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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Jeweler’s Row

By Emily on June 8, 2012 at 12:30 pm

We work with craftspeople on Philadelphia’s historic Jeweler’s Row to hand-make many of our pieces.  Composed of nearly 300 small, family-owned businesses, Jeweler’s Row is home to the oldest jewelry district in America (est. 1851) and continues to thrive as a creative and manufacturing hub in the industry. Jeweler’s Row is on the block of Sansom Street between 7th and 8th, just a short walk from our Philadelphia shop.

In addition to being the oldest jewelry district in America, Jeweler’s Row is also the site of the first row homes built in the US. Architect Thomas Carstairs designed the row homes of what’s now Jeweler’s Row for the developer William Sansom, around 1799-1829.  Formerly known as Carstairs Row, the row was one of the first housing developments in the US. Unlike previous row housing that featured varying heights, widths and brickwork among the structures, Carstairs purchased the entire block and built 22 uniform buildings.[1] Today, the block has several jewelry stores as well as workshops and has been greatly modified over the years, but retains some of its historic feel with a cobblestone street and some original brickwork.[2]

We work with several jewelers from the row including casters, enamellists, engravers and stone setters. Many of these businesses have been around for decades and been passed down for generations, creating a vast network of experience and expertise in specialized jewelry crafts.

 The casting company we work with is a local, family-owned business that has been in business for over 26 years. They work with recycled metal from a local refinery and they do all of their own casting and molding at their shop on Jeweler’s Row.

 Our enamellist has worked in fine jewelry enamel and decorative metalwork for over 25 years. Also located on Jeweler’s Row, she works on trade-based jewelry as well as custom work and antique restoration.[3]

For our hand engravings, we work with two wonderful engravers on Jeweler’s Row, Pat and Charlie. Pat’s grandfather started the family business in the 1930’s and the company is 3 generations old. Charlie is a WWII veteran who came back from the war and wanted to be a jewelry designer. At the time, there were very few jewelry schools, and the industry was even more of a family business than it is now. Charlie attended the now-defunct Philadelphia Engraving school on the GI bill and has been engraving ever since. When engraving a piece, we bring either a drawing or written text to Pat or Charlie. All of the engraving is done by hand with careful precision.

 We also work with a number of craftspeople who specialize in stone setting and/or engraving but also help us with resizing, laser soldering, and repair work on heirloom jewelry. Jewelers’ Row is an important part of our work at Bario-Neal. It allows us to support a strong local craft and manufacturing community and to learn from the experience and mentorship of experts in our field.