Opal rings are perfect for October’s Libras. The sign’s symbol — scales — represents balance, and at Bario Neal we see an appealing evenness in opals. The stones are complex yet still a neutral that works with so many other gems. Opals are vintage and timeless. They’re translucently open but also carry a bit of swirling mystery. Throughout history, they’ve been considered magical, in part because of their power to show all colors. What opal rings are not: just for Libras.
At Bario Neal, we embrace opals all year long, and we design our opal rings to tap into the rainbow bursts that shine from the stone. We love opals so much that we’ve made an opal the center of our new Dez Opal with Rainbow Halo Ring.
“Opal rings are super-popular,” says Emily Shank, Bario Neal Jeweler. “I think a lot of people are drawn to the flashes of color in opals, and they’re kind of mystical. Some people call it fire.”
If you’re ready to shop opal rings, here are a few tips for care and ideas for finding the right opal ring design for you.
DON’T wear your opal ring when doing work that’s hard on your hands.
Opals look lovely with diamonds — see our Linear Opal Ring — but they are more delicate than hard diamonds and sapphires. They can easily chip. If you work with your hands a lot, or if you know you’re hard on your hands, a diamond or sapphire might be the better gemstone for an engagement ring you wear every day. However, many Bario Neal clients choose opal engagement rings. Emily suggests applying the “pearl rule” to opal rings: the last thing on and first thing off. P.S. The Linear Opal Ring is Emily’s favorite opal ring in the Bario Neal collection.
“The mix pulls out different tones in the opal,” she says. “It’s different and more subtle than the rainbow but definitely has an interesting play of color. At the same time, the subtlety of the side stones also makes the opal pop more.”
DO buy ethically sourced opals.
Bario Neal sources its opals from an Ethiopian mining collective that makes sure the operation benefits the community. The miners mostly use hand tools and work close to the surface, which means low environmental impact. The opals are cut and polished in a well-respected facility in Jaipur, India.
DON’T soak your opal ring in water.
Along with being softer than diamonds, opals are also porous. That’s why you should never fully immerse opal jewelry into water to clean. Instead, go gentle with a very soft damp brush. (Check out Bario Neal’s easy guide to jewelry care.)“Think of opals like a sponge. If you use a harsh chemical, or extremely hot water, they will just take that in,” Emily says. “That will ruin the play of color and whatever flash your opal has.”
DO forgive yourself for instantly falling in love with our new Dez Opal with Rainbow Halo Ring.
We’re so excited to show off the delicate power of opals with this new ring design. The opal ring has a yellow sapphire, a green tourmaline, a London blue topaz, a Rhodolite garnet, and more. “I really like the way opals look with other stones,” Emily says. “And in the Dez Opal with Rainbow Halo Ring, I love how it pulls all the colors from the opal and at the same time it makes the opal more subdued because there is such intense color around it. Overall, you will notice the rainbow halo. But if you look closely at the ring, you will find each of those colors in the center stone.”
DO find the special in Bario Neal’s faceted opals.
A lot of opals are “cabochons.” Think of a half sphere or a dome setting look that’s reminiscent of cameos, where the sides and bottom of the stone are entirely set into the metal of the ring. Bario Neal’s opals are faceted opals, meaning they are cut like diamonds or other similar gemstones. “That adds another level of interest,” Emily says. “With our prong settings, you can see more angles of the opal, and that means it plays with light differently.” The design gives opals a more modern feel, like in this custom designed Custom Lash Triad 6mm Oval Cut Opal Cluster Ring.
DO dream about how to personalize your perfect opal ring.
Designers Anna Bario and Page Neal didn’t set out to craft the new Dez Opal with Rainbow Halo Ringand Dez Half Eternity Round Rainbow Band for the 10-year anniversary of their jewelry company, Bario Neal. They simply put pencil to paper and started their usual creative process — one that’s intentional, honest, and can’t be rushed. Yet the new rings are so vibrant, joyful, and unreservedly unique that they can’t help but symbolize what Anna and Page have accomplished in the 10 years since they launched their jewelry design label.
With showrooms in Philadelphia and New York City, Bario Neal has evolved — Page and Anna wouldn’t want it any other way — since its start in 2008. But as the co-founders designed collection after collection and worked with countless clients (in person and long distance around the world) on custom personalized rings, they’ve grown without ever straying from a core belief that it’s possible to create beautiful jewelry of lasting value that is also ethical and environmentally friendly.
From the start, Anna and Page have never hurried jewelry design. Make Page pick just one word to describe their jewelry, and she says “thoughtful.” They ask a ton of questions when they’re creating new rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. They endlessly ponder proportion. They search for sources of gemstones that benefit miners and their communities. They dissect shapes. Not one prong setting escapes attention.
“We work hard to be what we present ourselves to be,” Anna says, “and we come to everything we do with strong intentions.”
Page thinks that’s one way Bario Neal stands apart from many in the jewelry industry. “We take a lot of care in our design process to ensure we are building jewelry to last,” says Page.
Designs from Bario Neal’s very first collection, like the Avens Asymmetrical Ring, show that from the start, Anna and Page were laying a design foundation of cleanly modern yet classic, along with subtle asymmetry.
“The Reticulated One Diamond Band is another ring that represents the sculptural space from which many of our designs develop,” Anna says. “The Avens and the Reticulated One Band might not exemplify what our design aesthetic is in 2018, but it’s amazing how some of the first pieces that Page and I designed together really carry through into today’s collections. Yes, we’ve created more signature settings and identifiable ‘Bario Neal touches’ over the last decade, but even in our earliest collaborations you can see the elements coming together.”
“In the beginning we were coming from a more artistic and less technical background,” Anna says. “We didn’t have preconceived ideas about ‘this is how you do this.’ Then, and continuing today, we love to make unrealistic plans. We’ve always had ideas larger than the framework of a small design label.”
The pieces that Anna and Page each wear give a peek at their inspirations — architectural elements, industrial design, lettering, sculpture, even shoes — as well as their design aesthetics. Gold Circ Hoops are a go-to for Page. She loves that the earrings with their shapely wave are “playful and vibrant, but also classic,” and she appreciates the balance of structure and fluidity. Anna regularly reaches for her Sapphire Slice Studs. “There are other pieces of ours that are more statement,” she says, “but the sapphire studs are unusual and the marbling of the material is really interesting.”
“I also wear a lot of pieces that are custom or that we made as models during our design process,” Anna says. “I have a custom enamel hexagon ring that I really love. And a half-octahedron rough diamond ring that’s a middle finger ring I always wear.” (Bario Neal doesn’t have these exact rings today, but talk to us about designing your own custom ring and we’ll tell you all about raw diamonds, shaped-to-fit-you gemstone cluster rings, and more.)
Page’s Senna Round Ring with black enamel is a good example of what Bario Neal is all about, she says. “It’s simple, it’s classic but it’s also modern and uses the skilled technique of enameling,” she explains. “When I look at jewelry that’s out there in the world, I am often disappointed by the lack of nuance in the design. We’re about being intentional, taking our time, and understanding how the negotiation of small measurements and techniques can make or break a design.”
Building an Ethical Jewelry Business
There’s a reason that Bario Neal’s rings are in so many pretty online photo roundups about ethical engagement rings and sustainable jewelry.
“One of the primary inspirations for starting the company was that we had deep questions about the origins of the materials that we were working with and the people and places they passed through,” Anna explains.
Anna and Page launched Bario Neal in 2008, but they started working on becoming ethical jewelry designers a few years before that. They did research and went to conferences to figure out as much as they could before officially opening their doors. They’ve been glad to see increasing awareness in the last decade of how a lot of gemstone mining hurts miners and their communities. And they continue to focus on ensuring that all Bario Neal jewelry is made with ethical, sustainable materials.
“We’ve been very involved in the last few years in the annual Jewelry Industry Summit,” Anna says. “It was one of the first industry-wide conversations recognizing all the challenges that we face and all the opportunities we have to create benefits beyond just our companies and our clients, to all supply chains that we work with.”
For Page and Anna, ethical and sustainable aren’t trends or marketing ploys. As they look ahead to the next decade of Bario Neal, these principles will remain at the center of their jewelry design. “There are many more ways we can directly and tangibly support initiatives connected to the environment and human rights,” Anna says. “I’d like to devote even more time to that.”
Designing Bario Neal Engagement Rings
When Anna and Page first launched Bario Neal, they weren’t focused on engagement rings, but when they did decide to design wedding jewelry, they started with the simple, classic Avens Round Diamond Ring. That was just the beginning. Since then, hundreds of happy couples have worked with Bario Neal to create personalized rings for marriage proposals and wedding bands.
“Anna and I both got married in the past 10 years,” Page says. (Her rough diamond engagement ring is matte gold with a simple prong setting.) “So we were also at a time in our lives when a lot of our friends got married. Having our work be part of other people’s ceremonies is very powerful. The rings that we make are a significant part of people’s lives and to me that is incredibly inspiring.”
Anna, Page, and many on the Bario Neal team have even been lucky enough to see some proposals over the years.
“At our New York shop, we see so many clients celebrating with City Hall weddings, and there’s real romance to that,” Anna says. “We had a couple who needed rings fast, and they had ordered an engagement ring and bands. So it wasn’t a surprise, but they hadn’t really done any ceremony around the proposal. When they saw the rings, they said, ‘Can you excuse us for just a minute?’ And they went out in the hallway and came back with tears in their eyes. It was truly sweet.”
Many couples decide to pass on a complete surprise proposal and instead come into Bario Neal together to pick out an engagement ring or talk about custom designing a ring or wedding band. That doesn’t mean the process can’t have as much meaning and emotion. Lots of couples plan a whole fun day around their appointments. (We’ve got tips on planning a memorable engagement ring shopping appointment!)
Jewelry is, of course, part of the special life moments for Page and Anna too. Page got a new pinky ring that matches her Eternity Diamond Band to celebrate the birth of her daughter. Bario Neal’s new-this-year Keepsake Collection, engravable heirloom bangles for babies and children, echoes that family feeling. Anna and her husband add engravings to their wedding rings every couple years. She says her husband’s Milla Shoulder Hammered Wide Band is his most prized possession.
Going for Another Decade of Ethical Jewelry Design
Bario Neal fans should expect to watch their favorite jeweler keep breaking the rules and pushing jewelry design.
“We’ve worked hard to build a strong foundation,” Page says. “We have a fantastic staff right now. I am excited to see the business thrive and continue to grow with other people.”
Page and Anna want to keep collaborating with other artists, like they did recently when they teamed up with Xavier Schipani on a print to raise awareness about LGBTQIA issues in the wedding industry, and commissioned K-Fai to illustrate tips on jewelry care.
“It’s interesting to see other people interpret your work, to see it reflected through their eyes,” Anna says. “It shifts your perspective and that’s fascinating.”
As they’ve come up on this 10-year anniversary, Anna and Page have been exchanging old emails they sent to each other when they were starting the company — and laughing over their abbreviations and silly codes. Yes, there was some stress, they admit, but that was a motivator. At the end of the day, they say, they each had a perfect business partner.
“Anna is amazing at remaining calm and grounded and positive,” Page says.
“Page is so good at keeping us moving forward, reminding us when something seems really challenging, that all we have to do is try,” Anna says.
Marriage proposals can make even the most stiff-upper-lipped among us get a little tearyany time of year. The holiday proposal is special because December’s a time when many families gather and celebrate with traditions. After Australians’ historic vote last year to legalize gay marriage, the prime ministerset an “enact before Christmas!” deadline. Plus, who can resist twinkling lights, sugar cookies, and aCluster Diamond Ring? There are a few things to know about shopping for an engagement ring and popping the question at that time of the year, but with our holiday proposal guide, you’ll be able to come through on one of the eight days of Hanukkah or secure a permanent spot on Santa’s Nice List.
Finding the Right Engagement Ring
If you’ve been talking marriage, your partner has probably dropped a few hints about favorite ring designs or shared preferences with someone close to you both. (Check out our advice on buying a perfect engagement ring without your partner knowing.) Ask around—or just ask your partner directly. That’s totally fine! The proposal itself can still be a meaningful surprise if you’d like.
Before you visit aBario Neal showroom, try to get a sense of what ring styles and metal and gemstones your partner likes. Many clients fall in love with our classic solitaireAvens Princess Diamond Ring, butnot everyone dreams of awhite diamond engagement ring. Ask your partner about ring size so you’ll be able to slip the engagement ring on with the “Will you marry me?”—and keep it there. The closer you get to a perfect fit, the better. If you do need a resize, it will take a couple weeks (and sizing down more than one size may require extra time). Certain rings can’t be resized; see our listshere andhere or ask us during your appointment.
Proposing With THE Engagement Ring
If you have a good idea of what your partner wants in an engagement ring and want to pull off a holiday proposal,get in touch with us ASAP. We can work with you to make it special and advise you on lead times and planning. The run-up to the December holidays is one of our busiest times of year, and Bario Neal engagement rings are handcrafted to order. Typical turnaround times for our collection rings are on our website. Go to a specific ring, and click on “Lead Time & Returns” for details. OurNikko Diamond Ring, for example, takes about six weeks. Custom rings, like thisCustom 1 carat Cushion Cut Diamond Cluster Ring, take a minimum of eight weeks, and have no set lead time as we craft a one-of-a-kind ring just for your love. Rush orders are possible on collection items, for an additional fee, but if you’recustom-designing a one-of-a-kind engagement ring with us and won’t hit your deadline, you can always propose with a temporary ring! Read on for how to make that work in No. 3 below.
Proposing Without THE Engagement Ring
If you’ve worked with us to sketch out the perfect personalized engagement ring—but you didn’t leave enough time before the holidays for your custom order, that doesn’t mean coal in your stocking. We have pretty, simple in-stock rings you can get in a week or less to use as a placeholder for the proposal. OurReady Ring can be picked up from our Philadelphia location same day, or ordered online with shipping in two days. You can even return the Ready Ring with zero fees when your personalized ring is complete. The romantic Knottedrush Ring and delicateMilla Ultra Thin Band have very short lead times too, and can work as stand in’s while we finish your final ring.
Planning a Romantic Surprise Engagement Ring Appointment
If you’re thinking, “Buying an engagement ring is a huge decision so why wouldn’t I want my partner there with me?”you aren’t alone. Many of our clients choose to go engagement ring shopping together. Teamwork is romantic. There are still plenty of ways to elevate the outing above a Saturday to-do list and make the day extra special. Plan a day (here are tons of suggestions if you’re visiting our Philadelphia showroom) with a great meal before or after an appointment. For a surprise: Get your partner to our neighborhood in NYC or Philly, and then pop the question outside of our showroom—and let them know now’s the time for engagement ring shopping. We’ll be ready inside to make the visit fun and memorable for you both, just give us a heads up when you make the appointment!
Wrapping an Engagement Ring
Even if you don’t plan to get down on one knee and slowly open a box for a big engagement ring reveal, Bario Neal’s handcraftedporcelain jewelry boxes are a beautiful way to make a holiday proposal more special. We designed theseexclusive boxes ourselves, and they are hand cast by a small studio in Portland, Oregon. You’ll get extra credit for giving your partner a pretty place to store the engagement ring when necessary in the future. Remember: If you’re a planner who gets the ring well before the proposal, you’ll have to find a good, safe hiding place if you’re going for surprise.
Whatever the date on your calendar, if you’re thinking proposal, get in touch with us today to get all the details about our engagement rings. We’re happy to talk about lead times and guide you through what you’ll need to know, particularly for planning a holiday proposal. Advance planners andlast-minute shoppers alike can make the upcoming (really, it’s right around the corner!) season extra romantic this year.
You don’t need to be anInception-style hypnotist or master of the subtle hint to get an engagement ring you love. If you and your partner have decided to get married, or you’ve had enough conversations to know a proposal is coming soon, there are some easy next steps when it comes to picking out and buying a ring. Whether you’re after a did-not-see-that-coming shriek or you plan to low-key team up for a visit to the jewelry store, these eight engagement ring shopping tips will help make that big moment anxiety-free and unforgettable.
For a Total Surprise Proposal, Enlist an Engagement Ring Ally
If you or your partner are really hoping for a total surprise in the future, then tell a friend or relative all your preferences. We’ve had clients visit our showrooms with moms, dads, daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, cousins, and best friends. Hint: Your partner really wants to get this right. By clueing in someone close for “when the time comes,” you can lend your support in a roundabout way. Read on for the what/how on sharing details.
Make a Pinterest Board of Engagement Rings
When you think perfect solitaire engagement ring, does ourAvens Radiant Diamond Ringcome to mind? Then Pin It! It’s totally OK and normal to talk to your partner about the ring you might want, but sharing in this way can be a helpful way to jump into the process. Add pictures and links of ring designs that speak to you or capture you and your partner’s love. Inspiration will take shape. A Pinterest board is useful if you’re trying to work out what you like too. It’s totally OK if you don’t have a detailed pictured in your head of a dream engagement ring.
If you don’t want to be on hand for engagement ring choosing, email your Pinterest board to your partner—or to the Bario Neal team directly. We’ll tap into your behind-the-scenes help and find an engagement ring from our collections, or custom design one, that fits your style.
Email Subject Line: Engagement Rings
If you’re not into pinning, no worries. Share your ring ideas over an email to your partner (think of it as a kind of modern-day love letter), or someone your partner might turn to when planning an engagement ring surprise. Allengagement rings on our site have a button that allows you to send an email link easily. Even if you decide you’ll pick out your engagement ring together, browse rings on our website before visiting and share your favorites with the Bario Neal team so we can narrow down the choices at appointment time.
Take an Engagement Ring Scouting Trip
The internet’s a great place to start when you’re looking for an engagement ring, but there’s a big difference between buying ourKalmia Raw Diamond Ring and adding a pair of kicks to your Zappos cart. We believe that seeing rings up close and even slipping a few on, while talking to the Bario Neal team is super useful. (It’s also fun!) Make an appointment tovisit one of our showrooms, in New York or Philadelphia. Come solo, or with your partner, a friend, or a relative. (Plan a whole day out with thisguide to our Philadelphia neighborhood.)
If you can’t visit our Philadelphia or NYC showrooms: If you love Bario Neal’s jewelry designs but aren’t able to visit us, we’ll make long-distance engagement ring shopping feel really personalized. We successfully work with clients around the country (and world!), and they’re constantly expressing surprise at just how easy it is to get exactly what they want without ever stepping foot in our showrooms. We can model engagement rings and take photos and videos to share with remote clients upon request.
About shopping for an engagement ring with your partner: There’s varying degrees of surprise when it comes to marriage proposals. Some couples pick out or custom design an engagement ring together, but the actual question-popping is a surprise. Finding this special piece of jewelry as a couple can be quite romantic. Go with your instincts. We lovehow this Cosmopolitan writer put it: “Picking out and buying a ring together made me feel like a partner in a practice that has historically been a little sexist and one-sided. Having gone through it the way we did, there’s no other way I could have imagined it.” Plus, her husband-to-be still pulled off a totally unexpected proposal. At the end of your appointment, we’ll ask who we should include in email communications – and this is your opportunity to let us know if only one partner should be involved in the next steps!
Write Down Your Ring Size
Most rings can be resized, but if you know you’re not going to want to part with your engagement ring after the proposal and your partner is headed to the jeweler without you, make sure your ring size is public knowledge. Ask a jeweler to size your ring finger on a scouting trip (see No. 3 on this list), or DIY. There are several ways to figure out your ring size at home, but our favorite is using a ring you already wear. You can also buy inexpensive ring sizers on Amazon. Keep in mind that most folks do change their ring size at least once, so if you do need to change it up later, that’s totally normal.
Share Specific Engagement Ring Preferences
Some of us are choosier than others. If you aren’t a generalist when it comes to jewelry, make sure to get into the nitty-gritty details when creating your Pinterest board, emailing links, or giving the lowdown to a friend who’ll be your partner’s guide.
Metal color and finish: You’re probably a jumble of mixed signals if you go by what has collected in your jewelry box over the years. Your partner might not know rose gold from platinum, or matte from polish anyway. If you pin or email a link to a platinum ring because you like the gemstone setting, but you really want it in 14k yellow gold, make a note!
Gemstone type and shape: You might love lots of gemstone shapes, but when it comes to an engagement ring that you’ll wear every day, you probably have a more exacting look in mind. Ahelpful graphic on our Custom Design Questionnaire will help you (and your partner) sort princess from round from cushion. Pass along gemstone wishes too. Your partner can be forgiven if he assumes you want a white diamond because so much wedding ring marketing is about diamonds. If you most definitely are into color, like ourLash Solitaire Blue Sapphire Ring, make sure to telegraph that. Now’s also a good time to talk to family about or mention to your partner heirloom gemstones you’ve dreamed of incorporating into an engagement ring. We’ve crafted many personalized rings, like thisCustom Heirloom Emerald and Morganite Cluster Ring, using gemstones passed down through generations.
Jeweler: Love Bario Neal’s aesthetic? If you’re drawn to a small studio that designs and handcrafts jewelry like we do, that’s a great hint to drop. That way, you’re more likely to get a design that matches your taste and make the process easier for a partner shopping solo. If you care aboutethical and sustainable metal and gemstone sourcing, that’s an important tip to be clear about too.
Have That Budget Talk
Not only is it totally OK to talk about your ring designs with your partner, take this chance to talk money too. If you already have joint bank accounts and share your finances, this might even be necessary, because you’ll see the purchase. You’ll do your partner a favor by confirming that the cost of the ring is not what’s important. You don’t want your partner feeling societal pressure to spend a certain amount of money when the engagement ring that will make you happiest is ourAira Mini Diamond Ring. If you want a big standout gemstone but you thinklab-grown moissanite, like the ones in ourCustom Moissanite Linear Cluster Ring, is just as pretty as a diamond, that’s advice that will lead to your partner spending significantly less. Some couplesshare the cost of an engagement ring. Your budget is personal, and we work with budgets of all sizes! Whether your partner visits us without you or you’re fully part of the process, having a budget in mind will help keep a ring shopping appointment on track. We’re happy to talk budget and have no expectations. Those jewelry stores that give off the “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” vibe? That’s so not us.
Ask Your Partner: Hey, Do YOU Want an Engagement Ring?
There’s an icebreaker! One of the whole reasons Bario Neal exists is tochallenge the heteronormative stereotypes around jewelry and that definitely includes engagement rings. However you and your partner identify in terms of gender and sexuality, if you’re excited about finding and wearing wedding jewelry, feminine ormasculine, we’re thrilled to be a small part of your story. We don’t have a strict definition about what makes an engagement ring—or who might wear one. So before you load up that Pinterest board and start dropping hints about your ring size, ask your partner about wearing an engagement ring. Who knows? You might end up surprising each other.
Your proposal story, that first time you look at that engagement ring together, is personal and you write the rules. It doesn’t have to match a scene from a movie. Hopefully it will be one you’ll want to share with people you love. The most important thing: You and your partner get there without a lot of stress or outside expectations. And you end up with an engagement ring that’s meaningful and that you love.
While we’d never turn down a slice of layer cake, our favorite way to layer, no surprise, is stackable rings. In a simple pair or a tower of four, stacking rings shows off your style and personality. And with Bario Neal’s new Vibrant Collection, there are even more ways to mix and match gemstones and metals in a ring stack for any finger (all fingers?). To create these sapphire rings, we took already loved designs of many of our ethical rings and added new gemstones: blue sapphire, fuchsia sapphire, apricot sapphire, and yellow sapphire. (We had to work in white diamonds too.) Here, nine ideas for creatively piling them up.
Stackable Rings Idea #1
The Bend Fuchsia Sapphire Ring and a Reticulated Two Band (on index finger) make a strong duo. With just one special gemstone among them, there’s enough flair to make this a perfectly stackable wedding set. Organic and natural, this couple is like a favorite TV twosome who we never want to break up.
Stackable Rings Idea #2
Bring primary color vibes to your stackable rings with Aira Mini Blue Sapphire Ring and Reticulated One Yellow Sapphire Band (on ring finger). These delicate thin stacking rings prove that doubling up doesn’t have to mean a heavy look. Total alignment isn’t necessary in a ring stack. We love the openings created by pairing these shapely sapphire rings.
Stackable Rings Idea #3
The Vibrant Collection means more looks for this classic Bario Neal jewelry coupling: the Open Lash Ring and Ray Fringe Ring. Fuchsia is sometimes referred to as “magic pink,” and we definitely see something enchanting about layering these vivid fuchsia sapphire rings.
Stackable Rings Idea #4 and Stackable Rings Idea #5
Triple your sophistication with stackable bands in a single color like this set of Channel Narrow Blue Sapphire Band, Eternity Narrow Blue Sapphire Band, and Half Eternity Blue Sapphire Band. Although fully tracing melee stones (the smaller gemstones used in eternity bands) is atypical in the jewelry industry, Bario Neal works with trusted suppliers on sourcing to make sure we’re creating ethical rings for you. If a modern spin on “something blue” doesn’t grab you, this Vibrant Collection mix comes in fuchsia sapphire too.
Stackable Rings Idea #8 and Stackable Rings Idea #9
Part of the fun of stackable rings is pulling apart and putting together different rings to see what sparks you to smile or what goes with a different outfit or occasion. Take the above image of the towering stackable rings, for instance. Depending on the day or your mood, deconstruct higher ring stacks into tamer twosomes, like our Fishtail Fuchsia Sapphire Ring and Reticulated One Fuchsia Sapphire Band (first and second ring), or the Ray Fringe Fuchsia Sapphire Ring and Dais Narrow Fuchsia Sapphire Band (third and fourth ring). As pairs, these sapphire rings highlight how a contrast of metals works well in stacks, whether that’s putting a braided band with one that’s smoothly undulating or mixing up metal colors.
There’s something irresistibly individual about stacking rings. As our new Vibrant Collection came to life, we couldn’t resist sharing the inspiration for how to cleverly build with these sapphire rings. Shop all Bario Neal’s ethical rings today to create your own perfect stack.
Engagement rings have been lost and then foundwashed up on beaches, in thecrack of a sidewalk, and around at leasttwogarden carrots. One even turned up in anice bucket. We get why these stories make headlines. Engagement rings and wedding bands are such a meaningful purchase for couples, and the thought of losing or damaging your ring is pretty scary. You don’t have to bundle your hand in bubble wrap though. All you need is a few do’s and don’ts on ring care, and we’ve made the short list of tips memorable with help from incredibly talented illustrator K-Fai Steele. These beautiful drawings reflect the personal style that Bario Neal brings to custom jewelry. “At the end of the day, jewelry is about people and relationships, not about the individual pieces of gold,” K-Fai says. We totally agree.
Jewelry Care Tip #1 — Yes, sometimes you have to take your engagement ring off.
Your engagement ring or wedding band is likely designed for daily wear. (When you’re picking out your ring or working with us on a custom design, the Bario Neal team will talk about which ethically mined metals and gemstones best fit your lifestyle.) That said, protect a ring by taking it off when doing activities that could damage the metal and/or gemstones.
You will want to remove your ring when gardening (see “carrots,” above), doing the dishes, working out, rock climbing, and sailing. H2O lovers, note: There’s a reason you seemetal detectors on the beach. Rings easily slip off as fingers shrink in the water at the ocean (or in a swimming pool). We also recommend you take your engagement ring off while sleeping and before bathing (that water warning!).
To stow your wedding rings temporarily at home, put them in the same safe and secure spot every time. Don’t put your jewelry by the sink or within a child’s reach! (See ourSenna Tall Black Enamel Band andOctillo Studs resting easy in a dish on a high cabinet in illustration below.)
Jewelry Care Tip #2 — Cleaning your engagement ring is easy.
Wearing your ring every day means that it will get dirty and need a good cleaning. Do NOT use any kind of chemical cleaner. This can damage your ring. Most jewelry should be cleaned with a gentle little bath. Put a small amount of regular dish soap into a bowl of barely warm water, and soak for 5 minutes. Gently clean behind the settings and around the stones with a soft bristled toothbrush. Then wipe dry with a soft cloth. One strict exception: opals. If you have a piece like our Cluster Opal and Morganite Ring, remember that opals should never be submerged in water. (Just use a very soft brush dampened with warm, soapy water to wipe clean, and speak with us directly about a more thorough cleaning.)
You can bring your ring back to that brand-new look with a professional cleaning at Bario Neal too. If you take it to another jeweler for cleaning, be sure to give them the details on ALL the stones in your ring. This should ensure they won’t do any damage.
Jewelry Care Tip #3 — Get a checkup for your engagement ring.
We use our hands constantly, so daily wear and tear means you’ll need to put some love and repair into your ring. Don’t panic if you notice a loose stone in your engagement ring. Bumps to the ring can shift or loosen stones over time. Do have the stones checked for security annually.
If you lose a stone, see any damage, or find cracks in an enamel ring, get in touch with the Bario Neal team to have your ring spruced up. Definitely wear your rings with care—and don’t try to DIY!
Jewelry Care Tip #4 — Getting insurance for your wedding rings is a simple stress reliever.
Protect your purchase—and know that you’ll be covered even if your engagement ring gets knocked into a lakebecause you took it off to eat a big, juicy burger. (Errr, see Tip #1 above.) You can add your wedding rings to your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, or get a dedicated policy specific to jewelry. If you need additional paperwork, or want information on getting an appraisal, get in touch with the Bario Neal team.
Jewelry Care Tip #5 — Yes, you can refresh your scratched engagement ring.
Like you, your ring will change over time. The first place where this is noticeable is in the finish. Daily wear creates tiny scratches on the surface of the metal, giving every ring its own unique patina. High polish and matte finishes will all move toward a satin finish over time. If you’d like to refresh your finish for your wedding or another big event, get in touch with us!
Your wedding rings are special, and they should definitely bring more happiness than worry. Our engagement ring and wedding band clients stay part of the Bario Neal family. So if you’re ever concerned about jewelry care, please get in touch!
People have recognized the energy and healing powers of gemstones for thousands of years. A connection between that naturally formed mineral beauty and the zodiac’s four elements—fire, water, air, and earth—makes sense. So while Bario Neal works with plenty of clients on custom birthstone rings and similar jewelry gifts (gemstones matched to the month), we also love taking cues from the zodiac for our designs. We’re kicking off this series with the fire signs of the zodiac.
Each zodiac sign has complementary gemstones whose metaphysical properties mean enhancing and supporting the best self. The three fire signs—Leo, Aries, Sagittarius—are associated with strength, passion, and bravery. Here are three gemstones, along with jewelry designs, that can fuel those bright flames.
Gemstone for Leo: Tourmaline Jewelry (July 23 – August 22)
The folks atTarot.com recommendtourmaline for Leo because, they say, “it enhances compassion, happiness, and serenity.” Noting that Leo equals creativity, they add that, if you’re born in late summer, the stone acts as a muse and gives you a friendly push if your imagination is stuck.
Lucky fordrama-loving Leo, tourmaline comes in an inspiring multicolored palette, from black to green to pink, and there are plenty of ways to play when it comes to jewelry.
On a more delicate note, a recycled princess cut tourmaline added the perfect hint of pink to the mix in thisCluster Trillion Triad Ring (starts at $1,970). (Bario Neal often uses recycled gemstones, sourced from jewelry settings gone by, to create our eco-friendly jewelry.)
Gemstone for Aries: Diamond Jewelry (March 21 – April 19)
According to the metaphysicists at Tarot.com, the durable diamond shares everlasting strength with Aries. If your birthday is early spring, they say, diamonds can help drive you to your goals (youalready have a never-give-up attitude), and also support you in “attaining spiritual clarity and speaking your heart’s truth.”
Put aside any preconceived notions about diamonds only being for engagement rings or the most special of occasions. The Bario Neal team has loved working with clients who visit our showrooms or shop online to buy diamond jewelry for themselves. You don’t have to spend a bundle to tap into this gemstone’s power either.
There are two diamond necklaces, a diamond bracelet, and a stud pair of diamond earrings in our Lau Diamond Collection (starting at $368), which uses a channel setting and a semicircle shape for a design that’s reminiscent of an electric arc (energy) or a rainbow (those dreams you’re dreaming!). If you want to go full circle and a bit bolder, check out these Aira Studs ($195).
Gemstone for Sagittarius: Topaz Jewelry (November 22 – December 21)
Topaz, according to Basmati.com, a site that focuses on health and the environment, has Sagittarius energy. If you were born under this sign,writes Stasia Bliss, choose topaz for “increasing connection with soul truths, strengthening the body, healing any discord and simply finding peace and happiness within.” That influence makes sense when you learn that topazis also thought to stimulate honesty and straightforward communication.
Our Ceres Collection sings with truth, and we used blue topaz and white topaz for a few Ceres pieces. (Yep, theexplorer in you has color choices with this stone.)
These topaz, tourmaline, and diamond jewelry designs show off just a few of the ways Leo, Sagittarius, and Aries can keep a healing gemstone close. Shop our rings, earring, necklaces, bracelets, and custom jewelry for more. If you fall in love with another piece shown with some other stone, ask us about getting it made with your zodiac match, which we’ll ethically source. And check back with the Bario Neal blog in the future to see what gemstones work for Earth, Air, and Water. Heads up, Cancers, Scorpios, and Pisces: Check back with the Bario Neal blog in September, when we’ll cool things down a bit with our gemstones for water signs.
With all the romance of our favorite black-and-white movies (new andold), sparkly yet opaqueblack diamonds bring a high-contrast look to custom jewelry. We love this versatile gemstone for wedding bands, cocktail rings, and stacking rings. We’ve even been known to get all eyes widened and jaws dropped in awe of black diamond engagement rings.
For those reasons and more, Bario Neal is bringing black diamonds to some of our most popular ring designs this month. Clients can now shop the Aira Mini Black Diamond Ring, Bend Black Diamond Ring, Ray Black Diamond Ring, and more.
Black diamonds have the wearability of a white diamond but at bigger sizes are more accessibly priced. They might seem like the opposite of a champagne diamond or pink diamond, but they’re all part of the fancy colored diamonds family with all the durable properties.
Here are eight design ideas that show off our new black diamond ring collection and will inspirepersonalized rings too.
Black diamond engagement rings aren’t everywhere.
But maybe that’s exactly why you want one. A lot of our clients looking for a darker stone ask for a sapphire, but if you’re intrigued by black diamond jewelry, you should feel free to pick the gemstone that’s totally you. At Bario Neal, we love breaking tiredrules about wedding rings, and thisCustom Linear Diamond Ring with Black Eternity Band is proof that black diamond engagement rings can work so beautifully.
Stacking rings get personalized with black diamonds.
Picture cleanly and simply accessorizing your favorite black suit or dress.
Now take that style to jewelry with this oh-so-put-togetherCustom Linear Emerald Cluster Ring. Like every good basic in your closet, the black diamond seems like a staple in this ring — vital, not boring.
We source black diamonds like the one that refuses to be upstaged by a white or champagne diamond in thisCustom Three Stone Bouquet Ring from mines we trust in South America. (Gemstone fact: Most rough “black diamonds” start out as dark diamonds that are cut and irradiated to get a true black. The stones sit for a period of time after the process so they’re not radioactive when distributed.)
Black diamonds make for a nontraditional wedding band.
Clichéd OK, but still so meaningful when you look at thisCustom Rough Diamond, Garnet, and Black Diamond Ring. People frequently mix black diamonds with white diamonds, but this custom ring shows what you’re missing if you don’t invite other colorful gemstones to the cluster.
There’s no “wrong” metal for black diamonds.
You may think the gemstone adds a bit of mystery to a ring, but one decision is clear: Black diamonds shine in yellow gold, rose gold, platinum, and white gold.
“Black diamond jewelry might not be for everyone,” admits Genna Fischer, Bario Neal gemstone sourcing coordinator, “but, if black diamonds are for you, you just know.”
Engagements aren’t just a matter of the heart. Don’t get us wrong. We live for our clients’ stories about finding each other and falling in love. (Seriously, tell us more. You met how???) But getting married can be a think piece all in itself, and your head might quickly start to spin when you think about big decisions, like choosing an engagement ring. When you visit one ofour showrooms, in Philadelphia or New York City, to look at engagement rings, expect to have fun. But we’re also ready to answer serious questions about ethics, sustainability, and sourcing that you might have as you choose the right gemstone for you.
Diamonds are the most popular choice for engagement rings, but there are two other lovely colorless gemstones you can also consider: moissanite and white sapphire. We’ve made unique engagement rings using all three. Each can work for a couple who’s thinking about how communities and the environment are impacted by gemstone mining.
Moissanite is a colorless gemstone that is produced in a lab, so there’s no new mining involved.
For many Bario Neal diamond engagement rings, we usereclaimed diamonds. These are stones previously set in other jewelry, and buying reclaimed is the eco-friendliest choice. Not only do you avoid more mining, you’re not tapping into the energy involved in lab manufacturing either.
We source our white sapphires from afamily-run sapphire mine in Sri Lanka that works on a small scale and strives to have a light environmental footprint. If you buy a white sapphire engagement ring, you’re supporting ethical small business owners and in turn their community’s economy. Mining means jobs for the miners and financial stability.
You’ll want to make the decision that feels like a fit for you, and when you visit our Philadelphia or New York City showroom, we’re happy to help you find an engagement ring gemstone that works for your heart and head. To start, here’s more on these three gemstones along with some design inspiration.
Moissanite Engagement Rings
Even if chemistry class made you yawn, it’s impossible to not be intrigued by a gemstone growing in a lab. Moissanite is actually a natural mineral, silicon carbide, though it’s rarely found in nature anymore. A chemist, Henri Moissan, is credited with first identifying it — at the site of a meteor strike in Arizona in 1893. In the 1990s, some scientists (who probably did not fall asleep in front of their Bunsen burners in high school) figured out a way to produce the silicon carbide crystals that Moissan, when he first saw them, thought were diamonds. North Carolina-basedCharles & Colvard filed a patent and started growing moissanite in a lab and selling the stones as an accessibly priced alternative to white diamonds. The company is Bario Neal’s source for moissanite today.
If there’s a giant stone in the perfect custom engagement ring design you have in your head, and budget is top of mind, a moissanite could be your go-to at about half the price of white diamonds. (A half carat diamond ring in a four-prong setting at Bario Neal retails for around $3,000. The same jewelry with a moissanite would start around $1,750.)
That accessibility has inspired some truly inventive collaborations with Bario Neal clients over the years, as you can see in thisCustom Moissanite Cluster Ring. If you’re ready to swear those are diamonds in that ring, well, you’ve got good company.
“Most people can’t tell a difference between a diamond and a moissanite,” says Genna Fischer, Bario Neal gemstone sourcing coordinator.
At larger sizes, moissanite does tend to throw off rainbow vibes when sparkling, whereas a white diamond has a truer white/silver sparkle. Moissanite is nearly as hard as diamonds (at 9.5 on the Mohs hardness scale vs. a diamond’s 10) so they’re completely durable for a daily wear ring. If you’re passing on diamonds altogether but want smaller stones in your wedding band or encircling your center stone, moissanite comes in tiny melee sizes too.
Diamonds have been the stars of engagement rings for decades and big marketing bucks go into generating a mystique around them, but we think moissanite has its own story to tell as unique-to-the-lab stones.
Two Bario Neal clients who happened to be scientists agreed. As a nod to their shared profession, they chose moissanite for this Custom Moissanite Linear Cluster Ring. Catalyst Wedding Co.called the engagement ring “seriously one of the coolest ideas we have heard.”
White Sapphire Engagement Rings
Sapphires are most famous in blue, but a white sapphire is another tempting and colorless gemstone for engagement rings, especially if you want a white diamond look without the diamond.
“White sapphires tend to have a bit more of a gray-blue undertone than a diamond, and you can see that,” Genna says. “A white sapphire looks different from a diamond or a moissanite. It’s its own thing. It’s more understated.”
Like moissanite, white sapphires are also more accessibly priced than white diamonds. They bring a less fiery but no less inviting look to an engagement ring, such as our Nikko Pear White Sapphire Ring.
“White sapphires don’t have the across-the-room flare of diamonds, which make them a budget-friendly option for someone who wants a colorless gemstone that’s subtler and less sparkly,” Genna says.
Diamond Engagement Rings
By using reclaimed white diamonds, heirloom diamonds, and Canadian-mined white diamonds, Bario Neal maintains high standards about ethics and sourcing and gives our clients plenty of diamond engagement ring choices.
Our Quince Diamond Ring might not look guilt-free, but it is — right down to the tiny diamonds in the halo. Many jewelers can’t assure that such small stones, called melee, are ethically sourced, but Bario Neal makes sure ours are 100 percent traceable and ethical. (For a complete takedown of diamond myths, check out our helpful guide todiamond facts.)
If you’re looking for a trueantique cut in a reclaimed gemstone, look to diamonds. The 1990s-born moissanite and more newly popular white sapphires come primarily in modern-day cuts.
Raw Diamond Engagement Rings
Raw diamonds bring a more rugged or natural look to an engagement ring. While you might be well aware of the harm that mining can bring to people and the environment, there’s, unfortunately, room for abuse in the processing of stones too. Unfair labor practices are connected to cutting and polishing diamonds in many places. Bario Neal’s ethical jewelry standards mean that we fully trace our gemstones as they make their way to us, so if you’re buying from us, you can trust that’s not the case for your engagement ring. Still, raw diamonds have their own aesthetic appeal, and their shape and appearance open up different setting designs with a natural glimmer.
We know you’ve got the heart part of this engagement ring business down. We’re here to help you sort through details like gemstones and metals and design — and ethical sourcing and sustainability. Get started by filling out ourcustom design questionnaire or by making an appointment tovisit us (remember: first-date stories welcome!) in our Philadelphia or New York City showroom today.
The gemstone is a spectacular alternative to a colorless (aka white) diamond, is at home set in all types of metals, and looks lovely next to othercolored stones too.
When it comes to wear, champagne diamonds are just as durable and hard as colorless diamonds. Just like other fancy color diamonds, they are diamonds — 99.95% carbon. Colorless diamonds are graded for their lack of color, with the most colorless being the most expensive. But as the grade gets lower, noticeable color tones show — typically in yellow, gray or, you guessed it, “champagne.”
“Champagne diamond is referring to a pale brown essentially,” says Genna Fischer, Bario Neal gemstone sourcing coordinator. “We typically use C2 to C4 gemological grading for champagne diamonds. The scale goes C1 to C8, with C7 and C8 being more cognac.” Though you can create color in diamonds with various treatments, Bario Neal’s champagne diamonds come by their color naturally thanks to trace elements during formation.
“Champagne” and “cognac” are marketing speak of course. “My pale brown diamond” doesn’t exactly dance off the tongue. If you’ve ever bought paint for your home, you’ll recognize that kind of (usually ridiculous) color branding. Who hasn’t painted their home “Chantilly Lace,” “Shoji,” or “Ultra Pure” to only realize that their walls are white. Just white. The champagne diamond marketing terms were coined in the 1980s by an Australian mine that’s also the source of Bario Neal’s traceable, ethical champagne diamonds.
Frankly, we don’t need the sales pitch. Whatever you call the color, we love champagne diamonds because they have the sparkle of a colorless diamond while being more of an easy neutral. So do many of our clients who want a gemstone with an effortless subtlety. “A really bright, sparkly colorless diamond, you can see that across the room,” Fischer says. “A champagne diamond has that sparkle and that fire without being blinding.”
Here are 8 great reasons to choose champagne diamonds
Champagne diamonds, at larger sizes, are more affordable than colorless diamonds.
Champagne diamonds at Bario Neal are ethically sourced and traceable. We have a longstanding relationship with an Australian mine. Larger champagne diamonds come with a certification verifying they were mined and cut responsibly in Australia. Clients who have ties to the country get an even more personal story with the gemstone too. (P.S. If you want a ring or band with a recycled gemstone, champagne diamonds can be tougher to find because they haven’t been as popular in the past and there’s just not as many antique jewelry pieces to pull stones from as there are with colorless diamonds. But it’s not impossible — just ask!)
Champagne diamonds don’t carry the “perfection assumptions” that add pressure to shopping for colorless diamonds. “There’s plenty of room for all types of champagne diamonds. The ‘lighter’ isn’t necessarily the ‘more valuable,’” Fischer says.
Champagne diamonds pair well with any metal color. In a yellow gold, they have an antique feel. In a rose gold, they take on more of a pink undertone. In platinum, they take on cooler notes and look more modern.
Champagne diamonds are fun. “Clients have asked for their ring to look like sparkling rosé, and I’ve put a champagne diamond in rose gold. It’s exactly what you would think of,” Fischer says.
Champagne diamonds mix well with other gemstone colors too. “I’m struggling to think of something I would not put champagne diamonds with,” Fischer says. “It’s as versatile as the colorless diamond.”
Champagne diamonds easily stand alone as a stunning center stone in a ring. They can be any shape or size you want.
Melee champagne diamonds, smaller accent stones, work beautifully in rings and bands (and, in fact, are already shining in many Bario Neal designs).
We’re happy to see the sometimes underappreciated champagne diamond finally getting more attention. If you make Fischer pick a favorite, she says she’d go with the Open Lash Champagne Diamond Ring. “It’s both a ring and a band. It can be worn on its own very nicely, but it fits around and with many solitaire or multi-stone engagement rings very well.”