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 ourCustom 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 representingthe power of life — understandable given our red blood — the sun, and thestone 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 ourCustom 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.
ThisCustom 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 theTanzania Women Miners Association.)
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 ofearrings 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.
If you’re dreaming of an engagement ring that looks like it came from your heart and your brain and tells your story, but you don’t know where to start, don’t let the words “custom design” intimidate you.
You don’t have to be an artist or agemologist or a jewelry designer — or even know the difference between a round cut and a rose cut — to create a custom engagement ring with us.
Sure, there are a lot of decisions to make when creating a custom ring. Do you want rose gold or platinum or yellow gold, or do you want a mix? Whatever your choice, we use either 100 percentrecycled metals orFairmined gold. Not interested indiamonds? We have so many alternatives. All the gemstones in our engagement rings are ethically sourced, and we can work with your heirloom gemstones too. At Bario Neal, “custom” doesn’t mean “ridiculously expensive” either. We create custom engagement rings for many budgets.
The point is you’ve got options. We’ve got the expertise to help you. Our onlinecustom design questionnaire will help you get started, andwe can talk you through everything from engraving to settings at our showrooms in Philly or NYC, or remotely over the phone or email.
We do approach each custom project with an open timeline so that we can make the best possible piece. We can’t rush or guarantee an end date, though production typically takes a minimum of two months. So contact us as soon as possible if you’re thinking about a custom wedding band or engagement ring.
For inspiration, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite new custom rings. We don’t really buy into the idea of single-purpose jewelry, so some aren’t even engagement rings. But each has its own personality and style and fits the individual or couple behind the design.
Custom Cut Granite Cluster Ring with Custom Heirloom Diamond Open Lash Ring
If you can’t avoid collecting shells on the beach or pass a glassy lake without skipping a pebble across the water, this custom ring design story is for you. This stacked ring pair combines heirloom diamonds with a piece of granite our client found on a trip the couple took to Maine. Cutting the granite was risky — we’d never worked with that material before — but the result is mountain-worthy elegance.
Custom Free Form Hex Sapphire Lash Triad Ring with Sapphire and Champagne Diamond
Roman proposed to Kiran without a ring. “I knew in order for her to get something she loved she needed to be part of the process,” he says. Kiran worked with the Bario Neal team (our ethical sourcing brought them in) to create this ring, with a half-moon sapphire, a free form hex cut sapphire, and a round champagne diamond. “We couldn’t be happier with the results, and I know I made the right choice by foregoing tradition and proposing without a ring,” Ronan says.
Custom .64ct Old Mine Cut Champagne Diamond Asymmetrical Avens Ring with Seafoam Sapphires and Cognac Diamond
Here’s a long-distance relationship that totally worked. California client Ethan and his partner loved our designs and our mission, so Ethan visited our Philly showroom while on the East Coast for work, to start a custom ring design. “Over the next four months and a million questions from me, Bario Neal created a ring that was beyond my wildest expectations. They were very communicative and transparent throughout the process. Most importantly they were very mindful of my budget and the style I was looking for,” Ethan says.
Custom Pear Rose Cut Blue Sapphire Engraved Engagement Ring
We love breaking wedding ring rules, and this ring’s mixed metals — white gold and rose gold — show why. Starring a rose cut pear sapphire, the ring didn’t break the budget, and the thoughtful engraving heightens the distinctiveness. On the rim of the band “fall in love, stay in love” is on one side, and on the other, “and it will decide everything.”
Custom Bend Jacket Rings
This jewelry story begins with an unfortunate event and ends with a happy client (who, drawn by our ethical sourcing, traveled from Ohio to our Philly showroom to work with us!). First, she replaced a stolen engagement ring with a custom cluster ring design that reflected her family: Four stones represent her, her husband, and their twin boys. Then we made a custom jacket ring(inspired by ourBend Ring)that plays with negative space. Her review: “Craftsmanship is off the chain! Knowledgeable staff with a keen eye for unique designs. We will be back!”
Custom .94ct Free Form Rose Cut Diamond Cluster Ring with Gemstones
If you like the idea of a custom engagement ring, but you’re not sure where to start, browse our Collection Cluster Rings. You’ll see all of our gemstones and settings that can jumpstart your creativity. The clients who worked with us on this engagement ring, featuring a rose cut diamond and an emerald, say they simply fell in love with our colors and style. Sometimes it’s just that easy.
Custom Rose Cut Diamond and Sapphire Cluster Ring
Bario Neal client Stephanie purchasedthis ring to commemorate earning her master’s degree in nursing. We think the gemstone fireworks happening in this piece are perfectly celebratory for every occasion.
Crescent Diamond Ring Personalizations
We’re very much about family at Bario Neal, in all its forms. (In fact, that inspired our new Bario Neal Baby & Child Keepsake line.) No sibling rivalry here: Three sisters commissionedthis ring for their mother. The four gemstones represent each of them. Our favorite detail: Two are twins so one stone does double duty.
Custom Asscher Cut Sapphire and Iolite Engagement Ring
Some of our clients don’t know what they want till they visit our showrooms, and that’s OK. When this client and her partner spotted the iolites we had in stock, the light bulb went off. She asked us to cut them down with a half-moon in mind, to frame a white sapphire inthis ring. The lesson: Spontaneity has its rewards.
Custom Horizontally Set Tourmaline Solitaire Ring
The beauty inthis ring is its singular focus of a lone tourmaline — and the fact that the stone was cut byTop Notch Faceting, owned by Jean-Noel Soni. Soni creates award-winning, precision-cut gemstones that are ethically sourced, cut by hand, and created without the use of computer-aided design. (More about Sonihere, and check out ourblog post about his visit to our Philly showroom in 2015.)
Custom Heirloom Princess Cut Diamond Ring
When you’re thinking about a custom engagement ring, don’t just sneak peeks at fingers. Inspiration can come from any piece of jewelry. The center stone inthis ring was one of two heirloom princess cut diamonds in a pair of earrings passed down in a family.
Custom Heirloom Emerald and Morganite Cluster Ring
Our clients’ wish: Use stones from both of their families.This ring and their wedding bands feature diamonds from a family engagement ring, and an emerald from a grandmother’s necklace. We love to see history and emotions working their magic in a cluster ring.
Custom Moissanite Linear Cluster Ring
What happens when two scientists get engaged? You geta ring with two princess cut and one pear cut moissanite stones. Moissanite is a diamond alternative that’s made in a lab. In their nod to the more traditional, our clients also asked for one natural diamond to be part of the design.
Custom Solar System Ring
This client looked to the stars, or to be exact, the planets, for her custom ring design.The ring is a mix of Montana sapphires and heirloom stones she had collected over years. The center stone is Jupiter. The smooth cabochon sapphire is Earth. Mars is a ruby that used to belong to her mother. There’s even a tiny Pluto representative (no matter its reclassification!).
Custom Star Sapphire Ray Ring
When it comes to weddings and jewelry, Bario Neal is more true-to-life than fairy tale. Andthis ring recap is real. Partner buys woman a star sapphire ring on a trip to India. Stone falls out and is lost. But here’s the twist: Bario Neal recreates the ring with an antique stone and a new setting for their engagement. That’s our kind of narrative, and we have even more to share soon about this couple and their one of a kind ring.
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. Thename 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
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.”
“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.
Back down to Earth a bit, Ceres Collection uses our ethical emeralds in another way. Bario Neal’s recently releasedOpen Lash Ring has been so popular that we took the chance to push its design further with soulful pear cut emeralds. TheOpen Lash Emerald and White Topaz Ring features a princess cut white topaz, andwe love the way a fancy cut pentagonal phenakite sparkles in theOpen Lash Emerald and Phenakite Ring. The phenakite was cut by the wildly talentedTop 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
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 ourLash 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.
TheLash 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 ourCustom 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.
Maybe you are considering a cluster engagement ring of your own after the recent release of our Hex Sapphire & Diamond Cluster rings? If so, the newest round of custom cluster rings will turn your want into NEED.
This stack of new custom cluster rings is unreal.
Our customized versions of this wedding season’s hottest ring show how a great design can allow for endless variations to make stunning ethical, bespoke jewelry.
One standout of the stack is a delicately balanced, eleven-stone custom ring, featuring a perfectly-azure pear sapphire, surrounded by white and champagne diamonds and blue-green sapphires. The color-combination is fit for the crown jewels, yet softened by the fluidity of organic design.
In keeping with the “something blue” theme, we’d be remiss not to also highlight this boho-luxe beauty. Made of blue-hued gemstones arranged in a gorgeous ombré effect to complement a one-of-a-kind, royal-blue, rose cut sapphire, the effect of this ring is intoxicating.
Our next Custom Ring Stack features bespoke jewelry of reimagined heirloom diamonds and colored gems into styles as unique as our diverse clientele. Yet every piece still retains the Bario Neal signature look and craftsmanship that can only come from caring design by skilled jewelers.
These Custom and Personalized designs range from delicate and personal, to minimal modernism, to art-deco-inspired-WOW.
The deft handiwork shown above in 100% recycled or Fairmined metals, perfectly matches the incredible natural beauty of certifiable ethical diamonds, sapphire and other precious gemstones, hand-picked by our sourcing experts. This is truly beauty without compromise.
Celebrating our favorite couples and custom rings go hand in hand, so this week we introduce our latest roundup with a pair that inspires tons of pride. Created for the lovely Kim and Meghan, (pictured below), these two custom rings couldn’t be more different. But like every great couple, each complements the other in a way that creates a perfect pairing.
“The fun thing about that picture – we had only known each other for like 6 weeks, that was taken at the wedding of Meghan’s cousin and friend. When I saw it I was like – that looks like an engagement photo.” Photo Credit: KRA ImageDesigns Photography
Both Meghan and Kim were able to create completely original looks that are both bespoke to the wearer and unlike anything on the market with the help of our knowledgeable staff of designers and gemstone experts. What ties them together is the bonding experience of creating your dream rings as a couple and the one-of-kind center stones each chose to anchor the designs.
“Our personalities came through [so well that] people who don’t know us can pick up on it.”
Right off the bat, both knew they didn’t want something mass-produced that would celebrate their marriage without hurting someone in the process. Kim’s choice of a crazy-unique, vintage emerald, complemented by ethical white and black diamonds, formed a design that fits her personality and style perfectly. In fact, when she came to pick it up, our Customer Service Associate instinctively knew it was Kim’s, without even having met her.
Like Kim’s unusual emerald, Meghan’s choice of a one-of-a-kind, grey rose cut diamond speaks to the wearer’s originality and a non-traditional approach. The stone fuses a re-emerging antique cut with the modern style of embracing a gem that is an alternative to the typical perfect “rock” most want to achieve. The ethically-sourced, imaginatively matched and placed sidestones in various cuts and hues, complement the color and vibe of the non-traditional diamond perfectly.
Though the above pair may seem like a tough act to follow, the next ring in our round-up has been described about the BN studio as “The most beautiful ring I have ever seen.” ‘Nuff said, just gaze…
The next two custom rings are actually “Personalizations” ie. changes clients make to pieces already in our collections, but they were too great not to show off. Notice how a small customization, like adding an opal or a gemstone, can take a design to a new level of perfect match for your personality.
Last on our list is another special BNstory: A custom “Twist Tie” Diamond Band designed in 18kt. gold in collaboration with a couple to commemorate their proposal.
“A month ago, I was laid off due to budget cuts and my fiance was driving me home and helping me cope with the second most crap-tastic day of my life. When we pulled into our driveway, he fished around the car, found a twist-tie, twisted it up into a ring, and put it on my finger. So I’d like to design a ring that looks like a twist-tie with a diamonds in it. He’s not suspecting that sort of thing and he’s perhaps the most romantic man alive and it would make him super thrilled. We’re both so happy with it.”
Heirloom diamonds and ethically-sourced gems bring romance to our latest round-up of bespoke engagement rings.
In the mood for custom-made love? Ombré clusters of heirloom diamonds, hand-paired with our ethically-sourced gems, bring romance to our latest round-up of bespoke engagement rings. Ombré describes the gradual blending of one color hue to another, usually moving tints and shades from light to dark. Though most notable for being a popular haircolor, the technique has long been a facet of art, fashion and design. The gentle shift in color lends itself well to use in jewelry, creating a playful, on-trend way to experience the natural variations inherent in gemstones.
A cluster design matches perfectly to the technique, allowing several sizes and cuts of stones to be arranged in a cascade of light-catching hues, echoing shapes found in nature. Upping the romance factor even more– a nostalgic rose-cut diamond at the center elevates the cluster’s texture and sparkle.
Another Cluster beauty combines a rose-cut pear diamond with seafoam sapphires, champagne and cognac diamonds.
This cleverly-designed cluster ring is made entirely of heirloom diamonds, hand-arranged to find the most pleasing composition.
A recent custom engagement ring in 18kt fairmined gold draws from outer space to symbolize an earthly devotion.
Talk about a universal love! Our stellar new crop of custom engagement rings are as diverse and out of this world as the couples that inspired them. Like this Custom Solar System Ring, which also happens to be a favorite #BNstory. Most of the stones came from our customer’s collection and each represents a planet in the solar system: the center stone is Jupiter, the smooth cabochon sapphire is Earth, Mars is a Ruby that used to belong to her mother, and so on. There’s even a tiny Pluto hidden on the back of the shank.
Are you less a astrologically-inclined-maximalist and more of a white-wedding-traditionalist? We can do that too:
Like what you see? Our Custom page is brimming with some of our most creative bespoke engagement rings to date. We also re-organized our “Personalizations” section, so if you can’t commit (ahem) to an entirely bespoke work, but still want to to make the leap with a one-of-a-kind ring, you can create your own variation of our extensive collection. Or perhaps you have an old heirloom piece you would like to see re-imagined as one of ours? Just get in touch with our jewelry experts by filling out a Custom Design questionnaire with the details.
Whether it’s a heavenly body, a favorite place or a familial bond that inspires you, a custom engagement ring, designed and handmade by our jewelers using ethical practices, is within your reach.
From Making Ethically Sourced Jewelry in America, recently featured on Maker’s Row:
What does Made in America mean to you? Why is it important to you?
Our jewelry is handmade in our Philadelphia store, which houses our open workshop. In addition to creating our own collections, we also work closely with clients to create custom pieces, including redesigned heirloom jewelry. Certain fabrication techniques are completed with craftspeople on Philadelphia’s historic Jeweler’s Row who are specialized in traditional jewelry processes. Composed of nearly 300 small family-owned businesses, Jeweler’s Row is home to the oldest jewelry district in America (est. 1851) and continues to thrive as a creative and manufacturing hub in the industry. Supporting and learning from our local craftspeople is integral to our business.
We think the ability to make our ideas a physical reality ourselves is powerful.
“The gemology equivalent of rock-royalty,” Jean-Noel Soni, of Top Notch Faceting, showcases his one-of-a-kind, award-winning gemstones right here in our Philadelphia store. Hailing from San Francisco and featured in French Vogue and Gem Gossip, Soni colorfully talks shop– in our shop, describing process, philosophy, and sourcing. Our own rockstar jewelers are always on hand to consult on custom projects using his precision-cut gems.
The above stone is a 45 carat Tourmaline from Mozambique cut from a 300 carat crystal!