Heirloom Gemstones Tell a Story in These Personalized Rings

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

 

Heirloom Gemstones Tell A Story

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

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

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

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

7 Tips for Using Heirloom Gemstones

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Get Your Heirloom Jewelry Appraised.

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

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

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

Heirloom Gemstones Tell A Story - Bario Neal

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

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

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

  1. Different Old Gemstones Mean Different Design Possibilities.

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

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

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

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

  1. Don’t Change That Heirloom Stone.

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

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

  1. You Can Design With Loose Gemstones.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Meet Your New Spring Jewelry Love

By Constance on March 2, 2017 at 10:53 am

Feeling like this winter of literal doom and gloom will never end? Looking for signs of Spring? The Bario Neal Spring 2017 collection is here! Join us in celebration of this fresh take and you just might meet your new spring jewelry love.

 

Spring Jewelry 2017

Stacking the possibilities with our newest additions to the Helia family: The Ray, The Ray Fringe and the Open Lash Rings.

 

Our latest Spring Collection goes beyond the season’s trends to launch unexpectedly complementary additions to previous collections, to invigorate our entire line. Featuring new classics with new imagination, our latest release really ties it all together.

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017

Perfect for spring: the incredible lightness of sparkly jewel clusters

Speaking of bringing us together, the best place to start is with our newest spring jewelry clusters”“ stacking bunches upon bunches of ethical diamonds and gemstones, these sparklers will light up the room.

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017

An unexpectedly beautiful match-up: The Linea Band paired with our Opal & Morganite Cluster Ring

Explore two new colorful cluster gemstone rings, each with a jaw-dropping twist on the traditional. The Opal & Morganite Cluster ring (above) pairs a soft, billowy opal with angled, pear cut pink morganite and clusters of diamonds. The Garnet Cluster Ring (below) matches moody, deep-red, romantic garnets with experimental, clustered design. Similar in color to our rubies, these striking crimson stones are handpicked from rare Anthill garnets (umm, cute, tiny ants, mining your gemstones!) found in Arizona’s Navajo Nation and from Tanzanian mines. Perfectly straddling the vintage-yet-modern aesthetic, they are destined to be classics for the unconventional.

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017

How deep is your love: The Garnet Cluster Ring accented by our Diamond Cluster Band.

 

Next up, just time for spring love, our inspired new bands feature asymmetrical curves that hug the hottest rings in our collection.

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017

ҬDream ring, meet your dream band: The Hex Sapphire Cluster Ring and Band Combo.

 

Perfectly complementing our colored gemstone dream ring, the Hex Sapphire Cluster Ring, the Hex Sapphire Cluster Band brings together three seafoam sapphires, three white Australian diamonds, four light champagne Australian diamonds for a natural, modern vibe.

Prefer your ethical gemstones to be of the diamond variety? No problem, the stunning Diamond Cluster Band features a .06ct baguette diamond, a .03ct princess cut diamond, a .03ct round diamond, three .02ct round diamonds, and three .01ct round diamonds, for an approximate total weight of .21ct. Want to mix and match? Go for it.

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017

A Heavenly duo: The Diamond Cluster Band hugs our Diamond Cluster Ring “just so”.

If these additions weren’t exciting enough, we keep stacking the deck with killer additions to our newest lines.

The new Ray Ring conspires with the full set of our inspired, delicate emerald pieces to break your heart. Beyond versatile, it can be an understated, modern engagement ring or just that special something to celebrate yourself. Stack it with the perfect compliment, our new Ray Fringe Ring and the Open Lash Ring (also perfect for both your Ray and Lash stud ear stack or the Emerald Ray Ring).

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017

Solid gold and green with envy: the Ray, Ray Fringe and Open Lash Rings and Ray Drop earrings.

Our latest statement earrings add to the dance of modern romance. The Ray Drops, Circ Drops and Circ Chandeliers – add the perfect combo of movement and large-scale drama to complete the Helia collection. Experience the play of light, the positive and negative shapes and cast shadow”“  each hand-crafted beauty is a small work art.

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017

Feeling light as air: Inspired by Calder mobiles, the Circ Hoops, Drops and Chandeliers.

Joining our iconic, modern Forma collection, the angular Linea Diamond Band and gestural Icon Band. These streamlined statement pieces provide a perfectly contoured companion to any ring in our collection ““ or make waves all on their own.

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017

Whether for another or to celebrate yourself: The new Icon Band paired with our Pear Trillion and Trillion Rings.

 

We are especially proud of the new additions to Forma in the Lau series: The Lau Bracelet and Lau Mini Necklace take the iconic inspiration of the rainbow symbol, emphasizing our commitment to marriage equality and LGBTQIA rights, down to its most delicate, personal essence. Dotted with ethical diamonds in solid reclaimed gold, these pieces channel inner-strength, and pride”“ a daily reminder that love is love!

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017

A rainbow in the hand and heart: The Lau Necklace, Bracelet and Studs and the Icon band

Next, we turn to some of the most exciting spring additions to our signature jewelry collections! Minimal, delicate classics with universal appeal, the Enamel and Shield Collections, mix simplicity in both monochromatic and colorful tones.

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017

“It’s complicated” just got simple: the Senna Rectangle, Round, Square Ring with the Senna Studs.

Our revamped enamel line brings the ancient tradition of glass jewelry into the modern era with the Senna Collection. Longtime fan favorites, the Senna Round Ring and Senna Studs, now have two perfect complements: The Senna Square and Senna Rectangle Rings. Want to wear your commitment to love in all its forms, with the least fuss possible? These are the rings for you. Our wearable windows of true black and pure 18kt gold will never go out of style.

For our enamel work, we collaborate with an artist on Philadelphia’s historic Jeweler’s Row specializing in this traditional jewelry process. We hope our designs to do a small part in keeping both this dying art alive and ensures that “The Row” continues to thrive. Composed of nearly 300 small family-owned businesses, The Row is home to the oldest handmade jewelry and diamond district in America.

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017

Ethical warriors meet their match: The Ruby Slice Shield and Shield Earrings

The Shield Collection re-imagines our Ruby Slice Pendant and Studs as deconstructed shield shapes. It’s about time to add a minimal pop of natural ruby red to your jewelry line-up. Likewise, the modern stripped down, Shield Earring in solid 14kt gold is perfect for whatever arrows life slings your way.

Simple, streamlined forms that might also help vanquish your enemies? Meet the growing Aira Collection, now even better with the lovely, delicate new Aira Morganite and Aira Mini Rings, accenting our popular Aira Ring.

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017

Give “˜em the evil eye: The Aira Studs, Aira Morganite and Mini Aria Rings.

We contextualized three of our most beloved signature styles with new additions. The intricate, vintage-meets-modern Rose cut Filigree Round Ring features a white rose cut sapphire, for a romantic twist on the Rose cut Oval Filigree in pink sapphire.

Perennial favorites with a looser, more contemporary approach to filigree, the Gale Rose cut Diamond (formerly Aparna) and the Bend Ring are joined by another instant classic, the Bend Diamond Ring. By joining these modern interpretations of a traditional jewelry style together, we created another exciting new family: the Filigree Collection.

 

Bario Neal Spring Jewelry 2017

Old flames become new loves this Spring: From left to right, The Rose Cut Filigree Round and Oval, Gale Rose Cut Diamond, Bend and Bend Diamond Rings.

Did you know that at Bario Neal every stone matters? Traceability is often deemed too difficult for stones under ~.20ct. We decided this just does not go the distance for our ethical standards. That’s why we are proud to pledge that every stone you see in your beautiful cluster”“ whether it be Anthill garnets, Zambian emeralds, Montana sapphires or Australian diamonds““ all are fully traceable from mine to market no matter their size. Want to go even further with a piece tailored especially for you? Our jewelry is crafted by a team of talented artists and designers, so it’s easy to personalize anything you see here with one of our array of hand-picked ethical gemstones.

Whatever your spring jewelry celebrates or symbolizes, remember that we craft our jewelry with a commitment to you:  to create a positive social and environmental impact with every handcrafted piece.

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