RESULTS FOR: "recycled metals"

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 ( 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.

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The Ever-challenging Quest for Recycled Chain

By Page on December 10, 2007 at 7:35 pm


As of late, we’ve been getting a lot of emails from jewelers asking what they can do to help support the development of a more responsible jewelry industry.

One of the biggest steps that you can take as a jeweler (other than being aware of the issues) simply involves talking to your suppliers about your concerns. Ask them where they get their metals & gems. Tell your suppliers that you are interested in buying recycled metals and responsibly sourced materials.

One initiative Anna & I are working on is organizing jewelers to convince refineries of the demand for recycled gold & silver chain. Because chain is manufactured in bulk, we will need many jewelers to join forces in order for the industry begin producing recycled chain. So if you would be interested in using recycled chain, email me your silver/ gold chain needs (style, size, metal, quantity) at Until then the quest for quality vintage chain continues.

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Fairmined Gold

By Alyssa on May 2, 2014 at 7:18 pm

*From the Alliance for Responsible Mining website

This article aims to keep our readers up to date on the complicated and nuanced path towards ethical and environmentally-conscious gold standards. More specifically, Bario Neal is currently committed to using Fairmined gold and plans to offer Fairtrade gold in the near future as well. In this article we lay out the details of the Fairmined gold standards set forth by the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM).  We also explain the difference between Fairmined and Fairtrade gold. Fairmined and Fairtrade standards and certification have the power to transform the gold mining industry, along with the lives of those dependent upon it. We will update this article as the ethical gold story unravels.

“Globally, over 100 million people depend on Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) for survival. The 15 million ASM miners work in harsh and dangerous conditions to produce just 10-15 percent of global gold supplies, but they make up 90 percent of the global work force in gold extraction. These miners and their families are caught in a vicious circle of exploitation [and] illegality, and many lack the skills and resources to move forward. However, if managed responsibly, ASM mining can provide a great opportunity for poverty reduction and sustainable development for millions of people.” [1]

Bario Neal uses 100% recycled metals whenever possible, the exceptions being our bronze pieces and certain findings like earring backs and clasps that we aren’t able to make ourselves. We are also well aware that regardless of how much recycled metals we use, precious metals will continue to be mined and continue to be recycled. In response to the social and environmental issues surrounding metal mining, Bario Neal has been working to expand our commitment to ethical metal sourcing and more directly support responsible ASM mining. Fairmined gold has only recently become available to the US market, and we are proud to be one of the first jewelry companies to develop a relationship with sources for Fairmined gold.

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Metal Mining: just a few basics

By Anna on January 3, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Below are a few basic facts about metals mining that Page & I gathered as part of our research when we started Bario-Neal. In other posts you can find more information about the recycled metals and ethically-sourced stones that we use, as well as projects like Fair Trade gold development at the Association for Responsible Mining.



*Metal mining is the most toxic polluter in the United States. It is responsible for 96 percent of arsenic emissions and 76 percent of lead emissions.

*Metal mining accounts for up to 10% of world energy consumption, but employs only .09% of the global workforce.

*A single gold ring leaves in its wake at least 20 tons of mine waste.

*Every year, mines in the U.S. generate an amount of solid waste equivalent in weight to nearly 9 times the trash produced by all its cities & towns combined.

*In developing countries, workers, often child laborers, suffer serious detrimental health effects like chronic asthma, skin diseases, lead poisoning, and other aliments related to the mine’s impacts.

*Mineral-rich developing countries have some of the slowest economic growth rates in the world, and the highest poverty rates.

*Approximately half the gold produced worldwide has or will come from indigenous peoples’ lands.

*Many gold mines employ a process known as heap leaching, which includes dripping a cyanide solution through huge piles of ore. The solution strips away the gold and is collected in a pond, then run through an electro-chemical process to extract the gold.
This method of producing gold is cost effective but enormously wasteful: 99.99 percent of the heap becomes waste.

*Accidents throughout the world involving cyanide-laced mine wastes have caused fish kills, severe water pollution, and soil contamination.

*Smelting, a form of extractive metallurgy, is a major consumer of energy and generator of air pollution.

*Smelting technology has improved considerably over the past half century, but smelters still release a great deal of air pollution, especially oxides of nitrogen and sulfur, components of smog and acid rain, as well as lead.

Facts taken from No Dirty Gold, Ethical Metalsmiths, and NEWMOA.

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Refinery Research

By Page on May 29, 2007 at 12:09 am

Refinery Research:

Over the past year and a half we have researched refineries that use only recycled metals & fair trade metals- determined to find a local refinery we feel supports our principals.

Most refineries will say that they use mostly recycled metals—this is true, particularly with precious metals. Precious metals are just too valuable not to recycle. However, roughly only 40% of the metal is reclaimed. Typically, reclaimed metals are mixed with new metals, which are purchased from large metal companies. It’s often unclear where these metals are coming from.

• Once metal is melted down together—it’s more or less impossible to trace its origins. This is why we think it’s really crucial to establish federal standards for recycled and fair trade metals. Too much responsibility is placed on the consumer, and it is nearly impossible to learn about the material’s history.

• Last summer we toured the Hoover & Strong Refinery in Richmond, VA. Hoover & Strong offers jewelers recycled metals in various forms & utilizes refining techniques that are more environmentally efficient. Their website is also a good source of information.

• Another refinery we think is doing good work is Precious Metals West, located in Los Angeles. While Precious Metals West is a smaller company than Hoover & Strong and doesn’t have the resources to be as progressive in terms of equipment and their manufacturing capabilities, they are very flexible and open with their information. Precious Metals West will allow you to source your own metals (either recycled or purchased from a responsible mine), which they will then refine for you.

• We are really trying to encourage both of these companies to begin manufacturing recycled chain. If you want to help out—contact

Below is information taken from Hoover & Strong’s catalog about how to best sell back you scraps & the steps that are taken to refine your scraps into usable metal.

How to sell back your metal:

Six ways to separate your scrap:

1. Gold scrap-karat scrap, jewelry scrap, filings & benchsweepings
2. Silver scrap & filings
3. Platinum
4. Palladium
5. Gold filled scrap, watch brands & optical scrap (keep each item separated)
6. Floorsweeps, polishings, sink sludge , emery & filiters

How to Maximize Your Returns:

1. Anything used in precious metal manufacturing should be turned in for refining with sweeps in a container. This includes store buffs, brushes, emery paper, etc.
2. Include the weight of the scrap
3. Separate metals, not karats
4. Separating your scrap increases your bottom line by minimizing your refining charges.
5. Separate magnetic from non-magnetic material.
6. Track the scrap in your shop
7. Send your scrap to a reputable refiner

How to make sure your saving your metal scraps

Sink Trap
A sink trap can be purchased or made for very little cost. Purchase a 5-gallon or larger container that will fit under your sink.

Separate Metal
Separate the metals in the shop, silver from gold.

Floor Mats
Capture scrap in your floor mats—Use heavy-duty rough pile floor mats. Keep a small separate vacuum to collect only gold scrap, filings and floor sweeps in the shop.

Have two separate wastebaskets one for regular trash, one for trash that has small amounts of precious metals.

What happens to your scraps when you sell them to a refinery?


Clean scraps are mixed with a special flux and then melted. The flux makes the metal more fluid and homogenous. The melt is then poured into a mold, the metal settles to the bottom and the slag created by the flux remains on top taking some of the non-metallic impurities with it. After smelting, the bars are returned to the vault to be weighed and sampled. The bullion remains in the vault until you have been paid for your scrap.


After your bullion has been weighed, drill samples are taken from each end of the bullion. This sample is fire assayed in duplicate to determine the precious metal content of the refining shipment. The assay lab does a miniature refining process on multiple samples to determine the precious metal content. The bullion karat is actually determined by the percentage of fine gold remaining following the assay process. The results of the assays must agree. If they do not, the bar is remelted to ensure that it is homogenous and resampled and reassayed.

And then there are Sweeps

Sweeps require more involved processing than clean scrap. It would be impractical to melt down a sweep because of its large volume and low grade gold content. The sweep is first burned at a low heat to incinerate the combustible material. It is then milled into a fine powder and sifted. By producing a fine blended powder, the sweep is made homogenous. A representative sample is taken and assayed to determine the fine gold content.

Refining to fine gold

The metal is now ready to be refined into its precious metal component. Hoover and Strong has invested in a new refining process known as the “Miller” process. Bullions from smelting are melted into a furnace. Chlorine gas is then bubbled through the liquid metal, turning silver and base metals into solid chlorides. These float on top of the melt and are skimmed from the surface to undergo a secondary refine to reclaim any silver. Once the process is complete the remaining liquid metal is at leas 98% pure gold. This is cast into anodes and electrolytically refined by submerging into a gold-based solution. During this process, fine or 24kt gold is plated onto the cathode. Both platinum and palladium remain in the electrolyte solution where they are later recovered.

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Rust Belt Practices

By Page on May 15, 2007 at 10:41 pm

Rust Belt Practices:

Sustainability as a concept has not been adequately defined, and we don’t think it is just a question of environmental awareness. For us, sustainability is an endless process and means much more than an eco-friendly tag on a product.

It’s going to be a while before standards exist for recycled metals and fair trade mines. We are supporting initiatives to make that happen- and in the meantime this is what we are doing in our own practice:

• Sourcing salvaged materials for our jewelry as well as for packaging and marketing.

• Building relationships with small local businesses.

• Employing small local businesses who are committed to using recycled metals and processes that minimize negative environmental impact.

• Talking to businesses in the precious metals industry, as well as the stores who carry our line, about our concerns.

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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 to request to be added to the waiting list.

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.




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.

Hot Stacks! New Custom Cluster Rings

By Constance on August 10, 2016 at 11:20 am

Maybe you are considering a cluster engagement ring of your own after the recent release of our Hex Sapphire & Diamond Cluster rings? If so, the newest round of custom cluster rings will turn your want into NEED.


Hot Stacks New Custom Cluster Rings

This stack of new custom cluster rings is unreal.

Our customized versions of this wedding season’s hottest ring show how a great design can allow for endless variations to make stunning ethical, bespoke jewelry.

One standout of the stack is a delicately balanced, eleven-stone custom ring, featuring a perfectly-azure pear sapphire, surrounded by white and champagne diamonds and blue-green sapphires. The color-combination is fit for the crown jewels, yet softened by the fluidity of organic design.


Custom Pear Sapphire Cluster Ring

This Custom Pear Sapphire Cluster Ring mixes diamonds and sapphires to radiate from the center stone.


In keeping with the “something blue” theme, we’d be remiss not to also highlight this boho-luxe beauty. Made of blue-hued gemstones arranged in a gorgeous ombré effect to complement a one-of-a-kind, royal-blue, rose cut sapphire, the effect of this ring is intoxicating.


Sapphire Ombré Cluster Ring



The new Custom Sapphire Ombré Cluster Ring is a royal-blue beauty.

Our next Custom Ring Stack features bespoke jewelry of reimagined heirloom diamonds and colored gems into styles as unique as our diverse clientele. Yet every piece still retains the Bario Neal signature look and craftsmanship that can only come from caring design by skilled jewelers.

Custom Ring Stack

These Custom and Personalized designs range from delicate and personal, to minimal modernism, to art-deco-inspired-WOW.


We adore this simple, modern Trillion Sapphire Ring, featuring a striking, blue-green Malawi sapphire, bezel set in 14kt white gold.



Custom Trillion Sapphire Ring

A sleek, minimal Custom Trillion Sapphire Ring with maximum personal style.


Custom Curved Gemstone Band and Custom Heirloom Cluster Ring

An organic, delicate Custom Curved Gemstone Band, contrasted with the statement Custom Heirloom Diamond Angled Ring.


The deft handiwork shown above in 100% recycled or Fairmined metals, perfectly matches the incredible natural beauty of certifiable ethical diamonds, sapphire and other precious gemstones, hand-picked by our sourcing experts. This is truly beauty without compromise.

So, if you’re finally past the point of no words, there’s only one thing left to do:  fill out a Custom design questionnaire to get started on the ring of your dreams.



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An Interview with Alex Twersky from Finesse Diamonds about Kalahari Diamonds & Ethical Diamond Sourcing

By Page on March 21, 2012 at 11:35 pm

Page talks with Alex Twersky, Vice-President of Finesse Diamonds about ethically sourced Kalahari diamonds and Finesse’s patented 88 cut.

 Can you talk about the relationship between the Namibian mine and De Beers? Many of our customers don’t want to have anything to do with De Beers because of its bloody history. How are customers assured that the Kalahari diamonds are not just a positive PR campaign for De Beers?

De Beers suffers from a bad public relations problem There is a reason why De Beers earned a nasty reputation and is associated with bad corporate behavior. However, the De Beers of today is not the same as the one 50 to 100 years ago. Firstly, they are no longer a monopoly. They were forced to change their practices because of all the terrible press and market pressures. If you are a consumer looking for a diamond with a verified origin, there are very few mines in which you can buy the stone and have it be certified. Currently, De Beers is the only major diamond supplier that you can buy a diamond that has a verified origin.

The largest mine that De Beers operates is in Botswana. The Botswana mine is a joint venture between the Boatswain government and De Beers in which the Botswana government owns 15% of the mine. One of the reasons why Botswana has the social progressive programs that it does is because of the capital generated from the mine.

De Beers has a very similar relationship with Namibia in which Namibia owns a portion of the mine, however, it is not as extensive as the Botswana arrangement. Because of its image, its partnership with the governments, and to some extent its dependency on these countries’ resources, De Beers has a big stake in operating fairly. There is a collision of interests between these African governments and De Beers as a corporation.

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