Behind the Ring: White Sapphire and Diamond Alternatives

By Constance on November 7, 2017 at 10:47 am

Feeling a little put off by the pressure surrounding engagement rings and weddings in general? Believe it or not, we’re actually with you. Most of the mainstream marketing systems and tactics to date are not good for women, men, marginalized peoples, nor the collective future we want to see. Combine two giant, problematic industries — fine jewelry and weddings — and you get a monoculture largely incongruent with everything we stand for.

In this article, we’ll challenge the assumption that diamonds are synonymous with proposals and explore a natural diamond-alternative: the White Sapphire.

 

 

Bario Neal White Sapphire Illustration

 

 

Diamonds were first seen in India in the 4th century BC, but scientists believe these magical pieces of earth dust formed around 3-4 billion years ago. Used for thousands of years for human decoration, tools, and trade, this ancient mineral is one of the hardest known materials in the world. But how the diamond became de rigueur for a modern betrothal is a tale of good old-fashioned “late capitalism.”

 

Bario Neal White Sapphire Rings

Our commitment to unite design and values demands that we make only what truly exemplifies our mission and integrity.

 

In the 1930s and 40s, diamond supplies were plentiful, sales were down, and one company, De Beers, controlled the market. The era’s leading advertising agency, N.W. Ayer, coined the slogan, “A diamond is forever”, plastering it everywhere. This “slogan of the century” is the reason that diamonds are now considered the only choice for an engagement ring. The ad campaign squarely hit its target market of arguably repressed, middle-class women, and the diamond engagement ring industry was born. Then, in the 1980s, they “struck gold” again with a template for how big your diamond should be according to your social status, thereby introducing the two months’ salary concept. Fast forward to today, and the trend shows no sign of stopping; nearly 80% of engagement rings sold contain diamonds.

 

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A highly gendered and status-focused De Beers Diamond Engagement Ring Ad from 2001:  “When you’ve found the woman of your dreams, give her the diamond of her dreams. Two months’ salary guideline helps you find a diamond of quality, brilliance and breath-taking beauty.”

 

There you have it: a carefully manufactured tactic to create market authority and demand, promoting conventional femininity, sexuality, classism, wealth, and social status — and we haven’t even begun talking about the well-documented, true price of blood diamonds.

 

All that being said, like us, you still love jewelry, engagement rings, and you really care about doing the whole wedding thing — but in a way that actually represents who you are. Maybe you also like the look of a colorless center stone, but you are feeling unsure about a diamond for all of the above reasons.


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Rest assured –  we never, ever use conflict diamonds and strive for the utmost traceability. We do have diamonds to be proud of.

 

But you’re wondering, are there other options out there for a long-wearing, heirloom-quality, clear gemstone? Yes. Most people don’t know all that much about the origins of these incredible, world-changing, milestone-marking molecules, so let’s take a dive into explaining the Sapphire.

 

Sri Lankan White Sapphires

Our Sri Lankan White Sapphires in three distinct cuts: Oval, Pear, and Half-Moon.

 

Sapphires are one of the “cardinal stones” (amethyst, ruby, emerald, and diamonds make up the others), gemstones that have traditionally been considered precious above all others; and are second only to diamonds on the hardness scale. Though they are known for being blue, sapphires actually come in all colors. Fun fact: the Ruby is actually a Sapphire! If we lost you, it’s because Sapphires and Rubies are both made of the same material, known by a way less cool name: Corundum. Sapphires of any color and Rubies, which are also Corundum, get their color from chemical impurities. Rubies are red because they contain chromium. They must contain at least 1% chromium to exhibit a deep red color, and if the chromium content is lower, the stones are lighter and are classed as Pink Sapphires. If traces of titanium are also present, the stone will have a more purple hue, although attempts are sometimes made to reduce this effect via heat treatment. Blue Sapphires are blue because of a mixture of iron and titanium; if only iron is present, the stone will be a pale yellow color. Only 0.01% of iron and titanium needs to be present for a stone to be blue, which is a small amount when compared to the 1% chromium required for deep red rubies. The type of Corundum that is free from impurities is colorless or ‘white,’ so a white sapphire is Corundum in its most pure and rare form.

 

Bario Neal White Sapphire Rings

The Trillion, Trillion Dyad, Half-moon and Half-moon Dyad white sapphire rings.

 

So there you have it, white sapphire is the most natural, hard, rare gemstone second only to diamonds. Though not imbued with the same properties or “fire” as a diamond, they are more affordable and are therefore more attainable in larger stone sizes with pristine clarity that can be designed with custom cuts.

 

Bario Neal White Sapphire Illustration by Tessa Kennedy

White sapphires don’t come with all the trappings of diamonds and can be a conversation-starter with a unique story.

 

But that’s not all. There are more reasons for why we are so excited about White Sapphires! Bario Neal has the maxim–  4 C’s & an “S” or the Source. For us, a perfect gem needs a perfect source, and we are pretty proud of this one. Choosing one of our white sapphires directly supports an artisanal, family-run mine in Sri Lanka.

 

Bario Neal has the maxim–  4 C’s & an “S” or the Source.

 

Sri Lankan White Sapphires

Sri Lanka’s gem industry has a long and colorful history. The South Asian Island, once called Ratna-Dweepa, or “Gem Island,” was called “Ceylon” under British colonial rule until 1972, a term now synonymous with sapphires.

 

All of our natural, high clarity white, pink, yellow, apricot, and a variety of blue sapphires are extracted and cut by an artisanal, family operation that helps to protect the ecosystem of this island paradise. Here, the father, though older, still participates in this three-generation operation, that started 60 years ago on his grandfather’s land. So how does this differ from a Diamond mine?

 

“Diamond mining, for the most part, is on a giant scale, creating huge pits in the earth, using large-scale machinery, with a huge environmental impact. This type of small-scale mining, however, removes the precious gems using a combination of hand tools and small machinery, creating minimal environmental impact.” –Kerin Jacobs of The Raw Stone

 

Since only a very small area of earth is removed, making an environmental impact that is usually smaller than the footprint of the average US home per year. No heavy machinery is involved, so there are no emissions, no fuel usage, and no noise pollution. No suction machines are used, as these can cause instability of river banks.

 

Instead of being run by a far-away shadowy company, operating on borrowed indigenous land, these owners are involved in all aspects of the mine’s daily operations and have a vested interest in keeping the methods sustainable– their future depends on it. Because they are licensed by the government, yearly inspections ensure everyone is using up-to-date equipment in a clean, safe environment.

 

Cutting White Sapphire Half Moons at the Sri Lankan Mine Photo Courtesy of Kerin Jacobs The Raw Stone

Cutting White Sapphire Half Moons at the Sri Lankan mine. Photo Courtesy of Kerin Jacobs/The Raw Stone

 

Plus, all cutting and polishing are done on-site at the mine, eliminating outsourcing to a cutting facility where human rights abuses often occur. Human rights abuses can include forced labor, child labor, forced child labor, poor hygiene at busy sites, poor and dangerous working conditions, low pay, indentured labor, violence and intimidation, and removal of local people from the area. Keeping things in-house also allows for custom-cuts and design right at the mine despite being thousands of miles away! Orders are placed and conducted over video, meaning the supply chain for these magical gemstones go beyond current “mine to market” standards. We have gorgeous custom cuts in magical, gleaming shapes – that are born out of our relationship with our source in Sri Lanka.

 

Though it might never end up as the slogan of the century, we think you will be pretty stoked to say, “Actually that’s a White Sapphire.” Stay tuned for our upcoming in-depth interview with Kerin Jacobs of The Raw Stone and shop our White Sapphire Collection.

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A New Signature Setting: The Lash Collection

By Constance on September 27, 2017 at 12:17 pm

In an ode to playful minimalism, we’ve re-imagined The Lash into a new collection featuring ethical Diamonds, Sapphires, Garnets and Andalusite. These bright and colorful gems shine when showcased in our subtly asymmetric, surrealistic, signature setting. An instant classic for modern celebrations calling for equally expressive, interesting jewelry.

 

New Bario Neal Lash Collection Featuring Ethical Diamonds, Sapphire and Garnets
This season, we refined and evolved the Lash into a shiny fleet of endearing, enduring options.

With a wink and a nod, the Lash setting debuted last year with our simple studs. Created to showcase our collection of ethically-sourced Emeralds, Andalusite, Champagne Diamonds and Iolite, with a twist– moving beyond an ordinary setting. The Lash’s unexpected, balanced asymmetry shines as a solitaire, grouped into a linear design or mixed with other settings for a brilliant cluster.

“The Lash setting grew out of a desire to move beyond the classic prong or bezel settings and to innovate with something that plays to BN’s proclivity for balanced asymmetry.” -Anna Bario, Designer and Co-founder

The story behind the collection’s origin matches the luster of these incredible gems. We’ll begin our new favorites for wedding season– Lash Dyad, Triad and Linear Cluster rings feature ethically sourced, neutral-toned gemstones in fresh, energetic combinations. These sparkling jewels, harvested from beautiful locales with the utmost care and intent are ready to ride high as you as you toast to your new forever.

 

New Bario Neal Lash Collection Featuring Ethical Diamonds, Sapphire and Andalusite

Our Lash dyad, Triad and Linear Cluster rings include Champagne diamonds from Australia, Half moon Sapphires from Sri Lanka and Andalusite from Madagascar.

 

Kimberley in Western Australia was once so abundant in diamonds that it is the only location in the world where Ant Hill Diamonds have been observed. (Yes, diamonds were once mined by ants!) After these early discoveries and prospecting, a human-sized mining operation was installed and today the Argyle diamond mine is famous for producing the most prized diamonds in the world.

 

 

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Known the world over for its unique pink and red diamonds, the mine produces many shades, including the champagnes we use in our Lash Diamond Cluster Ring.

 

The Argyle mine is close to the end of its commercial life, due to close in 2020, the diamonds produced from the mine are bound to become even more prized and valuable. Because the mine is in one of the world’s richest, most developed nations, it is subject to strict working and environmental standards and regulations. Traditional families and elders retain genuine control and empowerment over the exploration and development process, with the future of the land always in mind. As of 2011, all mines in Australia must follow a mine rehabilitation program for creating another use for the area when mining has ceased.

As for our other sparkler, Sri Lankan White Sapphire, we did a deep-dive into the story of the Sri-Lankan white sapphire in a recent feature with Catalyst Wedding Co. In a nutshell, these are the most-diamondy-diamond-alternatives you can get straight from the earth and cut into these cool half-moon shapes, with close to no environmental impact.

 
New Bario Neal Lash Collection Featuring Ethical Diamonds, Sapphire and Andalusite

We use Pleochroic Andalusite from Madagascar for its hues of red and green, sourced from an ethical jewelry pioneer who spent time in Sierra Leone developing a traceable diamond supply chain.

 

We segue from the diamonds once mined by ants, to the only gemstone still mined by those cute, tiny workers– Ant Hill Garnets. As the name suggests, these garnets from the Navajo Nation are brought to the surface by ants building new colonies. The ants dig out the stones, carry them to the surface and then deposit them at the top of their ant hills. They are then washed down to the bottom of the pile and cleaned by rainwater, ready to be collected by Navajo gem hunters. Generally small in size, because the ants dig around the bigger stones and leave them put, ant hill garnets are rarely more than 1ct in size when cut.

 

Ant Hill Garnets

Our new Lash Linear Garnet, Lash Solitaire Garnet and Garnet Cluster Rings feature Arizona’s Ant hill garnets.

 

While we can’t vouch for the working conditions of the ants involved in this process, (we assume most colonies enforce rigorous health and safety protocols and workers are paid fairly) we are able to tell you exactly how these stones make it from the moment they are collected to when they are set here in our studio.

Being from inside the US, the stones are free from any issues surrounding conflict minerals and you won’t find a more environmentally friendly, less invasive mining process. We source our Arizona Ant Hill garnets from a true innovator in the field of ethical gemstone sourcing and production. Once collected by the Navajo the stones are sold to gemstone cutters and polishers, otherwise known as lapidarists, to be prepared for the jewelry market.

 

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Meet our new Signature Sapphire Solitaire- it plays well with everything and can be personalized with almost any gemstone!

 

Another gem proudly mined in the USA features in our new signature solitaire, the Lash Blue Sapphire Ring. Discovered by gold prospectors 150 years ago, these Sapphires are a sought after dark blue from Rock Creek, Montana. We adore working with different sapphire colors and shades, Montana is such an exciting ethical source, given it has the widest variety of color of sapphire anywhere on earth.
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Our Lash collection is colorful, playful, minimal and classic. Have fun mixing and matching it up!

 

In addition to being designed as suites or companions, the Lash Collection is designed to show off almost any of our ethical gemstones. Want to create a Lash Diamond Solitaire, a Blue Sapphire Lash Dyad Cluster or an Lash Linear Emerald Ring? Just fill out our Custom Design Questionnaire with your idea for Personalization and we’ll get back to you right away. If you see something you know someone in your life will love, don’t delay– we make everything by hand, so be sure to place your Holiday orders by November 15th and the deadline to create a Custom ring is October 15th.

United by Design: The Ceremony Collection

By Constance on September 19, 2017 at 2:51 pm

Jewelry is essential, sentimental and timeless. Sentiments like love and equality don’t change with the seasons or fall in and out of fashion. Our commitment to unite design and values demands that we make only what truly exemplifies our mission and integrity.

 

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Introducing our Fall 2017 Collection, Ceremony, the perfect marriage of design and values.

 

Much of the fashion cycle is a commercial one, driven by markets not creatives (and let’s face it, from an ecological standpoint, there’s already too much stuff in the world.) But we think it’s possible to be both visible and accountable– to make exciting things to wear that will last, and do it responsibly. Our newest, largest collection to date connects the dots between design and social outcomes by striving for beauty that’s for everyone, change-making and lasting.

 

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We designed our Ceremony Collection thoughtfully and to last. 

 

Like all contemporary craft, the alchemy of creating heirloom jewelry is both studied and spontaneous, collaborative and creative. This year’s design cycle gave us a chance to improve on our classics, experiment with new looks, and modernize ancient techniques.

 

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Our new Enamel Halo Ring awaits its next steps on the jeweler’s bench. 

 

We use a collaborative design approach, first assessing what gaps we can fill in our permanent collections, and how to use materials and resources wisely. After months of intense research and sketching, we then create waxes by hand or printed from CAD. Then a prototype is made and tested, often resulting in many iterations. Each design is either made to showcase our catalog of striking, strictly-sourced gemstones– or in some cases, drives innovation when we cannot source what we need.

 

“We design first, though with ethical sourcing in mind, and then look for the most responsible materials available. Often this leads to custom cutting stones like our baguette diamonds or half-moon and trillion white sapphires. There are some processes and materials we simply won’t use, and we have to build in much more time to our design process in order to source (or create), the right raw materials.” -Anna Bario, Designer and Co-founder

 

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Bario Neal has a maxim for our gemstones–  4 C’s & an “S” or the Source.

 

Another place where the process gets serious about innovation is our mission to design for everyone. One of our solutions this season is the Icon band set. These modular pieces are a genderless way for both partners to get in on the fun of celebrating engagement, wedding and anniversary with a stack, or to match one another with a simple twist.

 

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Our new Icon Band set: modern, sculptural style for any gender.

 

More and more of our customers are choosing engagement rings to pair with a wedding band for both partners. We designed our new Icon Narrow Band and Icon Wide Band One and Icon Wide Band Two with this in mind. Partners can each wear one from the set, or combine two or more to signify engagement and marriage –  or just for a gorgeous stack. – Sarah Maltais, Design Administrator.

 

Though engineered to stack perfectly with collection of companions, each piece is unique in its variation, reflecting the handcrafted nature of production. The result is an earthy and organic creative process. A splash of experimental color or a subtly asymmetric, surrealistic setting might elevate a style to folk-inspired, postmodern fantasy. We think it’s creative kismet– some things are just meant to be.

 

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Subtle, asymmetric design meets creative, colorful gemstone combinations in a postmodern fantasy.

 

The union of chance and materiality perfectly describes the process for the ethereal, ancient art of enamel. To realize our signature pieces, we work with an experienced artist and one of the first women to work on Historic Jeweler’s Row. Part art, part science, the look of each drop of color is as important to us as the form.

 

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New Enamel: An ancient art gets a modern update in the Ceremony Collection.

 

Like a ceramicist searching for the perfect glaze, our enamelist experiments with a cabinet of potions to create the colors, which react to each metal differently when fired. Once the chemical combination is perfect, forming the exact shade also depends on the translucent suspension of colored glass over. Then, like the metal itself, the molten liquid becomes a solid as the glass flows into our grooved, organic forms, reflecting light under the surface like a pool of water.

 

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Our enamelist is one of the first women to work on Historic Jeweler’s Row

Sometimes the synergy of a collaboration with one of our clients inspires a very exciting collection piece, like our Hex Icon Ring. When approached with an heirloom oval diamond that wouldn’t work in a conventional ‘band’, and an irregularly shaped engagement ring that the new ring needed to complement, Anna knew it was the perfect match for some recently sourced, unique hex cut diamonds. The nearly triangular hex cuts and the oval diamond pair harmoniously in this architectural framing ring.

 

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A new frame of mind: our new Hex Icon Ring stacks perfectly with the new Lash Sapphire Solitaire and Fringe Diamond Cluster Rings.

 

These opportunities to design year-round, inform and enhance our collection. We’re proud of our fluidity– a custom design transforming into a collection piece– and a future collaboration via your personalizations. In addition to being designed as suites or companions, most of our collection interacts with an array of gemstone options we urge you to explore.

We view the ring as an iconic symbol of eternity, devotion and equality. Consider these rings your muses, and these ancient gems and reclaimed metals your canvas.

The New Ceremony Collection is now available online and in all Bario Neal locations.

 

 

Positive Design, Perfect Packaging

By Constance on July 6, 2017 at 2:11 pm

The power of positive energy is a core company belief– infusing every one of our handmade items with thoughtful, responsible intent. Naturally, our packaging design will follow suit.

 

Bario Neal Packaging Porcelain Box

We strive for our beliefs to shine as bright as the ethical diamonds in our Diamond Cluster Ring.

 

We want the protection offered to our meticulously crafted, handmade jewelry to be every bit as conscious of a positive impact as our pieces. That’s why we are so excited to announce a new way to present and display our finest, modern heirlooms. Our exciting new exclusive porcelain boxes are hand cast by a small studio in Portland, Oregon, and arrive enclosed in our signature paper box.

Designed right here in our Philadelphia studio, each handmade box fits one ring or pair of earrings. The fine, white porcelain box and display is stamped with a subtle Bario Neal logo, indicating that every one houses an object of lasting value, with minimal environmental impact.

 

Bario Neal Packaging Porcelain Box

Contemporary craft and a positive ethos are at the core of every Bario Neal design.

 

The reveal of an engagement ring or special gift is a big moment and carries with it a lasting story. We think this beautiful, minimal box adds a tactile and thoughtful touch to make the memory perfect. And because we care about the future, our positive design ensures that story will continue to live on as an heirloom and home for your beautiful, one of kind jewelry.

 

Bario Neal Packaging Porcelain Box

Our handmade enclosure protects your jewelry, through shipping and reveal, to everyday use and display. 

 

If you choose not to purchase the porcelain box, you will still find your item perfectly packaged in our new signature paper box– also thoughtfully designed for minimal environmental impact and manufactured in the U.S.A.

 

Our signature paper boxes are made in North Carolina from recycled materials.

Our signature paper boxes are made in North Carolina from recycled materials.

 

It was no small feat to find a domestic, small-scale eco-friendly manufacturer of paper packaging. We’re happy to say our signature paper boxes are made in North Carolina with eco-friendly, recycled paper by a small manufacturer. Also, though most are manufactured overseas, we found small businesses in Massachusetts and Rhode Island to make the fabric, foam, and paper that goes inside our boxes. These may seem like small details, but it matters to us.

Shop our new Porcelain Box here or add it to any Bario Neal piece in our “Packaging” section, when building your item.

 

Jessica Hans x Bario Neal Ceramic Jewelry Displays

By Constance on June 13, 2017 at 4:36 pm

At first glance, Sterling Ruby’s ceramic dishes, stucco interiors, ice cream sandwiches and alien landscapes might not have much in common, but just a glimpse of our new collab with Philadelphia ceramic artist Jessica Hans shows how a creative mind-meld can be forged into real life, far-out forms.

 

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The Jessica Hans x Bario Neal Tendril Vase and Wall Sculpture

 

Elemental and experimental describes Jessica’s approach with texture, pattern, and color. Her functional sculptures juxtapose earthy, raw materials with complexity and lightness. When not exhibiting her work nationally and internationally, Jessica often takes her experimenting one further by collaborating with designers she admires.

Our jewelry, similarly, is impeccably handcrafted and minimal, yet embraces the organic. This series of ceramic jewelry holders, created exclusively for Bario Neal, are the perfect complement to our tiny pieces of wearable art.

 

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Space Desert Dish with an array of Bario Neal earrings, including the Strata collab

 

Jessica met Anna and Page through former Bario Neal staffer and gallery director, Elyse Derosia, while “making some funny ceramic beads” in 2012. Elyse thought there might be a possibility for a collaboration of some sort which turned into the celebrated ceramic stud earring project, Strata, launched in 2014. The Strata collab has proven to be a staple in our collection, embodying our playful, imaginative spirit through its colorful, interchangeable, stackable design.

 

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The Jessica Hans Tendril Vase holds Bario Neal’s Circ Hoops.

 

“When Anna asked me to make some new jewelry dishes and experimental sculptural pieces to hold Bario Neal’s wares I immediately thought of Sterling Ruby’s ceramic dishes.”

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Salt Lake Dish featuring our new Circ Chandelier Earrings

 

We love how she manages to achieve such a distinct style, while still creating for a specific purpose. It requires a both a dedicated studio practice and a commitment to remain open to allow a response to the material, to really develop the aesthetic.

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Jessica’s ceramics firing in the kiln. Photo by Joseph Webb 

 

“I like having creative flexibility over my medium. I work predominately in earthy, organic ceramic forms but it’s important to me to not restrict myself to material. Lately I’ve been experimenting with sculptural forms that incorporate already-fired ceramic shards and epoxy resin and I’m happy with the results.”

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Jessica in the studio. Photo by Joseph Webb 

 

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Jessica Hans’ Wall Sculpture holding our new Circ Drop Earrings and assorted necklaces.

 

From dishes that display earrings with posts or stack rings on tiny tendrils, to conversation-starting vessels that tuck jewels into surprise nooks or dangle them from undulating limbs, these functional forms showcase your favorite gems in a lively landscape. An addition to the art collection that ups the decor game, while offering safe harbor for wearables while you slumber at night? Mad genius status achieved.

 

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Soft White Vase with Circ Chandeliers and Bario Neal jewelry.

 

There might even be a future jewelry collaboration on the horizon, with Jessica and Anna dreaming up amazing necklace concepts that are bound to be otherworldly. In the meantime, scoop up your very own Jessica Hans x Bario Neal jewelry vessel here.

 

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The full JH x BN ceramic jewelry display collection.

Meet Your New Spring Jewelry Love

By Constance on March 2, 2017 at 10:53 am

Feeling like this winter of literal doom and gloom will never end? Looking for signs of Spring? The Bario Neal Spring 2017 collection is here! Join us in celebration of this fresh take and you just might meet your new spring jewelry love.

 

Spring Jewelry 2017

Stacking the possibilities with our newest additions to the Helia family: The Ray, The Ray Fringe and the Open Lash Rings.

 

Our latest Spring Collection goes beyond the season’s trends to launch unexpectedly complementary additions to previous collections, to invigorate our entire line. Featuring new classics with new imagination, our latest release really ties it all together.

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017

Perfect for spring: the incredible lightness of sparkly jewel clusters

Speaking of bringing us together, the best place to start is with our newest spring jewelry clusters– stacking bunches upon bunches of ethical diamonds and gemstones, these sparklers will light up the room.

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017

An unexpectedly beautiful match-up: The Linea Band paired with our Opal & Morganite Cluster Ring

Explore two new colorful cluster gemstone rings, each with a jaw-dropping twist on the traditional. The Opal & Morganite Cluster ring (above) pairs a soft, billowy opal with angled, pear cut pink morganite and clusters of diamonds. The Garnet Cluster Ring (below) matches moody, deep-red, romantic garnets with experimental, clustered design. Similar in color to our rubies, these striking crimson stones are handpicked from rare Anthill garnets (umm, cute, tiny ants, mining your gemstones!) found in Arizona’s Navajo Nation and from Tanzanian mines. Perfectly straddling the vintage-yet-modern aesthetic, they are destined to be classics for the unconventional.

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017

How deep is your love: The Garnet Cluster Ring accented by our Diamond Cluster Band.

 

Next up, just time for spring love, our inspired new bands feature asymmetrical curves that hug the hottest rings in our collection.

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017


Dream ring, meet your dream band: The Hex Sapphire Cluster Ring and Band Combo.

 

Perfectly complementing our colored gemstone dream ring, the Hex Sapphire Cluster Ring, the Hex Sapphire Cluster Band brings together three seafoam sapphires, three white Australian diamonds, four light champagne Australian diamonds for a natural, modern vibe.

Prefer your ethical gemstones to be of the diamond variety? No problem, the stunning Diamond Cluster Band features a .06ct baguette diamond, a .03ct princess cut diamond, a .03ct round diamond, three .02ct round diamonds, and three .01ct round diamonds, for an approximate total weight of .21ct. Want to mix and match? Go for it.

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017

A Heavenly duo: The Diamond Cluster Band hugs our Diamond Cluster Ring “just so”.

If these additions weren’t exciting enough, we keep stacking the deck with killer additions to our newest lines.

The new Ray Ring conspires with the full set of our inspired, delicate emerald pieces to break your heart. Beyond versatile, it can be an understated, modern engagement ring or just that special something to celebrate yourself. Stack it with the perfect compliment, our new Ray Fringe Ring and the Open Lash Ring (also perfect for both your Ray and Lash stud ear stack or the Emerald Ray Ring).

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017

Solid gold and green with envy: the Ray, Ray Fringe and Open Lash Rings and Ray Drop earrings.

Our latest statement earrings add to the dance of modern romance. The Ray Drops, Circ Drops and Circ Chandeliers – add the perfect combo of movement and large-scale drama to complete the Helia collection. Experience the play of light, the positive and negative shapes and cast shadow–  each hand-crafted beauty is a small work art.

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017

Feeling light as air: Inspired by Calder mobiles, the Circ Hoops, Drops and Chandeliers.

Joining our iconic, modern Forma collection, the angular Linea Diamond Band and gestural Icon Band. These streamlined statement pieces provide a perfectly contoured companion to any ring in our collection – or make waves all on their own.

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017

Whether for another or to celebrate yourself: The new Icon Band paired with our Pear Trillion and Trillion Rings.

 

We are especially proud of the new additions to Forma in the Lau series: The Lau Bracelet and Lau Mini Necklace take the iconic inspiration of the rainbow symbol, emphasizing our commitment to marriage equality and LGBTQIA rights, down to its most delicate, personal essence. Dotted with ethical diamonds in solid reclaimed gold, these pieces channel inner-strength, and pride– a daily reminder that love is love!

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017

A rainbow in the hand and heart: The Lau Necklace, Bracelet and Studs and the Icon band

Next, we turn to some of the most exciting spring additions to our signature jewelry collections! Minimal, delicate classics with universal appeal, the Enamel and Shield Collections, mix simplicity in both monochromatic and colorful tones.

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017

“It’s complicated” just got simple: the Senna Rectangle, Round, Square Ring with the Senna Studs.

Our revamped enamel line brings the ancient tradition of glass jewelry into the modern era with the Senna Collection. Longtime fan favorites, the Senna Round Ring and Senna Studs, now have two perfect complements: The Senna Square and Senna Rectangle Rings. Want to wear your commitment to love in all its forms, with the least fuss possible? These are the rings for you. Our wearable windows of true black and pure 18kt gold will never go out of style.

For our enamel work, we collaborate with an artist on Philadelphia’s historic Jeweler’s Row specializing in this traditional jewelry process. We hope our designs to do a small part in keeping both this dying art alive and ensures that “The Row” continues to thrive. Composed of nearly 300 small family-owned businesses, The Row is home to the oldest handmade jewelry and diamond district in America.

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017

Ethical warriors meet their match: The Ruby Slice Shield and Shield Earrings

The Shield Collection re-imagines our Ruby Slice Pendant and Studs as deconstructed shield shapes. It’s about time to add a minimal pop of natural ruby red to your jewelry line-up. Likewise, the modern stripped down, Shield Earring in solid 14kt gold is perfect for whatever arrows life slings your way.

Simple, streamlined forms that might also help vanquish your enemies? Meet the growing Aira Collection, now even better with the lovely, delicate new Aira Morganite and Aira Mini Rings, accenting our popular Aira Ring.

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017

Give ‘em the evil eye: The Aira Studs, Aira Morganite and Mini Aria Rings.

We contextualized three of our most beloved signature styles with new additions. The intricate, vintage-meets-modern Rose cut Filigree Round Ring features a white rose cut sapphire, for a romantic twist on the Rose cut Oval Filigree in pink sapphire.

Perennial favorites with a looser, more contemporary approach to filigree, the Gale Rose cut Diamond (formerly Aparna) and the Bend Ring are joined by another instant classic, the Bend Diamond Ring. By joining these modern interpretations of a traditional jewelry style together, we created another exciting new family: the Filigree Collection.

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017

Old flames become new loves this Spring: From left to right, The Rose Cut Filigree Round and Oval, Gale Rose Cut Diamond, Bend and Bend Diamond Rings.

Did you know that at Bario Neal every stone matters? Traceability is often deemed too difficult for stones under ~.20ct. We decided this just does not go the distance for our ethical standards. That’s why we are proud to pledge that every stone you see in your beautiful cluster– whether it be Anthill garnets, Zambian emeralds, Montana sapphires or Australian diamonds– all are fully traceable from mine to market no matter their size. Want to go even further with a piece tailored especially for you? Our jewelry is crafted by a team of talented artists and designers, so it’s easy to personalize anything you see here with one of our array of hand-picked ethical gemstones.

Whatever your spring jewelry celebrates or symbolizes, remember that we craft our jewelry with a commitment to you:  to create a positive social and environmental impact with every handcrafted piece.

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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 inquiries@bario-neal.com to request to be added to the waiting list.

New BNStories and Custom Rings

By Constance on June 26, 2016 at 1:56 pm

Celebrating our favorite couples and custom rings go hand in hand, so this week we introduce our latest roundup with a pair that inspires tons of pride. Created for the lovely Kim and Meghan, (pictured below), these two custom rings couldn’t be more different. But like every great couple, each complements the other in a way that creates a perfect pairing.

 

Kim and Meghan made incredible custom rings

“The fun thing about that picture – we had only known each other for like 6 weeks, that was taken at the wedding of Meghan’s cousin and friend. When I saw it I was like – that looks like an engagement photo.” Photo Credit: KRA ImageDesigns Photography

 

Both Meghan and Kim were able to create completely original looks that are both bespoke to the wearer and unlike anything on the market with the help of our knowledgeable staff of designers and gemstone experts. What ties them together is the bonding experience of creating your dream rings as a couple and the one-of-kind center stones each chose to anchor the designs.

 

“Our personalities came through [so well that] people who don’t know us can pick up on it.”

 

Custom rings from Bario Neal

Kim’s Custom Emerald, Black and White Diamond Ring.

 

Right off the bat, both knew they didn’t want something mass-produced that would celebrate their marriage without hurting someone in the process. Kim’s choice of a crazy-unique, vintage emerald, complemented by ethical white and black diamonds, formed a design that fits her personality and style perfectly. In fact, when she came to pick it up, our Customer Service Associate instinctively knew it was Kim’s, without even having met her.

 

Custom rings from Bario Neal

Meghan’s gorgeous Grey Rose Cut Diamond Cluster Ring.

 

Like Kim’s unusual emerald, Meghan’s choice of a one-of-a-kind, grey rose cut diamond speaks to the wearer’s originality and a non-traditional approach. The stone fuses a re-emerging antique cut with the modern style of embracing a gem that is an alternative to the typical perfect “rock” most want to achieve.  The ethically-sourced, imaginatively matched and placed sidestones in various cuts and hues, complement the color and vibe of the non-traditional diamond perfectly.

 

Though the above pair may seem like a tough act to follow, the next ring in our round-up has been described about the BN studio as “The most beautiful ring I have ever seen.” ‘Nuff said, just gaze…

 

Custom rings from Bario Neal

We are all in love with this Rose Cut, Custom-shaped Diamond Cluster Ring.

 

The next two custom rings are actually “Personalizations” ie. changes clients make to pieces already in our collections, but they were too great not to show off.  Notice how a small customization, like adding an opal or a gemstone, can take a design to a new level of perfect match for your personality.

 

Custom rings from Bario Neal

Our Andalusite Cluster and Linear Diamond Rings Personalized with Ethiopian Opals and Sri-lankan Sapphires.

 

Last on our list is another special BNstory:  A custom “Twist Tie” Diamond Band designed in 18kt. gold in collaboration with a couple to commemorate their proposal.

 

“A month ago, I was laid off due to budget cuts and my fiance was driving me home and helping me cope with the second most crap-tastic day of my life. When we pulled into our driveway, he fished around the car, found a twist-tie, twisted it up into a ring, and put it on my finger. So I’d like to design a ring that looks like a twist-tie with a diamonds in it. He’s not suspecting that sort of thing and he’s perhaps the most romantic man alive and it would make him super thrilled. We’re both so happy with it.”

 

Custom rings from Bario Neal

This Custom “Twist Tie” Diamond Band makes the mundane memorable by recreating a couple’s romantic engagement.

 

Need more inspiration? See more of our latest batch of Custom and Personalized rings, then fill out a Custom Design Questionnaire when the time comes to start creating your own.

 

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A Mother’s Day Photo flashback

By Constance on April 25, 2016 at 3:48 pm

 

For this upcoming Mother’s Day, we take a moment to walk down memory lane with photos of us with our favorite fashion icon and superhero–  Mom.

 

Bario Neal Mother's Day Flashback

Manuela, our studio coordinator as a baby with her beach-babe mama in Colombia.

 

Happy Mother’s day to all the Moms of BN! Enjoy the rest of the throwbacks our intrepid staff members managed to dig up…

 

My mom is so young and cheeky in this photo! Check out that shiny long 70’s hair and simple gold headband. Too cute. –Coco, photographer

 

Mother’s day

 

 

“Here is one of my favorites of my mom and I. She’s super 80’s at the beach, I am making a doofus face that is exactly like my uncle’s.” –Anna Bario, founder and jeweler

 

Bario Neal Mother's Day Flashback

 

 

“Okay gotta give credit for all the leading ladies in my life who have always gone above and beyond for me. Below is my Mom, the blondie with eyes closed, Aunt Mary Page in a sweet velour track suit, Grandma Mickey with some killer glasses, my bro John, cousin Ben. I am the one with really dirty sneakers and an unfortunate bowl cut.”  –Page Neal, founder and jeweler

 

Bario Neal Mother's Day Flashback

 

 

“It seems like my mom was more keen on documenting the fam, because I found way more pictures of my brother and me with our dad, but I was able to track down one of me and mum in a kayak!” –Katie Dannenberg, Jeweler

 

Bario Neal Mother's Day Flashback

 

 

“Here is my mom, being fashionable with a multi-layered bangle and wedding bands on her left hand.  I also think she is solely responsible for the red bow on my head.” –Emily Cobb, Jeweler

 

Bario Neal Mother's Day Flashback

 

 

“My mom the Tyler student. From left to right: Grandma, me, mom, big sister. Back row: mom’s homework, chairs in charcoal.” –Sara Reckhan, Customer Service Manager

 

Bario Neal Mother's Day Flashback

 

These fashionable, intelligent women are the breadwinners, beach babes, boaters, art students and super-human caregivers that made us who we are today. We are your biggest fans; and as many of us go on to become mothers ourselves, (a third of our staff are moms), know how much you mean to all the generations to come.

 

(If you want to spoil your own fashionable caregiver this Mother’s Day, you can take 30% off select jewelry through 5/8/16 with the code SUPERMOM.)

 

Every Day is Earth Day

By admin on April 22, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Behind the scenes images of plants and jewelers in the workshop studio. Earth Day

The annual Earth Day buzz is back, kickstarting Spring and a season of environmental support. Here at Bario Neal, we try to maintain the earth-loving fervor year-round by reading, watching and listening to stay informed, caring for our own green life in our home and work spaces, and visiting our favorite outdoor spots for a breath of fresh air and celebration dance. We took some time out to compile a few of our Philadelphia favorites to share with you.

READ:

The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, 2014.

Anna | It’s one of the best environmental crisis books I’ve read in years. I listened to it as an audiobook three times.

Green Philly, an environmentally-minded blog promoting a sustainable Philadelphia through local connections and posts on news, events, lifestyle, food + recipes, recycling, health + beauty, biking, and more.

Hidden City Philadelphia, an online publication and organization committed to revealing, celebrating, and improving our city’s most remarkable places.

Constance | Great for some urban exploring.

EAT: 

Greensgrow and Philly Foodworks, two of many incredible young Philadelphia organizations fueling the urban agriculture movement and supplying our city with urban farms, jobs, CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture), farmstands, community kitchens, and nurseries.

Hannah | It’s a win-win. Support Philly farms and food access by getting fresh produce delivered to your neighborhood in a box with your name on it.

LISTEN:

+ NPR’s Science Friday podcast, from Public Radio International. Educational and entertaining stories on science and technology.

Constance | Anyday.

WATCH:

Build a School in the Cloud, a 2013 TED Talk in which Sugata Mitra shares his vision for Self Organized Learning Environments and a learning lab in India.

Page | It’s about how we can change our ideas of education to adapt to our current reality & prepare the next generation of problem solvers.

GO:

Laurel Hill Cemetery is a beautiful stretch of green situated up above Kelly Drive and is considered a historical and horticultural resource of Philadelphia. Victorian picnic destinations with clifftop views up and down the Schuylkill… what could be better?

Forbidden Drive, or the Wissahickon Valley Trail, follows Wissahickon Creek through the length of the park and makes for a beautiful ride or hike through the trees.

Sara | Forever and beyond, all the way to the horse stables.

Washington Avenue Pier, FKA Pier 53, on the Delaware River. The ribbon was cut last August for the waterfront greenspace. Check it out for public art, panoramic views, and “places to touch the water.”

Sara | You’re in the Walmart parking lot and then what? It’s like a history show. First there was nature, then there was industry & immigrants, then not much, then campers and drinkers, then a path and replanting. You can still see all of it.

Belmont Plateau, an expansive grassy knoll in West Fairmount Park that offers a skyline view you feel like you should pay for.

Ridgway Pool at 13th and Carpenter is great for a dip on a hot day, as is any of the city’s other 70 outdoor public swimming pools open throughout the summer. There aren’t great resources for information on the pools but, like this article suggests, your best bet is to just show up.

Gray’s Ferry Crescent Trail Park is one of the best and only access points to the Schuylkill River in Southwest Philly. The space has open space for casual activities, trails for biking and running, a skatepark, and fishing locations.

Sara | The bridges remind you you’re in a city, the river and trees remind you of what was there first. Go at dusk. And go for the summer movies.

+ Get healthy, beautiful, organic plants from local garden centers Urban Jungle on East Passyunk and City Planter in Northern Liberties.

+ For a good run, start at Penn Treaty Park, head down the waterfront, and finish at the tip of Race Street Pier with a stretch. Even without the running, Penn Treaty is great for a picnic or a game of kickball. Check out the free yoga classes offered through the summer on Race Street Pier. Another favorite running/biking/walking route is any portion of the Schuylkill River Trail.

Constance | Especially excited to try the new University City connection (on the Schuylkill River Trail).

+ The expanse of Fairmount Park offers so much, it can be easy to forget some of the more hidden spots.  Surrounded by this green landscape, the Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse is a mansion-sized dream-come-true for kids with free admission.  East Park Reservoir and it’s surrounding 13 acres, a thriving habitat for bird species, was reopened to the public this past December after 45 years and is the projected site for a 2017 opening of Philadelphia’s Discovery Center.

Bartram’s Garden, America’s oldest living botanical garden is in Philadelphia. A 45-acre National Historic Landmark.

Hannah | Their spring plant sale always takes my breath away because I get to bring so much green beauty back home with me. (Coming up: Saturday, April 30th)

Batsto River in New Jersey’s Wharton State Forest for heavenly canoeing and kayaking. Part of the region’s Pine Barrens, the state forest is wonderful for hiking and camping too.

Page | I love the Pine Barrens. Such a magical & beautiful area between Philadelphia & the ocean.

Sedgley Woods, a historic disc golf course in East Fairmount Park. Public and free!

Emily | The trail goes all the way back into a bird sanctuary where you can often see a pair of hawks that call that place home roaming the skies. Its the perfect combo of outdoors, hiking, disc throwing fun, and meeting other Philadelphians in the park.

Studio_Shop_Jewelers_Plants-23_Web

We keep plants close for days we can’t go to the plants.

These are some of our favorite ways to enjoy our environment in Philadelphia and celebrate the foundation of Earth Day all year long.  We wake up with the earth every day and we know now more than ever how significant our hand is in helping or hurting it.  The Earth Day zeal of each Spring can turn into a year-round effort of motivating each other to take care of the planet.  Building a meaningful impact requires time, turning actions into habits that will resonate with everyone.

The foundation of our work at Bario Neal is seated in such environmental responsibility. Our conscious decision to create jewelry through a process free of harmful impacts to human or environment extends beyond the products themselves and on to the cause of improving the methods of the industry. Bario Neal works with ethically sourced stones, 100% reclaimed metals, and Fairmined gold whenever possible. Recent metals and gemstone mining industry initiatives, dedicated to improving transparency and accountability, have addressed the need to develop sustainable mining practices, conflict-free gemstones, and push for labor initiatives to improve quality of life for both miners and workers in the cutting and polishing industries. Because these initiatives are still new to our industry, we remain committed to further research on sourcing with the utmost accountability.

Happy Earth Day from Bario Neal.