Bario Neal Brings Artistry to Custom Designed Rings

By Jamera McNeil on November 27, 2018 at 10:35 am

 

collage of Bario Neal Custom Designed rings

You only need two things to custom design an engagement ring at Bario Neal: a client who wants one-of-a-kind jewelry and our creative, skilled team. You might have to make one or two tough decisions along the way (like diamonds or white sapphires?), but everything that goes into handcrafting custom rings with us is – our clients swear – fun.

“I never thought about jewelry before, but the whole process kind of opened my eyes,” Mick Waterhouse says about custom designing a cluster engagement ring with Erin Murphy, who he proposed to in September. “It was fun, every time that we jumped on a call or sent emails back and forth to Bario Neal. It felt like a special time.”

The Bario Neal team pretty much shows up to work every day to make people happy with jewelry (OK, all the delish restaurants near our showroom don’t hurt). We’re passionate about helping clients who want a custom designed ring find the design that truly matches their style and love.  

“Getting to know people when they are designing an engagement ring is pretty magical,” says Anna Bario, Bario Neal co-founder. “When we’re working with clients, a lot of it is reading them. With a custom design, we’re interpreting and enjoying the experience right along with them.”

How to Start Custom Designing an Engagement Ring

Whether or not you make an appointment to visit our Philadelphia showroom, the best place to start your custom design with us is our Custom Design Questionnaire. If you don’t have ideas already about what you want in a ring, filling out the form will help.

If you make an in-person appointment, expect to spend about an hour in our Philadelphia showroom. (Here’s a breakdown of how our personal engagement ring shopping visits go.) We’ll ask all about you and tell you all about us. Then we’ll start creating. Why wait?

“We had ideas going into the meeting, but I think Ariel really kind of turned both of our expectations on their heads,” says Pam Lashbrook. She and her spouse-to-be, Sarah Morrison, met with Bario Neal’s Ariel Yaroslawitz in Philadelphia to custom design Pam’s engagement ring. “I knew that I wanted an Asscher cut stone, but I don’t think that we had really thought about including anything of color. We were going to stick with white sapphires. Then Ariel mentioned the iolites, and we thought they were beautiful.” The couple also liked the connection to Sarah’s Zodiac sign, Cancer. “Her horoscope always talks about her being a moonchild, so we thought having these little half-moon iolites on either side would be a good combination.”

If you can’t visit the showroom, we’ll work with you via phone, email, and Skype – whatever your time zone.

After looking at some ethical jewelers in London, where she’s based, Steph Siddall found Bario Neal online. “The ethical jewelers I looked at in London weren’t a fit for my style. But I absolutely loved all of Bario Neal’s rings, so I was really pleased that we were able to make it work from London.”

The Los Angeles-based Mick and Erin started their ring with an appointment at a trunk show. (We announce our pop-ins to other cities on Instagram, so follow us there for news plus plenty of ring inspiration.) They brought an heirloom diamond in the setting of what had been Mick’s grandmother’s ring” and an idea to use the stone in a cluster engagement ring for Erin. Bario Neal’s Sarah Francks talked them through different approaches, and suggested they keep the heirloom ring as a solitaire.” 

“The family ring is still special on its own that way, and then we designed a second cluster ring,” Erin says. “I don’t think we ever even thought about just getting one ring after that again. I feel like in that hour we got so much done and hit the ground running.” After that first meeting, they continued with the team in Philadelphia by email and phone. “Everybody that we talked to was just so helpful,” Erin adds.

Before you visit or start a long-distance custom design, you can do budget research with the build a ring feature on our website. Click on any engagement ring from our collection and select “Build Ring” to get a good idea about pricing.  

P.S. According to our clients who work together as a couple to custom design an engagement ring, teamwork doesn’t dampen how special this time is. “I think it was actually really kind of romantic to work on it together because every time I look at the ring it’s really a representation of our partnership and our ability to work together,” Pam says. “I mean, obviously it’s gorgeous, but when I look at it, I think of the process that we went through together to create it.”

Find Design Inspiration for Your Custom Engagement Ring

“Our collection is a good starting point. People like what’s in our collection and the style, but sometime they just want a personalized touch. That’s usually done through the stones, or maybe changing a band from round to square,” says Aliyah Gold, Gemstone and Custom Design Specialist at Bario Neal, about where to look when beginning a custom design. “Sometimes that won’t work, and then we start from scratch.”

Pam’s Asscher cut white sapphire ring is based on the Avens Ring. “It was really nice having so many rings to look at and compare in the showroom because it was easy for me to point to something and say, ‘I like that.’ Then we were able to break it down and say, ‘Why do you like it? Why don’t you like it?’ And that, I think really helped,” Sarah Morrison says.

Erin’s solitaire engagement ring with the heirloom diamond is based on Bario Neal’s Allium Diamond Ring.

There are dozens of personalized rings on our website to spark your imagination. Many of them were inspired by other custom rings. Remember that there’s many ways to change a design and make it uniquely yours. “We made the Custom Pear Sapphire Cluster Ring, and put it on the site, and since then we’ve ended up making slightly different versions, like the Custom 7mm Pear Cut Blue Sapphire Cluster Ring with Sapphires,” Aliyah says. “It’s a similar layout but with different stones and some subtle design changes.”

On figure image of Custom Designed Rings
Choosing Ethical Stones for Your Custom Ring

“I read a Human Rights Watch report about how so much jewelry is unethical. I was shocked and it was something I had never really thought about before, the implications of not knowing where your jewelry is made or where it comes from,” Steph says.

When she found out that Bario Neal sources ethical gemstones from many countries and diamonds from Canada and Australia, she and her now fiance, Matt, started to think about their love of travel. “We had an amazing holiday in Canada a couple years ago. So knowing we could get a diamond from Canada gave us the idea of getting the stones from places we’ve been,” she says.

In addition to the Canadian diamond in her cluster design with four stones set in a gold band, Steph’s engagement ring has a white sapphire from Sri Lanka (where the couple spent a 2015 holiday). Two smaller colored stones are an aquamarine gemstone from Mozambique (where they got engaged), and a sea foam from Madagascar. The latter is a promise of future happy travels. “We’ve never been to Madagascar, but we really want to go. And I think we’re going to go there on our honeymoon,” Steph says.

Our ethical sourcing sometimes requires an open mind. “The Custom Bi-Color Sapphire and Pink Trillion Sapphire Linear Cluster Ring was an interesting one,” Aliyah says. “That client had an exact vision, and there were so many different colored stones and custom cuts. She was open to allowing it to grow and change depending on the stones that were available.”

If the color of your gemstones in your custom designed ring is your biggest priority, Aliyah recommends sharing an image of the color that Bario Neal can give to stone suppliers. “We have a client at the moment who is looking for a sapphire that is the ‘color of the galaxy,’ with blues and purples. It will be a challenge, but I’m excited to find something,” Aliyah says.

Picture Your Custom Engagement Ring

Our sales associates, designers, and in-house CAD (computer-aided design) designer work together to create precise CAD renderings that help clients see their future ring from several angles. This step is a chance to tweak the look. You don’t have to be an architect to understand the images, and a Bario Neal team member will go over the drawings with you.

“I was surprised at how much detail I was able to see. I was surprised at how much info I was able to have at different stages. That meant I didn’t have any moment of worry that we picked the wrong thing because we could see how it was progressing,” Steph says.

When it comes to changes, we want to be helpful and patient. The goal, after all, is for you to walk away with a ring you’re hopefully going to wear forever – so we want you to take the time you need.

“There were times where we were second-guessing what we wanted. Nothing was over the top, it was just all minor tweaks, but there was just this sense of uncertainty at times on our end, but Aliyah and everyone else we worked with at Bario Neal was always receptive to us flip-flopping, and changing around things, and just kind of thinking things over,” Mick recalls.

For a $200 design fee, our CAD work can also help clients who just can’t decide.

“Sometimes a client is in between two different ideas. Before they commit to an exact ring they want, we can render it in two different ways,” Aliyah says. “Maybe they’re not sure if they want it in white gold or yellow gold, and we can send both drawings. Then they can decide if they want to move forward with one of the designs.”

On figure close up of Bario Neal's custom designed rings
Custom Designed Rings Are Accessible

With Bario Neal, “custom design” doesn’t mean a free-for-all with your bank account. While we go into each custom project with an open timeline – because we handcraft each ring in our Philadelphia workshop and allow for your changes along the way – we do welcome clients who want to get concrete about budget.

“I had no idea how much things cost, and we had a budget in mind. So I was able to tell Bario Neal what style and stones I really liked and the budget we had, to see what’s realistic,” Steph says. “That was really good. They could tell me what was in the budget.”

Sarah Morrison says she and Pam appreciate that working on a budget didn’t mean sacrificing their vision of a truly personalized engagement ring. “We’d seen a picture of a ring that was about $10,000, a five-stone Art Deco ring. It was absolutely beautiful and we thought, that’s the one. Then I remembered I work at a nonprofit,” she says with a laugh. “But it was really neat to look at other Bario Neal rings and say, ‘Okay well how can we get a similar vibe to that while staying within what we can afford?'”

Custom Designing Is About Relationships, Not “Point and Click” 

While some jewelry companies offer an online-only, multiple choice design for “custom” rings, our clients get to work with experienced and skilled people such as Aliyah, who fell in love with jewelry design in high school and went on to study it in college. We think it makes a huge difference.

My role is to be able to transform from idea into reality,” she says. “Being a designer, I know what is possible and how the ring will structurally need to function in order to make what they want.”

Mick values the expertise Bario Neal brought to Erin’s ring and how Sarah Francks explained to him and Erin how cluster rings come together functionally and aesthetically. “My advice after going through this custom design is to definitely consult with someone that knows what they’re doing,” he says. “While we all know what we like in certain looks, those don’t always work well together when you go to produce something. The technical jewelry design that they were able to provide us with went a long way early on.”

Bario Neal’s website is designed to be helpful in the custom design process, but we think a big investment like an engagement ring deserves our full attention and the back-and-forth relationships that we build with clients.

“I never would have been able to process the vision for what it would all look like once it’s actually in a ring,” Steph says. “Bario Neal made it so easy. Every step of the way, from choosing stones and layout.”

Sarah Morrison says she and Pam they learned a lot when they visited the Philadelphia showroom. “At our appointment, I did pick up a lot of terms in that one day,” she says. “I’ve since forgotten them, but in that moment I felt very educated and it was really neat just to understand what it is that the jewelers are doing.”

They were so happy with Pam’s engagement ring, they returned to Bario Neal for their wedding bands. Sarah’s band is hammered platinum. Pam’s complements her engagement ring. There will be five white sapphires set to curve around and hug the stones on the engagement ring.

So, fair warning: One custom designed ring might lead to – more rings.

When Erin mentions that they too plan to get their wedding bands from Bario Neal, Mick teases, “Oh, you’re getting a third one?”

She answers, “Yeah. Duh.”

Start custom designing a ring with Bario Neal today by filling out our Custom Design Questionnaire or making an appointment to visit our Philadelphia or New York City showrooms.

 

 

Heirloom Gemstones Tell a Story in These Personalized Rings

By Jamera McNeil on November 20, 2018 at 10:32 am

 

Heirloom Gemstones Tell A Story

Custom designing with heirloom gemstones is a meaningful way to create an engagement ring that honors the past and stays true to the modern you. Bario Neal has worked with clients around the world to handcraft rings (not only for weddings!) using diamonds, sapphires, garnets, and more sourced from grandma’s jewelry box and beyond. Not all jewelers use heirloom stones in custom designs, but the Bario Neal team loves the chance to create with storied gems. Heirloom stones mean affordability too, which makes a truly unique custom designed ring more accessible to more of our clients.

“I love looking at older pieces of jewelry and finding out the story behind them,” says Ariel Yaroslawitz, Bario Neal sales director. “Who did it belong to? Why does our customer have it now? There’s an emotional attachment to antique jewelry. I love it.”

Besides continuing to write a family legend, when you create a new ring with old jewelry that has been passed down to you, you up the ethical/sustainable factor. No new mining is required. 

If you’re thinking about creating a personalized ring with generations-old gemstones, there are a few things you should know before starting. Thanks to creative (and sentimental) Bario Neal customers, there’s also plenty of design inspiration below.

7 Tips for Using Heirloom Gemstones

  1. Make Sure You’re Ready for a New Jewelry Design

Rings from other eras can often be resized and worn as today’s engagement rings. “A lot of people come in with heirloom jewelry that’s really unique,” Ariel says. “One of our first questions is: ‘Are you sure you want to change this piece?’ We never push people to make something new.”

If you are certain about wanting a jewelry update, custom heirloom design can bring in the modern while still remaining timeless in a way that wouldn’t make your forebears roll their eyes. And sometimes sequels are better than the original. This Custom Heirloom Diamond & Melee Cluster Ring is like your gran’s favorite dessert recipe and the best old B&W family photo, all rolled up in one. The diamonds are from multiple heirloom jewelry pieces, so the ring combines two families as did the now-married customers. “They wanted to create a modern cluster combining all of their stones,” Ariel says. “The older rings were dated, and we worked to modernize and combine all the stones into one artistic setting. It was so interesting to watch the progression from where it started to where it ended.”

  1. That Heirloom Jewelry Is Not Your Style. Now What?

You love the garnets in your great aunt’s pair of earrings or your grandfather’s ruby signet ring. You’re not so enamored with the design. It’s dated, stuffy, or – truth like only family can tell it –  gaudy. No worries. Custom heirloom design is a way you can keep things ancestral and modern.

If you have jewelry with multiple stones, first decide which stones you want to use. This Custom Heirloom 8.26mm Cushion Cut Spessartite Bouquet Cluster Ring proves the more the merrier! Every stone in this cocktail ring is heirloom, including a cushion cut spessartite, several orange sapphires and peridots, and a princess cut garnet. We’d say that’s the best kind of family reunion.

When working with the Bario Neal team on your new personalized ring design, it will help if you can describe what you don’t like about the old piece. The prongs? The metals? Those details will help in creating a new piece that fits you.

  1. Get Your Heirloom Jewelry Appraised.

An appraisal will give you a value for insurance – and help you decide whether to use the old stones. Some family jewelry has great sentimental worth but not high monetary value.

The Bario Neal team uses a Presidium Gemstone Tester, an electronic gadget that has a pen and a gauge. When you put the wire tip of the pen to a colored gemstone, the gauge gives a reading on whether something is a semiprecious (jade, for example) or precious stone – or plastic or glass.

“Sometimes people bring in heirloom jewelry that has glass or something that isn’t identifiable or recognizable,” Ariel says. “We’ll do our best to test the stone on our end. Often the tester confirms what we suspect. Most of the time, customers are educated or have even obtained an appraisal and know what they have to work with.”

Heirloom Gemstones Tell A Story - Bario Neal

With any diamond or precious gemstone over one-quarter carat, once stones are removed from settings, Bario Neal staff gets them appraised if a client hasn’t already, for insurance purposes.

“You can also find out things about, say, a diamond during an appraisal process that you might not have known, like the strength of the stone,” Ariel notes.

Diamond durability means Bario Neal has often worked with this stone in heirloom form to build new family homes. This Custom Heirloom Oval Diamond Cluster Ring with Champagne and White Diamonds Pavé Shank, says Ariel, “was a cool heirloom project where the client used some of their heirloom stones and then we added some stones.” The citrine, tourmaline, and champagne diamonds add colorful presence to heirloom white diamonds in a setting that merges old and new effortlessly.

  1. Different Old Gemstones Mean Different Design Possibilities.

Bario Neal handles all heirloom jewelry with care. Occasionally, even hard diamonds might present a challenge. If the sales team isn’t sure gemstones can be safely extracted and re-set into a new personalized ring for you, they’ll get the opinion of the stone setter. Badly damaged gemstones might crack or chip when pulled out of old jewelry, but the Bario Neal team is up for most custom heirloom work.

“We can pretty much work with any stone,” Ariel says. “There will be, depending on stone type, limitations on how we need to build the setting or how we can design with heirloom gemstones. For example, we can’t do certain things with heirloom opals because opals are soft and more porous.” 

Bario Neal’s openness to working with heirloom stones means the opportunity to see unique gems and create new pieces that are like a strong blended family. The Custom Star Sapphire Ray Ring is a customer-inspired takeoff from a Bario Neal collection ring (the Ray Emerald Ring). “The vintage oval star sapphire was a very unique stone,” Ariel says. “We get requests for this ring all the time!”

Bario Neal works with gemstone setting specialists who can help if stone removal proves to be very tricky. Some jewelers may be more knowledgeable about a certain setting style and how to properly retrieve the stones without harm.

  1. Don’t Change That Heirloom Stone.

As a general rule, avoid trying to cut old stones. “You end up wasting a lot of the material, if you try to re-cut it,” Ariel explains. “If the stone is badly abraded, if there’s some scuffs from age, and the customer really wants to use it, we can polish it. But we prefer not to cut the stones, and if a stone is in poor shape, we prefer to not use it.”

This advice doesn’t have to limit your creativity or your ability to have a meaningful new piece of jewelry at all. The proof: This Custom Cut Granite Cluster Ring with Custom Heirloom Diamond Open Lash Ring. There are two awwww-inspiring touches in this highly personalized version of the Cluster Opal Ring from the Bario Neal collection. There’s the beautiful heirloom diamond. Then that flash of history is topped by a piece of granite that the client found that had meaning to him and his partner.

  1. You Can Design With Loose Gemstones.

While Bario Neal mostly custom designs rings with heirloom gemstones that arrive to the workshop set in old jewelry (some stones have even been re-set more than once through the generations), some customers have loose heirloom stones.

Ariel recalls a customer who had a loose diamond that his grandfather purchased in the early 20th century. “It was something that his grandfather had never set,” Ariel says. “He had the original bill of sale and an appraisal for the diamond. We set it in a solitaire engagement ring.”

  1. You Don’t Need to Live in Philly or NYC to Get a Bario Neal Heirloom Ring.

Bario Neal works with clients all over the world through email and phone to handcraft personalized rings. Contact the team for details about the process. You’ll start by having the heirloom stones that you want to use removed from old pieces by a trusted jeweler where you live. You’ll also need to get an appraisal and insure the stones before shipping them to Bario Neal.

If you have heirloom jewelry you’re curious about – or you have a piece with gemstones you love but a setting you don’t, make an appointment at Bario Neal’s Philadelphia or New York City showrooms today. Fill out the Custom Design Questionnaire and get started by phone or email too. Ariel and everyone else at Bario Neal can’t wait to hear your heirloom jewelry story – and help you write the next page.

Here’s What to Expect at a Bario Neal Engagement Ring Appointment

By Jamera McNeil on November 6, 2018 at 10:00 am

Collage of Bario Neal rings - What to Expect

Bario Neal™’s engagement ring and wedding band appointments happen in many ways: in our Philadelphia or New York City showrooms, on the phone, and over email or Skype. Yes, you might have to make big decisions. But we can promise it will be fun, whichever way you work with our team. Here’s what to expect at an appointment with us.

  • We make everyone who shops with us feel at home.

We don’t have any rules about what an engagement ring “should” look like. We don’t subscribe to gendered jewelry. Visit our showrooms solo because you’re planning a surprise, or bring a friend or someone from your family. Many couples shop for engagement rings together, and the stop at Bario Neal is just one hour of a magical day.

  • Making an appointment is really easy.

We ask that clients who want to talk about engagement rings make an appointment. That way, you get our fullest attention (not in a high-pressure sales way). We can take our time and focus on helping you search for your perfect ring. We don’t like waiting on hold either, so we’ve made scheduling an appointment online simple. View what openings we have, choose the best time on our calendar for you, and get an email in seconds confirming your appointment with details about the when, where, and how.

  • We want to get to know a bit about you.

If you’re up for a little pre-appointment homework and you want to keep things focused, start by completing our Custom Design Questionnaire before you visit. Whether you’re up for that or not, expect an inspiring and fun 60 minutes with us.

We want to hear about your wedding plans and dream honeymoon destination, but we also want to know the day-to-day you. Do you use your hands a lot in your work? Do you have a job where some jewelry might not be a fit? Are you an avid rock climber? Based on your answers, we can give you details about gemstones, metals, and settings to help in your decision about which engagement ring is right for your lifestyle.

Getting engaged isn’t a business deal, and we don’t think selling engagement rings and wedding bands has to be cold or transactional. The more we find out about what you like (or don’t) about jewelry design, the better prepared we are to help guide you to the perfect wedding ring. (Or rings “” because like us, you might love to mix and match and want to stack two, three, or four rings.) If you want to use gemstones from your heirloom jewelry, let us know at the start. You can bring family pieces that you hope to incorporate to your first appointment. We’d love to take a look and hear the stories behind them.

  • We’ll tell you about us.

Like the perfect first date, this getting-to-know-you stage isn’t one-way. We’ll tell you all about Bario Neal too. About how our founders Anna Bario and Page Neal started the company with the firm belief that jewelry should be handcrafted with care to last and done so in a way that doesn’t harm people (like communities where gemstone mining happens) or the planet.

If you visit our Philly location, you’ll get to see the workshop where our talented jewelers (this is the part of the appointment where you’re most likely to hear the phrase “kickass”) create engagement rings, wedding bands, and more.

We’ll happily answer all your questions about ethical sourcing of gemstones and the steps we take to make sure we’re a sustainable jeweler.

“People are often impressed with the quality of our recycled metals,” says Claire Lemétais, who manages Bario Neal’s New York City showroom on the Lower East Side. “I want clients to know they found the right jeweler, and that they can be confident in not only the design but also the quality and sourcing of gemstones and metals.”

  • We don’t have to talk about money. (But we can.)

If you and your partner are ready to talk budget, great. We’ll show you pieces from our collection that fit your price range. (You can get an idea about cost in advance on our website. Click on “Build Ring” to get a personalized engagement ring estimate.) If you’re making an appointment to visit with your partner and want to keep your spouse-to-be out of the purchase details, make a note in your online booking. If customers don’t mention anything to us in advance, we bring up budget in a low-key way and take cues from there.

  • We’ll figure out your ring size.

You might have a ring size or have been sized before, but every jeweler uses different sizing tools. We like to size your engagement ring finger (you choose!) so we have a number to refer to across our production, from order to delivery. (If you’re visiting alone and want to surprise your partner, check out our tips for engagement ring shopping for advice on sizing.)

 

Photograph of stack of rings from Bario Neal - What to Expect

  • You’ll get to see a lot of engagement rings (aka: Most Fun).

“I always start by asking clients about their ideas and inspiration,” says Ariel Yaroslawitz, Bario Neal Sales Director in Philadelphia. “I also like to find out if someone is set on a white diamond or if they’re thinking about a colored stone. Then I can start pulling rings from our case that are more specific to their style and vibe.”

Our collection is on display at both showrooms so you can see all that we’re able to do, from a more traditional diamond engagement ring to whimsical or bursting with color. While many of our rings fit into a classic engagement ring style, the whole case is yours to roam. You might prefer a textured band, like our Dais Narrow Band, or a few stackable rings instead of one ring with a single gemstone at the center.

“I don’t “˜label’ any of our rings,” Claire says. “Certain bands with diamonds, like our Bend Diamond Ring for example, can be an engagement ring or a wedding band.”

Claire says she loves to show clients looking for a classic solitaire diamond engagement ring the delicate Avens Ring, which can be made with diamonds of different shapes. See how diamond shape can change a design by comparing the Avens Round Diamond Ring to the Avens Raw Diamond Ring. For customers who prefer a bezel setting to prongs, Claire suggests the Allium Round Diamond Ring.

If a solitaire white diamond (or an accessibly priced twin like a white sapphire or lab-grown moissanite) doesn’t make your heart beat faster, you might pass on the 4Cs of diamonds and ask our sales team about the very modern 2Cs: colors and clusters. Two cluster rings that have tons of fans, especially when it comes to cluster engagement rings, are the Radial Cluster Blue Hex Sapphire Ring and Burst Cluster Diamond Ring.

“The Hex Sapphire is one of our most popular cluster rings,” Claire says. “Clients might personalize their engagement ring and change some of the stones for different color gemstones, but most of our cluster personalizations start with that. There’s also a beautiful matching band that goes with it, the Radial Cluster Blue Sapphire Ombré Band.”

Pro tip from Claire: Take your own photos with different engagement rings on your hand during your appointment. The pics will help you remember what you thought was the best fit and why.

  • You’ll get a quick lesson on diamonds and other gemstones.

We’ll walk you through the ins and outs of diamond facts that might be useful as you think about your budget. You can even look at loose stones (a novel experience for most customers, who typically only see gems already set in rings, earrings, and necklaces). We’ll show you diamonds at four sizes so you can see the difference between a half carat and 1.5 carats. “I encourage customers to hold them up to their hand because you get a sense of proportion and how a certain size carat looks on your finger,” Claire says.

  • You’re allowed to change the picture of your perfect engagement ring.

You might think your mind’s made up and that you and your partner are set on a princess cut diamond with a simple prong setting. Then you see Bario Neal’s Soma Rose Cut Diamond with Champagne Halo Ring. Or the Lash Solitaire Blue Sapphire Ring. That happens.

Loving many rings in our showroom shouldn’t stress you out at all. If you start to feel overwhelmed by the decision, our sales team will likely pick up on that and help refocus the appointment by zeroing in on what exactly you like about certain rings in our collection. Do the interesting shapes of the Lash Cluster Dyad Ring catch your eye? Do you prefer yellow gold or white gold? Are you a fan of symmetry or asymmetry?

You might just need time. That’s OK too. We’re not in a hurry, and we know this isn’t a decision that can be rushed.

“I’ve been working with a customer over the last year who was originally set on an all sapphire ring, with white and blue sapphires,” Ariel says. “Now we’re talking about an all-white sapphire cluster.”

You definitely don’t need to make up your mind by the end of the hour. There’s no pressure to buy. (If you are ready to order, put 50% down and we’ll get started!) You can make a follow-up appointment (you’ll be an old pro!) or continue with us over email or phone.

  • We’ll talk timeline on ring delivery.

Talk to us about when you’re thinking of proposing or getting engaged. We’re good with deadlines, and the delivery estimate we give you will be accurate. We handcraft all engagement rings to order, and rings from our collection take four to six weeks to make. A custom piece takes eight weeks minimum, and turnaround really depends on the design. Finding the right gemstones and making changes based on customer feedback can add days, weeks, or more to a project. That’s why we approach all custom work with an open timeline and don’t give a firm deadline while we design the just-right ring.

Good news for last-minute proposals: If you want to pop the question (surprise holiday engagement anyone?) and the personalized engagement ring you ordered from us won’t be ready in time, we have pretty, simple rings in stock that you can get in a week or less to use as a placeholder for the proposal. Our Ready Ring can be picked up from our Philadelphia location same day, or ordered online with shipping in two days. You can even return the Ready Ring with zero restocking fees when your personalized ring is complete.

  • You’ll receive a detailed post-appointment email.

Soon after your appointment, we’ll send you helpful follow-up notes about everything we discussed and discovered during your visit. This email has the basics like your ring size and details like links to our website of the rings you liked the most. We keep this on file so you can email or call us any time after your initial appointment and we can pull that up to keep the process going smoothly. You might not always deal with the same salesperson, but everyone on our team will be able to help you with your order.

“There’s so much information in an appointment. You don’t have to remember it all,” Ariel says. “The follow-up email is also helpful if you can’t decide between two or three rings, or you’re thinking more about what you want.”

  • Don’t see exactly what you want? We can work with you to get there.

All of our collection rings can be personalized with different gemstones and metals. We love working with clients to custom design rings from scratch (starts at $1,500).

We’re committed to ethical sourcing, and that means that on occasion we can’t get the exact color, shape, and size in a gemstone that a customer wants. If you’re as committed to buying an ethical engagement ring as we are to making them, we can work with you to figure out an alternative. “We have so many stones in stock that often we can come up with something else that you’re going to love,” Ariel says.

Image of hand wearing multiple rings - What to Expect

  • You order an engagement ring. What’s next?

When you purchase a collection ring you see on our website or in our showroom cases, that’s the ring you’ll get – made to order in the size and color of your choice. Place your order and, unless you have specific questions, we’ll email you when your engagement ring is ready.

Our custom designed engagement ring process requires more back and forth, though much of it can happen by phone or email. We’ll show you full-color computer drawings (CAD renderings) from several angles. You can make small changes and ask questions.

We’re also happy to see you in person again. “We can get two to three different options of a diamond or colored gemstone that fit what you’re looking for in terms of budget,” Ariel says. “If you’re local, it’s nice to come back and see the stone you are getting and have a hand in choosing it. Everyone’s eye is different.” We can send video and photos to remote clients.

  • You can do a long-distance appointment.

You don’t have to visit our Philadelphia or New York City showrooms. As much as we relish face-to-face time with our clients, we’re super easy to work with by Skype, email, and phone. Get started by filling out our online Custom Design Questionnaire.

Whether you’re doing some early browsing, or you have a million questions about engagement rings, a visit to Bario Neal is the best way to get started. Make an engagement ring shopping appointment with us in Philadelphia or New York City today.

“I want customers to know that this ring, which is going to be on their hand forever, is the right one for them,” Ariel says. “Even if you just want to come in to get your ring size and find out about different metal options, start with an appointment.”

Beautiful, Ethical Engagement Rings Under $2,000

By Jamera McNeil on October 24, 2018 at 9:36 am

There’s a unique engagement ring for every budget. Whether you’re not sure what an engagement ring should cost (hint: we think that’s up to you!), or you know the exact amount you want to spend, Bario Neal’s handcrafted ethical engagement rings are ready for your proposal. Nervous about such a big special purchase? We make ring shopping totally painless. Even better, we make it fun. Our welcoming showrooms in Philadelphia and New York City are stress free. Budget talk with clients is friendly and down to earth.

Collage of rose gold rings under $2,000
L to R: Nikko Pear White Sapphire Ring and Myrtle Blue-Green Sapphire Ring

Still think a trip to a jewelry store might be akin to sweating a final exam or being trapped in a Darren Aronofsky movie? We have plenty of advice “” and plenty of engagement rings under $2,000 “” for the budget-conscious shopper. Plus, there are four ideas for engagement ring + wedding band for under $3,000.

  1. Your love is NOT measured by how much you’re willing to spend on an engagement ring.

Ask us how much you should spend on an engagement ring, and we’ll say, “Tell us about your partner.” “I tell people it’s important to find a ring that will symbolize your sentiment, and that often means a design that speaks to their partner’s personality,” says Sarah Rachel Brown, a Sales Assistant at Bario Neal. In the 10 years since Bario Neal started, we’ve loved seeing attitudes shift when it comes to how much “should” be spent on an engagement ring. More and more clients scoff at the notion that how big a ring is, or how expensive a ring looks matters. They care instead about the story of the ring. Our Aira Oko Morganite Ring ($560) erases the notion that you need to pay a staggering ring price for a happy-ever-after tale.

  1. You don’t have to talk price right away to find an engagement ring that fits your budget.

The Bario Neal team doesn’t typically zero in on prices first thing. “It’s not that we’re not conscious of a client’s budget, but we don’t want it to be the only focus of the discussion immediately,” Sarah says. “We naturally navigate our way there.” If you or your partner starts to fall in love with a ring during an appointment, for example, Sarah might give a broad range of possible cost. An engagement ring price will go up or down depending on the metals or stones you choose. If you want to get a sense of how that works, check out any engagement ring on our site, go to “Build Ring” and play with the different options in the dropdown menus. You or your partner might be drawn to a diamond alternative, like the white sapphire in our Nikko Pear White Sapphire Ring ($1,360). A colorful gemstone like the one in our Myrtle Blue-Green Sapphire Ring ($1,920) might fit your style and budget perfectly.

  1. It’s totally fine to walk into our showrooms or email to tell us: “I want to spend $1,000 and no more.”

First, know that at Bario Neal, under $1,000 doesn’t mean you won’t have plenty of engagement rings to choose from. Our sunny Cluster Opal Ring ($875) taps into the current cluster craze and has two pretty stones, an opal and a sapphire. Second, we’re happy to hear upfront what you have to work with on spending. “I just worked with a client over email, and she really wanted a ruby ring, and she had $1,500 to spend, which isn’t realistic for a ruby ring. So we went with a lab-grown ruby, which is a great option when you have a modest budget,” Sarah says. If you’re visiting with your partner but don’t want to get into money during the engagement ring appointment, let us know your budget in advance by email or phone. “I won’t steer your partner to a ring that doesn’t fit your price range,” Sarah says. “And if someone falls in love with a ring, we will work with clients and find a way to make it work.”

 

Photo of Nikko Engagement Ring

  1. Buying an engagement ring shouldn’t come with sales pressure, awkwardness, or anything uncomfortable.

So many clients pay the Bario Neal team the best compliment by telling us how enjoyable “” and easy! “” we make the whole engagement ring buying process. Our sales associates don’t work on commission, and they’re completely committed to making every single visitor, every single couple, feel welcome regardless of budget. “We get clients who have had experiences at jewelry stores that are not ideal, and they come to us, and they just breathe a sigh of relief,” Sarah says. “When we’re working with clients, it’s not about how much we can get them to spend. It’s wanting them to find the right ring that’s going to make them happy.” Sarah has so much fun with clients, her love for stacking rings proves contagious. One of her “perfect” engagement rings is actually two rings: She stacks our Baguette Solitaire Diamond Ring (starts at $525) and Nikko Morganite Ring (starts at $630). Together, they’re $1,155. “Not everyone wants one big ring,” Sarah says. “Many clients with demanding jobs don’t want a giant ring on their hand all day. And they don’t want a ring that they can’t actually wear.”

  1. You don’t have to pay 100% of the cost of an engagement ring upon ordering.

You can make full payment right away, but a 50% deposit is fine at Bario Neal. You’ll pay the balance when you pick up the ring, which is usually four to six weeks from ordering “” a bit of a breather.

  1. You shouldn’t have to spend a lot to get a high-quality engagement ring.

“At the heart of our collection is really great design,” Sarah says. “With the Bario Neal aesthetic, you can often get a really beautiful ring for a price that will surprise you.” You also have the assurance of knowing that Bario Neal works with recycled metals and ethically sourced stones to create your ethical engagement ring. Plus, we’re a small company so your made-to-order engagement ring isn’t being robotically manufactured with 15 other rings that look exactly like it. Instead, it will be handcrafted right in our workshop by skilled jewelers who make sure every aspect is executed precisely.I do the final quality check on all engagement rings,” Sarah says. “I take them under magnification and I’m looking for every little thing on the ring to be perfect. There are multiple steps along the way where we’re ensuring that our rings are being made with attention to detail.”

Gold Rings Under $2,000
L to R: Cluster Garnet Ring and Fishtail Band
  1. Yep, you can do engagement ring + wedding band for under $3,000.

No magic number of rings makes you married. If you’re a couple looking for a pair of simple gold bands, we’ve got you. If you want an engagement ring and wedding band, and need to make sure the final total is under a certain amount, the Bario Neal team can suggest wedding bands that work with our engagement rings to fit your budget, like our Cluster Garnet Ring ($950) and Fishtail Band ($415), which tally to $1,365, or any of the ideas pictured here.

  1. The experience of buying an engagement ring together can mean so much more than a price tag.

Sarah has worked with clients who have planned a surprise engagement ring shopping day that becomes a lasting memory. “They might not have a huge budget, but they’ll create this day,” she says. “They’ll take their partner out for lunch and a walk, and then ‘end up’ at Bario Neal, and the partner is surprised with an appointment.” For one full hour, your partner gets the full Bario Neal treatment and attention. We walk you through our collections and talk about what your partner really wants in a ring. You get all the credit for showing your partner you really care that he or she gets a ring to love. “It really takes the attention off of how big a ring is or how expensive it was,” Sarah says. “The memory is this experience they had.”

As a designer of ethical engagement rings, we don’t just consider how our jewelry is made. We also value every client, and want you to feel fairly treated. “Caring doesn’t cost anything,” says Sarah. Shopping for engagement rings shouldn’t be intimidating. We use a jewelry handcrafting process from start to finish that we feel good about, and our clients do too. That meaningful story has more value than anyone can count.

These 7 Larger-than-Life Rings Make a Bold Impression

By Jamera McNeil on October 17, 2018 at 10:10 am

If you’re looking for a big, stop-in-your-tracks engagement ring or special occasion ring but you don’t want garish or overdone, we’ve got seven larger-than-life ring designs that bring the flash, but not the flash in the pan. They’re a perfect exclamation point””but not an ALL-CAPS TEXT. When it comes to high impact, we’ve introduced a new colorful halo opal ring that we know will be an instant hit. Plus, we’re updating several popular ring designs with new color combinations to amp up the excitement.

  1. Dez Halo Opal with Rainbow Melee Ring

“The new halo opal is wow,” says Tessa Kennedy, Design and Production Director at Bario Neal. She puts it that simply because our newest halo ring speaks for itself. In this design, “rainbow” doesn’t mean the Lucky Charms you had as a kid. “If you Google ‘rainbow,’ you’ll get the most primary, bright picture,” Tessa says with a laugh. “So for us, it was really exciting to take the many months we spent on colors for this sophisticated design, to really get it right. You rarely see something that considered in jewelry design.” The result: A muted yellow sapphire, green tourmaline, London blue topaz, Rhodolite garnet, and more, are all invited to a party that you’ll never want to end. (Our color streak didn’t stop there. We’ve released a striking Half Eternity Wide Rainbow Gemstone Band too.)

  1. Halo Aquamarine Ring

This classic halo ring was born with a round carat-plus aquamarine stone and 22 white melee diamonds. That pale blue is an inviting ocean to dive into, but the ring is so popular that we’re giving two new stones a chance to feel the love. The Stellium Morganite with Diamond Halo Ring will add on-trend pale pink into the mix. With the Stellium Diamond Halo Ring, you’ll get an engagement ring that fully embraces traditional and unforgettable at the same time.

Collage of Bario Neal's Larger-than-life Rings
L to R: Senna Blue Sapphire With White Enamel Halo Ring, Senna Diamond with Black Enamel Halo Ring, Senna Blue Sapphire with Black Enamel Halo Ring
  1. Senna Halo Black Enamel & Diamond Halo Ring

Our striking Senna Diamond Halo Ring stands out not just for its conflict free diamond but its black enamel digs. Many contemporary jewelers don’t use enamel, but the Bario Neal team has been working this colorful coating into ring designs for years. (The science-meets-art process of making enamel for our rings is fascinating.) A splash of new primary colors means this halo ring will get even more look-at-me wattage. Picture our Senna Blue Sapphire with White Enamel Halo Ring or our Senna Blue Sapphire with Black Enamel Halo Ring. Daily wear can be tough on soft enamel, but with this halo ring design the enamel is safely recessed.

  1. Cluster Hex Sapphire Ring

“Popular” doesn’t quite cover it for this cluster ring fave that proves you don’t need a diamond at the center to be the center of attention. “Everyone is bonkers for it,” Tessa says. She’s certain that devotion will extend to the four new variations and matching bands Bario Neal has designed that will be released next month. 

  1. Quince Diamond Ring

Diamonds for days. Scratch that. Make it weeks. Add an appointment to your calendar so you can sit and stare at the gorgeousness. This is a modern take on a halo ring. The round diamond in the middle gets dressed up with round diamonds pavéd in the halo. We’ll admit the addition of diamonds in the band too (every last one ethically sourced) takes us into giddy territory. If you want to turn up the volume even higher, the low-profile Quince stacks well with other rings. Our new design updates on this ring add mystery and lean less traditional by putting a blue sapphire or an emerald into a bold embrace of black melee diamonds.

 

Collage of Bario Neal's Larger-than-life Rings
L to R: Quince Blue Sapphire with Black Diamond Halo Ring and Quince Emerald with Black Diamond Halo Ring
  1. Cluster Fringe Diamond Ring

If you want to max out with a cluster ring, this one’s at the top of our “yes” list. “This is the ring that clients try on and instantly crave,” Tessa says, “and then they say, “˜Oh, I really shouldn’t.’ To which we reply, “˜Yeah you should!'”

  1. Avens Asymmetrical Raw Diamond Ring

Want to mix softer and more natural looking with a bit of forward cluster fun? The 1.15 carat rough diamond in our impression-making Avens Asymmetrical Raw Diamond Ring keeps things buzzing with apricot and yellow sapphires. (Our Avens Asymmetrical Ring and a new Avens Asymmetrical Cushion Cut Diamond and Champagne Ring design has an update too, with a big deep blue round sapphire found in the new Avens Symmetrical Round Blue Sapphire Ombre Ring.)

5 Tips About Our Larger-than-life Rings

At Bario Neal, we don’t just insert a flashy gemstone for wow factor and call it a day. Gorgeous bold designs with big gemstones and ethical sourcing can come all in one ring, and we’re passionate about maintaining that balance. And it’s not only about carats. Sometimes a different design or enamel or a unique color mix makes the standout difference. Shop our halo rings and cluster rings today to find show-stopping expression””in the most elegant way.

All You Need to Know About Pulling Off a Holiday Proposal

By Jamera McNeil on September 19, 2018 at 9:02 am

Photograph of a man holding a jewelry box with an engagement ring inside

 

Marriage proposals can make even the most stiff-upper-lipped among us get a little teary any time of year. The holiday proposal is special because December’s a time when many families gather and celebrate with traditions. After Australians’ historic vote last year to legalize gay marriage, the prime minister set an “enact before Christmas!” deadline. Plus, who can resist twinkling lights, sugar cookies, and a Cluster Diamond Ring? There are a few things to know about shopping for an engagement ring and popping the question at that time of the year, but with our holiday proposal guide, you’ll be able to come through on one of the eight days of Hanukkah or secure a permanent spot on Santa’s Nice List.

  1. Finding the Right Engagement Ring

If you’ve been talking marriage, your partner has probably dropped a few hints about favorite ring designs or shared preferences with someone close to you both. (Check out our   advice on buying a perfect engagement ring without your partner knowing.) Ask around””or just ask your partner directly. That’s totally fine! The proposal itself can still be a meaningful surprise if you’d like.

Before you visit a Bario Neal showroom, try to get a sense of what ring styles and metal and gemstones your partner likes. Many clients fall in love with our classic solitaire Avens Princess Diamond Ring, but not everyone dreams of a white diamond engagement ring. Ask your partner about ring size so you’ll be able to slip the engagement ring on with the “Will you marry me?”””and keep it there. The closer you get to a perfect fit, the better. If you do need a resize, it will take a couple weeks (and sizing down more than one size may    require extra time). Certain rings can’t be resized; see our lists here and here or ask us during your appointment.

  1. Proposing With THE Engagement Ring

If you have a good idea of what your partner wants in an engagement ring and want to pull off a holiday proposal, get in touch with us ASAP. We can work with you to make it special and advise you on lead times and planning. The run-up to the December holidays is one of our busiest times of year, and Bario Neal engagement rings are handcrafted to order. Typical turnaround times for our collection rings are on our website. Go to a specific ring, and click on “Lead Time & Returns” for details. Our Nikko Diamond Ring, for example, takes about six weeks. Custom rings, like this Custom 1 carat Cushion Cut Diamond Cluster Ring, take a minimum of eight weeks, and have no set lead time as we craft a one-of-a-kind ring just for your love. Rush orders are possible on collection items, for an additional fee, but if you’re custom-designing a one-of-a-kind engagement ring with us and won’t hit your   deadline, you can always propose with a temporary ring! Read on for how to make that work in No. 3 below.

Photograph of a man placing an engagement ring on a woman's finger

  1. Proposing Without THE Engagement Ring

If you’ve worked with us to sketch out the perfect personalized engagement ring””but you didn’t leave enough time before the holidays for your custom order, that doesn’t mean coal in your stocking. We have pretty, simple in-stock rings you can get in a week or less to use as a placeholder for the proposal. Our Ready Ring can be picked up from our Philadelphia location same day, or ordered online with shipping in two days. You can even return the Ready Ring with zero fees when your personalized ring is complete. The romantic Knottedrush Ring and delicate Milla Ultra Thin Band have very short lead times too, and can work as stand in’s while we finish your final ring.

  1. Planning a Romantic Surprise Engagement Ring Appointment

If you’re thinking, “Buying an engagement ring is a huge decision so why wouldn’t I want my partner there with me?” you aren’t alone. Many of our clients choose to go engagement ring shopping together. Teamwork is romantic. There are still plenty of ways to elevate the outing above a Saturday to-do list and make the day extra special. Plan a day (here are tons of suggestions if you’re visiting our Philadelphia showroom) with a great meal before or after an appointment. For a surprise: Get your partner to our neighborhood in NYC or Philly, and then pop the question outside of our showroom””and let them know now’s the time for engagement ring shopping. We’ll be ready inside to make the visit fun and memorable for you both, just give us a heads up when you make the appointment!

  1. Wrapping an Engagement Ring

Even if you don’t plan to get down on one knee and slowly open a box for a big engagement ring reveal, Bario Neal’s handcrafted porcelain jewelry boxes are a beautiful way to make a holiday proposal more special. We designed these exclusive boxes ourselves, and they are hand cast by a small studio in Portland, Oregon. You’ll get extra credit for giving your partner a pretty place to store the engagement ring when necessary in the future. Remember: If you’re a planner who gets the ring well before the proposal, you’ll have to find a good, safe hiding place if you’re going for surprise.

Whatever the date on your calendar, if you’re thinking proposal, get in touch with us today to get all the details about our engagement rings. We’re happy to talk about lead times and guide you through what you’ll need to know, particularly for planning a holiday proposal. Advance planners and last-minute shoppers alike can make the upcoming (really, it’s right around the corner!) season extra romantic this year.

Photo of couple of hands embracing in the background with a porcelain ring box in the foreground

8 Ways to Simplify Engagement Ring Shopping

By Jamera McNeil on September 13, 2018 at 9:00 am

Photograph of two hands holding with one hand wearing a diamond engagement ring

You don’t need to be an Inception-style hypnotist or master of the subtle hint to get an engagement ring you love. If you and your partner have decided to get married, or you’ve had enough conversations to know a proposal is coming soon, there are some easy next steps when it comes to picking out and buying a ring. Whether you’re after a did-not-see-that-coming shriek or you plan to low-key team up for a visit to the jewelry store, these eight engagement ring shopping tips will help make that big moment anxiety-free and unforgettable.

  1.   For a Total Surprise Proposal, Enlist an Engagement Ring Ally

If you or your partner are really hoping for a total surprise in the future, then tell a friend or relative all your preferences. We’ve had clients visit our showrooms with moms, dads, daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, cousins, and best friends. Hint: Your partner really wants to get this right. By clueing in someone close for “when the time comes,” you can lend your support in a roundabout way. Read on for the what/how on sharing details.

Photograph of hands, rings, and cellphones

  1. Make a Pinterest Board of Engagement Rings

When you think perfect solitaire engagement ring, does our Avens Radiant Diamond Ring come to mind? Then Pin It! It’s totally OK and normal to talk to your partner about the ring you might want, but sharing in this way can be a helpful way to jump into the process. Add pictures and links of ring designs that speak to you or capture you and your partner’s love. Inspiration will take shape. A Pinterest board is useful if you’re trying to work out what you like too. It’s totally OK if you don’t have a detailed pictured in your head of a dream engagement ring.

If you don’t want to be on hand for engagement ring choosing, email your Pinterest board to your partner””or to the Bario Neal team directly. We’ll tap into your behind-the-scenes help and find an engagement ring from our collections, or custom design one, that fits your style.  

  1. Email Subject Line: Engagement Rings

If you’re not into pinning, no worries. Share your ring ideas over an email to your partner (think of it as a kind of modern-day love letter), or someone your partner might turn to when planning an engagement ring surprise. All engagement rings on our site have a button that allows you to send an email link easily. Even if you decide you’ll pick out your engagement ring together, browse rings on our website before visiting and share your favorites with the Bario Neal team so we can narrow down the choices at appointment time.

Photograph of two pairs of hands pointing at engagement rings

  1. Take an Engagement Ring Scouting Trip

The internet’s a great place to start when you’re looking for an engagement ring, but there’s a big difference between buying our Kalmia Raw Diamond Ring and adding a pair of kicks to your Zappos cart. We believe that seeing rings up close and even slipping a few on, while talking to the Bario Neal team is super useful. (It’s also fun!) Make an appointment to visit one of our showrooms, in New York or Philadelphia. Come solo, or with your partner, a friend, or a relative. (Plan a whole day out with this guide to our Philadelphia neighborhood.)  

  • If you can’t visit our Philadelphia or NYC showrooms: If you love Bario Neal’s jewelry designs but aren’t able to visit us, we’ll make long-distance engagement ring shopping feel really personalized. We successfully work with clients around the country (and world!), and they’re constantly expressing surprise at just how easy it is to get exactly what they want without ever stepping foot in our showrooms. We can model engagement rings and take photos and videos to share with remote clients upon request.  
  • About shopping for an engagement ring with your partner: There’s varying degrees of surprise when it comes to marriage proposals. Some couples pick out or custom design an engagement ring together, but the actual question-popping is a surprise. Finding this special piece of jewelry as a couple can be quite romantic. Go with your instincts. We love how this Cosmopolitan writer put it: “Picking out and buying a ring together made me feel like a partner in a practice that has historically been a little sexist and one-sided. Having gone through it the way we did, there’s no other way I could have imagined it.” Plus, her husband-to-be still pulled off a totally unexpected proposal. At the end of your appointment, we’ll ask who we should include in email communications – and this is your opportunity to let us know if only one partner should be involved in the next steps!

Photograph of a Bario Neal card and notepad with a client's ring size

  1. Write Down Your Ring Size

Most rings can be resized, but if you know you’re not going to want to part with your engagement ring after the proposal and your partner is headed to the jeweler without you, make sure your ring size is public knowledge. Ask a jeweler to size your ring finger on a scouting trip (see No. 3 on this list), or DIY. There are several ways to figure out your ring size at home, but our favorite is using a ring you already wear. You can also buy inexpensive ring sizers on Amazon. Keep in mind that most folks do change their ring size at least once, so if you do need to change it up later, that’s totally normal.

  1. Share Specific Engagement Ring Preferences

Some of us are choosier than others. If you aren’t a generalist when it comes to jewelry, make sure to get into the nitty-gritty details when creating your Pinterest board, emailing links, or giving the lowdown to a friend who’ll be your partner’s guide.

  • Metal color and finish: You’re probably a jumble of mixed signals if you go by what has collected in your jewelry box over the years. Your partner might not know rose gold from platinum, or matte from polish anyway. If you pin or email a link to a platinum ring because you like the gemstone setting, but you really want it in 14k yellow gold, make a note!
  • Gemstone type and shape: You might love lots of gemstone shapes, but when it comes to an engagement ring that you’ll wear every day, you probably have a more exacting look in mind. A helpful graphic on our Custom Design Questionnaire will help you (and your partner) sort princess from round from cushion. Pass along gemstone wishes too. Your partner can be forgiven if he assumes you want a white diamond because so much wedding ring marketing is about diamonds. If you most definitely are into color, like our Lash Solitaire Blue Sapphire Ring, make sure to telegraph that. Now’s also a good time to talk to family about or mention to your partner heirloom gemstones you’ve dreamed of incorporating into an engagement ring. We’ve crafted many personalized rings, like this Custom Heirloom Emerald and Morganite Cluster Ring, using gemstones passed down through generations.
  • Jeweler: Love Bario Neal’s aesthetic? If you’re drawn to a small studio that designs and handcrafts jewelry like we do, that’s a great hint to drop. That way, you’re more likely to get a design that matches your taste and make the process easier for a partner shopping solo. If you care about ethical and sustainable metal and gemstone sourcing, that’s an important tip to be clear about too.  

Photograph of two hands trying different ring designs

  1. Have That Budget Talk

Not only is it totally OK to talk about your ring designs with your partner, take this chance to talk money too. If you already have joint bank accounts and share your finances, this might even be necessary, because you’ll see the purchase. You’ll do your partner a favor by confirming that the cost of the ring is not what’s important. You don’t want your partner feeling societal pressure to spend a certain amount of money when the engagement ring that will make you happiest is our Aira Mini Diamond Ring. If you want a big standout gemstone but you think lab-grown moissanite, like the ones in our Custom Moissanite Linear Cluster Ring, is just as pretty as a diamond, that’s advice that will lead to your partner spending significantly less. Some couples share the cost of an engagement ring. Your budget is personal, and we work with budgets of all sizes! Whether your partner visits us without you or you’re fully part of the process, having a budget in mind will help keep a ring shopping appointment on track. We’re happy to talk budget and have no expectations. Those jewelry stores that give off the “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” vibe? That’s so not us.

  1. Ask Your Partner: Hey, Do YOU Want an Engagement Ring?

There’s an icebreaker! One of the whole reasons Bario Neal exists is to challenge the heteronormative stereotypes around jewelry and that definitely includes engagement rings. However you and your partner identify in terms of gender and sexuality, if you’re excited about finding and wearing wedding jewelry, feminine or masculine, we’re thrilled to be a small part of your story. We don’t have a strict definition about what makes an engagement ring””or who might wear one. So before you load up that Pinterest board and start dropping hints about your ring size, ask your partner about wearing an engagement ring. Who knows? You might end up surprising each other.

Your proposal story, that first time you look at that engagement ring together, is personal and you write the rules. It doesn’t have to match a scene from a movie. Hopefully it will be one you’ll want to share with people you love. The most important thing: You and your partner get there without a lot of stress or outside expectations. And you end up with an engagement ring that’s meaningful and that you love.

5 Simple Tips for Caring for Your Engagement Ring or Wedding Bands

By Sarah on September 5, 2018 at 3:18 am

Engagement rings have been lost and then found washed up on beaches, in the crack of a sidewalk, and around at least two garden carrots. One even turned up in an ice bucket. We get why these stories make headlines. Engagement rings and wedding bands are such a meaningful purchase for couples, and the thought of losing or damaging your ring is pretty scary. You don’t have to bundle your hand in bubble wrap though. All you need is a few do’s and don’ts on ring care, and we’ve made the short list of tips memorable with help from incredibly talented illustrator K-Fai Steele. These beautiful drawings reflect the personal style that Bario Neal brings to custom jewelry. “At the end of the day, jewelry is about people and relationships, not about the individual pieces of gold,” K-Fai says. We totally agree.

Illustration of Interracial Couple Holding Hands
Jewelry Care Tip #1 “” Yes, sometimes you have to take your engagement ring off.

Your engagement ring or wedding band is likely designed for daily wear. (When you’re picking out your ring or working with us on a custom design, the Bario Neal team will talk about which ethically mined metals and gemstones best fit your lifestyle.) That said, protect a ring by taking it off when doing activities that could damage the metal and/or gemstones.

You will want to remove your ring when gardening (see “carrots,” above), doing the dishes, working out, rock climbing, and sailing. H2O lovers, note: There’s a reason you see metal detectors on the beach. Rings easily slip off as fingers shrink in the water at the ocean (or in a swimming pool). We also recommend you take your engagement ring off while sleeping and before bathing (that water warning!).

To stow your wedding rings temporarily at home, put them in the same safe and secure spot every time. Don’t put your jewelry by the sink or within a child’s reach! (See our Senna Tall Black Enamel Band and Octillo Studs resting easy in a dish on a high cabinet in illustration below.)

Collage of Care Guide

Jewelry Care Tip #2 “” Cleaning your engagement ring is easy.

Wearing your ring every day means that it will get dirty and need a good cleaning. Do NOT use any kind of chemical cleaner. This can damage your ring. Most jewelry should be cleaned with a gentle little bath. Put a small amount of regular dish soap into a bowl of barely warm water, and soak for 5 minutes. Gently clean behind the settings and around the stones with a soft bristled toothbrush. Then wipe dry with a soft cloth. One strict exception: opals. If you have a piece like our Cluster Opal and Morganite Ring, remember that opals should never be submerged in water. (Just use a very soft cloth dampened with warm, soapy water to wipe clean, and speak with us directly about a more thorough cleaning.)

You can bring your ring back to that brand-new look with a professional cleaning at Bario Neal too. If you take it to another jeweler for cleaning, be sure to give them the details on ALL the stones in your ring. This should ensure they won’t do any damage.

Illustration of hand cleaning ring

Jewelry Care Tip #3 “” Get a checkup for your engagement ring.

We use our hands constantly, so daily wear and tear means you’ll need to put some love and repair into your ring. Don’t panic if you notice a loose stone in your engagement ring. Bumps to the ring can shift or loosen stones over time. Do have the stones checked for security annually.

If you lose a stone, see any damage, or find cracks in an enamel ring, get in touch with the Bario Neal team to have your ring spruced up. Definitely wear your rings with care””and don’t try to DIY!

Illustration of Bario Neal customers shopping

Jewelry Care Tip #4 “” Getting insurance for your wedding rings is a simple stress reliever.

Protect your purchase””and know that you’ll be covered even if your engagement ring gets knocked into a lake because you took it off to eat a big, juicy burger. (Errr, see Tip #1 above.) You can add your wedding rings to your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, or get a dedicated policy specific to jewelry. If you need additional paperwork, or want information on getting an appraisal, get in touch with the Bario Neal team.

illustration of diverse couple

Jewelry Care Tip #5 “” Yes, you can refresh your scratched engagement ring.

Like you, your ring will change over time. The first place where this is noticeable is in the finish. Daily wear creates tiny scratches on the surface of the metal, giving every ring its own unique patina. High polish and matte finishes will all move toward a satin finish over time. If you’d like to refresh your finish for your wedding or another big event, get in touch with us!

illustration of couple

Your wedding rings are special, and they should definitely bring more happiness than worry. Our engagement ring and wedding band clients stay part of the Bario Neal family. So if you’re ever concerned about jewelry care, please get in touch!

8 Great Jewelry Design Ideas With Black Diamonds

By Sarah on August 20, 2018 at 12:51 pm

Black Diamond Rings Bario NealWith all the romance of our favorite black-and-white movies (new and old), sparkly yet opaque black diamonds bring a high-contrast look to custom jewelry. We love this versatile gemstone for wedding bands, cocktail rings, and stacking rings. We’ve even been known to get all eyes widened and jaws dropped in awe of black diamond engagement rings.

For those reasons and more, Bario Neal is bringing black diamonds to some of our most popular ring designs this month. Clients can now shop the Aira Mini Black Diamond Ring, Bend Black Diamond Ring, Ray Black Diamond Ring, and more.

Black diamonds have the wearability of a white diamond but at bigger sizes are more accessibly priced. They might seem like the opposite of a champagne diamond or pink diamond, but they’re all part of the fancy colored diamonds family with all the durable properties.

Here are eight design ideas that show off our new black diamond ring collection and will inspire personalized rings too.

Black diamond engagement rings aren’t everywhere.

But maybe that’s exactly why you want one. A lot of our clients looking for a darker stone ask for a sapphire, but if you’re intrigued by black diamond jewelry, you should feel free to pick the gemstone that’s totally you. At Bario Neal, we love breaking tired rules about wedding rings, and this Custom Linear Diamond Ring with Black Eternity Band is proof that black diamond engagement rings can work so beautifully.

Stacking rings get personalized with black diamonds.

The Open Lash Black Diamond Ring and Open Lash White and Black Diamond Ring (a black and white diamond destined for each other) are newcomers to Bario Neal that lay the perfect foundation for stacking. For a look that’s rooted in the classic but has a hint of edge, mix a solitaire white diamond engagement ring like our Avens Round Diamond Ring with the Open Lash Black Diamond Ring.

Custom Black Diamond Engagement Rings
Picture cleanly and simply accessorizing your favorite black suit or dress.

Now take that style to jewelry with this oh-so-put-together Custom Linear Emerald Cluster Ring. Like every good basic in your closet, the black diamond seems like a staple in this ring “” vital, not boring.

Black diamond jewelry can be a family affair.

Our Linea Black Diamond Ring update was an easy choice. The asymmetrical setting is a perfect home for the more uncommon black diamonds. Plus, we know just how well the design works already thanks to our Linea Black Diamond Pendant and Linea Black Diamond Studs. We’re calling it now: 2018, meet your new power trio.

Black diamonds can be ethically sourced.

We source black diamonds like the one that refuses to be upstaged by a white or champagne diamond in this Custom Three Stone Bouquet Ring from mines we trust in South America. (Gemstone fact: Most rough “black diamonds” start out as dark diamonds that are cut and irradiated to get a true black. The stones sit for a period of time after the process so they’re not radioactive when distributed.)

Black diamonds make for a nontraditional wedding band.

We already love our Channel Narrow Black Diamond Band and Eternity Narrow Black Diamond Band and their noir rows. With our black diamond jewelry update, we have more wedding band and stacking band choices: Reticulated One Black Diamond Band (a very accessible wedding ring with shapely flair), Half Eternity Narrow Black Diamond Band, Half Channel Narrow Black Diamond Band, and Dais Black Diamond Band.

Black Diamond Wedding Bands and Rings.
Black goes with everything.

Clichéd OK, but still so meaningful when you look at this Custom Rough Diamond, Garnet, and Black Diamond Ring. People frequently mix black diamonds with white diamonds, but this custom ring shows what you’re missing if you don’t invite other colorful gemstones to the cluster.

There’s no “wrong” metal for black diamonds.

You may think the gemstone adds a bit of mystery to a ring, but one decision is clear: Black diamonds shine in yellow gold, rose gold, platinum, and white gold.

“Black diamond jewelry might not be for everyone,” admits Genna Fischer, Bario Neal gemstone sourcing coordinator, “but, if black diamonds are for you, you just know.”