Handmade Holidays: The Gift of Giving Back

By Constance on November 22, 2017 at 11:08 am

Want a gift that gives back? Put your money in the right place this season by shopping handmade for the holidays. Our Handmade Holidays feature complimentary gifts, great savings, a chance to give to incredible causes and support an environmentally responsible small business (us!)

 

Handmade for the Holidays: Give the Gift of Giving Back

Your Bario Neal purchase means more than great gifts this year.

 

Every year we strive to support a local organization that we feel is making a crucial positive change in our community. This year, with the threats to equal rights and healthcare looming, we chose to partner with the Mazzoni Center, a Philadelphia non-profit supporting LGBTQ Health & Well-being.

 

“One in three women will experience violence in her lifetime. One in five transgender people has experienced homelessness at some time in their lives because of discrimination or family rejection. Gay and bisexual men and transgender women represent the majority of new HIV infections occurring in the U.S. each year, and the numbers are on the rise.”

 

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Help us raise money and supplies for the Mazzoni Center Emergency Needs Fund to provide basic items desperately needed by youth and families suffering through extreme circumstances.

  • When you donate $50 for a newly purchased winter coat and base layers for a child or an adult, you will receive $65 off a Bario Neal purchase of $200 or more.
  • When you donate $30 for a newly purchased winter hat, socks, gloves, and hand warmer packets for a child or an adult, receive $45 off a Bario Neal purchase of $150 or more.
  • When you donate $10 for a newly purchased  hygiene kit (including toiletry bag, soap, face wash, toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, and tampons) receive $20 off of a Bario Neal purchase of $100 or more

For online donations, follow the steps below and receive the discount at checkout, December 6 through the 31:

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In order for your packages to arrive by the start of Christmas and Chanukah, see below ordering deadlines:

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For in-store or showroom purchases, drop off newly purchased items from the supply list at the Bario Neal flagship Philadelphia location or the New York showroom to receive the discount. We’re even extending our Philadelphia Holiday Hours– the week before Christmas December 18th-23rd, we’ll be open every day from 12-7pm!

 

Handmade for the Holidays: Give the Gift of Giving Back

Make your gift of handmade jewelry extra special with one of our handmade porcelain boxes, shown with our OOAK Holiday Nikko Rings. Contact for details.

 

“Since 1970, NRDC has worked to ensure the rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities.”

 

Once the BlackFriday/Cyber Monday dust settles, we go even further into the giving spirit. On Giving Tuesday we’ll donate 10% of all sales to the National Resource Defence Council! Your contribution to this vital organization will help combat climate change, save wildlife and preserve wild places.

 

 

 

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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Make Your Holidays Shine Bright

By Constance on October 24, 2017 at 3:55 pm

We know, it’s too soon to think about the Holidays, but you’ll see those Christmas decorations everywhere you go soon enough. In an effort to be green in everything we do, let’s talk about packaging and shipping your Holiday orders. Unlike, say Amazon, we don’t have a warehouse of stock served by drones and bots. Our jewelry, made by hand after you order, is processed and shipped with care by actual humans in Philadelphia.

 

Signature Paper Box
We use our hands to assemble and ship your precious future heirlooms in our ethical, American-made, signature boxes.
This season, whether you’re stopping by one of our showrooms to place an order for a loved one or friend, or you’re browsing online, here’s our guidelines to help you make this Holiday extra special:

 

Purchase Made to Order Rings for the Holidays by November 1 to avoid a Rush Service.
Order In-Stock Necklaces and Earrings by December 15th to take advantage of Ground Shipping.

 

Why choose ground shipping or avoid rushing your order? It’s good for the planet and good for you! Ground shipping is by far the most eco-friendly option and we can’t guarantee everything will be available to rush, so ordering early ensures you will get what you want in time.

 

Bario Neal Packaging Porcelain Box

Want that perfect, personal touch? Present your items in our sleek, signature Porcelain Box, a keepsake handmade in the USA. 

 

If time slips by (and we know it does!) remember you are still able to:

Purchase Made to Order Rings with a Rush Service until November 21
Order In-Stock Necklaces and Earrings with Express Shipping until December 19

 

So there you have it, a little extra planning ahead of time for holiday orders gives you the flexibility to make a great choice and reduce stress. We’ve made it easy too. In order for your packages to arrive in the greenest way, by the start of Christmas and Chanukah, see below:

 

 

 

Miss these dates and still want a handmade ring? Just contact us to see if you can RUSH your order or make an appointment to see our selection of One of Kind Rings in our Philadelphia and NYC showrooms.

October Offers Earthly Magic in our Linear Rings

By Constance on October 4, 2017 at 10:54 am

Have we talked about how lucky October kids are in the birthstone department? You get the ultimate twofer: Opal AND Tourmaline. If you think about it, it makes sense- October is a magical month to be born– and the zodiac signs couldn’t be more different or distinct. So whether you are a gentle Libra or wild Scorpio, you’ll find rings that showcase both in our stunning new Linear Rings.

 

New Linear Rings

These colorful, pure gemstones encompass the earth’s majesty in our new Linear Rings.

 

First, let’s explore the personality and paths reflected in these new designs. Inspired by our Linear Diamond Ring (straightforward and direct!) The new Linear Opal Ring suspends White Round Diamonds, Oval Opal, Pale Pink Morganite, Champagne round diamonds in a sweep of pale, peaceful beauty. Enter The Hex Sapphire Linear Ring: juxtaposing pink tourmaline with natural sapphires in a mix of fantastical colors and shapes.

 

If our new Opal Linear is a morning meditation, a whisper, a lull, a sunrise. Then the Hex Linear is a symphony, a dance, a jète of earth and sky colors, a sunset.

 

Bario Neal Linear Opal Cluster Rings

 

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.

 

Ethiopian Opal from the Sherwa Province

Ethiopian Opals are different from Australian opals, as they were formed as a result of volcanic activity as opposed to sedimentary formations.

 

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.

 

Knowledge about the product is a huge challenge for miners who are too isolated from the market to realize the value of their labor.

 

Next, we move to another magical color-changing birthstone for October: Tourmaline. The new Hex Linear Ring and Dyad Cluster Ring feature a striking sunset-pink variety, but the gem itself can be anyone (or two or three!) of 60 natural colors. Found all over the world, they are one of the most versatile and diverse gemstones around.
Pink Tourmaline from Brazil

Pink tourmalines can also be known as Rubellites.

 

Brazil has famously been the source of some of the most impressive tourmalines ever discovered however more recently, deposits in Africa have yielded some of the best pink tourmalines. Namibia is home to world-class Tourmaline deposits along with Nigeria, Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

 

Tourmalines are often dichroic or pleochroic which means they show two different colors in one stone. Although this effect is less pronounced and sometimes not noticeable in pink stones than it is in green, blue or green-blue tourmaline. It is even possible to get tourmaline that shows multiple colors in one crystal. The best known of these to jewelry lovers are watermelon tourmaline which has a red core surrounded by green.
The Tourmalines that we use in our Hex Sapphire Linear and Trillion Triad Cluster Rings are recycled gemstones, in that they have already be involved in the jewelry production process and we are reusing them. This approach means that no new mining is required thus eliminating the potential for damage to ecosystems and labor issues.
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Expand your horizon: a pop of Pink Tourmaline completes this line-up of Montana and Australian Sapphires in bright hues and mixed shapes.

 

Each ring is a carefully selected configuration and selection of high-quality, traceable gemstones. We see our jewelry as a tiny link between you, every hand that touches it and the earth. The Linear Series is a part of our new Ceremony Collection, now available online and in all Bario Neal locations.

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.

 

 

A Better Path For Brazil’s Mining Industry

By Edward on August 30, 2017 at 1:26 pm

Maybe you missed it in the recent overabundance of bad news, but last week, Brazil opened up a swath of the Amazon rainforest the size of Denmark to mining interests. Today the court just suspended this decree among an outcry from activists and Brazilian celebrities like Gisele.

 

“The Amazon forest helps maintain the balance so life can continue on our planet.” From Gisele’s Post on Instagram.

The Amazon, often described as the “lungs of the Earth”, is the largest rainforest in the world.

The Amazon, often described as the “lungs of the Earth”, is the largest rainforest in the world.

 

“The federal court in the capital Brasilia said in a statement it was suspending “‘possible administrative acts based on the decree” signed by President Michel Temer.”

 

Though things are looking up, we have to stay alert. To understand the potential environmental toll this presents, just do a quick search for “gold mining impact” or read this recent article on the perils of the Latin American gold rush.

 

Coal mines like the Lumbung Mine are having a huge impact on local and indigenous populations in Indonesia, destroying the environment and polluting river water, normally used for cooking. Central Kalimantan, Borneo. June 8th 2013. The World Development Movement is campaigning for banks and other parts of the financial sector to be forced to disclose the carbon footprint of their investments.

Coal mines like the Lumbung Mine (above) are having a huge impact on local and indigenous populations in Indonesia, destroying the environment and polluting river water.

 

From The Guardian article:

“Illegally mined gold has overtaken cocaine to become Peru and Colombia’s most lucrative illicit export, according to a new report that warns the shift from drug cultivation to criminal mining in many Latin American countries is fuelling “staggering” human rights abuses and wrecking the environment.”

Though promises from the officials involved in the decision, to protect conservation and indigenous land areas, mean very little, a little knowledge of the issues and strong activism can offer hope for the future.  While undoubtedly bad news overall, the hard work of artisanal miners and others in the sector over the last 10-15 years has meant that there is a new precedent for mining that does not damage the environment and respects local communities.

 

No matter what, mining has a tremendous impact on the environment .

No matter what, mining has a tremendous impact on the environment.

The activities of groups in neighboring Colombia have set the tone for what those inside the industry hope will become a characteristic of some of the extraction due to take place in Brazil.  As recently as June, Revista Semana, one of Columbia’s most read publications looked at the groundbreaking, advances taking place within its mining sector:

 

“A group of artisanal miners demonstrated that artisanal mining and environmental destruction are not two sides of the same coin. They seek to protect the biodiversity of their territory and prove that artisanal mining can be done responsibly. Through these practices, they have secured sales of their ecologically-mined gold to ethical jewelers at the international level.”

 

 

While there will undoubtedly be abuses, corruptions, and confrontations it’s down to consumers and businesses, to demand greater transparency and the implementation of hard fought for reforms and best practices for ethical mining.

Fairmined– Gold that Gives Back

By Constance on August 8, 2017 at 2:56 pm

Need a little cheering up? Just look down at that certified Fairmined gold ring on your finger. We spent a little free time getting down with the annual report to see the improvements from money collected for the reinvestment in Fairmining communities. Here’s a small breakdown of where your support went.

Aug 8_Fairmined_Pride_Casting_grains

 

  • Aurelsa (Peru) focused its investment on geological and environmental studies, which allowed to include more artisanal miners in their mining concession.
    The certified mining organizations of La Llanada (Colombia), used the Premium to buy highly expensive safety equipment, which would have been impossible to acquire without this financial resource. The cooperative also invested in its workers and the community with the creation of a fund and a bonus for the mine workers to improve their houses.

Aurelsa Mine_Peru_2

 

  • Sotrami (Peru) invested in the construction of treatment plants for residual water in the mine, a water pump for the mining community and improvements in the living area for their workers. Furthermore, they supported the local educational facility and bought protection equipment for the women’s mineral sorting Association “Nueva Esperanza”.

  • In Iquira (Colombia), the Premium helped to finance the management system for occupational health and safety, environmental mining studies and loan funds for unexpected events. It was also used to support educational and religious facilities.
  • The certified mining organizations of La Llanada (Colombia), used the Premium to buy highly expensive safety equipment, which would have been impossible to acquire without this financial resource. The cooperative also invested in its workers and the community with the creation of a fund and a bonus for the mine workers to improve their houses.

Coodmilla Mine_1_Fairmined

 

“Responsible mining means doing fair mining with nature, that doesn’t work with violence or forces us to work. Here we don’t use mercury or cyanide, we do reforestation and we work hard to not contaminate the water. It’s all about making things grow”. – Henry Guerrón, Chief at Coodmilla Mine.

Information was provided by the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) annual report. ARM established the Fairmined Standard and is a leading expert on small-scale and artisanal mining. They set standards to make sure that the miners and their families and communities are economically and socially improving while staying environmentally responsible.

Explore the annual reports on Fairmined Gold reinvestment here.

 

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.

 

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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