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.

 

 

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.

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

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!

Diamond or Not? White Diamonds Aren’t the Only Gems for Unique Engagement Rings—Look to Natural Diamonds, Moissanite, and White Sapphire Rings Too

By Sarah on August 8, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Engagements aren’t just a matter of the heart. Don’t get us wrong. We live for our clients’ stories about finding each other and falling in love. (Seriously, tell us more. You met how???) But getting married can be a think piece all in itself, and your head might quickly start to spin when you think about big decisions, like choosing an engagement ring. When you visit one of our showrooms, in Philadelphia or New York City, to look at engagement rings, expect to have fun. But we’re also ready to answer serious questions about ethics, sustainability, and sourcing that you might have as you choose the right gemstone for you.

Diamonds are the most popular choice for engagement rings, but there are two other lovely colorless gemstones you can also consider: moissanite and white sapphire. We’ve made unique engagement rings using all three. Each can work for a couple who’s thinking about how communities and the environment are impacted by gemstone mining.

  • Moissanite is a colorless gemstone that is produced in a lab, so there’s no new mining involved.
  • For many Bario Neal diamond engagement rings, we use reclaimed diamonds. These are stones previously set in other jewelry, and buying reclaimed is the eco-friendliest choice. Not only do you avoid more mining, you’re not tapping into the energy involved in lab manufacturing either.
  • We source our white sapphires from a family-run sapphire mine in Sri Lanka that works on a small scale and strives to have a light environmental footprint. If you buy a white sapphire engagement ring, you’re supporting ethical small business owners and in turn their community’s economy. Mining means jobs for the miners and financial stability.

You’ll want to make the decision that feels like a fit for you, and when you visit our Philadelphia or New York City showroom, we’re happy to help you find an engagement ring gemstone that works for your heart and head. To start, here’s more on these three gemstones along with some design inspiration.

 

Moissanite Engagement Rings
L to R: Custom Moissanite Linear Cluster Ring, Custom 2-carat Oval Moissanite Cluster Ring with Diamonds
Moissanite Engagement Rings

Even if chemistry class made you yawn, it’s impossible to not be intrigued by a gemstone growing in a lab. Moissanite is actually a natural mineral, silicon carbide, though it’s rarely found in nature anymore. A chemist, Henri Moissan, is credited with first identifying it “” at the site of a meteor strike in Arizona in 1893. In the 1990s, some scientists (who probably did not fall asleep in front of their Bunsen burners in high school) figured out a way to produce the silicon carbide crystals that Moissan, when he first saw them, thought were diamonds. North Carolina-based Charles & Colvard filed a patent and started growing moissanite in a lab and selling the stones as an accessibly priced alternative to white diamonds. The company is Bario Neal’s source for moissanite today.

If there’s a giant stone in the perfect custom engagement ring design you have in your head, and budget is top of mind, a moissanite could be your go-to at about half the price of white diamonds. (A half carat diamond ring in a four-prong setting at Bario Neal retails for around $3,000. The same jewelry with a moissanite would start around $1,750.)

That accessibility has inspired some truly inventive collaborations with Bario Neal clients over the years, as you can see in this Custom Moissanite Cluster Ring. If you’re ready to swear those are diamonds in that ring, well, you’ve got good company.

“Most people can’t tell a difference between a diamond and a moissanite,” says Genna Fischer, Bario Neal gemstone sourcing coordinator.  

Diamonds and moissanite are so twinning, you can easily mix them in a stack “” or even in the same ring. The double-take proof is in this Custom 2-carat Oval Moissanite Cluster Ring with Diamonds.

At larger sizes, moissanite does tend to throw off rainbow vibes when sparkling, whereas a white diamond has a truer white/silver sparkle. Moissanite is nearly as hard as diamonds (at 9.5 on the Mohs hardness scale vs. a diamond’s 10) so they’re completely durable for a daily wear ring. If you’re passing on diamonds altogether but want smaller stones in your wedding band or encircling your center stone, moissanite comes in tiny melee sizes too.  

Diamonds have been the stars of engagement rings for decades and big marketing bucks go into generating a mystique around them, but we think moissanite has its own story to tell as unique-to-the-lab stones.

Two Bario Neal clients who happened to be scientists agreed. As a nod to their shared profession, they chose moissanite for this Custom Moissanite Linear Cluster Ring. Catalyst Wedding Co. called the engagement ring “seriously one of the coolest ideas we have heard.”

 

L to R: Custom Trillion Cut White Sapphire Bouquet Cluster Ring, Trillion Dyad Ring, Nikko Pear White Sapphire Ring
L to R: Custom Trillion Cut White Sapphire Bouquet Cluster Ring, Trillion Dyad Ring, Nikko Pear White Sapphire Ring
White Sapphire Engagement Rings

Sapphires are most famous in blue, but a white sapphire is another tempting and colorless gemstone for engagement rings, especially if you want a white diamond look without the diamond.

“White sapphires tend to have a bit more of a gray-blue undertone than a diamond, and you can see that,” Genna says. “A white sapphire looks different from a diamond or a moissanite. It’s its own thing. It’s more understated.”

We’re all for everyone being their own thing, so maybe that’s why white sapphires get us every time. There’s nothing not pretty about those undertones either, as you can see in our Custom Trillion Cut White Sapphire Bouquet Cluster Ring. There’s a reason that our Trillion Dyad Ring and its white sapphires stop wedding bloggers in their tracks.

Like moissanite, white sapphires are also more accessibly priced than white diamonds. They bring a less fiery but no less inviting look to an engagement ring, such as our Nikko Pear White Sapphire Ring.

“White sapphires don’t have the across-the-room flare of diamonds, which make them a budget-friendly option for someone who wants a colorless gemstone that’s subtler and less sparkly,” Genna says.  

 

Quince Ring
Quince Ring
Diamond Engagement Rings

By using reclaimed white diamonds, heirloom diamonds, and Canadian-mined white diamonds, Bario Neal maintains high standards about ethics and sourcing and gives our clients plenty of diamond engagement ring choices.

Our Quince Diamond Ring might not look guilt-free, but it is “” right down to the tiny diamonds in the halo. Many jewelers can’t assure that such small stones, called melee, are ethically sourced, but Bario Neal makes sure ours are 100 percent traceable and ethical. (For a complete takedown of diamond myths, check out our helpful guide to diamond facts.)

If you’re looking for a true antique cut in a reclaimed gemstone, look to diamonds. The 1990s-born moissanite and more newly popular white sapphires come primarily in modern-day cuts.

L to R: Avens Asymmetrical Raw Diamond Ring, Kalmia Raw Diamond Ring, Avens Raw Diamond Ring
L to R: Avens Asymmetrical Raw Diamond Ring, Kalmia Raw Diamond Ring, Avens Raw Diamond Ring

Raw Diamond Engagement Rings

Raw diamonds bring a more rugged or natural look to an engagement ring. While you might be well aware of the harm that mining can bring to people and the environment, there’s, unfortunately, room for abuse in the processing of stones too. Unfair labor practices are connected to cutting and polishing diamonds in many places. Bario Neal’s ethical jewelry standards mean that we fully trace our gemstones as they make their way to us, so if you’re buying from us, you can trust that’s not the case for your engagement ring. Still, raw diamonds have their own aesthetic appeal, and their shape and appearance open up different setting designs with a natural glimmer.

 

Raw (or rough) diamonds in an engagement ring make for a quiet contrast between delicate and tough in our Avens Raw Diamond Ring and our Kalmia Raw Diamond Ring. If you prefer cluster to a solo look, look at our Avens Asymmetrical Raw Diamond Ring, which puts a raw diamond with sapphires.

 

We know you’ve got the heart part of this engagement ring business down. We’re here to help you sort through details like gemstones and metals and design “” and ethical sourcing and sustainability. Get started by filling out our custom design questionnaire or by making an appointment to visit us (remember: first-date stories welcome!) in our Philadelphia or New York City showroom today.

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

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

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

RUBY CUSTOM RINGS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15 Design Ideas for Your Custom Engagement Ring

By Sarah on May 31, 2018 at 4:07 pm

If you’re dreaming of an engagement ring that looks like it came from your heart and your brain and tells your story, but you don’t know where to start, don’t let the words “custom design” intimidate you.

You don’t have to be an artist or a gemologist or a jewelry designer “” or even know the difference between a round cut and a rose cut “” to create a custom engagement ring with us.

Sure, there are a lot of decisions to make when creating a custom ring. Do you want rose gold or platinum or yellow gold, or do you want a mix? Whatever your choice, we use either 100 percent recycled metals or Fairmined gold. Not interested in diamonds? We have so many alternatives. All the gemstones in our engagement rings are ethically sourced, and we can work with your heirloom gemstones too. At Bario Neal, “custom” doesn’t mean “ridiculously expensive” either. We create custom engagement rings for many budgets.

The point is you’ve got options. We’ve got the expertise to help you. Our online custom design questionnaire will help you get started, and we can talk you through everything from engraving to settings at our showrooms in Philly or NYC, or remotely over the phone or email.

We do approach each custom project with an open timeline so that we can make the best possible piece. We can’t rush or guarantee an end date, though production typically takes a minimum of two months. So contact us as soon as possible if you’re thinking about a custom wedding band or engagement ring.

For inspiration, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite new custom rings. We don’t really buy into the idea of single-purpose jewelry, so some aren’t even engagement rings. But each has its own personality and style and fits the individual or couple behind the design.

Bario Neal Custom Rings
L to R: Custom Cut Granite Cluster Ring with Custom Heirloom Diamond Open Lash Ring, Custom Free Form Hex Sapphire Lash Triad Ring with Sapphire and Champagne Diamond, Custom .64ct Old Mine Cut Champagne Diamond Asymmetrical Avens Ring with Seafoam Sapphires and Cognac Diamond
Custom Cut Granite Cluster Ring with Custom Heirloom Diamond Open Lash Ring

If you can’t avoid collecting shells on the beach or pass a glassy lake without skipping a pebble across the water, this custom ring design story is for you. This stacked ring pair combines heirloom diamonds with a piece of granite our client found on a trip the couple took to Maine. Cutting the granite was risky “” we’d never worked with that material before “” but the result is mountain-worthy elegance.

Custom Free Form Hex Sapphire Lash Triad Ring with Sapphire and Champagne Diamond

Roman proposed to Kiran without a ring. “I knew in order for her to get something she loved she needed to be part of the process,” he says. Kiran worked with the Bario Neal team (our ethical sourcing brought them in) to create this ring, with a half-moon sapphire, a free form hex cut sapphire, and a round champagne diamond. “We couldn’t be happier with the results, and I know I made the right choice by foregoing tradition and proposing without a ring,” Ronan says.

Custom .64ct Old Mine Cut Champagne Diamond Asymmetrical Avens Ring with Seafoam Sapphires and Cognac Diamond

Here’s a long-distance relationship that totally worked. California client Ethan and his partner loved our designs and our mission, so Ethan visited our Philly showroom while on the East Coast for work, to start a custom ring design. “Over the next four months and a million questions from me, Bario Neal created a ring that was beyond my wildest expectations. They were very communicative and transparent throughout the process. Most importantly they were very mindful of my budget and the style I was looking for,” Ethan says.

Row of 3 Custom Bario Neal Rings
L to R: Custom Pear Rose Cut Blue Sapphire Engraved Engagement Ring, Custom Bend Jacket Rings, Custom .94ct Free Form Rose Cut Diamond Cluster Ring with Gemstones
Custom Pear Rose Cut Blue Sapphire Engraved Engagement Ring

We love breaking wedding ring rules, and this ring’s mixed metals “” white gold and rose gold “” show why. Starring a rose cut pear sapphire, the ring didn’t break the budget, and the thoughtful engraving heightens the distinctiveness. On the rim of the band “fall in love, stay in love” is on one side, and on the other, “and it will decide everything.”

Custom Bend Jacket Rings

This jewelry story begins with an unfortunate event and ends with a happy client (who, drawn by our ethical sourcing, traveled from Ohio to our Philly showroom to work with us!). First, she replaced a stolen engagement ring with a custom cluster ring design that reflected her family: Four stones represent her, her husband, and their twin boys. Then we made a custom jacket ring (inspired by our Bend Ring) that plays with negative space. Her review: “Craftsmanship is off the chain! Knowledgeable staff with a keen eye for unique designs. We will be back!”  

Custom .94ct Free Form Rose Cut Diamond Cluster Ring with Gemstones

If you like the idea of a custom engagement ring, but you’re not sure where to start, browse our Collection Cluster Rings. You’ll see all of our gemstones and settings that can jumpstart your creativity. The clients who worked with us on this engagement ring, featuring a rose cut diamond and an emerald, say they simply fell in love with our colors and style. Sometimes it’s just that easy.

Bario Neal Custom Cluster Rings
L to R: Custom Rose Cut Diamond and Sapphire Cluster Ring, Crescent Diamond Ring Personalization, Custom Asscher Cut Sapphire and Iolite Engagement Ring
Custom Rose Cut Diamond and Sapphire Cluster Ring

Bario Neal client Stephanie purchased this ring to commemorate earning her master’s degree in nursing. We think the gemstone fireworks happening in this piece are perfectly celebratory for every occasion.

Crescent Diamond Ring Personalizations

We’re very much about family at Bario Neal, in all its forms. (In fact, that inspired our new Bario Neal Baby & Child Keepsake line.) No sibling rivalry here: Three sisters commissioned this ring for their mother. The four gemstones represent each of them. Our favorite detail: Two are twins so one stone does double duty.

Custom Asscher Cut Sapphire and Iolite Engagement Ring

Some of our clients don’t know what they want till they visit our showrooms, and that’s OK. When this client and her partner spotted the iolites we had in stock, the light bulb went off. She asked us to cut them down with a half-moon in mind, to frame a white sapphire in this ring. The lesson: Spontaneity has its rewards.  

Bario Neal Custom Engagement Rings with Heirloom Stones
L to R: Custom Horizontally Set Tourmaline Solitaire Ring, Custom Heirloom Princess Cut Diamond Ring, Custom Heirloom Emerald and Morganite Cluster Ring
Custom Horizontally Set Tourmaline Solitaire Ring

The beauty in this ring is its singular focus of a lone tourmaline “” and the fact that the stone was cut by Top Notch Faceting, owned by Jean-Noel Soni. Soni creates award-winning, precision-cut gemstones that are ethically sourced, cut by hand, and created without the use of computer-aided design. (More about Soni here, and check out our blog post about his visit to our Philly showroom in 2015.)

Custom Heirloom Princess Cut Diamond Ring

When you’re thinking about a custom engagement ring, don’t just sneak peeks at fingers. Inspiration can come from any piece of jewelry. The center stone in this ring was one of two heirloom princess cut diamonds in a pair of earrings passed down in a family.

Custom Heirloom Emerald and Morganite Cluster Ring

Our clients’ wish: Use stones from both of their families. This ring and their wedding bands feature diamonds from a family engagement ring, and an emerald from a grandmother’s necklace. We love to see history and emotions working their magic in a cluster ring.

3 Custom Bario Neal Rings with Moissanite and Sapphires
L to R: Custom Moissanite Linear Cluster Ring, Custom Solar System Ring, Custom Star Sapphire Ray Ring
Custom Moissanite Linear Cluster Ring

What happens when two scientists get engaged? You get a ring with two princess cut and one pear cut moissanite stones. Moissanite is a diamond alternative that’s made in a lab. In their nod to the more traditional, our clients also asked for one natural diamond to be part of the design.

Custom Solar System Ring

This client looked to the stars, or to be exact, the planets, for her custom ring design. The ring is a mix of Montana sapphires and heirloom stones she had collected over years. The center stone is Jupiter. The smooth cabochon sapphire is Earth. Mars is a ruby that used to belong to her mother. There’s even a tiny Pluto representative (no matter its reclassification!).

Custom Star Sapphire Ray Ring

When it comes to weddings and jewelry, Bario Neal is more true-to-life than fairy tale. And this ring recap is real. Partner buys woman a star sapphire ring on a trip to India. Stone falls out and is lost. But here’s the twist: Bario Neal recreates the ring with an antique stone and a new setting for their engagement. That’s our kind of narrative, and we have even more to share soon about this couple and their one of a kind ring.

Every custom engagement ring tells a story. Write your first sentence today by browsing our rings and bands. Fill out our custom design questionnaire or make an appointment to visit a Bario Neal showroom in Philadelphia or New York City. We can’t wait to see how this chapter ends.

Our New One-of-a-Kind Ceres Collection Is Set to Inspire

By Sarah on May 18, 2018 at 11:55 am

Photo of woman holding an orchid wearing Bario Neal rings and earrings.

We’re known for our delicate pieces at Bario Neal, but we also love to go big and bold. For our brand-new Ceres Collection, we took our designs to an imagination-expanding scale. The settings of the earrings play with convention. The rings defy restrictions and will make you see clustered gems in a new way.

Ceres gives a home to spectacular emeralds we’ve been saving for years “” and mixes them in rings with blue topaz, carnelian, white topaz, and phenakite. That color palette, for the Ceres rings, together with the mauve tones of Ceres earrings makes for a beautifully balanced collection. Striking but never overdone.

“We wanted to create something that was both powerful and bold but also really feminine,” says designer and Bario Neal co-founder Anna Bario. The name Ceres is a nod to the Roman goddess of agriculture and fertility, and an asteroid between Mars and Jupiter that was once thought to be a planet

Like all of our jewelry, Ceres keeps to our high ethical standards for gemstones and metals. The rings and earrings are set in reclaimed 14k yellow gold, and all the stones are reclaimed and traceable. The yellow tones of the metal balance out all the gemstone colors in a way that doesn’t overpower them.

“The Ceres pieces bring new dimension to the design concepts we’ve been working with in our ongoing collections,” Anna explains.

The Ceres pieces are one-of-a-kind, with unique stones, but we can recreate them or work with clients and take cues from them as we shape a new custom jewelry design for you. Don’t think like for like either. You might translate a Ceres ring layout, for example, to a pendant necklace design. Follow what inspires you!

Ceres Collection Rings

Bario Neal Ceres Collection Rings
Left to Right: Lash Vertical Square Cut Emerald, Carnelian, and Blue Topaz Cluster Ring, Open Lash Emerald and White Topaz Ring, Lash Vertical Asscher Cut Emerald, Cabochon Emerald, and Blue Topaz Cluster Ring, Open Lash and Phenakite Ring, Lash Vertical Rectangular Cut Emerald, Carnelian, and Blue Topaz Cluster Ring

“The vertical Ceres rings cover the finger, knuckle to knuckle, but still totally wearable,” Anna says. These rings are a powerful statement, and functional too.”

Egyptian jewelry, which is an influence on the collection, often went big. Carnelian, turquoise, and lapis lazuli were commonly found at the base of the Nile River. Ceres’ color scheme mimics those resources.

Fueled by that big scale and color combo, the designs of three Ceres rings went up, up, up.

“The designs really came together for the rings once we landed on the super strong primary palette of the topaz/emerald/carnelian,” Anna says. “Clusters are such a thing, but no one is taking  them vertical like this. This feels very new.”

Most of the clusters we do at Bario Neal are across the finger in a horizontal orientation. Often, that’s just more wearable for daily life. But we couldn’t resist the vertical clusters you see in Lash Vertical Rectangular Cut Emerald, Carnelian, and Blue Topaz Cluster Ring and Lash Vertical Square Cut Emerald, Carnelian, and Blue Topaz Cluster Ring.

“Looking at our drawings, I thought the vertical rectangular would be my favorite. For me personally, I didn’t think I’d choose the vertical square because of the length. But when I saw it made, I saw how it hits just before the middle knuckle in a perfect way,” Anna says.

The Lash Vertical Asscher Cut Emerald, Cabochon Emerald, and Blue Topaz Cluster Ring stacks stones even more dramatically. Even our stone setters were impressed by these one-of-a-kind designs. “As with any craft, there are conventions, just the way people are used to doing things,” Anna says. “The cuts and settings here reflect how Bario Neal loves to play with conventions.”

Back down to Earth a bit, Ceres Collection uses our ethical emeralds in another way. Bario Neal’s recently released Open Lash Ring has been so popular that we took the chance to push its design further with soulful pear cut emeralds. The Open Lash Emerald and White Topaz Ring features a princess cut white topaz, and we love the way a fancy cut pentagonal phenakite sparkles in the Open Lash Emerald and Phenakite Ring. The phenakite was cut by the wildly talented Top Notch Faceting. It’s name means “the deceiver” from it’s close visual structure to quartz, but this spectacularly cut hexagonal phenakite has a brilliance and soul all it’s own.

Ceres Collection Earrings

Bario Neal Ceres Earrings
Left to right: Lash Garnet and Tourmaline Ear Climber Power Studs, Garnet and Tourmaline Power Studs

The 1970s-ish mauve of Ceres’ garnets lends a softness to ’80s-style power angles in these earrings. The idea for irregular cuts for the garnets led to asymmetrical patterns that aren’t just about going big “” but also about finding strength in new directions. Garnet revitalizes feelings and enhances sexuality while emphasizing devotion, understanding, trust, sincerity, and honesty in a relationship.

Designing our Lash Garnet and Tourmaline Ear Climber Power Studs, we knew we had hit on something powerful. These one-of-a-kind asymmetrical studs feature red garnet, rhodolite garnet, and pink tourmaline with our signature lash setting. “These earrings feel like something you’d wear to  a disco breakfast,” Anna says. Our response: Let’s dance.

The Lash Garnet and Tourmaline Power Studs glow brightly. We blended garnets and tourmaline to create studs with off-the-charts LOVE power and pitch-perfect palette harmony. In step with garnet, pink tourmaline brings balance and opens up higher vibrations in the heart chakra.

“All of our new Ceres Collection pieces are powerful objects,” Anna says. “We see them as talismans or amulets.” If the creativity and strength that we felt while designing Ceres is catching, look at the collection as a jumping-off point for your own custom-designed jewelry. Check out our Custom Design Questionnaire online, or visit our showrooms in Philadelphia or New York City today. We always have wild, powerful stones we’d love to share.

How to Find the Perfect Wedding Band to Go With Your Engagement Ring

By Sarah on May 9, 2018 at 12:29 pm

Just when you got used to seeing that engagement ring on your finger, it’s time to find it a mate. You and your partner fit so well together. Your unique wedding ring set should equal that combo. As you think about wedding band designs, here’s some helpful advice about everything from ordering to popular pairings.

When Should I Order My Wedding Band?

We get it. Planning even a low-key wedding can end up adding an astonishing number of to-do’s to your calendar. That’s why we’ve worked to shorten our lead times to a wow level. For clients not doing a custom design, wedding rings and bands from our collections can be ready in just two to six weeks. If you’re starting by browsing the rings on our website, click on the “Lead Time & Returns” to find out how quickly we can create your ring. And if online shopping is your happy place, great. You can order wedding bands through our site or by phone.

For our most time-crunched clients, we recently introduced the Ready Ring. Made of recycled (eco-friendly) sterling silver, and crafted in our Philadelphia studio, Ready Ring bands are always in stock and ship in two days. They’re even available for same-day pickup in our Philly showroom. Ready Ring’s a solution even if you’re awaiting your custom-ordered dream ring because you can return it when that forever ring arrives, for a full refund and no charge.

We can walk you through all the details in either our NYC or Philadelphia showrooms. In fact, we’re now extending our hours in NYC to make time for the summer wedding boom. Be sure to make an appointment at either location to shop wedding bands and engagement rings.

New York City Showroom

Mondays: 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
Wednesdays & Thursdays: Noon-8 p.m.
Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays: 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

Philadelphia Flagship & Workshop

Wednesdays & Thursdays: 1-7 p.m.
Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Should My Wedding Band Match My Engagement Ring Exactly?

Pairing couples and jewelry is an art. So when we say “fit together,” we mean that in the most creative, goes-with-your-style sense. There’s no reason your unique engagement ring and wedding band can’t sing on their own while still making an impressive pair. (Some of our band and ring designs look fab as a trio too.) Our rings and bands come in many shapes. You might even pick gemstones for your wedding band that are different than what you have in your engagement ring.                                                                             

Creating Your Unique Wedding Ring Set

Beyond finding a unique engagement ring and wedding band pairing, you’ll have other decisions to make. Most of our bands have several metal options, including yellow gold, rose gold, white gold, and silver “” and all are designed with the planet and people top of mind.

We use either 100 percent recycled metals or Fairmined gold. We work with refineries that take precious metal scraps and turn them into the materials we use to create jewelry. That means less mining, less impact on the environment. And the Fairmined gold label means better working and living conditions for miners. Likewise, all the gemstones in our wedding bands and engagement rings are ethically sourced. (Read about what goes into crafting our ethical rings.)

There’s the polish finish of your rings to consider too. Do you favor super shiny (high polish) or subdued (matte)? If the idea of wearing a band every day makes you or your partner squirm, by the way, we also have wedding bands designed for comfort. If you want to get more personalized, Bario Neal offers engraving services for your wedding band and engagement ring too. (If you’re stumped on the message, here are some ideas.)

Now, on to the inspiration! The unique engagement ring and wedding band sets below are some of our most popular, but don’t be afraid to bring your own style of creative to our showrooms. This might be the most fun mix-and-match game you’ve ever played.

Inspiration: How to Wear Wedding Rings

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Looking for a classic couple? Our Milla Curved Band and Milla Curved Diamond Band are rings designed to sit prettily with a solitaire engagement ring like our Avens Round Diamond Ring on top. (Though we think even alone, these bands have a distinct presence). As with all Bario Neal diamonds, the Half Eternity Band’s small stones, aka melee diamonds, are fully traceable “” so you know they’re conflict-free.

If you’re thrilled to be getting married, but don’t see your lives together as a three-legged race, pair our Reticulated One Diamond Band with Reticulated Two Band. (“Reticulation” means the metal is heated and then quenched to get that organically wavy shape. We see a certain romance in the process.) You don’t need to do everything together, and your engagement ring and wedding band don’t need to be in lockstep.

Together, the Senna Halo Diamond Ring and the Senna Narrow Band prove that opposites can attract in all the right ways. An ethically sourced diamond encircled in black enamel and a band of white glass enamel are a study in clash-free contrast.

section2If you think romance is more of a Tilt-A-Whirl ride than a Ferris wheel, this pairing is for you. The asymmetry of our Cluster Sapphire Band goes with our Cluster Hex Sapphire Ring or any of our solitaire rings.

Ring stacking, sure. But stone stacking? Yes please. Pair our Cluster Opal Ring, with its oval opal and emerald-cut sapphire, with the Icon Hex Diamond Ring and you’ve got a diamond-opal-sapphire tower that you’ll never tire of.

Sometimes the road to betrothed is winding. Hey, that just means you’ll have a more interesting story to tell at your 50th anniversary celebration. If you’ve never been two to follow a straight line, put our Cluster Diamond Band with our Cluster Diamond Ring. (Not that you’re counting, but that’s a total of 15 conflict-free diamonds.)

section3

We’re not really sticklers for jewelry rules at Bario Neal, which is why we ditched the whole “ring = a circle” thing when designing our Icon Narrow Band. The squared band was made to go with the Pear Trillion Ring, which has a notch in the design for stacking.

The Icon Band is the little black dress of jewelry because it goes with everything. This geometric band is for perfect stackability, with any engagement ring, even the flowing Cluster Hex Sapphire Ring.

If your wedding planning strategy is more simplification than complication, then you’ll love our beautiful, go-with-the-flow Nikko Curved Band. You can pair it with a Nikko Diamond Ring for a classic-leaning twosome. Or, if you want to stand just a little taller, top them off and make a trio, with the Icon Hex Diamond Ring.

section 4The style of metal work that defines filigree is centuries old. Seems like great odds for a marriage! Our Filigree Curved Band with a Filigree Rose Cut Oval Pink Sapphire Ring or a Filigree Rose Cut Round White Sapphire Ring (with a white sapphire) are sets that are certain to stand the test of time.

Think life should be a Broadway show? Not too much drama, please, but definitely applause-worthy? Then here’s your ticket. Our classic solitaire Avens Round Diamond Ring sets the stage and the Cluster Fringe Diamond Ring lights up like a marquee. Standing. O.

Pssst. Over here. This engagement ring/wedding band set reminds us of a playful aside, but still has absolutely what it takes to shine front and center. The Linea Diamond Band, with 17 bead set .005 carat diamonds, is ideal for many of our cluster and solitaire rings. Try it with the Cluster Opal and Morganite Ring to add some other pretty gemstones into the mix.

section5Our Allium Diamond Ring with Notch features a, well, notch, to make it stackable with most bands. Adaptability is an admirable trait “” yet if you see it with our Demi-Baguette Diamond Band, you can’t help but think they’re meant to be.

A valley’s where you go to drink in the view of a beautiful mountain. Enter our Ray Fringe Band, a half halo band that pairs ever so naturally with our Ray Ring (add an Open Lash Ring to the stack for a trio). Or climb out of that valley on steps of opal and sapphire by opting to join the Ray Fringe Ring with our Opal Cluster Ring.

You don’t have to be born in May to embrace sparkling green instead of diamonds for your wedding ring set. Together, our Emerald Ray Ring and Open Lash Ring signal that you’re the type who’s open to possibility. Choose the Lash Solitaire Blue Sapphire Ring for an even more colorful mix.

For more inspiration or to start mixing and pairing on your own, shop all of our bands online and follow us on Instagram. While you do, know that what we most love at Bario Neal is designing and creating jewelry that’s meaningful to our clients. Many people don’t wear two rings. Rings don’t have to match. A wedding ring and wedding band don’t even have to be an Official Wedding Ring and an Engagement Ring. After all, we squared a circle for our Icon Narrow Band.

You can break any “rules.”

Forget the Diamond Myths. Here Are the Diamond Facts.

By Constance on April 12, 2018 at 2:53 pm

Your diamond is out there, and we know how to find it. Even if you never thought a diamond could turn your head. Even if you’re worried about diamond mining’s negative impact on people and the environment. Even if you’re put off by our culture’s messaging about diamond engagement rings (read: all those cringe-inducing, stereotype-enforcing, exclusionary myths about diamonds).

We know we can find your diamond because we expertly and ethically source every one to order. Yep, that’s right: We search out and choose each diamond for each custom jewelry client after we meet and talk about you and your ideas.

 

Rosecut Halo Rings

Our Rose Cut Diamond Halo Ring has a center stone encircled by smaller diamonds in a pavé setting “” and all of them are traceable.

 

If you’re worried about the human and environmental toll of diamonds and confused by the diamond 4Cs, we’ve got you covered in this post. If you just happen to be shopping for a diamond ring, there’s plenty of style inspiration below too! After all, choosing a new piece of jewelry or designing custom jewelry with diamonds should be a happy creative time, not a stress-maker.

FINDING AN ETHICALLY SOURCED DIAMOND

We love that there’s more awareness than ever about bad labor practices and unjust economies tied to diamond mining. But we also get that many people have no idea where to start with making sure they are buying an ethically sourced diamond. That’s where our diamond expertise and knowledge “” and determination “” come in.

All of Bario Neal’s diamonds are either recycled or fully traceable to an ethical source.

 

Rough Raw Diamond Cube

An ethically sourced rough diamond awaits your dream custom jewelry design
We’ve partnered with small suppliers who care as much as we do about ethically sourcing diamonds, big and small. Even with greater awareness about conflict diamonds, many suppliers don’t want to invest in tracing smaller stones for, say, bands. That’s not good enough for us. Our diamond suppliers are willing to go above and beyond to verify the standards of their stones. In South Africa, our supplier visits the mines in person to make sure we have conflict-free diamonds. (If you love our Baguette Diamond Band, read about how our search for ethical diamonds took us to Canada and Surat, India, in our blog post on traceable baguette diamonds.)

 

Even though we’re totally confident in our partners’ ethical sourcing, we still reach for recycled diamonds (unless you ask otherwise) first. Using recycled diamonds in custom jewelry means less mining, less impact, more sustainability. Recycled diamonds can come from old pieces of jewelry or even the stock of a defunct jeweler.

 

WHAT ARE THE 4Cs of DIAMONDS?

The 4Cs of diamonds are carat, color, clarity, and cut. At Bario Neal, the diamonds we use in all our jewelry pieces have a color grade of I or higher, SI1 clarity, and a Good cut. What does all that mean? Read on for how to think about the 4Cs when you’re shopping for a diamond.

 

Diamonds are weighed in carats. Simple. One carat is one-fifth of a gram. (For those who’ve never been Star Baker on “The Great British Baking Show,” it takes four grams of sugar to fill up a teaspoon.)

 

Color is best known by letter grades for diamonds, from D to Z, with a D being the most colorless diamond and the end of the alphabet having the most color. The larger the diamond, the easier it is to see the diamond’s color, so if your perfect diamond is .02 carat, you could opt for the middle range of the alphabet. Bario Neal uses diamonds that have a letter grade up to I in our made-to-order jewelry because diamonds up to the letter grade I appear colorless.
Diamond clarity refers to natural parts (or lack of) of the stone that “” counter to diamond myth “” don’t necessarily equal poor quality. Where some see “flaws” or “inclusions,” we often see unique characteristics that make up your diamond’s identity. Think of it like a fingerprint. When it comes to clarity, we use SI1 or better diamonds. The “SI” stands for “slightly included,” but no matter how much of your coffee break you spend staring at your new stone (perfectly acceptable, we assure you!), you won’t even see these natural parts of the diamond. Unless you’re wearing a magnifying glass, which we do not recommend while drinking coffee.
The cut of a diamond determines its overall appearance. Cut shouldn’t be confused with diamond shape, but a diamond cut does affect how light plays off the stone. (There’s a reason that in the jewelry business, the pros use terms like “fire” and “scintillation” to talk about cut.) Cuts get a grade too: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. As we mentioned, we don’t go below Good.

 

When you consider the 4Cs, there are endless combinations. We know most of you don’t walk around with a loupe (a jeweler’s magnifier), so whenever we meet with clients, we make lots of time to chat about the 4Cs and how they fit into a client’s style.

 

Asymmetrical Avens Linea Diamond Pave Band

When it comes to considering the 4Cs, there’s no one way to think about carat, color, clarity, and cut. Pictured above: Our Asymmetrical Avens Ring and Linea Band.

 

CHOOSING A DIAMOND RING STYLE

Naturally, you want a diamond ring to reflect who you are, what you love, how you see the world. To find your design groove, start by checking out some of our most popular diamond rings, sorted by style type below. Embrace these as is, or think of them as a starting point on the way to your custom-designed diamond ring.

Classic Rings
If you lean to classic design and your secret weapon is your quiet strength, check out our Avens Solitaire Ring. The round cut diamond ring has a delicate simplicity, but also the steadfastness of a lifetime-lasting look.

 

The Diamond CLuster Ring in 14KY and 14KW.

We can use a family gemstone you provide in your custom cluster ring.

Cluster Rings
Cluster rings are super popular right now. Maybe it’s a desire to escape today’s crazy-making headlines? Because with seven ethically sourced diamonds, our Diamond Cluster Ring certainly has an ahhh-inducing, dive-into-this-waterfall feel. (Tip: You can make this ring even more you by mixing in your heirloom gemstones.)

Halo Rings
Some of us love to be the center of attention “” and some of us strive to be low-key noticed. For that second crowd, we’ve got the Senna Diamond Halo Ring, our take on the halo ring. It pops without a crazy-big diamond. For a more throwback halo ring, check out the antique style of our Rose Cut Diamond Halo Ring.

Contemporary Rings
We know not everyone wants a ring to be so, well, centered. So one of our contemporary diamond ring designs, the Pear Trillion Ring, turns the traditional diamond-in-the-middle look on its head by pairing pear and trillion diamonds. (P.S. We’ve designed in a little notch that makes this ring perfectly stackable.)

 

Rings with Raw Diamonds
We don’t expect (or even really want, if we’re honest) life to be perfectly smooth. Enter rough diamonds and their appealing ruggedness. Our Raw Asymmetrical Avens Ring is proof that “different” doesn’t mean unstylish or inelegant.

 

Eternity Rings
Why limit yourself to one stone when you can have a pretty row of small, pave diamonds (jewelers often use the industry term “melee”), like our Channel Narrow Diamond Band.

 

Remember, whether you want a contemporary diamond ring or a classic diamond band, a ring with a rough diamond, or a cluster ring, we take the time to get to know what our customers want “” before we start searching for your ethically sourced diamond and handcrafting your ring.