combines a hexagon cut sapphire with an artfully clustered array of colored gemstones to create a gradient or ombre effect. Each hexagon is surrounded by an asymmetrically-placed champagne diamond, aquamarines, green-blue and seafoam sapphires. With an overall effect evoking a life-forming molecule, the Hex Sapphire Cluster ring is the perfect metaphor for a new beginning.

 

Hexagonal Sapphire Cluster Ring 14KY

The Hex Sapphire Cluster Ring looks great from any angle.

 

All of our gemstones are ethically sourced and of the highest quality, but these sapphires are special. In order for each gem’s inherent natural beauty and variation to shine, every arrangement is unique.

“Our hexagons are from Montana- go America! They are totally untreated from Gem Mountain. Each one is unique because they were cut in a way that saves as much of the original stone as possible.” –Anna Bario

 

Natural variations in Hexagonal Sapphires from Montana

Natural variations in color and shape will occur in these Hexagonal Sapphires from Montana.

This cluster ring of colored gems in a sea of blue-green hues is a cool addition to both Spring fashion and bridal looks. The Hex ring is perfect for a bride looking for an alternative ring that shows off a strong sense of personal style.

 

Spring Ceremony, Bario Neal SS16 Lookbook. The Avens Round Cut Ring and the Curved Narrow Half-Eternity Band.

More new designs appear in our Spring Ceremony story, inspired by an artist’s touch.

 

Delicate, yet statement-making craftsmanship inspired the theme of pigment-tinted fingertips and vibrant colors. We adore the idea of the wearer as painter or other artist, in the studio, creating their own work, while wearing one of ours. From the artists of our handcrafted jewelry, the creative process extends to the wearer of a Bario Neal creation.

Joining the Sapphire Cluster Ring in this Spring story are two new classic designs, the Avens Round Cut Ring and the Curved Narrow Half-Eternity Band. In creating the story, we also reimagined our recent colored gemstone designs in Opal and Andalusite, and staples like the signature Linear Diamond Ring, into a complete collection to spark imaginations this SS16 and for seasons to come.

Shop Spring Ceremony and the SS16 Collection.

 

Bling in the New Year with Alternative Engagement Rings

By Constance on December 31, 2015 at 12:20 pm

The Baguette Solitaire Ring, a little bling goes a long way

A little bling goes a long way with the understated Baguette Solitaire Ring.

 

This New Year, we celebrate all that glitters AND all that is gold, all for under a $3K price tag. This round-up of some of our favorite alternative engagement rings include tons of sparkle for those of you that love your bling, but still want to say “Yes” with a little more personality (and sustainability) than your average bride. From the industry’s first ethical baguette diamond (see above!) to alternative gemstones, like sapphires and quartz, we love to create rings that satisfy the non-traditional side, but remain as timeless as your love.

 

 

The Rose Cut Filigree ring has vintage appeal.

Our Rose Cut Filigree ring has timeless appeal and sparkle for days.

 

This contemporary version of an antique filigree ring features a bezel set, pink, rose cut sapphire for the offbeat bride with vintage elegance on her mind.

 

The Herkimer Ring is pure magic.

The Herkimer Ring: pure quartz magic for a crystalline union.

The Herkimer Ring is reserved for the most badass of betrothed. A low-set solitaire ring, featuring a double-terminated quartz, also known as a Herkimer diamond, mined in upstate New York. It also starts at just $750.

 

Sapphire Half Moon in Rose Gold, an alternative engagement ring

The Sapphire Half-Moon Ring is an alternative engagement ring that needs no diamond to shine.

Sparkle abounds in this alt-bride’s dream ring. It conjures Gatsby-era, custom-cuts, with a distinctly modern approach, featuring 100% sustainable white sapphires from Sri Lanka. This the newest of our engagement ring designs on the list, creating a new gold standard for gemstone and diamond-alternative engagement rings.

 

The Linear Diamond Ring: packing maximum bling for the buck.

 

Last on our list is our top seller of 2015, the Linear Diamond Ring. This ring says forever without the trappings of tradition. Modern brides know that a diamond doesn’t have to be a whopper to have impact, favoring instead to have a comfortable, low-set array of stones in various cuts and sizes. Further proof that diamonds can also be “alternative” by remaining low-key, sustainable and affordable– the Linear Diamond Ring starts at just $2,420.

Thanks for reading and following us as we share our news, successes and milestones, including the landmark legalization of same-sex marriage. Cheers to another year of creating beauty through new traditions!

 

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.

 

12 Days of Gifts: Limited Edition Cluster Gemstone Engagement Rings

By Constance on December 12, 2015 at 2:22 pm

Cluster Rings

No Twelve Days of Christmas would be the same without the five golden rings, so for the 5th day of gifts we are very excited to celebrate our Limited Edition Cluster Rings. We love gemstone engagement rings and these are two very special– they are both the only ones out there and ready to come home for the Holidays.

 

Limited Edition Gemstone rings for the Holidays 2015. Pariaba and Opal Cluster, Garnet asymmetrical avens, Andalucite cluster rings

Limited Edition Gemstone Cluster engagement rings for a special holiday proposal.

 

First up is a rare Paraiba Cluster Ring. This ring is truly a one-of-a-kind! Sure it looks beautiful here, but believe us when we say no photograph does it justice. This gemstone is one of the most precious and valuable in the world, and with one glance, it is easy to see just why. Glowing from within, this paraiba tourmaline is an almost electric shade of aqua, set above a small emerald-cut apricot sapphire and a .1ct diamond, in 14kt gold.

 

Limited Edition Gemstone

The Paraiba gemstone is one of the most precious and rare, even moreso for its ethical origins.

 

Next up, our Opal Cluster Ring features a similar design, set with complimentary-colored gemstones to bring out the natural swirling beauty of an ethically-sourced Australian opal. Also one-of-a-kind, this 14k rose gold ring is available in size 5.75.

PROMO_LE_gemstone_rings_web-

The Opal Three Stone Cluster Ring pairs an iridescent opal with apricot and raspberry sapphires.

 

Drooling yet? Good news: these are ready to ship, so if you were hoping to gift or propose with a gorgeous gemstone engagement ring this Christmas, but missed our deadline for fine jewelry orders (bad news: as of today, we can no longer accept even rush orders for Holiday production of rings and bands), just order by 12/23 to have under the tree.  Or right now, because after these limited edition rings are gone, that’s it.

 

Fine jewelry bands and rings are not included in the Holiday sale. Please contact for details to see if this ring can be adjusted to your desired ring size.

 

Holiday Give to Education Sale: December 9th-23rd

By Alyssa on December 3, 2015 at 3:38 pm
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 Art by students in the Congreso after school program
 Our Holiday Give to Education Sale is almost here! December 9th-23rd Bario Neal, will offer a 25% discount on boutique jewelry and a 10% discount on fine earrings & necklaces with your donation of an art supply to benefit Congreso After School Program, a Philadelphia education initiative. This percentage will be donated to the Malawi Dzone development project to benefit the education and health of communities surrounding the Chimwadzulu Mine, a major source of our sapphires.
sapphire slice stud earrings
Please note, this sale is in stores only. Our New York Showroom will be open for walk-in shopping December 12th-13th & December 19th-20th from 11-6! Philadelphia location open extended hours.
Congreso’s art supply wishlist includes: beads, comic drawing pages & books, markers, drawing paper, construction paper, drawing pencils, colored pencils, tie dye kits, white tee shirts, paint (tempura & acrylic), tissue paper, pipe cleaners, elmer’s glue, & small paint brushes. Not only will you receive a discount for your donation to Congreso, but we will donate a portion of the proceeds from this sale to the Malawi Dzonze development projects– you give and we give to education.
Congreso is a non-profit 501 (c)3 organization based in Philadelphia, PA and founded in 1977 with the mission of strengthening Latino communities through social, economic, education and health services, as well as leadership development and advocacy. Congreso offers countless invaluable services to adults, families, and youths in the Philadelphia community, and your donation will specifically go to its after school program, which offers vital enrichment and educational support in academics, dance, music, visual arts, sports, science, and technology. Students in the after school program benefit from well respected programs including Girls Today, Leaders Tomorrow (GTLT), Transitions Program, Family Engagement, and Tutoring and Senior Project Support. Congreso’s numerous awards include Philly.com’s top work places for 2014 and 2015, and NLCR Affiliate of the Year Award, and Leap of Reason.
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 Art projects completed by students in the Congreso After School Program
The Malawi Dzonze Development Project was established in 2008 by Nyala Mines Limited in collaboration with Columbia Gem House, a mining, cutting and marketing company committed to corporate social responsibility (csr). The Project’s mission is to raise funds for projects that will directly benefit communities surrounding the Chimwadzulu Mine, a producer of sapphires and rubies where Bario Neal sources many of our colored gemstones. Focus areas for funding include agriculture, education, environment, health, sports, and drinking water projects, and the project is directed by the managing director and local community nominees. The Project has delegated funding to the Kandoma Primary School to help pay for the employment of qualified teachers and assistants, teaching and learning materials, construction of school water and sanitation facilities, construction of two classroom blocks, and over 300 desks for students. Funding comes directly from the sale of Nyala rubies and sapphires. Columbia Gem House also conducts fundraising through specific promotions for its retail clients. With these two combined sources, the Project has 1 million US dollars budgeted for projects through 2020, making the Malawi Dzonze Development Project the most successful CSR model in Malawi.
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Hospital in Malawi
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School (two classroom blocks)
Consider donating one of these supplies to receive 25% off boutique jewelry or 10% off fine jewelry earrings and necklaces.

New Ethically Sourced White Sapphire Engagement Rings

By Alyssa on September 7, 2015 at 11:52 am

 

White sapphire rings trillion half moon

The Trillion and Half-moon, photographed with quartz crowns courtesy of Elemental Child

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:

 

Sri Lanka Mine and workshop for white Sapphires

 

Sri Lanka Mine and workshop for white Sapphires

 

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.

 

Sri Lanka Mine and workshop for white Sapphires

Workers cutting and polishing stones (above) and polishing tools (below).

Sri Lanka Mine and workshop for white Sapphires

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.