Fire Signs: Here’s Your Energy Match in a Gemstone

By Sarah on August 24, 2018 at 2:34 pm
Bario Neal Rings with Gemstone Personalizations for Fire Signs
From left to right: Open Lash Emerald and White Topaz Ring, Reticulated One Champagne Diamond Band and Lash Garnet and Tourmaline Power Studs

People have recognized the energy and healing powers of gemstones for thousands of years. A connection between that naturally formed mineral beauty and the zodiac’s four elements””fire, water, air, and earth””makes sense. So while Bario Neal works with plenty of clients on custom birthstone rings and similar jewelry gifts (gemstones matched to the month), we also love taking cues from the zodiac for our designs. We’re kicking off this series with the fire signs of the zodiac. 

 

Each zodiac sign has complementary gemstones whose metaphysical properties mean enhancing and supporting the best self. The three fire signs””Leo, Aries, Sagittarius””are associated with strength, passion, and bravery. Here are three gemstones, along with jewelry designs, that can fuel those bright flames.

Gemstone for Leo: Tourmaline Jewelry (July 23 – August 22)

The folks at Tarot.com recommend tourmaline for Leo because, they say, “it enhances compassion, happiness, and serenity.” Noting that Leo equals creativity, they add that, if you’re born in late summer, the stone acts as a muse and gives you a friendly push if your imagination is stuck.

Lucky for drama-loving Leo, tourmaline comes in an inspiring multicolored palette, from black to green to pink, and there are plenty of ways to play when it comes to jewelry.

Part of our new-this-year Ceres Collection, our Lash Garnet and Tourmaline Power Studs (and the skyward ear climber version) incorporate pale pink tourmalines in a setting that’s asymmetrical yet still feels perfectly grounded. These earrings make a good match for that Leo strength.

On a more delicate note, a recycled princess cut tourmaline added the perfect hint of pink to the mix in this Cluster Trillion Triad Ring (starts at $1,970). (Bario Neal often uses recycled gemstones, sourced from jewelry settings gone by, to create our eco-friendly jewelry.)

True to our inclusive approach to jewelry design, we don’t think of gender when we use pink tourmaline, but for a Leo who prefers a darker gemstone, green-blue tourmalines shine. That shade is at the heart of our Custom Oval Bezel Ring with Tourmaline and Custom Cushion Cut Tourmaline Cluster Ring.

Gemstone for Aries: Diamond Jewelry (March 21 – April 19)

According to the metaphysicists at Tarot.com, the durable diamond shares everlasting strength with Aries. If your birthday is early spring, they say, diamonds can help drive you to your goals (you already have a never-give-up attitude), and also support you in “attaining spiritual clarity and speaking your heart’s truth.”

Put aside any preconceived notions about diamonds only being for engagement rings or the most special of occasions. The Bario Neal team has loved working with clients who visit our showrooms or shop online to buy diamond jewelry for themselves. You don’t have to spend a bundle to tap into this gemstone’s power either.

There are two diamond necklaces, a diamond bracelet, and a stud pair of diamond earrings in our Lau Diamond Collection (starting at $368), which uses a channel setting and a semicircle shape for a design that’s reminiscent of an electric arc (energy) or a rainbow (those dreams you’re dreaming!). If you want to go full circle and a bit bolder, check out these Aira Studs ($195).

Our organically styled Reticulated One Diamond Band ($271) and delicately braided Fishtail Diamond Ring ($291) are two more accessibly priced ways to wear a diamond. For all these designs we use ethically sourced white diamonds, but don’t forget that diamonds come in many colors, from champagne to black.

Gemstone for Sagittarius: Topaz Jewelry (November 22 – December 21)

Topaz, according to Basmati.com, a site that focuses on health and the environment, has Sagittarius energy. If you were born under this sign, writes Stasia Bliss, choose topaz for “increasing connection with soul truths, strengthening the body, healing any discord and simply finding peace and happiness within.” That influence makes sense when you learn that topaz is also thought to stimulate honesty and straightforward communication.  

Our Ceres Collection sings with truth, and we used blue topaz and white topaz for a few Ceres pieces. (Yep, the explorer in you has color choices with this stone.)

In the one-of-a-kind Lash Vertical Square Cut Emerald, Carnelian, and Blue Topaz Cluster Ring, a blue topaz is the perfect punctuation point (starting point?) in a tower of strength. In this ring, “O,” not “X,” marks the spot.

If you want to go colorless, our white topaz shines in the Open Lash Emerald and White Topaz Ring. This incomplete circle is a signature Bario Neal design and will likely appeal to the open to all possibilities vibe that governs Sagittarius. Our Custom Topaz and Heirloom Rough Diamond Cluster Ring has twice the positive energy with two topaz.

These topaz, tourmaline, and diamond jewelry designs show off just a few of the ways Leo, Sagittarius, and Aries can keep a healing gemstone close. Shop our rings, earring, necklaces, bracelets, and custom jewelry for more. If you fall in love with another piece shown with some other stone, ask us about getting it made with your zodiac match, which we’ll ethically source. And check back with the Bario Neal blog in the future to see what gemstones work for Earth, Air, and Water. Heads up, Cancers, Scorpios, and Pisces: Check back with the Bario Neal blog in September, when we’ll cool things down a bit with our gemstones for water signs.

Bario Neal Creates New Bands and Rings With Champagne Diamonds

By Sarah on July 19, 2018 at 3:17 pm

Hand wearing Halo Rose Cut Diamond Ring with Eternity Champagne Diamond Band

We’ve got something to toast this Summer: our new champagne diamond collection. Summer’s the perfect time for this fancy color stone to shine. And while we’re always happy to work with you on designing a custom ring, this addition means our clients get more gemstone choices in more of our ring and band designs “” from the Myrtle Champagne Diamond Ring to the Eternity Champagne Diamond Band.  

The gemstone is a spectacular alternative to a colorless (aka white) diamond, is at home set in all types of metals, and looks lovely next to other colored stones too.

When it comes to wear, champagne diamonds are just as durable and hard as colorless diamonds. Just like other fancy color diamonds, they are diamonds “” 99.95% carbon. Colorless diamonds are graded for their lack of color, with the most colorless being the most expensive. But as the grade gets lower, noticeable color tones show “” typically in yellow, gray or, you guessed it, “champagne.”

“Champagne diamond is referring to a pale brown essentially,” says Genna Fischer, Bario Neal gemstone sourcing coordinator. “We typically use C2 to C4 gemological grading for champagne diamonds. The scale goes C1 to C8, with C7 and C8 being more cognac.” Though you can create color in diamonds with various treatments, Bario Neal’s champagne diamonds come by their color naturally thanks to trace elements during formation.

Stack of Bands with Champagne Diamonds.

“Champagne” and “cognac” are marketing speak of course. “My pale brown diamond” doesn’t exactly dance off the tongue. If you’ve ever bought paint for your home, you’ll recognize that kind of (usually ridiculous) color branding. Who hasn’t painted their home “Chantilly Lace,” “Shoji,” or “Ultra Pure” to only realize that their walls are white. Just white. The champagne diamond marketing terms were coined in the 1980s by an Australian mine that’s also the source of Bario Neal’s traceable, ethical champagne diamonds.

Frankly, we don’t need the sales pitch. Whatever you call the color, we love champagne diamonds because they have the sparkle of a colorless diamond while being more of an easy neutral. So do many of our clients who want a gemstone with an effortless subtlety. “A really bright, sparkly colorless diamond, you can see that across the room,” Fischer says. “A champagne diamond has that sparkle and that fire without being blinding.”

Hand wearing Reticulated One Champagne Diamond Band, Lash Triad Ring and Half Eternity Champagne Diamond Band.

Here are 8 great reasons to choose champagne diamonds
  • Champagne diamonds, at larger sizes, are more affordable than colorless diamonds.
  • Champagne diamonds at Bario Neal are ethically sourced and traceable. We have a longstanding relationship with an Australian mine. Larger champagne diamonds come with a certification verifying they were mined and cut responsibly in Australia. Clients who have ties to the country get an even more personal story with the gemstone too. (P.S. If you want a ring or band with a recycled gemstone, champagne diamonds can be tougher to find because they haven’t been as popular in the past and there’s just not as many antique jewelry pieces to pull stones from as there are with colorless diamonds. But it’s not impossible “” just ask!)
  • Champagne diamonds don’t carry the “perfection assumptions” that add pressure to shopping for colorless diamonds. “There’s plenty of room for all types of champagne diamonds. The “˜lighter’ isn’t necessarily the “˜more valuable,'” Fischer says.
  • Champagne diamonds pair well with any metal color. In a yellow gold, they have an antique feel. In a rose gold, they take on more of a pink undertone. In platinum, they take on cooler notes and look more modern.
  • Champagne diamonds are fun. “Clients have asked for their ring to look like sparkling rosé, and I’ve put a champagne diamond in rose gold. It’s exactly what you would think of,” Fischer says.
  • Champagne diamonds mix well with other gemstone colors too. “I’m struggling to think of something I would not put champagne diamonds with,” Fischer says. “It’s as versatile as the colorless diamond.”
  • Champagne diamonds easily stand alone as a stunning center stone in a ring. They can be any shape or size you want.
  • Melee champagne diamonds, smaller accent stones, work beautifully in rings and bands (and, in fact, are already shining in many Bario Neal designs).

Hand Wearing Channel Narrow Champagne Diamond Band, Fishtail Champagne Diamond Band, and Open Lash Champagne Diamond Ring

We’re happy to see the sometimes underappreciated champagne diamond finally getting more attention. If you make Fischer pick a favorite, she says she’d go with the Open Lash Champagne Diamond Ring. “It’s both a ring and a band. It can be worn on its own very nicely, but it fits around and with many solitaire or multi-stone engagement rings very well.”

We’ll toast to that “” and you should feel free to pop at a cork too at our Philadelphia flagship or New York showroom while you shop our new Champagne diamond rings and bands.

Every Ruby Ring Isn’t Red (But That Just Means More Colorful Rubies!)

By Sarah on July 5, 2018 at 2:59 pm
Three custom rings by Bario Neal featuring rubies.
L to R: Custom Trillion Cut White Sapphire Bouquet Cluster Ring, Custom Diamond and Ruby Cluster Ring, Custom Solar System Ring

There’s a reason Dorothy’s magic slippers in “The Wizard of Oz” were changed from silver in the book to ruby red for what Judy Garland wore in the movie: Rubies make a bold statement. (They also pop against a yellow-brick road.) Those famous kicks are probably one reason that, when you picture rubies, you don’t think pink. Yet most rubies aren’t deep dark red and could be better described as magenta, fuchsia, raspberry, or jewel-tone pink.

RUBY CUSTOM RINGS

There are rubies, of course, that fit the image in your head, but they’re extremely rare (example: this Elizabeth Taylor ruby ring). At Bario Neal, we see the more accessible pink-hued stones as a powerful standalone in ruby engagement rings and ruby wedding rings. Rubies of all shades pair prettily with other gemstones too. Check out the pink ruby color in our Custom Trillion Cut White Sapphire Bouquet Cluster Ring holding its own at a unique gemstone party.

Rubies carry symbolism well beyond the birthstone for July babies. When it comes to giving a ruby meaning, cultures throughout time have seen them as representing the power of life “” understandable given our red blood “” the sun, and the stone of kings. The notion that rubies are a protective talisman even fits with Dorothy’s red shoes.

One of our most vivid ruby ring inspirations is our Custom Diamond and Ruby Cluster Ring. The ring has what’s called a “pigeon blood ruby.” The name makes us squirm, but the oval ruby represents one of the truest deep red rubies “” and happens to make a gorgeous partner to an Australian rose cut diamond.

This Custom Solar System Ring shows what you can do with a mix of colorful gemstones, including heirlooms. For this personalized jewelry with multilayered meaning, our client used gems from her collection. The ruby was her mother’s. (One of Bario Neal’s own sources for rubies has been the Tanzania Women Miners Association.)

Rings and Earrings by Bario Neal with Rubies and Garnets
L to R: Cluster Garnet Ring , Lash Linear Garnet Ring, Lash Garnet and Tourmaline Power Studs, Lash Mini Raspberry Sapphire Studs, Shield Ruby Slice Earrings
RED GEMSTONE GIFTS

If you’re set on having some shade of red in your custom jewelry, think about garnets too. People might easily mistake a garnet for a blood red ruby, but the garnet will be a fraction of the price. (We used garnets to spectacular effect in two pairs of earrings for our new one-of-a-kind Ceres Collection.) You might also try a raspberry sapphire. Rubies and sapphires are basically sisters. They’re both composed of the mineral corundum, but the presence of the element chromium makes the ruby color. In the U.S., rubies earn that label with a certain color saturation, but you’ll be forgiven if you call a raspberry sapphire a ruby. These distinctions weren’t even made till the 20th century, and the definitions are still a bit squishy.

Whatever the ruby color, if you’re searching for ruby jewelry for a July birthstone gift, shop our Shield Ruby Slice Earrings, Ruby Slice Pendant, and Ruby Slice Studs too. For these pieces, we set a just-right sliver of ruby into yellow gold (which happens to be our favorite metal pairing for rubies). And if you’re ready to work with us on a custom ruby engagement ring or ruby wedding ring, start by filling out our Custom Design Questionnaire or make an appointment at our Philadelphia or New York City shops today.

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.

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.

Rethink Pink: Reclaiming the formerly femme hue

By Constance on January 4, 2018 at 1:14 pm

Millennial pink is the color of a generation. But can Pink”“ formerly a symbol of the saccharine-sweet or a girly-girl cliche”“ become a powerful statement? Umm… yes! It’s time to rethink pink as both a fashion and forever jewelry choice and we couldn’t be more excited about it.

Re-think Pink with Bario Neal RingsMany of our designs Rethink Pink using ethical gemstones like Morganite, Tourmaline and Sapphire.

 

Pink is not just all about girl-power, though embracing the feminine is empowering for everyone. People of all genders who want to feel beautiful and celebrate pink can reclaim the hue. Same with the pressure surrounding diamond engagement rings”“ play with pale or bold color for your wedding palette if that’s who you are every day. And as for everyone’s favorite holiday”“ Valentine’s Day”“ try to embrace it as more than just a commercial romantic cliche, but as an opportunity to show your S/O, yourself, or your BFF some love.

 

Re-think Pink with MorganiteLike the pastel pink that’s now unavoidable on Instagram and ubiquitous on Pinterest, pale pink Morganite is abuzz.

 

Found in the eastern states of Rio Grande de Norte and Minas Gerais in Brazil, Morganite is a member of the Beryl family of minerals, the same family as Emerald and Aquamarine.

Unlike Emeralds, which are often full of inclusions, Morganites are readily available as eye clean stones and thus differentiated more for their intensity of color than their clarity. Rarer than Aquamarine and registering 7.5 – 8 on the MOHS scale of mineral hardness, it is an ideal choice for jewelry, both bridal and every-day jewelry.

 

Re-think pink

People of all genders can reclaim the pink hue with both gem and metal choice.

Although emerging as a thoroughly modern choice, Morganite and its discovery are steeped in the finest and most prestigious traditions of the jewelry industry and mineral exploration.  The mineral was discovered in the early part of the last century and in 1911 was named Morganite after J.P Morgan, who sponsored the activities of legendary gemologist George Kunz, who discovered the stone.

 

Re-think Pink with a Bario Neal Stack

Morganite is known primarily as a pastel-colored gem in light, soft shades of pink, purplish pink, and orangey-pink. It looks great with opals, green and blues.

 

Associated only by name and by virtue of him being an avid collector of precious gems, Morganite mining was never a commercial interest of Morgan’s and to this day the mining of the stone is done almost entirely by small scale mining operations run by local people and not by large, faceless corporations.

At Bario Neal, we support small miners and source our Morganite through a GIA graduate gemologist who has an intimate knowledge of the gemstone extraction, processing and manufacturing cycle and who operates a multi-pronged approach to fair-trade practices and sustainability.

 

Re-think pink with ethical tourmaline

The Trillion Triad Cluster and Hex Sapphire Linear (above) rings feature our perfect pink tourmaline.

 

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

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.

 

Re-think Pink with pink sapphire

#Roseallday? Choose a Pink Sapphire Filigree in reclaimed 14kt. Rose Gold.

Lastly, we turn to another gorgeous, natural, forever gemstone: the Pink Sapphire. Basically, a Ruby that’s not red, (Bonus points for anyone who already knew that Rubies are technically Sapphires) Pink Sapphires get their color from containing chromium. Rubies must contain at least 1% chromium to exhibit a deep red color and if the chromium content is lower, the stones are lighter and classed as Pink Sapphires. Ours come from a small mine in Madagascar. Our Pink Sapphire Filigree Ring is also set in reclaimed 14kt Rose Gold”“ to help us all (millennial or not) maintain a rosy outlook.

Want to see them blush at a bespoke beauty? We can create a custom design in a range of rosy hues, like this gorgeous stack, featuring white diamonds, deep garnets and a variety of ethical pink gemstones:

 

Re-think pink with a Custom Bario Neal design

Rethink Pink with this crazy beautiful stack of recent Custom Cluster rings in a powerful palette of Whites, Pinks and Reds.

Want to dream up a way to reclaim pink from “blush and bashful”? Check out more new custom work featuring ethical diamonds, rubies, garnets, sapphires and tourmaline, then design your own concoction using our Custom Design Questionnaire.

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.

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.

 

Behind_the_scenes_Enamel_Halo_Ring

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.