Bario Neal’s Guide to Giving Jewelry as a Gift

By Jamera McNeil on December 5, 2018 at 1:16 pm

Bario Neal Gift Guide

 

Bario Neal’s ethical, handcrafted jewelry make for wonderful presents. We believe that by valuing thoughtful design, high quality, and all the people involved in making and sourcing our jewelry, we create lasting rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings that every recipient — and gifter! — can feel good about. While we work all year with clients on custom designed jewelry by appointment, we love helping shoppers in our Philadelphia and New York City showrooms figure out what to buy same day for a loved one. We hope this jewelry gift guide, with the bonus of our staff’s picks, helps you navigate your way to a meaningful holiday season with a dash of shimmer.

Diamond Earrings

Diamond earrings make a gift so classic and timeless they suit almost every taste and personal style. Even better, some of our very popular designs, like the Lash Studs that blend a prong and bezel setting and the Aira Studs that play with space and solid gold, now come with different gemstones. The Lash Diamond Studs and Aira Black Diamond Studs are new this year. We also introduced Ray Diamond Studs, Ray Diamond Drops, and Ray Black Diamond Studs to our fringe-with-flair Ray family.

Staff Picks

“At the top of my wish list are the Aira Black Diamond Studs. In January, I’ll be having my first child. Anything beyond some simple stud earrings feels too fussy as a new Mom, and yet these are special enough to treasure for a lifetime. My new everyday earrings — perhaps stacked with some Lash Mini Studs in the future?” — Sarah Francks, Creative Director

“One of the most beautiful things about Bario Neal is our strong roots in both marriage equality and ethics. The top item on my wish list would have to be the Lau Diamond Studs. They are sparkly, yet subtle, and their tiny rainbow shape represents everything that Bario Neal stands for.” — Emily Shank, Bench Jeweler + CAD Designer

Colorful Earrings

Pick a color, any color (your gift recipient’s favorite color?)! Our Lash Morganite Studs (available to purchase in-store only), Aira Blue Sapphire Studs, and Ray Blue Sapphire Studs bring pops of pink or blue fun to designs that are still understated enough to be jewelry for any occasion. If you’re shopping for someone who likes to mix and match shapes, check out our standout  Sapphire Slice Studs.

Gift Guide Photo for Bario Neal

Staff Picks

Ray Blue Sapphire Studs — because my husband is a September baby with blue sapphire as his birthstone. I wear stud earrings every day, and it is the one type of jewelry that I prefer not to think about when I am getting dressed in the morning. It would be nice to be able to wear earrings that are thoughtful in their design and meaning but perfect for everyday wear!”  — Ariel Yaroslawitz, Sales Director

“I’m a sucker for delicate, ultra-feminine pieces that are more neutral than ‘princess.’ The one-of-a-kind in-store only Cluster Hex Morganite Studs are so sweet on their own, but I love them worn as second hole studs. These little babies flash just enough glittery diamonds and powder pink morganite — so pretty with our Circ Hoops!” — Tessa Kennedy, Production & Design Director

Diamond Necklaces

Even if your giftee isn’t someone who wears a necklace every day, a pretty pendant can be the perfect excuse to dress up. More reason to celebrate: Bario Neal’s ethical sourcing means the diamonds we use in our jewelry haven’t come at the price of hurting miners or their communities. Our limited edition Ombre Raw Diamond Necklace streams from white to champagne to black with a delicate ruggedness.

Staff Pick

Ray Diamond Pendant — I love the fringe detailing on the Ray pieces, and the way this pendant layers with a few delicate chains.” — Anna Bario, Bario Neal Principal + Lead Designer

Colorful Necklaces

Here’s a hint: If you’re buying a present for someone who prefers a wildflower bouquet over a pale carnation, who wears polka dots but avoids anything gray, or who loves our cluster rings, here’s where to head in our showroom. Top of list: our new one-of-a-kind in-store only Black Jade Shield Pendant and our Radial Cluster Hex Sapphire Pendant, with five different kinds of gemstones.

Staff Pick

“I’ve always been really into the Sapphire Slice Pendant. It’s both understated and unconventional. Not flashy, but the interesting use of a textured, perfectly navy-blue sapphire is something eye-catching you never have to take off. (There’s a Ruby Slice Pendant too.)” — Constance Mensh, Photographer

Bracelets

Buy a bracelet as a standalone present or to make a set with one of our earrings or necklaces or rings. A swipe of robin’s egg blue glass — and the ancient art of making enamel jewelry — separate our Arc Enamel Bracelet from the post-holiday return pile by a mile. For a diamond bracelet present, our delicate Lau Bracelet has three sophisticated charms.

Staff Pick

“The Gale Bracelet has always been one of my all-time favorite Bario Neal pieces. It’s elegant, versatile, and comfortable for everyday wear, which makes it a great gift — especially for someone who likes less delicate jewelry.” — Katie Dannenberg, Bench Jeweler and Fabrication Specialist

Jewelry as a Gift - Bario Neal
Jewelry Gifts Under $200

We refuse to accept that there are “rules” about spending when it comes to engagement rings or who wears what jewelry, so we’re certainly not going to force price consciousness into what should be joyful giving. Our most accessibly priced jewelry includes the Sol Pendant ($115), Octillo Studs ($92), and the sweet Knottedrush Ring ($115). Our Keepsake Bangles ($83-$95) make gifts of lasting value for children (and their go-to grown-up).

Staff Picks

“The Circ Hoops ($95) always get attention. They are playful and classic, and they’re delicate yet substantial. They’re just the right size. I think a wave in jewelry can easily not work, but the Circ Hoops have the right balance of structure and fluidity.” — Page Neal, Bario Neal Principal + Lead Designer

 

“Around the holidays, I’m always on the lookout for gifts that are affordable but still reflect my appreciation for craftsmanship and design. Our Circ Drops in sterling silver are versatile, lightweight, and at $98 a pair, they won’t break the bank during my holiday shopping.” — Sarah Rachel Brown, Sales + Shipping Coordinator

One-of-a-Kind Jewelry

Anything from our designed-this-year Ceres Collection will make a big and bold present, from these justly named Lash Garnet and Tourmaline Power Studs to the tower of stones in our Lash Vertical Asscher Cut Emerald, Cabochon Emerald, and Blue Topaz Cluster Ring. Ceres gave a home to spectacular emeralds we’d been saving for years — and mixed them in rings with blue topaz, carnelian, white topaz, and phenakite, like this Open Lash Emerald and White Topaz Ring. Like layers of meaning in the gifts you give? Well, the name Ceres is a nod to the Roman goddess of agriculture and fertility, and an asteroid between Mars and Jupiter that was once thought to be a planet.

Bario Neal Jewelry Gift Guide

P.S. We’re not kidding about “one-of-a-kind.” There’s only one of each of these pieces right now, so if your heart’s set on buying one, call ahead to make sure it’s still available.

With our handcrafted designs, our commitment to quality, and our desire to make accessibly priced jewelry too, we think we’re a must-stop for presents — whatever the style of the person you’re buying for (and really, whatever the season). We do have a 30-day return policy and gift cards, just in case.

If you plan to visit the Bario Neal showroom in Philadelphia, use our shopping guide to make a day of it in the neighborhood. You’ll be able to cross off a lot on your holiday gift list by visiting other locally owned businesses that have presents for kids, music lovers, foodies, and more. Ready to shop?

  • Bario Neal Showroom Shopping: Regular hours at our Philadelphia showroom at 700 S. 6th Street are: Wednesday and Thursday from 1 to 7 p.m., and Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. We’ll be open from noon to 7 p.m. December 19 through 23, 2018. We take all major credit cards and cash.
  • Jewelry Boxes: All of our jewelry comes in our pretty Signature Jewelry Boxes that are made in the U.S. with eco-friendly recycled paper. For rings or stud earrings, you can also buy our Porcelain Gift Box, hand cast by a small studio in Portland, Oregon.
  • Tips for Wrapping a Jewelry Box: Our boxes are pretty, but if you’re buying a Christmas present and want to go a little more incognito under the tree, here’s a how-to for a no-waste wrapping method we love.

The Bario Neal staff picks above are just a start. Stop into our Philly or NYC showrooms and our sales teams will happily help you find a personalized jewelry gift that celebrates any holiday and someone you love and your relationship. If you can’t make it to our showrooms, browse and buy online. We ship our necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings, and one-of-a-kind jewelry securely around the world. With such pretty presents around, you won’t even need tinsel!

9 Creative Ways to Stack Our New Vibrant Collection Rings

By Sarah on September 5, 2018 at 10:16 am

While we’d never turn down a slice of layer cake, our favorite way to layer, no surprise, is stackable rings. In a simple pair or a tower of four, stacking rings shows off your style and personality. And with Bario Neal’s new Vibrant Collection, there are even more ways to mix and match gemstones and metals in a ring stack for any finger (all fingers?). To create these sapphire rings, we took already loved designs of many of our ethical rings and added new gemstones: blue sapphire, fuchsia sapphire, apricot sapphire, and yellow sapphire. (We had to work in white diamonds too.) Here, nine ideas for creatively piling them up.

Stackable Rings Idea #1

Bario Neal's Vibrant Collection Stackable Rings

The Bend Fuchsia Sapphire Ring and a Reticulated Two Band (on index finger) make a strong duo. With just one special gemstone among them, there’s enough flair to make this a perfectly stackable wedding set. Organic and natural, this couple is like a favorite TV twosome who we never want to break up.

Stackable Rings Idea #2

Bring primary color vibes to your stackable rings with Aira Mini Blue Sapphire Ring and Reticulated One Yellow Sapphire Band (on ring finger). These delicate thin stacking rings prove that doubling up doesn’t have to mean a heavy look. Total alignment isn’t necessary in a ring stack. We love the openings created by pairing these shapely sapphire rings.

 

Stackable Rings Idea #3  

Fuschia Stackable Rings from Bario Neal's Vibrant Collection

The Vibrant Collection means more looks for this classic Bario Neal jewelry coupling: the Open Lash Ring and Ray Fringe Ring. Fuchsia is sometimes referred to as “magic pink,” and we definitely see something enchanting about layering these vivid fuchsia sapphire rings.

 

Stackable Rings Idea #4 and Stackable Rings Idea #5  

VIBRANT_ON FIG_DSC0347 copy1

Triple your sophistication with stackable bands in a single color like this set of Channel Narrow Blue Sapphire Band, Eternity Narrow Blue Sapphire Band, and Half Eternity Blue Sapphire Band. Although fully tracing melee stones (the smaller gemstones used in eternity bands) is atypical in the jewelry industry, Bario Neal works with trusted suppliers on sourcing to make sure we’re creating ethical rings for you. If a modern spin on “something blue” doesn’t grab you, this Vibrant Collection mix comes in fuchsia sapphire too.

 

Stackable Rings Idea #6

Bario Neal Ring Stacks

Ring stacks mean a chance to have fun with shapes and colors. Start with a perfect mixed pair like our Open Lash Fuchsia Sapphire Ring and Ray Fringe Blue Sapphire Ring, and then add a timeless jewelry design like the Half Eternity Wide Yellow Sapphire Band. (P.S. We didn’t build this stack with the pansexual pride flag specifically in mind, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t shout out that noteworthy awareness-raising pink-blue-yellow combo! Read more about how we work to counteract the heteronormativity that pervades the jewelry industry here.)

 

Stackable Rings Idea #7

VIBRANT_ON FIG_DSC9205 copy

Stacking jewelry can become a bit of an obsession, but if Rihanna is wrong then we don’t want to be right. So we’ll go higher by stacking rings in this Vibrant Collection foursome: Fishtail Fuchsia Sapphire Ring, Reticulated One Fuchsia Sapphire Band, Ray Fringe Fuchsia Sapphire Ring, and Dais Narrow Fuchsia Sapphire Band.

Stackable Rings Idea #8 and Stackable Rings Idea #9

Part of the fun of stackable rings is pulling apart and putting together different rings to see what sparks you to smile or what goes with a different outfit or occasion. Take the above image of the towering stackable rings, for instance. Depending on the day or your mood, deconstruct higher ring stacks into tamer twosomes, like our Fishtail Fuchsia Sapphire Ring and Reticulated One Fuchsia Sapphire Band (first and second ring), or the Ray Fringe Fuchsia Sapphire Ring and Dais Narrow Fuchsia Sapphire Band (third and fourth ring). As pairs, these sapphire rings highlight how a contrast of metals works well in stacks, whether that’s putting a braided band with one that’s smoothly undulating or mixing up metal colors.  

 

There’s something irresistibly individual about stacking rings. As our new Vibrant Collection came to life, we couldn’t resist sharing the inspiration for how to cleverly build with these sapphire rings. Shop all Bario Neal’s ethical rings today to create your own perfect stack.

 

8 Great Jewelry Design Ideas With Black Diamonds

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

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

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

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

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

Black diamond engagement rings aren’t everywhere.

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

Stacking rings get personalized with black diamonds.

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

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

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

Black diamond jewelry can be a family affair.

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

Black diamonds can be ethically sourced.

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

Black diamonds make for a nontraditional wedding band.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bario Neal Creates New Bands and Rings With Champagne Diamonds

By Sarah on July 19, 2018 at 3:17 pm

Hand wearing Halo Rose Cut Diamond Ring with Eternity Champagne Diamond Band

We’ve got something to toast this Summer: our new champagne diamond collection. Summer’s the perfect time for this fancy color stone to shine. And while we’re always happy to work with you on designing a custom ring, this addition means our clients get more gemstone choices in more of our ring and band designs “” from the Myrtle Champagne Diamond Ring to the Eternity Champagne Diamond Band.  

The gemstone is a spectacular alternative to a colorless (aka white) diamond, is at home set in all types of metals, and looks lovely next to other colored stones too.

When it comes to wear, champagne diamonds are just as durable and hard as colorless diamonds. Just like other fancy color diamonds, they are diamonds “” 99.95% carbon. Colorless diamonds are graded for their lack of color, with the most colorless being the most expensive. But as the grade gets lower, noticeable color tones show “” typically in yellow, gray or, you guessed it, “champagne.”

“Champagne diamond is referring to a pale brown essentially,” says Genna Fischer, Bario Neal gemstone sourcing coordinator. “We typically use C2 to C4 gemological grading for champagne diamonds. The scale goes C1 to C8, with C7 and C8 being more cognac.” Though you can create color in diamonds with various treatments, Bario Neal’s champagne diamonds come by their color naturally thanks to trace elements during formation.

Stack of Bands with Champagne Diamonds.

“Champagne” and “cognac” are marketing speak of course. “My pale brown diamond” doesn’t exactly dance off the tongue. If you’ve ever bought paint for your home, you’ll recognize that kind of (usually ridiculous) color branding. Who hasn’t painted their home “Chantilly Lace,” “Shoji,” or “Ultra Pure” to only realize that their walls are white. Just white. The champagne diamond marketing terms were coined in the 1980s by an Australian mine that’s also the source of Bario Neal’s traceable, ethical champagne diamonds.

Frankly, we don’t need the sales pitch. Whatever you call the color, we love champagne diamonds because they have the sparkle of a colorless diamond while being more of an easy neutral. So do many of our clients who want a gemstone with an effortless subtlety. “A really bright, sparkly colorless diamond, you can see that across the room,” Fischer says. “A champagne diamond has that sparkle and that fire without being blinding.”

Hand wearing Reticulated One Champagne Diamond Band, Lash Triad Ring and Half Eternity Champagne Diamond Band.

Here are 8 great reasons to choose champagne diamonds
  • Champagne diamonds, at larger sizes, are more affordable than colorless diamonds.
  • Champagne diamonds at Bario Neal are ethically sourced and traceable. We have a longstanding relationship with an Australian mine. Larger champagne diamonds come with a certification verifying they were mined and cut responsibly in Australia. Clients who have ties to the country get an even more personal story with the gemstone too. (P.S. If you want a ring or band with a recycled gemstone, champagne diamonds can be tougher to find because they haven’t been as popular in the past and there’s just not as many antique jewelry pieces to pull stones from as there are with colorless diamonds. But it’s not impossible “” just ask!)
  • Champagne diamonds don’t carry the “perfection assumptions” that add pressure to shopping for colorless diamonds. “There’s plenty of room for all types of champagne diamonds. The “˜lighter’ isn’t necessarily the “˜more valuable,'” Fischer says.
  • Champagne diamonds pair well with any metal color. In a yellow gold, they have an antique feel. In a rose gold, they take on more of a pink undertone. In platinum, they take on cooler notes and look more modern.
  • Champagne diamonds are fun. “Clients have asked for their ring to look like sparkling rosé, and I’ve put a champagne diamond in rose gold. It’s exactly what you would think of,” Fischer says.
  • Champagne diamonds mix well with other gemstone colors too. “I’m struggling to think of something I would not put champagne diamonds with,” Fischer says. “It’s as versatile as the colorless diamond.”
  • Champagne diamonds easily stand alone as a stunning center stone in a ring. They can be any shape or size you want.
  • Melee champagne diamonds, smaller accent stones, work beautifully in rings and bands (and, in fact, are already shining in many Bario Neal designs).

Hand Wearing Channel Narrow Champagne Diamond Band, Fishtail Champagne Diamond Band, and Open Lash Champagne Diamond Ring

We’re happy to see the sometimes underappreciated champagne diamond finally getting more attention. If you make Fischer pick a favorite, she says she’d go with the Open Lash Champagne Diamond Ring. “It’s both a ring and a band. It can be worn on its own very nicely, but it fits around and with many solitaire or multi-stone engagement rings very well.”

We’ll toast to that “” and you should feel free to pop at a cork too at our Philadelphia flagship or New York showroom while you shop our new Champagne diamond rings and bands.

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

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

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

When Should I Order My Wedding Band?

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

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

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

New York City Showroom

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

Philadelphia Flagship & Workshop

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

Should My Wedding Band Match My Engagement Ring Exactly?

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

Creating Your Unique Wedding Ring Set

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

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

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

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

Inspiration: How to Wear Wedding Rings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can break any “rules.”

Behind the Ring: White Sapphire and Diamond Alternatives

By Constance on November 7, 2017 at 10:47 am

Feeling a little put off by the pressure surrounding engagement rings and weddings in general? Believe it or not, we’re actually with you. Most of the mainstream marketing systems and tactics to date are not good for women, men, marginalized peoples, nor the collective future we want to see. Combine two giant, problematic industries “” fine jewelry and weddings “” and you get a monoculture largely incongruent with everything we stand for.

In this article, we’ll challenge the assumption that diamonds are synonymous with proposals and explore a natural diamond-alternative: the White Sapphire.

 

 

Bario Neal White Sapphire Illustration

 

 

Diamonds were first seen in India in the 4th century BC, but scientists believe these magical pieces of earth dust formed around 3-4 billion years ago. Used for thousands of years for human decoration, tools, and trade, this ancient mineral is one of the hardest known materials in the world. But how the diamond became de rigueur for a modern betrothal is a tale of good old-fashioned “late capitalism.”

 

Bario Neal White Sapphire Rings

Our commitment to unite design and values demands that we make only what truly exemplifies our mission and integrity.

 

In the 1930s and 40s, diamond supplies were plentiful, sales were down, and one company, De Beers, controlled the market. The era’s leading advertising agency, N.W. Ayer, coined the slogan, “A diamond is forever”, plastering it everywhere. This “slogan of the century” is the reason that diamonds are now considered the only choice for an engagement ring. The ad campaign squarely hit its target market of arguably repressed, middle-class women, and the diamond engagement ring industry was born. Then, in the 1980s, they “struck gold” again with a template for how big your diamond should be according to your social status, thereby introducing the two months’ salary concept. Fast forward to today, and the trend shows no sign of stopping; nearly 80% of engagement rings sold contain diamonds.

 

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A highly gendered and status-focused De Beers Diamond Engagement Ring Ad from 2001:  “When you’ve found the woman of your dreams, give her the diamond of her dreams. Two months’ salary guideline helps you find a diamond of quality, brilliance and breath-taking beauty.”

 

There you have it: a carefully manufactured tactic to create market authority and demand, promoting conventional femininity, sexuality, classism, wealth, and social status “” and we haven’t even begun talking about the well-documented, true price of blood diamonds.

 

All that being said, like us, you still love jewelry, engagement rings, and you really care about doing the whole wedding thing “” but in a way that actually represents who you are. Maybe you also like the look of a colorless center stone, but you are feeling unsure about a diamond for all of the above reasons.


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Rest assured –  we never, ever use conflict diamonds and strive for the utmost traceability. We do have diamonds to be proud of.

 

But you’re wondering, are there other options out there for a long-wearing, heirloom-quality, clear gemstone? Yes. Most people don’t know all that much about the origins of these incredible, world-changing, milestone-marking molecules, so let’s take a dive into explaining the Sapphire.

 

Sri Lankan White Sapphires

Our Sri Lankan White Sapphires in three distinct cuts: Oval, Pear, and Half-Moon.

 

Sapphires are one of the “cardinal stones” (amethyst, ruby, emerald, and diamonds make up the others), gemstones that have traditionally been considered precious above all others; and are second only to diamonds on the hardness scale. Though they are known for being blue, sapphires actually come in all colors. Fun fact: the Ruby is actually a Sapphire! If we lost you, it’s because Sapphires and Rubies are both made of the same material, known by a way less cool name: Corundum. Sapphires of any color and Rubies, which are also Corundum, get their color from chemical impurities. Rubies are red because they contain chromium. They must contain at least 1% chromium to exhibit a deep red color, and if the chromium content is lower, the stones are lighter and are classed as Pink Sapphires. If traces of titanium are also present, the stone will have a more purple hue, although attempts are sometimes made to reduce this effect via heat treatment. Blue Sapphires are blue because of a mixture of iron and titanium; if only iron is present, the stone will be a pale yellow color. Only 0.01% of iron and titanium needs to be present for a stone to be blue, which is a small amount when compared to the 1% chromium required for deep red rubies. The type of Corundum that is free from impurities is colorless or “˜white,’ so a white sapphire is Corundum in its most pure and rare form.

 

Bario Neal White Sapphire Rings

The Trillion, Trillion Dyad, Half-moon and Half-moon Dyad white sapphire rings.

 

So there you have it, white sapphire is the most natural, hard, rare gemstone second only to diamonds. Though not imbued with the same properties or “fire” as a diamond, they are more affordable and are therefore more attainable in larger stone sizes with pristine clarity that can be designed with custom cuts.

 

Bario Neal White Sapphire Illustration by Tessa Kennedy

White sapphires don’t come with all the trappings of diamonds and can be a conversation-starter with a unique story.

 

But that’s not all. There are more reasons for why we are so excited about White Sapphires! Bario Neal has the maxim”“  4 C’s & an “S” or the Source. For us, a perfect gem needs a perfect source, and we are pretty proud of this one. Choosing one of our white sapphires directly supports an artisanal, family-run mine in Sri Lanka.

 

Bario Neal has the maxim”“  4 C’s & an “S” or the Source.

 

Sri Lankan White Sapphires

Sri Lanka’s gem industry has a long and colorful history. The South Asian Island, once called Ratna-Dweepa, or “Gem Island,” was called “Ceylon” under British colonial rule until 1972, a term now synonymous with sapphires.

 

All of our natural, high clarity white, pink, yellow, apricot, and a variety of blue sapphires are extracted and cut by an artisanal, family operation that helps to protect the ecosystem of this island paradise. Here, the father, though older, still participates in this three-generation operation, that started 60 years ago on his grandfather’s land. So how does this differ from a Diamond mine?

 

“Diamond mining, for the most part, is on a giant scale, creating huge pits in the earth, using large-scale machinery, with a huge environmental impact. This type of small-scale mining, however, removes the precious gems using a combination of hand tools and small machinery, creating minimal environmental impact.” ““Kerin Jacobs of The Raw Stone

 

Since only a very small area of earth is removed, making an environmental impact that is usually smaller than the footprint of the average US home per year. No heavy machinery is involved, so there are no emissions, no fuel usage, and no noise pollution. No suction machines are used, as these can cause instability of river banks.

 

Instead of being run by a far-away shadowy company, operating on borrowed indigenous land, these owners are involved in all aspects of the mine’s daily operations and have a vested interest in keeping the methods sustainable”“ their future depends on it. Because they are licensed by the government, yearly inspections ensure everyone is using up-to-date equipment in a clean, safe environment.

 

Cutting White Sapphire Half Moons at the Sri Lankan Mine Photo Courtesy of Kerin Jacobs The Raw Stone

Cutting White Sapphire Half Moons at the Sri Lankan mine. Photo Courtesy of Kerin Jacobs/The Raw Stone

 

Plus, all cutting and polishing are done on-site at the mine, eliminating outsourcing to a cutting facility where human rights abuses often occur. Human rights abuses can include forced labor, child labor, forced child labor, poor hygiene at busy sites, poor and dangerous working conditions, low pay, indentured labor, violence and intimidation, and removal of local people from the area. Keeping things in-house also allows for custom-cuts and design right at the mine despite being thousands of miles away! Orders are placed and conducted over video, meaning the supply chain for these magical gemstones go beyond current “mine to market” standards. We have gorgeous custom cuts in magical, gleaming shapes – that are born out of our relationship with our source in Sri Lanka.

 

Though it might never end up as the slogan of the century, we think you will be pretty stoked to say, “Actually that’s a White Sapphire.” Stay tuned for our upcoming in-depth interview with Kerin Jacobs of The Raw Stone and shop our White Sapphire Collection.

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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?

 

Artist Ken Derengowski Shows Work at the Bario-Neal Store

By Alyssa on October 21, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Ken Derengowski is an artist based in Madison, WI. He showed two of his sculptures at our 1-Year Anniversary Party and Exhibition last night. Over the past four years, Ken’s work has been largely focused on diamonds, their history, their social and cultural constructs, and the structures of cut diamonds themselves.

We were honored to have the chance to pick his brain about his research, and how that’s translated into his sculptural work. He has explored using other materials (besides diamonds) which represent social conventions that have assigned values. Check out his paper models below using MacDonald’s french fries boxes!

One of the pieces he is exhibiting in our store, Diamond Ring: Ekati, is made out of palladium and costs $5487–the average price of a diamond engagement ring bought in 2010. Ken expressed his interest in diamond mines as reflections of time, energy, and resources. Here are a few photos of some pieces he shared with us this morning, as well as a link to his website.

Enjoy!

http://derengowski.com/home.html