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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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.

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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Fall for Pre-Fall and the New Diamond Cluster Ring

By Constance on July 19, 2016 at 12:07 pm

Sure, summer is still in full, sticky swing, but maybe you are like us and already pining for Fall?

 

Prefall Collection from Bario Neal

A sampling of the new Pre-fall line from Bario Neal.

 

If so, celestial clusters of ethical diamonds, custom-half-moons of Sri Lankan white sapphires, in stylized geometric shapes await in our new Pre-fall collection. Filled with bright stars, the showstopper of this mini-collection is by far the brightest: The Diamond Cluster Ring.

 

The Diamond CLuster Ring in 14KY and 14KW.

The new Diamond Cluster Ring, inspired by our Spring sensation, the Hex Sapphire.

This sparkly new addition is destined to be THE must-have ring this upcoming engagement season. Make sure to order soon to get in time for your ideal time to pop the question and prepare yourself for a very enthusiastic YES!  See more of the Diamond Cluster Ring here.

In addition to the soon-to-be classic Diamond Cluster Ring, we also have a new ring that is both a unisex engagement ring (just contact us if we don’t list your size) or just a sleek, modern accessory: the Half-Moon Black Jade Ring.

 

The Black Jade Half Moon Ring in 14KY and SS.

The new Black Jade Half-Moon Ring in sterling silver and 14kt yellow gold.

This contemporary ring features a stylized crescent shape, inlaid with custom-cuts of ethically-sourced, Wyoming Black Jade.

“Finding this Black Jade was a sourcing challenge that we feel good about. We were looking for traceable black jade or jasper for a while but to no avail, when we were referred to a family run Wyoming mine that mined and cut down the jade to our specifications, which are not a standard size.” –Page Neal

Speaking of custom-cut stones we feel great about, the other most-sparkly gems in the Pre-fall line are deceptively diamond-like, clear, white sapphires, sourced and cut from a small family-run mine in Sri-Lanka. These unique-to-BN, crescent-cuts, form the shape of our new Half-Moon Studs and Pendant.

 

Half Moon Stud earrings and Necklace in 14KY

Our exclusive new Half Moon Studs and Pendant in 14kt. yellow gold, make a strikingly modern, yet classic pair.

 

Also featuring inlaid Sri Lankan white sapphires and a half-moon shape are the new Umbra Studs. These graphic, bold earrings take the geometric-glam up a notch, but are still sleek enough for everyday wear.

 

Umbra Stud earrings in 14KY

The editorial Umbra Stud earrings with round white sapphires in 14 kt. yellow gold and sterling silver.

 

Rounding out the collection are still more elevated, playful additions, like the return of our once limited-edition Bijou Stud’s mixed-metal illusion gemstones, now featuring a matching necklace.

 

Bijou Stud earrings and Necklace in SS and 14KR

Our Bijou Studs and Necklace in mixed-metals, sterling silver and 14kt rose gold.

 

These and the new Ruby Slice Pendant, add a pop of color, materiality and organic texture to balance out the atmospheric and ethereal vibes of the rest of the line. Also worth noting is a recent innovation in our fine jewelry collection– the addition of extenders to every necklace so that you can wear at various lengths– to create a choker or layered with other pendants.

 

2016 Prefall Collection on model layering necklaces: Half-moon, Sapphire Slice and Ruby Slice.

Layer our new Ruby Slice Pendant with other necklaces from the collection (shown with the Half-moon and Sapphire Slice).

 

If you are loving these, you might be wondering what’s in store for Fall. We promise it’s every bit as good as this, so stay tuned.

The New Hexagonal Sapphire Cluster Ring

By Constance on April 14, 2016 at 9:54 am

 

Hexagonal Sapphire Cluster Ring

Introducing the dreamy new Hexagonal Sapphire Cluster Ring.

The concept of spring giving new life is one we fully embraced this year, choosing to debut the first part of our SS16 Lookbook, Spring Ceremony, highlighting an incredible new design– The Hexagonal Sapphire Cluster Ring.

The design combines a hexagon cut sapphire with an artfully clustered array of colored gemstones to create a gradient or ombre effect. Each hexagon is surrounded by an asymmetrically-placed champagne diamond, aquamarines, green-blue and seafoam sapphires. With an overall effect evoking a life-forming molecule, the Hex Sapphire Cluster ring is the perfect metaphor for a new beginning.

 

Hexagonal Sapphire Cluster Ring 14KY

The Hex Sapphire Cluster Ring looks great from any angle.

 

All of our gemstones are ethically sourced and of the highest quality, but these sapphires are special. In order for each gem’s inherent natural beauty and variation to shine, every arrangement is unique.

“Our hexagons are from Montana- go America! They are totally untreated from Gem Mountain. Each one is unique because they were cut in a way that saves as much of the original stone as possible.” –Anna Bario

 

Natural variations in Hexagonal Sapphires from Montana

Natural variations in color and shape will occur in these Hexagonal Sapphires from Montana.

This cluster ring of colored gems in a sea of blue-green hues is a cool addition to both Spring fashion and bridal looks. The Hex ring is perfect for a bride looking for an alternative ring that shows off a strong sense of personal style.

 

Spring Ceremony, Bario Neal SS16 Lookbook. The Avens Round Cut Ring and the Curved Narrow Half-Eternity Band.

More new designs appear in our Spring Ceremony story, inspired by an artist’s touch.

 

Delicate, yet statement-making craftsmanship inspired the theme of pigment-tinted fingertips and vibrant colors. We adore the idea of the wearer as painter or other artist, in the studio, creating their own work, while wearing one of ours. From the artists of our handcrafted jewelry, the creative process extends to the wearer of a Bario Neal creation.

Joining the Sapphire Cluster Ring in this Spring story are two new classic designs, the Avens Round Cut Ring and the Curved Narrow Half-Eternity Band. In creating the story, we also reimagined our recent colored gemstone designs in Opal and Andalusite, and staples like the signature Linear Diamond Ring, into a complete collection to spark imaginations this SS16 and for seasons to come.

Shop Spring Ceremony and the SS16 Collection.

 

New Colored Gemstone Designs + the Return of the Opal Cluster Ring

By Constance on January 19, 2016 at 10:07 am

Search no more, the missing piece has been found.

Search no more, the missing piece is here. Introducing our new Opal and Andalusite ring designs.

 

Remember our Limited Edition Opal Three-Stone Ring that quickly sold out? We felt your pain at missing out on that beauty, so we created the brand-new, revamped, Opal Cluster Ring for our permanent collection! Joining it are two more new collection designs: the Andalusite Cluster Ring and Andalusite Nikko Ring, crafted with an equally radiant new colored gemstone.

 

The new Opal Cluster Ring. Opals offer a soft glow with colorful iridescence that shifts in the light.

The new Opal Cluster Ring offers softly-glowing colors that shift in the light.

 

This exciting new ring vertically stacks an opal over an apricot sapphire, balancing contemporary design with a classic look. October’s birthstone, the opal features kaleidoscopic and varied coloring, ranging from deep saturated colors to light iridescent tones, owing to their long history as symbols of luck and mystery.

Our opals are ethically sourced from an Ethiopian mining collective, then cut and polished in a respected facility in Jaipur, India. Light in color, these stones offer a soft glow and dancing, colorful iridescence. Because opals are fairly soft stones, it was important to design a protective prong setting that does not hide its beauty. Each opal is then paired with an emerald-cut, apricot sapphire to bring out the the gentle pastels of the Ethiopian opal. We source our sapphires from an ethical mine in Sri Lanka where all cutting and polishing is done on site by well-trained professionals. The mine is known for the unusually wide variety of colored sapphires it produces. We carefully hand-pick and custom-cut each sapphire in order to create perfect color and size match for each unique opal, so every ring made is a one-of-a-kind.

 

Another color-changing gem, Andalusite, features in two gorgeous new pieces

Another color-changing gem, Andalusite, features in two gorgeous new pieces.

 

Enter the earthy radiance of the gemstone known as Andalusite– in the first of two new designs, the Andalusite Cluster ring, similar to the Opal Cluster, with prong settings and a delicate band. As with the Opal Cluster Ring, we hand selected the colored sapphires and paired them with the andalusite to give the most complimentary color combinations. The emerald-cut, bright yellow sapphire beneath an oval clear white sapphire, balances both the teardrop shape and the rich, dark tones of the andalusite.

 

Another color-changing gem, Andalusite, featured in a pear-cut with the Nikko Setting.

The Andalusite Cluster features three stones in a perfectly balanced composition of varied shapes. 

 

The final design to round out this trio of new colored gemstone rings is the Andalusite Nikko Ring, named for our existing design’s marquise-inspired setting, but showcasing the stone as a pear-cut solitaire.

 

Another color-changing gem, Andalusite, featured in a pear-cut with the Nikko Setting.

Our Andalusite Nikko Ring is ready for stacking!

 

Andalusite owes its name to Andalusia, the province in Spain where it was first discovered. Similar to opal, andalusite is a poylchromatic gem, though its coloring and structure are very different. Ranging from khaki to dark olive, pierced by angular pinks, reds, and blues as the stone shifts in the light, our Andalusite is sourced from a well-respected ethical supplier.

 

Very necessary additions to the growing trend of diamond-alternative engagement rings.

The newest, most-necessary additions to the growing trend of diamond-alternative engagement rings.

 

Love colored gemstones and want to learn more about the growing movement to improve ethical practices? Join us next month at the Jewelry Industry Summit. The summit is a great chance to engage with Anna Bario and other industry leaders as they discuss the challenges facing colored gemstone sourcing, and other topics that will transform the jewelry industry for the better.

 

 

 

12 Days of Gifts: Linder Collab Pendant

By Constance on December 19, 2015 at 12:11 pm

Linder Necklace

 

On the twelfth and final day of our 12 Days of Gifts Celebration, we had to send in our new star player to bring it all home: the unisex Mortar pendant necklace we made with Linder NYC. A subversion of your typical necklace design, where an inverted clasp, with a surprising pop of earthy modern colors, becomes the focal point. Pair this colorful, bolo-tie-esque necklace with a button down for the office then with your jumpsuit for the office holiday party (then on to the after-party).

 

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This silver stunner proves that jewelry doesn’t have to sparkle to make a statement.

 

Time is running out to shop our BNGood Holiday Sale! Donate an art supply in store to get 25% off the Linder Collaboration and all of our boutique jewelry, plus 10% off fine jewelry earrings & necklaces. A portion of the proceeds goes to help Philadelphia’s Congreso after school program and the Malawi Dzone development project.  Stay tuned for a new gift every day, there’s a lot to feel good about this Holiday.

Sale in stores only through 12/23. Our New York Showroom is open for walk-in shopping today and tomorrow and extended holiday hours are in effect at our Philadelphia store. Check the locations page  for details.

 

12 Days of Gifts: Limited Edition Garnet Engagement Rings

By Constance on December 16, 2015 at 1:44 pm

Garnet Gemstone Engagement Rings

 

For the ninth day of our 12 Days of Gifts, we announce the new Asymmetrical Avens Garnet Engagement Rings. We love gemstone rings and these two are very special Holiday Limited Editions designs! Both are available for purchase today and ready to ship.

 

This version of our Asymmetrical Avens Ring features a 6mm round Almandine Garnet with five 1.75mm champagne diamond side stones. Available in 14kt rose with light champagne diamonds or yellow gold with darker champagne diamonds.

Garnet Gemstone Engagement Rings

Garnet Asymmetrical Avens Ring with Light Champagne Stones in 14kt rose gold.

 

 

Garnet Asymmetrical Avens Ring with Dark Champagne Stones

Our Limited Edition Garnet Engagement Rings are ready to ship for the holidays!

 

Garnet Gemstone Engagement Rings

Garnet Asymmetrical Avens Ring with Dark Champagne Stones in 14kt yellow gold.

 

 

If you are hoping to gift or propose with a gorgeous gemstone ring this Christmas, but missed our deadline for fine jewelry orders (we can no longer accept orders for Holiday delivery of rings and bands), order now to have under the tree by 12/24.

 

Fine jewelry bands and rings are not included in the Holiday sale. Please contact for details to see if this ring can be adjusted to your desired ring size. Visit our locations page for our extended holiday hours in both Philadelphia and NYC.

 

 

 

12 Days of Gifts: Limited Edition Cluster Gemstone Engagement Rings

By Constance on December 12, 2015 at 2:22 pm

Cluster Rings

No Twelve Days of Christmas would be the same without the five golden rings, so for the 5th day of gifts we are very excited to celebrate our Limited Edition Cluster Rings. We love gemstone engagement rings and these are two very special– they are both the only ones out there and ready to come home for the Holidays.

 

Limited Edition Gemstone rings for the Holidays 2015. Pariaba and Opal Cluster, Garnet asymmetrical avens, Andalucite cluster rings

Limited Edition Gemstone Cluster engagement rings for a special holiday proposal.

 

First up is a rare Paraiba Cluster Ring. This ring is truly a one-of-a-kind! Sure it looks beautiful here, but believe us when we say no photograph does it justice. This gemstone is one of the most precious and valuable in the world, and with one glance, it is easy to see just why. Glowing from within, this paraiba tourmaline is an almost electric shade of aqua, set above a small emerald-cut apricot sapphire and a .1ct diamond, in 14kt gold.

 

Limited Edition Gemstone

The Paraiba gemstone is one of the most precious and rare, even moreso for its ethical origins.

 

Next up, our Opal Cluster Ring features a similar design, set with complimentary-colored gemstones to bring out the natural swirling beauty of an ethically-sourced Australian opal. Also one-of-a-kind, this 14k rose gold ring is available in size 5.75.

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The Opal Three Stone Cluster Ring pairs an iridescent opal with apricot and raspberry sapphires.

 

Drooling yet? Good news: these are ready to ship, so if you were hoping to gift or propose with a gorgeous gemstone engagement ring this Christmas, but missed our deadline for fine jewelry orders (bad news: as of today, we can no longer accept even rush orders for Holiday production of rings and bands), just order by 12/23 to have under the tree.  Or right now, because after these limited edition rings are gone, that’s it.

 

Fine jewelry bands and rings are not included in the Holiday sale. Please contact for details to see if this ring can be adjusted to your desired ring size.