12 Reasons We Love Breaking the Old “Rules” About Wedding Rings

By Sarah on June 13, 2018 at 9:00 am

We’re not big fans of restrictions or stereotypes when it comes to creating jewelry for our clients at Bario Neal. To counter the wedding industry’s marketing myths, we work extra hard to banish the notion of the so-called “perfect engagement ring.”

What matters to us: You love whatever wedding jewelry you buy (if any). What doesn’t: Tired rules about gemstones and sizes and prices and styles.

Whether you’ve always followed your own tastes instinctively, or you’re someone who is dipping your toe into breaking with tradition, here are 12 old rules about engagement rings and wedding bands that we know you’ll have fun leaving in the past.

Allium Round Engagement Ring with Milla Thin Wedding Band
Allium Round Diamond Engagement Ring with Milla Thin Wedding Band
Break This Rule: The metals of your engagement ring and wedding band must match.

Wearing only all gold or all silver jewelry is as unnecessary as gendered wedding parties. Take one peek at our Milla Square Rims Band, created with a wide strip of platinum, palladium or white gold that’s trimmed in 14k yellow or rose gold, and you’ll see how different metals work well together. We also like our modern Allium Diamond Round Ring in 14kt yellow gold with a band of another metal. Whatever your perfect metal mix, with Bario Neal, your rings and bands will be made with reclaimed or Fairmined solid precious metals.

 

Quill Wedding Band and Half Eternity Diamond Wedding Band in Bario Neal Box
Quill Band and Half Eternity Narrow Diamond Band
Break This Rule: Spouses have to have matching wedding bands.

Maybe you two have the same taste in music. Or clothes. Or art. Maybe you don’t — and that’s exactly what makes you work as a couple. If your aesthetics aren’t totally in sync, don’t force yourselves into matching wedding bands. If everyone had the same taste, after all, we wouldn’t create so many band styles. Our Half Eternity Narrow Diamond Band is classic, while the textured Quill Band makes a more natural statement.

There’s another way to break this old rule but still keep a hint of likeness: You might pick similar band shapes but each choose a different metal or different finish. One band might be polished, the other matte. For inspiration, look at our super-popular Milla Shoulder Wide Band and Milla Shoulder Narrow Band .

 

Icon Wide One Band, Icon Wide Two Band, Icon Narrow Bands, Lau Diamond Bracelet
Icon Wide One Band, Icon Wide Two Band, Icon Narrow Bands, Lau Diamond Bracelet
Break This Rule: Engagement rings require gemstones.

An engagement ring is an engagement ring because you both say it is. There are no carat quotas. No sparkle mandates. You might skip a gemstone and focus on metals and finishes, or different shapes. You may say “no thanks” to diamonds and love the tone that white glass enamel brings to our Senna Narrow Band.

Some of our clients have stacked two or more plain bands. Together, our Icon Wide One Band and Icon Wide Two Band shine without a gem in sight.

 

Wedding and Engagement Stack of Linear Hex Sapphire Ring, Open Lash Ring, Lash Solitaire Blue Sapphire Ring
Linear Hex Sapphire Ring, Open Lash Ring, Lash Solitaire Blue Sapphire Ring
Break This Rule: Your engagement ring and wedding band need to have the same gemstone.

This rule’s as anachronistic as a black and white television. Our Linear Hex Sapphire Ring proves there’s power in going full color, with its blue sapphire, green sapphire, pink tourmaline, and orange sapphire. (Rule-breaking bonus points: Gems in the same ring don’t need to be the same shape either.)

One fun way to mix gemstones: Pair our Lash Solitaire Blue Sapphire Ring with gorgeous green accents of emeralds in an Open Lash Ring.

Break This Rule: Keep your engagement ring and wedding bands in the same style lane.

The notion that you can’t mix modern and vintage or antique with new went out with plastic-covered living room furniture and fainting couches. If your style is a mix of throwback and very current, embrace it. You can even up the sustainability factor by wearing an heirloom solitaire ring that’s in your family with a modern Bario Neal wedding band like the Nikko Curved Band.

 

Milla Round Wide Band, Milla Round Hammered Wide Band, Milla Shoulder Wide Band
Milla Round Wide Band, Milla Round Hammered Wide Band, Milla Shoulder Wide Band
Break This Rule: Rose gold is “feminine.”

If your eyes roll at the gender conventions attached to jewelry, you might like to break out of the silver and gold mold with a different metal: rose gold. As we said on the blog in January, “people of all genders who want to feel beautiful and celebrate pink can reclaim the hue.” Rose gold looks awesome on all genders and every skin tone. (P.S. If you love to see stereotypes skewered as much as we do, check out this great blog post from A Practical Wedding that hilariously calls out sexist wedding photography.)

Break This Rule: Your wedding band has to be metal.

Wearing jewelry every day might not fit your work or lifestyle. Many couples prefer tattoos as a visible, creative, and meaningful symbol. We’ve seen dates, initials, band-like designs, and more that looked great in ink. A tattoo is a wonderful, and sustainable choice when you don’t want to wear your Bario Neal ring.

 

Cluster Andalusite Engagement Ring
Cluster Andalusite Ring
Break This Rule: You need two rings: an official engagement ring and an official wedding band.

If buying and wearing two rings doesn’t sound like joy to you, think all-in-one. Our free-form Gale Rose Cut Diamond Ring , Custom Andalusite Cluster Ring, and Senna Umbra Ring are all examples of rings that can carry the day solo.

Break This Rule: First comes the engagement ring, then the wedding band. Then the wait for an anniversary band.

Your wedding “band” might be two stacked bands instead. You could have two engagement rings. Or go for three from day one. (Hint: Forget the “ring finger rule” too.) Our Allium Diamond Ring, Cluster Fringe Diamond Ring, and Icon Hex Diamond Ring make a timeless trio. For a more playful look, mix our Open Lash Ring, Ray Ring, and Ray Fringe Band.

 

Halo Aquamarine Engagement Ring with Linea Diamond Wedding Band and Stackable Wedding Band
Halo Aquamarine Engagement Ring with Linea Diamond Wedding Band and Stackable Band
Break This Rule: You need one special set of rings.

Just like we understand why people pass on all wedding jewelry, we also see many clients think creatively about what a wedding set is. Depending on regular activities, workplace, and other lifestyle factors, some couples want a few rings that they can wear at different times or for different occasions. For example, if you have a Halo Aquamarine Ring, a Linea Diamond Band, and a Stackable Band you might wear all three, or just the Stackable Band, depending on the day.

Break This Rule: Never take off your wedding band.

Call us not superstitious. You should take off your wedding ring to travel, or to work, or to sleep. You might even, oh, take off your ring(s) to clean them. After all, never is a long time. By the way, daily wear does affect a ring over time. Check out our FAQs for what that means for finishes and for gemstones, and how we can help if you want a refresh.

Shield One Wedding Band with Filigree Curved Wedding Band
Shield One Band with Filigree Curved Band
Break This Rule: The amount of money you spend on your wedding jewelry reflects the level of your commitment.

This one’s about way more than rule-breaking. It’s about banishing a misconception built on top of a manipulative marketing scheme. Upending these kinds of exclusionary ideas is part of why Bario Neal was started in the first place. Your rings and/or bands should be something you buy because it’s fun and you want them to be part of your marriage story. There’s no minimum price tag on that. If you agree, check out our Milla Thin Band, Shield One Band, Filigree Curved Band, Aldine Band, Senna Tall Band, and Icon Band.

Breaking the rules is freeing — and will probably get you thinking more creatively about what kind of rings and bands you’d truly love to have. (Notice there are only a few “required fields” on our online Custom Design Questionnaire, and those are just about contacting you.) Follow your own inner style guide — and choose an engagement ring or wedding band right for you, your spouse, and you both as a couple.

Bario Neal Is an Inclusive Jewelry Designer for Every Couple

By Sarah on June 6, 2018 at 2:24 pm

Masculine hand wearing Linear Hex Sapphire Ring, Reticulated Two Band, Open Lash Ring, and Aldine Thin BandWhen it comes to weddings, there’s an entirely too long list of supposed do’s that we’d like to ban right along with any laws that dictate who can marry who. The very last thing you should feel on the happy occasions of getting engaged or your wedding day is uncomfortable or awkward or discriminated against. With Pride Month underway, we’re calling out all the ways that the wedding industry pushes a story of “Mr. & Mrs.” that excludes so many couples.

When our co-founders, designers Anna Bario and Page Neal, started in the fine jewelry business, they knew they wanted to work to undermine the heteronormativity of the wedding industry. We’ve been rejecting stereotypes ever since.

One direct action we take: We make everyone — whether you are a same-sex couple, trans, non-binary, or whatever your gender identity, whoever you’re marrying —  feel at home in our showrooms in Philadelphia and New York City, whether you’re doing some early browsing, have a million questions about engagement rings, or are in a rush to make a purchase. We take this as seriously as we do the ethical sourcing and mining of gemstones and metals.

As we celebrate Pride Month and mark the third anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage in all 50 states, we know that fight’s not finished. We also are certain that inclusiveness benefits every person. Studies show that more equality is good for society as a whole, but we see this as a no-brainer. In the world of weddings, for sure the old wedding do’s and don’ts won’t fit many couples whatever their orientation. Here, six ways we’re crossing them all out.

1. We never make assumptions about your partner.

When you call, visit, or email Bario Neal’s showrooms in New York City or Philadelphia to talk engagement or wedding rings, we welcome you to tell us about your relationship and why you’re shopping. You might visit with a partner, a friend, or a parent. We don’t assume anything about gender, orientation, or age and we look to clients for cues about what a wedding ring means to you and whoever you’re marrying. Our team doesn’t use the word “bride” or “groom” — but of course, we’re happy to have you refer to yourselves with any moniker you choose. We focus on getting to know YOU — who your partner is, which pronouns you prefer — and of course, we wanna know when and where the wedding will be, and if you’ve picked out your dessert. (We have lots of opinions on cake.) We may even be able to connect you with an officiant or photographer you’ll love. Everyone deserves to be who they are and experience enthusiasm for their proposal planning or their big day. We want these moments to feel special for everyone who walks through our doors, regardless of age, orientation, or gender.

2. Our INCLUSIVE jewelry designs don’t have a gender.

For same-sex couples and heterosexual couples alike, we don’t subscribe to gendered jewelry. Pro-tip: Rings don’t have a gender. A subtle band of Fairmined gold. A vibrant cluster of gemstones. You’ll find our cases divided into sections like “Rings with Stones,” “Bands with Stones” and “Bands without Stones.” We want all of our clients to find the rings and bands they love and that have meaning to them. For us, that’s non-negotiable.

3. We don’t believe an engagement ring needs to be a surprise.

Whoever is doing the proposing (maybe you both are!), we love when partners come into our showrooms to shop together for engagement rings and wedding bands. Don’t get us wrong: Spontaneity gives us goosebumps too. If the two of you are into surprises, then we’re on board. However, we understand that buying a ring is a big choice.

There is a way to get the best of both worlds. There’s absolutely no reason that you have to have a ring for a proposal. One of our clients recently brought his partner into our Philadelphia showroom to begin custom designing a ring after they got engaged. He captured the upside perfectly: “Buying an engagement ring is a huge decision so why wouldn’t I want my partner there with me? In the end, we couldn’t be happier with the results, and I know I made the right choice by foregoing tradition and proposing without a ring.”

4. We don’t size up your wallet.

When you walk in our door, we’re not calculating how much money you have, or how much you can or will spend. Yes, we’re aware of the jewelry-industry-fueled myth that you should spend two to three months’ salary on an engagement ring. We just have no time at all for it, and we stay true to our principles by designing affordable rings. Our mission is to make jewelry of lasting value, and we know it can be awkward to ask about prices and talk about budget. We always aim to make visitors to our showrooms comfortable enough so we can talk about cost plainly and presumption-free. Once we have your budget, we stick to it, and we won’t push any rings on you that don’t fit your budget. Seriously, who does that? Rude!

5. The word “upsell” makes a cringe.

When it comes to engagement rings and wedding bands, we want you to be free from rules. You might not be interested in an “official” engagement ring. You might love to have an engagement ring but pass on wedding bands. We’re not going to try to sell you more rings, bigger stones, “care packages,” or anything you don’t want.

6. We won’t sell you on a diamond if you don’t want one.

We’ve made countless beautiful engagement rings without even so much as a glance at a diamond. First, there are so many other gemstones to embrace. There’s also that still a diamond but not the traditional one: champagne diamonds. We’ve made scores of “nontraditional” custom engagement rings over the years, and we love all their stories.

A belief in the right to love and marry whomever and however you choose is one of the core principles of Bario Neal’s jewelry. That’s reflected in our designs and in our showrooms. Stop into a New York City or Philadelphia shop today to see how “at home” you can feel while shopping for jewelry.

 

 

15 Design Ideas for Your Custom Engagement Ring

By Sarah on May 31, 2018 at 4:07 pm

If you’re dreaming of an engagement ring that looks like it came from your heart and your brain and tells your story, but you don’t know where to start, don’t let the words “custom design” intimidate you.

You don’t have to be an artist or a gemologist or a jewelry designer — or even know the difference between a round cut and a rose cut — to create a custom engagement ring with us.

Sure, there are a lot of decisions to make when creating a custom ring. Do you want rose gold or platinum or yellow gold, or do you want a mix? Whatever your choice, we use either 100 percent recycled metals or Fairmined gold. Not interested in diamonds? We have so many alternatives. All the gemstones in our engagement rings are ethically sourced, and we can work with your heirloom gemstones too. At Bario Neal, “custom” doesn’t mean “ridiculously expensive” either. We create custom engagement rings for many budgets.

The point is you’ve got options. We’ve got the expertise to help you. Our online custom design questionnaire will help you get started, and we can talk you through everything from engraving to settings at our showrooms in Philly or NYC, or remotely over the phone or email.

We do approach each custom project with an open timeline so that we can make the best possible piece. We can’t rush or guarantee an end date, though production typically takes a minimum of two months. So contact us as soon as possible if you’re thinking about a custom wedding band or engagement ring.

For inspiration, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite new custom rings. We don’t really buy into the idea of single-purpose jewelry, so some aren’t even engagement rings. But each has its own personality and style and fits the individual or couple behind the design.

Bario Neal Custom Rings
L to R: Custom Cut Granite Cluster Ring with Custom Heirloom Diamond Open Lash Ring, Custom Free Form Hex Sapphire Lash Triad Ring with Sapphire and Champagne Diamond, Custom .64ct Old Mine Cut Champagne Diamond Asymmetrical Avens Ring with Seafoam Sapphires and Cognac Diamond
Custom Cut Granite Cluster Ring with Custom Heirloom Diamond Open Lash Ring

If you can’t avoid collecting shells on the beach or pass a glassy lake without skipping a pebble across the water, this custom ring design story is for you. This stacked ring pair combines heirloom diamonds with a piece of granite our client found on a trip the couple took to Maine. Cutting the granite was risky — we’d never worked with that material before — but the result is mountain-worthy elegance.

Custom Free Form Hex Sapphire Lash Triad Ring with Sapphire and Champagne Diamond

Roman proposed to Kiran without a ring. “I knew in order for her to get something she loved she needed to be part of the process,” he says. Kiran worked with the Bario Neal team (our ethical sourcing brought them in) to create this ring, with a half-moon sapphire, a free form hex cut sapphire, and a round champagne diamond. “We couldn’t be happier with the results, and I know I made the right choice by foregoing tradition and proposing without a ring,” Ronan says.

Custom .64ct Old Mine Cut Champagne Diamond Asymmetrical Avens Ring with Seafoam Sapphires and Cognac Diamond

Here’s a long-distance relationship that totally worked. California client Ethan and his partner loved our designs and our mission, so Ethan visited our Philly showroom while on the East Coast for work, to start a custom ring design. “Over the next four months and a million questions from me, Bario Neal created a ring that was beyond my wildest expectations. They were very communicative and transparent throughout the process. Most importantly they were very mindful of my budget and the style I was looking for,” Ethan says.

Row of 3 Custom Bario Neal Rings
L to R: Custom Pear Rose Cut Blue Sapphire Engraved Engagement Ring, Custom Bend Jacket Rings, Custom .94ct Free Form Rose Cut Diamond Cluster Ring with Gemstones
Custom Pear Rose Cut Blue Sapphire Engraved Engagement Ring

We love breaking wedding ring rules, and this ring’s mixed metals — white gold and rose gold — show why. Starring a rose cut pear sapphire, the ring didn’t break the budget, and the thoughtful engraving heightens the distinctiveness. On the rim of the band “fall in love, stay in love” is on one side, and on the other, “and it will decide everything.”

Custom Bend Jacket Rings

This jewelry story begins with an unfortunate event and ends with a happy client (who, drawn by our ethical sourcing, traveled from Ohio to our Philly showroom to work with us!). First, she replaced a stolen engagement ring with a custom cluster ring design that reflected her family: Four stones represent her, her husband, and their twin boys. Then we made a custom jacket ring (inspired by our Bend Ring) that plays with negative space. Her review: “Craftsmanship is off the chain! Knowledgeable staff with a keen eye for unique designs. We will be back!”  

Custom .94ct Free Form Rose Cut Diamond Cluster Ring with Gemstones

If you like the idea of a custom engagement ring, but you’re not sure where to start, browse our Collection Cluster Rings. You’ll see all of our gemstones and settings that can jumpstart your creativity. The clients who worked with us on this engagement ring, featuring a rose cut diamond and an emerald, say they simply fell in love with our colors and style. Sometimes it’s just that easy.

Bario Neal Custom Cluster Rings
L to R: Custom Rose Cut Diamond and Sapphire Cluster Ring, Crescent Diamond Ring Personalization, Custom Asscher Cut Sapphire and Iolite Engagement Ring
Custom Rose Cut Diamond and Sapphire Cluster Ring

Bario Neal client Stephanie purchased this ring to commemorate earning her master’s degree in nursing. We think the gemstone fireworks happening in this piece are perfectly celebratory for every occasion.

Crescent Diamond Ring Personalizations

We’re very much about family at Bario Neal, in all its forms. (In fact, that inspired our new Bario Neal Baby & Child Keepsake line.) No sibling rivalry here: Three sisters commissioned this ring for their mother. The four gemstones represent each of them. Our favorite detail: Two are twins so one stone does double duty.

Custom Asscher Cut Sapphire and Iolite Engagement Ring

Some of our clients don’t know what they want till they visit our showrooms, and that’s OK. When this client and her partner spotted the iolites we had in stock, the light bulb went off. She asked us to cut them down with a half-moon in mind, to frame a white sapphire in this ring. The lesson: Spontaneity has its rewards.  

Bario Neal Custom Engagement Rings with Heirloom Stones
L to R: Custom Horizontally Set Tourmaline Solitaire Ring, Custom Heirloom Princess Cut Diamond Ring, Custom Heirloom Emerald and Morganite Cluster Ring
Custom Horizontally Set Tourmaline Solitaire Ring

The beauty in this ring is its singular focus of a lone tourmaline — and the fact that the stone was cut by Top Notch Faceting, owned by Jean-Noel Soni. Soni creates award-winning, precision-cut gemstones that are ethically sourced, cut by hand, and created without the use of computer-aided design. (More about Soni here, and check out our blog post about his visit to our Philly showroom in 2015.)

Custom Heirloom Princess Cut Diamond Ring

When you’re thinking about a custom engagement ring, don’t just sneak peeks at fingers. Inspiration can come from any piece of jewelry. The center stone in this ring was one of two heirloom princess cut diamonds in a pair of earrings passed down in a family.

Custom Heirloom Emerald and Morganite Cluster Ring

Our clients’ wish: Use stones from both of their families. This ring and their wedding bands feature diamonds from a family engagement ring, and an emerald from a grandmother’s necklace. We love to see history and emotions working their magic in a cluster ring.

3 Custom Bario Neal Rings with Moissanite and Sapphires
L to R: Custom Moissanite Linear Cluster Ring, Custom Solar System Ring, Custom Star Sapphire Ray Ring
Custom Moissanite Linear Cluster Ring

What happens when two scientists get engaged? You get a ring with two princess cut and one pear cut moissanite stones. Moissanite is a diamond alternative that’s made in a lab. In their nod to the more traditional, our clients also asked for one natural diamond to be part of the design.

Custom Solar System Ring

This client looked to the stars, or to be exact, the planets, for her custom ring design. The ring is a mix of Montana sapphires and heirloom stones she had collected over years. The center stone is Jupiter. The smooth cabochon sapphire is Earth. Mars is a ruby that used to belong to her mother. There’s even a tiny Pluto representative (no matter its reclassification!).

Custom Star Sapphire Ray Ring

When it comes to weddings and jewelry, Bario Neal is more true-to-life than fairy tale. And this ring recap is real. Partner buys woman a star sapphire ring on a trip to India. Stone falls out and is lost. But here’s the twist: Bario Neal recreates the ring with an antique stone and a new setting for their engagement. That’s our kind of narrative, and we have even more to share soon about this couple and their one of a kind ring.

Every custom engagement ring tells a story. Write your first sentence today by browsing our rings and bands. Fill out our custom design questionnaire or make an appointment to visit a Bario Neal showroom in Philadelphia or New York City. We can’t wait to see how this chapter ends.

Our New One-of-a-Kind Ceres Collection Is Set to Inspire

By Sarah on May 18, 2018 at 11:55 am

Photo of woman holding an orchid wearing Bario Neal rings and earrings.

We’re known for our delicate pieces at Bario Neal, but we also love to go big and bold. For our brand-new Ceres Collection, we took our designs to an imagination-expanding scale. The settings of the earrings play with convention. The rings defy restrictions and will make you see clustered gems in a new way.

Ceres gives a home to spectacular emeralds we’ve been saving for years — and mixes them in rings with blue topaz, carnelian, white topaz, and phenakite. That color palette, for the Ceres rings, together with the mauve tones of Ceres earrings makes for a beautifully balanced collection. Striking but never overdone.

“We wanted to create something that was both powerful and bold but also really feminine,” says designer and Bario Neal co-founder Anna Bario. The name Ceres is a nod to the Roman goddess of agriculture and fertility, and an asteroid between Mars and Jupiter that was once thought to be a planet

Like all of our jewelry, Ceres keeps to our high ethical standards for gemstones and metals. The rings and earrings are set in reclaimed 14k yellow gold, and all the stones are reclaimed and traceable. The yellow tones of the metal balance out all the gemstone colors in a way that doesn’t overpower them.

“The Ceres pieces bring new dimension to the design concepts we’ve been working with in our ongoing collections,” Anna explains.

The Ceres pieces are one-of-a-kind, with unique stones, but we can recreate them or work with clients and take cues from them as we shape a new custom jewelry design for you. Don’t think like for like either. You might translate a Ceres ring layout, for example, to a pendant necklace design. Follow what inspires you!

Ceres Collection Rings

Bario Neal Ceres Collection Rings
Left to Right: Lash Vertical Square Cut Emerald, Carnelian, and Blue Topaz Cluster Ring, Open Lash Emerald and White Topaz Ring, Lash Vertical Asscher Cut Emerald, Cabochon Emerald, and Blue Topaz Cluster Ring, Open Lash and Phenakite Ring, Lash Vertical Rectangular Cut Emerald, Carnelian, and Blue Topaz Cluster Ring

“The vertical Ceres rings cover the finger, knuckle to knuckle, but still totally wearable,” Anna says. These rings are a powerful statement, and functional too.”

Egyptian jewelry, which is an influence on the collection, often went big. Carnelian, turquoise, and lapis lazuli were commonly found at the base of the Nile River. Ceres’ color scheme mimics those resources.

Fueled by that big scale and color combo, the designs of three Ceres rings went up, up, up.

“The designs really came together for the rings once we landed on the super strong primary palette of the topaz/emerald/carnelian,” Anna says. “Clusters are such a thing, but no one is taking  them vertical like this. This feels very new.”

Most of the clusters we do at Bario Neal are across the finger in a horizontal orientation. Often, that’s just more wearable for daily life. But we couldn’t resist the vertical clusters you see in Lash Vertical Rectangular Cut Emerald, Carnelian, and Blue Topaz Cluster Ring and Lash Vertical Square Cut Emerald, Carnelian, and Blue Topaz Cluster Ring.

“Looking at our drawings, I thought the vertical rectangular would be my favorite. For me personally, I didn’t think I’d choose the vertical square because of the length. But when I saw it made, I saw how it hits just before the middle knuckle in a perfect way,” Anna says.

The Lash Vertical Asscher Cut Emerald, Cabochon Emerald, and Blue Topaz Cluster Ring stacks stones even more dramatically. Even our stone setters were impressed by these one-of-a-kind designs. “As with any craft, there are conventions, just the way people are used to doing things,” Anna says. “The cuts and settings here reflect how Bario Neal loves to play with conventions.”

Back down to Earth a bit, Ceres Collection uses our ethical emeralds in another way. Bario Neal’s recently released Open Lash Ring has been so popular that we took the chance to push its design further with soulful pear cut emeralds. The Open Lash Emerald and White Topaz Ring features a princess cut white topaz, and we love the way a fancy cut pentagonal phenakite sparkles in the Open Lash Emerald and Phenakite Ring. The phenakite was cut by the wildly talented Top Notch Faceting. It’s name means “the deceiver” from it’s close visual structure to quartz, but this spectacularly cut hexagonal phenakite has a brilliance and soul all it’s own.

Ceres Collection Earrings

Bario Neal Ceres Earrings
Left to right: Lash Garnet and Tourmaline Ear Climber Power Studs, Garnet and Tourmaline Power Studs

The 1970s-ish mauve of Ceres’ garnets lends a softness to ’80s-style power angles in these earrings. The idea for irregular cuts for the garnets led to asymmetrical patterns that aren’t just about going big — but also about finding strength in new directions. Garnet revitalizes feelings and enhances sexuality while emphasizing devotion, understanding, trust, sincerity, and honesty in a relationship.

Designing our Lash Garnet and Tourmaline Ear Climber Power Studs, we knew we had hit on something powerful. These one-of-a-kind asymmetrical studs feature red garnet, rhodolite garnet, and pink tourmaline with our signature lash setting. “These earrings feel like something you’d wear to  a disco breakfast,” Anna says. Our response: Let’s dance.

The Lash Garnet and Tourmaline Power Studs glow brightly. We blended garnets and tourmaline to create studs with off-the-charts LOVE power and pitch-perfect palette harmony. In step with garnet, pink tourmaline brings balance and opens up higher vibrations in the heart chakra.

“All of our new Ceres Collection pieces are powerful objects,” Anna says. “We see them as talismans or amulets.” If the creativity and strength that we felt while designing Ceres is catching, look at the collection as a jumping-off point for your own custom-designed jewelry. Check out our Custom Design Questionnaire online, or visit our showrooms in Philadelphia or New York City today. We always have wild, powerful stones we’d love to share.

Our Emeralds Are More Than May Birthstone Gifts

By Sarah on May 16, 2018 at 11:30 am

2018_BTS_Workshop_Process_Baby_Bangle_Emeralds-3711crop

Of all the colors, “green” is one of the most evocative when it comes to the English language. We use the word to signify a variety of feelings and concepts. Green means go. It’s associated with nature, money, luck, and health.

Fittingly, the best-known green gemstone, the emerald, is also known for variety (and for being the May birthstone — spring, renewal, get it?).

The stone has a storied past. For centuries, it’s been tied to religious rites and was considered something of a superpower. Cleopatra and Queen Isabella of Spain were said to be fans, and emeralds were mined in Egypt in B.C. times.

Emeralds have long been associated with plundering colonizers and conquerors too, from Zambia to South America. This history hasn’t been fully erased from our industry today. That’s why Bario Neal works diligently to ensure an ethical mining supply for emeralds, or we reach for recycled gemstones. We launched our first emerald jewelry collection in fall 2016 only after finding a mining collective that values people and the environment in Northern Zambia.

Emerald is the green to greenish blue variety of a mineral called beryl. (The bluer variety of beryl is the aquamarine; see that stone set in our Aquamarine Halo Ring.) But “green” alone, for its myriad meanings, can’t do the emerald justice. Depending on inclusions and variety, the stone can be bright green or pale green or smoky green. Inclusions mean that emeralds, while quite hard and hard to scratch, are often passed over when it comes to daily wear pieces because of durability. But we love emeralds in engagement rings. (You’ll see why when you peek at the emeralds in this custom ring and this one.) They’re a colorful flip side to diamonds, and many people wear emeralds every day trouble-free. Trust your instincts on what will work for you.  

Emeralds are on the list of so-called “cardinal stones” (along with amethyst, ruby, sapphires, and diamonds), gemstones that have traditionally been considered the most precious. Our emerald rings and emerald earrings are a hat tip to that rareness — but true to the Bario Neal ethos, our designs are accessible and intended to feel special and authentic but not affected.

Emerald Rings

Our custom Emerald Sol Ring captures the multi-definitioned green with its prongs. The ring setting’s like an eclectic embrace for the contemporary octagonal cut emerald at the center.

The design of our Open Lash Ring, with not one but two ethically sourced emeralds, makes it ideal for stacking. For a pairing that’s as naturally captivating as the Northwest’s Palouse region join it with our custom Emerald Ray Ring, with an emerald cut emerald.

The Ray Ring sets off its emerald with a metal fringe. Tip for May babies: The stylish folks at Catalyst Wedding Co. think this emerald ring “pairs together the sun imagery with your birthstone perfectly.” If you’re the type to celebrate your birthday with a pink cocktail, look at our rose gold band option for the Ray Ring.

Emerald Earrings & Necklaces

Our Ray Studs were part of the collection launch mentioned above, and we’ve never fallen out of love with these emerald earrings. At the time, Bario Neal co-founder and designer Page Neal said the designs were “inspired by architectural drawings and photographs of transoms and window frames.” The Ray Pendant carries the look with a strong fringe design on a necklace. And our Ray Drops are elegant earrings that dangle with a purpose.  

Whether or not you have a May birthday, our emerald designs make great gifts or presents to self. (Note: Even though emeralds are among the costliest gemstones, our emerald jewelry prices fit many budgets.) Pick a new piece because it’s spring. Or because you love color. Remember, green means go. Loosely interpreted: Order now.

How to Find the Perfect Wedding Band to Go With Your Engagement Ring

By Sarah on May 9, 2018 at 12:29 pm

Just when you got used to seeing that engagement ring on your finger, it’s time to find it a mate. You and your partner fit so well together. Your unique wedding ring set should equal that combo. As you think about wedding band designs, here’s some helpful advice about everything from ordering to popular pairings.

When Should I Order My Wedding Band?

We get it. Planning even a low-key wedding can end up adding an astonishing number of to-do’s to your calendar. That’s why we’ve worked to shorten our lead times to a wow level. For clients not doing a custom design, wedding rings and bands from our collections can be ready in just two to six weeks. If you’re starting by browsing the rings on our website, click on the “Lead Time & Returns” to find out how quickly we can create your ring. And if online shopping is your happy place, great. You can order wedding bands through our site or by phone.

For our most time-crunched clients, we recently introduced the Ready Ring. Made of recycled (eco-friendly) sterling silver, and crafted in our Philadelphia studio, Ready Ring bands are always in stock and ship in two days. They’re even available for same-day pickup in our Philly showroom. Ready Ring’s a solution even if you’re awaiting your custom-ordered dream ring because you can return it when that forever ring arrives, for a full refund and no charge.

We can walk you through all the details in either our NYC or Philadelphia showrooms. In fact, we’re now extending our hours in NYC to make time for the summer wedding boom. Be sure to make an appointment at either location to shop wedding bands and engagement rings.

New York City Showroom

Mondays: 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
Wednesdays & Thursdays: Noon-8 p.m.
Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays: 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

Philadelphia Flagship & Workshop

Wednesdays & Thursdays: 1-7 p.m.
Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Should My Wedding Band Match My Engagement Ring Exactly?

Pairing couples and jewelry is an art. So when we say “fit together,” we mean that in the most creative, goes-with-your-style sense. There’s no reason your unique engagement ring and wedding band can’t sing on their own while still making an impressive pair. (Some of our band and ring designs look fab as a trio too.) Our rings and bands come in many shapes. You might even pick gemstones for your wedding band that are different than what you have in your engagement ring.                                                                             

Creating Your Unique Wedding Ring Set

Beyond finding a unique engagement ring and wedding band pairing, you’ll have other decisions to make. Most of our bands have several metal options, including yellow gold, rose gold, white gold, and silver — and all are designed with the planet and people top of mind.

We use either 100 percent recycled metals or Fairmined gold. We work with refineries that take precious metal scraps and turn them into the materials we use to create jewelry. That means less mining, less impact on the environment. And the Fairmined gold label means better working and living conditions for miners. Likewise, all the gemstones in our wedding bands and engagement rings are ethically sourced. (Read about what goes into crafting our ethical rings.)

There’s the polish finish of your rings to consider too. Do you favor super shiny (high polish) or subdued (matte)? If the idea of wearing a band every day makes you or your partner squirm, by the way, we also have wedding bands designed for comfort. If you want to get more personalized, Bario Neal offers engraving services for your wedding band and engagement ring too. (If you’re stumped on the message, here are some ideas.)

Now, on to the inspiration! The unique engagement ring and wedding band sets below are some of our most popular, but don’t be afraid to bring your own style of creative to our showrooms. This might be the most fun mix-and-match game you’ve ever played.

Inspiration: How to Wear Wedding Rings

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Looking for a classic couple? Our Milla Curved Band and Milla Curved Diamond Band are rings designed to sit prettily with a solitaire engagement ring like our Avens Round Diamond Ring on top. (Though we think even alone, these bands have a distinct presence). As with all Bario Neal diamonds, the Half Eternity Band’s small stones, aka melee diamonds, are fully traceable — so you know they’re conflict-free.

If you’re thrilled to be getting married, but don’t see your lives together as a three-legged race, pair our Reticulated One Diamond Band with Reticulated Two Band. (“Reticulation” means the metal is heated and then quenched to get that organically wavy shape. We see a certain romance in the process.) You don’t need to do everything together, and your engagement ring and wedding band don’t need to be in lockstep.

Together, the Senna Halo Diamond Ring and the Senna Narrow Band prove that opposites can attract in all the right ways. An ethically sourced diamond encircled in black enamel and a band of white glass enamel are a study in clash-free contrast.

section2If you think romance is more of a Tilt-A-Whirl ride than a Ferris wheel, this pairing is for you. The asymmetry of our Cluster Sapphire Band goes with our Cluster Hex Sapphire Ring or any of our solitaire rings.

Ring stacking, sure. But stone stacking? Yes please. Pair our Cluster Opal Ring, with its oval opal and emerald-cut sapphire, with the Icon Hex Diamond Ring and you’ve got a diamond-opal-sapphire tower that you’ll never tire of.

Sometimes the road to betrothed is winding. Hey, that just means you’ll have a more interesting story to tell at your 50th anniversary celebration. If you’ve never been two to follow a straight line, put our Cluster Diamond Band with our Cluster Diamond Ring. (Not that you’re counting, but that’s a total of 15 conflict-free diamonds.)

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We’re not really sticklers for jewelry rules at Bario Neal, which is why we ditched the whole “ring = a circle” thing when designing our Icon Narrow Band. The squared band was made to go with the Pear Trillion Ring, which has a notch in the design for stacking.

The Icon Band is the little black dress of jewelry because it goes with everything. This geometric band is for perfect stackability, with any engagement ring, even the flowing Cluster Hex Sapphire Ring.

If your wedding planning strategy is more simplification than complication, then you’ll love our beautiful, go-with-the-flow Nikko Curved Band. You can pair it with a Nikko Diamond Ring for a classic-leaning twosome. Or, if you want to stand just a little taller, top them off and make a trio, with the Icon Hex Diamond Ring.

section 4The style of metal work that defines filigree is centuries old. Seems like great odds for a marriage! Our Filigree Curved Band with a Filigree Rose Cut Oval Pink Sapphire Ring or a Filigree Rose Cut Round White Sapphire Ring (with a white sapphire) are sets that are certain to stand the test of time.

Think life should be a Broadway show? Not too much drama, please, but definitely applause-worthy? Then here’s your ticket. Our classic solitaire Avens Round Diamond Ring sets the stage and the Cluster Fringe Diamond Ring lights up like a marquee. Standing. O.

Pssst. Over here. This engagement ring/wedding band set reminds us of a playful aside, but still has absolutely what it takes to shine front and center. The Linea Diamond Band, with 17 bead set .005 carat diamonds, is ideal for many of our cluster and solitaire rings. Try it with the Cluster Opal and Morganite Ring to add some other pretty gemstones into the mix.

section5Our Allium Diamond Ring with Notch features a, well, notch, to make it stackable with most bands. Adaptability is an admirable trait — yet if you see it with our Demi-Baguette Diamond Band, you can’t help but think they’re meant to be.

A valley’s where you go to drink in the view of a beautiful mountain. Enter our Ray Fringe Band, a half halo band that pairs ever so naturally with our Ray Ring (add an Open Lash Ring to the stack for a trio). Or climb out of that valley on steps of opal and sapphire by opting to join the Ray Fringe Ring with our Opal Cluster Ring.

You don’t have to be born in May to embrace sparkling green instead of diamonds for your wedding ring set. Together, our Emerald Ray Ring and Open Lash Ring signal that you’re the type who’s open to possibility. Choose the Lash Solitaire Blue Sapphire Ring for an even more colorful mix.

For more inspiration or to start mixing and pairing on your own, shop all of our bands online and follow us on Instagram. While you do, know that what we most love at Bario Neal is designing and creating jewelry that’s meaningful to our clients. Many people don’t wear two rings. Rings don’t have to match. A wedding ring and wedding band don’t even have to be an Official Wedding Ring and an Engagement Ring. After all, we squared a circle for our Icon Narrow Band.

You can break any “rules.”

4 Ideas for a Meaningful Handmade Baby Gift

By Sarah on April 27, 2018 at 3:08 pm

03_15_Baby_Bangles_SS-1814 (1)-sized

From clothes to disposable toys, kids have a way of putting a dent in sustainable living. Families politely request “no more plastic stuff, please!,” and it keeps coming.

Our brand-new Bario Neal Baby & Child Keepsakes line reflects our desire to design objects of lasting value. There’s an invisible tie among parents, children, and siblings, but in today’s mass consumption world, these bangles can be a delicate reminder of how much this connection is what truly matters. They have the added bonus of being a meaningful gift that’s not headed straight for the landfill or the “can this be recycled?” pile.

Designers have created jewelry for children for hundreds of years, from lockets to bracelets, and the custom of children wearing jewelry is still prevalent in many cultures today. The Victorian era was a particularly popular time for tiny rings and bangles engraved with a baby’s name. The fact that you’re likely to stumble on them during a Sunday vintage/antiquing outing speaks to their permanence.

The Bario Neal team knows children embrace handmade gifts. “My son will only use the spoon that one of the jewelers at Bario Neal made him when he was an infant,” says Page Neal, Bario Neal co-founder and designer.

As we’ve worked with our clients over the years, we’ve seen so many versions of “family.” Moms, mother figures, dads, guardians. Our Keepsake bangles are designed to work for every family member and can be made in sterling silver or 14kt yellow gold. (With the environment in mind, Bario Neal uses only Fairmined gold and recycled metals.) They can be engraved with names and they come in four sizes: baby, toddler, child, and adult.

Shop our new Bario Neal Baby & Child Keepsakes collection today. For parents and caretakers of all stripes, the baby and child bangles might be a way of continuing a family jewelry tradition, or creating a new story for a new family. For those on the hunt for a handmade baby gift that’s more personal than mass-produced, they’re the perfect alternative to another plastic toy.

Forget the Diamond Myths. Here Are the Diamond Facts.

By Constance on April 12, 2018 at 2:53 pm

Your diamond is out there, and we know how to find it. Even if you never thought a diamond could turn your head. Even if you’re worried about diamond mining’s negative impact on people and the environment. Even if you’re put off by our culture’s messaging about diamond engagement rings (read: all those cringe-inducing, stereotype-enforcing, exclusionary myths about diamonds).

We know we can find your diamond because we expertly and ethically source every one to order. Yep, that’s right: We search out and choose each diamond for each custom jewelry client after we meet and talk about you and your ideas.

 

Rosecut Halo Rings

Our Rose Cut Diamond Halo Ring has a center stone encircled by smaller diamonds in a pavé setting — and all of them are traceable.

 

If you’re worried about the human and environmental toll of diamonds and confused by the diamond 4Cs, we’ve got you covered in this post. If you just happen to be shopping for a diamond ring, there’s plenty of style inspiration below too! After all, choosing a new piece of jewelry or designing custom jewelry with diamonds should be a happy creative time, not a stress-maker.

FINDING AN ETHICALLY SOURCED DIAMOND

We love that there’s more awareness than ever about bad labor practices and unjust economies tied to diamond mining. But we also get that many people have no idea where to start with making sure they are buying an ethically sourced diamond. That’s where our diamond expertise and knowledge — and determination — come in.

All of Bario Neal’s diamonds are either recycled or fully traceable to an ethical source.

 

Rough Raw Diamond Cube

An ethically sourced rough diamond awaits your dream custom jewelry design
We’ve partnered with small suppliers who care as much as we do about ethically sourcing diamonds, big and small. Even with greater awareness about conflict diamonds, many suppliers don’t want to invest in tracing smaller stones for, say, bands. That’s not good enough for us. Our diamond suppliers are willing to go above and beyond to verify the standards of their stones. In South Africa, our supplier visits the mines in person to make sure we have conflict-free diamonds. (If you love our Baguette Diamond Band, read about how our search for ethical diamonds took us to Canada and Surat, India, in our blog post on traceable baguette diamonds.)

 

Even though we’re totally confident in our partners’ ethical sourcing, we still reach for recycled diamonds (unless you ask otherwise) first. Using recycled diamonds in custom jewelry means less mining, less impact, more sustainability. Recycled diamonds can come from old pieces of jewelry or even the stock of a defunct jeweler.

 

WHAT ARE THE 4Cs of DIAMONDS?

The 4Cs of diamonds are carat, color, clarity, and cut. At Bario Neal, the diamonds we use in all our jewelry pieces have a color grade of I or higher, SI1 clarity, and a Good cut. What does all that mean? Read on for how to think about the 4Cs when you’re shopping for a diamond.

 

Diamonds are weighed in carats. Simple. One carat is one-fifth of a gram. (For those who’ve never been Star Baker on “The Great British Baking Show,” it takes four grams of sugar to fill up a teaspoon.)

 

Color is best known by letter grades for diamonds, from D to Z, with a D being the most colorless diamond and the end of the alphabet having the most color. The larger the diamond, the easier it is to see the diamond’s color, so if your perfect diamond is .02 carat, you could opt for the middle range of the alphabet. Bario Neal uses diamonds that have a letter grade up to I in our made-to-order jewelry because diamonds up to the letter grade I appear colorless.
Diamond clarity refers to natural parts (or lack of) of the stone that — counter to diamond myth — don’t necessarily equal poor quality. Where some see “flaws” or “inclusions,” we often see unique characteristics that make up your diamond’s identity. Think of it like a fingerprint. When it comes to clarity, we use SI1 or better diamonds. The “SI” stands for “slightly included,” but no matter how much of your coffee break you spend staring at your new stone (perfectly acceptable, we assure you!), you won’t even see these natural parts of the diamond. Unless you’re wearing a magnifying glass, which we do not recommend while drinking coffee.
The cut of a diamond determines its overall appearance. Cut shouldn’t be confused with diamond shape, but a diamond cut does affect how light plays off the stone. (There’s a reason that in the jewelry business, the pros use terms like “fire” and “scintillation” to talk about cut.) Cuts get a grade too: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. As we mentioned, we don’t go below Good.

 

When you consider the 4Cs, there are endless combinations. We know most of you don’t walk around with a loupe (a jeweler’s magnifier), so whenever we meet with clients, we make lots of time to chat about the 4Cs and how they fit into a client’s style.

 

Asymmetrical Avens Linea Diamond Pave Band

When it comes to considering the 4Cs, there’s no one way to think about carat, color, clarity, and cut. Pictured above: Our Asymmetrical Avens Ring and Linea Band.

 

CHOOSING A DIAMOND RING STYLE

Naturally, you want a diamond ring to reflect who you are, what you love, how you see the world. To find your design groove, start by checking out some of our most popular diamond rings, sorted by style type below. Embrace these as is, or think of them as a starting point on the way to your custom-designed diamond ring.

Classic Rings
If you lean to classic design and your secret weapon is your quiet strength, check out our Avens Solitaire Ring. The round cut diamond ring has a delicate simplicity, but also the steadfastness of a lifetime-lasting look.

 

The Diamond CLuster Ring in 14KY and 14KW.

We can use a family gemstone you provide in your custom cluster ring.

Cluster Rings
Cluster rings are super popular right now. Maybe it’s a desire to escape today’s crazy-making headlines? Because with seven ethically sourced diamonds, our Diamond Cluster Ring certainly has an ahhh-inducing, dive-into-this-waterfall feel. (Tip: You can make this ring even more you by mixing in your heirloom gemstones.)

Halo Rings
Some of us love to be the center of attention — and some of us strive to be low-key noticed. For that second crowd, we’ve got the Senna Diamond Halo Ring, our take on the halo ring. It pops without a crazy-big diamond. For a more throwback halo ring, check out the antique style of our Rose Cut Diamond Halo Ring.

Contemporary Rings
We know not everyone wants a ring to be so, well, centered. So one of our contemporary diamond ring designs, the Pear Trillion Ring, turns the traditional diamond-in-the-middle look on its head by pairing pear and trillion diamonds. (P.S. We’ve designed in a little notch that makes this ring perfectly stackable.)

 

Rings with Raw Diamonds
We don’t expect (or even really want, if we’re honest) life to be perfectly smooth. Enter rough diamonds and their appealing ruggedness. Our Raw Asymmetrical Avens Ring is proof that “different” doesn’t mean unstylish or inelegant.

 

Eternity Rings
Why limit yourself to one stone when you can have a pretty row of small, pave diamonds (jewelers often use the industry term “melee”), like our Channel Narrow Diamond Band.

 

Remember, whether you want a contemporary diamond ring or a classic diamond band, a ring with a rough diamond, or a cluster ring, we take the time to get to know what our customers want — before we start searching for your ethically sourced diamond and handcrafting your ring.

Elemental Opals

By Jenny on April 5, 2018 at 3:30 pm

Opals, though pale and mellow, show up with fiery sparkles of all the colors of the rainbow when shaped and exposed to light. Pulled from the earth, these ethereal moonlets dance with the sun’s light like a tiny universe– a perfect mirror of the earth’s magic. These flashes are caused by light interacting with the tiny balls of silica that make up opals structure. Formed when silica gel fills crevices in rocks, as the gel evaporates it leaves behind the silica which is what we know as Opal. Being formed in this way, opals can contain as much as 20% water! (Scorpios, the fiercest water sign in the zodiac, may also want to take note.) What does this mean in practical terms? When used in jewelry, be careful not to let the opal experience drastic changes in temperature or rough treatment, as they are very sensitive gemstones.

Opal_Morganite_Cluster_Stack_Bands_W-1Our Opal and Morganite Cluster Ring paired with our Diamond Cluster Band.

Let’s discuss where on earth these incredible gems are found and their impact. We source our Opals from Ethiopia’s Sherwa province. Ethiopia began producing Opals in the early 1990’s. Since then, deposit discoveries continue to cement its reputation as an opal hotspot. First known specifically for producing characteristic reddish brown opals, white and black/blue opals similar to those found in Australia, have since been discovered, with notable deposits being found as recently as 2013.

A driving force in the development and promotion of ethical sourcing, our supplier’s chain reaches many places in Africa, connecting us with mining collectives, women’s organizations and minority-owned businesses directly supporting their activities. These include improving working conditions, making mines a safer place to work, and educating miners about the value of the minerals they extract.

Crafting Change One Ethical Ring at a Time

By Constance on March 29, 2018 at 2:23 pm

Next time you splash water on your face and catch your ring’s reflection in the bathroom mirror, think of this: Where you buy your jewelry matters — to that tap water, to gold and gemstone miners, and more.

If that ring in the mirror is an ethical ring, then it’s connected to clean water, clean air, and fair and safe working conditions for miners.

To make our ethical rings, Bario Neal uses Fairmined gold and ethically sourced gemstones. Both make for a safer, cleaner jewelry option that supports, not endangers miners, and isn’t as damaging to the environment as most traditional mining. More than that, your Bario Neal ethical ring means fair trade and female empowerment, and benefits nonprofits that support miners and a more sustainable planet.

 

 

Rough Diamond Garnet Ethical Ring

This Custom ethical ring crafted with a Raw diamond, Fairmined gold and Tanzanian garnets has real-world impact.

 

One traditionally mined 18k gold ring creates 20 tons of waste. One ethical ring? Not even close.

When you buy an ethical ring, more money for food, shelter, and education goes to the miners and their families — instead of into the pockets of large corporations. Buying an ethical ring handcrafted with Fairmined metals or recycled metals and recycled gemstones or traceable gemstones helps create a more just economy.

Together, Bario Neal designers and our clients are carving an ethical path forward for the jewelry industry, one handmade, ethical ring at a time.

Thankfully, we’re not alone! Ethical rings were a focus at the Jewelry Industry Summit in NYC in March. Our co-founder Anna Bario organized the very first summit, and we gather there annually with our fellow industry trailblazers.
Anna Bario and Page neal Craft change one ethical ring at a time.
Anna Bario and Page Neal are industry leaders in sustainable jewelry. Photo by Cody Guilfoyle for Domino Magazine.

 

This year, we were so happy to see two familiar faces there as keynote speakers: Jen Marraccino from Pure Earth, a nonprofit that’s addressing pollution in low- and middle-income countries, and Cristina Villegas of Pact, a nonprofit that helps poor and marginalized people in 40 countries. We support the work of both organizations with donations and gemstone purchases.

 

“Emerging and Independent Jewelers” was the theme of the 2018 Jewelry Industry Summit.

 

Marraccino spoke about Pure Earth’s current focus on training artisanal gold miners about alternatives to using mercury. Mercury is an easy, cheap way to separate gold from other materials, but it’s highly toxic and endangers the environment and the health of these small-scale miners.

 

An ethical ring uses gold mined without mercury.
See the difference between gold recovered using mercury (left), and without? Photo courtesy of Pure Earth.

 

According to the United Nations, at least a quarter of the world’s gold supply comes from artisanal gold mining. The UN estimates that about 20 million gold miners, including 4.5 million women and 600,000 children, are poisoned by direct contact with toxic mercury. The released mercury also makes its way into our rivers and oceans.

 

your Bario Neal ethical ring means fair trade and female empowerment, and benefits nonprofits that support miners and a more sustainable planet.
A team from the Gemological Institute of America and Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Pact traveled to the Tanga Region in Tanzania to help more than 40 female miners make their work more lucrative. Photo courtesy of Pact.
Villegas discussed Pact’s outreach to the Tanzania Women Miners Association about responsible gemstone sourcing. Pact helps women, many of them novice miners, who are working to feed their families by selling what they find. The nonprofit educates them on accurately identifying and caring for higher-quality stones so their work can become more lucrative. (Check out Pact’s noteworthy Mines to Markets program.)

 

The 2018 Jewelry Industry Summit

At the 2018 Jewelry Industry Summit, we discussed abuses occurring across the jewelry industry as detailed in the recent Human Rights Watch report, “The Hidden Cost of Jewelry.”

 

This year’s Jewelry Industry Summit reinforced how vital it is for us to stay vigilant about avoiding metal and gemstone sources connected to unjust economies — and offering our clients beautiful ethical rings that make a positive difference to people and the planet. When you work with us on a handcrafted wedding ring of ethically sourced gemstones and Fairmined gold, you really are helping to change the world for the better, for women miners in Tanzania, for nonprofits like Pact and Pure Earth, and beyond.