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.

 

 

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.

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!

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

The New Romantics: Custom Ombré Cluster Rings

By Constance on February 1, 2016 at 11:57 am

Heirloom diamonds and ethically-sourced gems bring romance to our latest round-up of bespoke engagement rings.
In the mood for custom-made love? Ombré clusters of heirloom diamonds, hand-paired with our ethically-sourced gems, bring romance to our latest round-up of bespoke engagement rings. Ombré describes the gradual blending of one color hue to another, usually moving tints and shades from light to dark. Though most notable for being a popular haircolor, the technique has long been a facet of art, fashion and design. The gentle shift in color lends itself well to use in jewelry, creating a playful, on-trend way to experience the natural variations inherent in gemstones.

 

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The new Custom Ombré Cluster Ring radiates with pale, soothing colors.

 

A cluster design matches perfectly to the technique, allowing several sizes and cuts of stones to be arranged in a cascade of light-catching hues, echoing shapes found in nature. Upping the romance factor even more”“ a nostalgic rose-cut diamond at the center elevates the cluster’s texture and sparkle.

 

 

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 Another Cluster beauty combines a rose-cut pear diamond with seafoam sapphires, champagne and cognac diamonds.

 

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This cleverly-designed cluster ring is made entirely of heirloom diamonds, hand-arranged to find the most pleasing composition.

 

Swooning? See more on our custom page, then get started on your own using our Custom Design questionnaire.

Your rings should be an extension of your personality. What better way to show it off with a Custom Engagement Ring, designed and handmade just for you?

 

Otherworldly Custom Engagement Ring Design

By Constance on December 28, 2015 at 11:42 am

Solar system gemstone cluster ring

A recent custom engagement ring in 18kt fairmined gold draws from outer space to symbolize an earthly devotion. 

 

Talk about a universal love! Our stellar new crop of custom engagement rings are as diverse and out of this world as the couples that inspired them. Like this Custom Solar System Ring, which also happens to be a favorite #BNstory. Most of the stones came from our customer’s collection and each represents a planet in the solar system: the center stone is Jupiter, the smooth cabochon sapphire is Earth, Mars is a Ruby that used to belong to her mother, and so on. There’s even a tiny Pluto hidden on the back of the shank.

Are you less a astrologically-inclined-maximalist and more of a white-wedding-traditionalist? We can do that too:

 

Custom Heirloom Oval and Pear diamond ring

Create your own classic, like this platinum Oval and Pear-cut Heirloom Diamond Ring.

 

More of a relaxed-rustic-nonconformist? Swoon!

 

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Get off the beaten path with a design like this Custom Rough Diamond Cluster Ring in 14kt rose gold.

 

Like what you see? Our Custom page is brimming with some of our most creative bespoke engagement rings to date. We also re-organized our “Personalizations” section, so if you can’t commit (ahem) to an entirely bespoke work, but still want to to make the leap with a one-of-a-kind ring, you can create your own variation of our extensive collection. Or perhaps you have an old heirloom piece you would like to see re-imagined as one of ours? Just get in touch with our jewelry experts by filling out a Custom Design questionnaire with the details.

Whether it’s a heavenly body, a favorite place or a familial bond that inspires you, a custom engagement ring, designed and handmade by our jewelers using ethical practices, is within your reach.

Top Notch Faceting x Bario Neal

By admin on June 14, 2015 at 4:38 pm

“The gemology equivalent of rock-royalty,” Jean-Noel Soni, of Top Notch Faceting, showcases his one-of-a-kind, award-winning gemstones right here in our Philadelphia store. Hailing from San Francisco and featured in French Vogue and Gem Gossip, Soni colorfully talks shop”“ in our shop, describing process, philosophy, and sourcing. Our own rockstar jewelers are always on hand to consult on custom projects using his precision-cut gems.

 

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The above stone is a 45 carat Tourmaline from Mozambique cut from a 300 carat crystal!

Imagine the possibilities”¦

 

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