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!

Bario Neal Marks 10 Years of Handmade Jewelry, Ethical Engagement Rings

By Jamera McNeil on October 3, 2018 at 9:00 am
Anna Bario and Page Neal 10 years ago
Page Neal and Anna Bario, 2008

Designers Anna Bario and Page Neal didn’t set out to craft the new Dez Opal with Rainbow Halo Ring and Dez Half Eternity Round Rainbow Band for the 10-year anniversary of their jewelry company, Bario Neal. They simply put pencil to paper and started their usual creative process “” one that’s intentional, honest, and can’t be rushed. Yet the new rings are so vibrant, joyful, and unreservedly unique that they can’t help but symbolize what Anna and Page have accomplished in the 10 years since they launched their jewelry design label.

With showrooms in Philadelphia and New York City, Bario Neal has evolved “” Page and Anna wouldn’t want it any other way “” since its start in 2008. But as the co-founders designed collection after collection and worked with countless clients (in person and long distance around the world) on custom personalized rings, they’ve grown without ever straying from a core belief that it’s possible to create beautiful jewelry of lasting value that is also ethical and environmentally friendly.

“The Dez Opal with Rainbow Halo Ring and Dez Half Eternity Round Rainbow Band are so exciting,” Page says. “They reflect our optimism as a company. We’ve earned the space to play, to have fun.”

Creating a Jewelry Company to Last

From the start, Anna and Page have never hurried jewelry design. Make Page pick just one word to describe their jewelry, and she says “thoughtful.” They ask a ton of questions when they’re creating new rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. They endlessly ponder proportion. They search for sources of gemstones that benefit miners and their communities. They dissect shapes. Not one prong setting escapes attention.

“We work hard to be what we present ourselves to be,” Anna says, “and we come to everything we do with strong intentions.”

Page thinks that’s one way Bario Neal stands apart from many in the jewelry industry. “We take a lot of care in our design process to ensure we are building jewelry to last,” says Page.

Designs from Bario Neal’s very first collection, like the Avens Asymmetrical Ring, show that from the start, Anna and Page were laying a design foundation of cleanly modern yet classic, along with subtle asymmetry.

“The Reticulated One Diamond Band is another ring that represents the sculptural space from which many of our designs develop,” Anna says. “The Avens and the Reticulated One Band might not exemplify what our design aesthetic is in 2018, but it’s amazing how some of the first pieces that Page and I designed together really carry through into today’s collections. Yes, we’ve created more signature settings and identifiable “˜Bario Neal touches’ over the last decade, but even in our earliest collaborations you can see the elements coming together.”

In the beginning, being new to jewelry making gave Anna and Page a fresh design perspective “” and a freedom from rules. (That rule-breaking has become something of a theme for Bario Neal. See 12 Reasons We Love Breaking the Old “˜Rules’ About Wedding Rings.”

“In the beginning we were coming from a more artistic and less technical background,” Anna says. “We didn’t have preconceived ideas about “˜this is how you do this.’ Then, and continuing today, we love to make unrealistic plans. We’ve always had ideas larger than the framework of a small design label.”

The pieces that Anna and Page each wear give a peek at their inspirations “” architectural elements, industrial design, lettering, sculpture, even shoes “” as well as their design aesthetics. Gold Circ Hoops are a go-to for Page. She loves that the earrings with their shapely wave are “playful and vibrant, but also classic,” and she appreciates the balance of structure and fluidity. Anna regularly reaches for her Sapphire Slice Studs. “There are other pieces of ours that are more statement,” she says, “but the sapphire studs are unusual and the marbling of the material is really interesting.”

Page and Anna don’t just love designing stackable rings at Bario Neal “” they are big fans of wearing stackable rings too. Page likes to stack an Eternity Diamond Band on top of her white enamel wedding band, combining a traditional classic with a throwback vibe she dubs “’70s sundress.” Anna mixes her plain gold wedding band (Bario Neal has shoppers for simple gold wedding bands well covered) with an Aldine Thin Band and a Half Eternity Narrow Diamond Band.

“I also wear a lot of pieces that are custom or that we made as models during our design process,” Anna says. “I have a custom enamel hexagon ring that I really love. And a half-octahedron rough diamond ring that’s a middle finger ring I always wear.” (Bario Neal doesn’t have these exact rings today, but talk to us about designing your own custom ring and we’ll tell you all about raw diamonds, shaped-to-fit-you gemstone cluster rings, and more.)  

Page’s Senna Round Ring with black enamel is a good example of what Bario Neal is all about, she says. “It’s simple, it’s classic but it’s also modern and uses the skilled technique of enameling,” she explains. “When I look at jewelry that’s out there in the world, I am often disappointed by the lack of nuance in the design. We’re about being intentional, taking our time, and understanding how the negotiation of small measurements and techniques can make or break a design.”

Anna Bario and Page Neal 10 years ago
Anna Bario and Page Neal, 2008 and 2010
Building an Ethical Jewelry Business

There’s a reason that Bario Neal’s rings are in so many pretty online photo roundups about ethical engagement rings and sustainable jewelry.

“One of the primary inspirations for starting the company was that we had deep questions about the origins of the materials that we were working with and the people and places they passed through,” Anna explains.

Anna and Page launched Bario Neal in 2008, but they started working on becoming ethical jewelry designers a few years before that. They did research and went to conferences to figure out as much as they could before officially opening their doors. They’ve been glad to see increasing awareness in the last decade of how a lot of gemstone mining hurts miners and their communities. And they continue to focus on ensuring that all Bario Neal jewelry is made with ethical, sustainable materials.

“We’ve been very involved in the last few years in the annual Jewelry Industry Summit,” Anna says. “It was one of the first industry-wide conversations recognizing all the challenges that we face and all the opportunities we have to create benefits beyond just our companies and our clients, to all supply chains that we work with.”

They are both proud that, after collaborating with the Alliance for Responsible Mining, Bario Neal was part of the consortium that negotiated the first import of Fairmined gold into the U.S. Anna even had a chance to visit Fairmined-certified mines in Colombia. Anna’s engagement ring even owes something to their pursuit of ethical sourcing. The yellow-peach citrine in her ring came from the Tanzania Women Miners Association, a group that works to make sure their community is helped, not hurt, by mining.

With human rights central to the mission, the right for every person to love who they choose has also been something Bario Neal has stood for from the start. Looking back on the changes in the last 10 years, Page says one of the most exciting moments was when same sex marriage was legalized in the U.S.

For Page and Anna, ethical and sustainable aren’t trends or marketing ploys. As they look ahead to the next decade of Bario Neal, these principles will remain at the center of their jewelry design. “There are many more ways we can directly and tangibly support initiatives connected to the environment and human rights,” Anna says. “I’d like to devote even more time to that.”

Designing Bario Neal Engagement Rings

When Anna and Page first launched Bario Neal, they weren’t focused on engagement rings, but when they did decide to design wedding jewelry, they started with the simple, classic Avens Round Diamond Ring. That was just the beginning. Since then, hundreds of happy couples have worked with Bario Neal to create personalized rings for marriage proposals and wedding bands.

“Anna and I both got married in the past 10 years,” Page says. (Her rough diamond engagement ring is matte gold with a simple prong setting.) “So we were also at a time in our lives when a lot of our friends got married. Having our work be part of other people’s ceremonies is very powerful. The rings that we make are a significant part of people’s lives and to me that is incredibly inspiring.“

Anna, Page, and many on the Bario Neal team have even been lucky enough to see some proposals over the years.

“At our New York shop, we see so many clients celebrating with City Hall weddings, and there’s real romance to that,” Anna says. “We had a couple who needed rings fast, and they had ordered an engagement ring and bands. So it wasn’t a surprise, but they hadn’t really done any ceremony around the proposal. When they saw the rings, they said, “˜Can you excuse us for just a minute?’ And they went out in the hallway and came back with tears in their eyes. It was truly sweet.”

Many couples decide to pass on a complete surprise proposal and instead come into Bario Neal together to pick out an engagement ring or talk about custom designing a ring or wedding band. That doesn’t mean the process can’t have as much meaning and emotion. Lots of couples plan a whole fun day around their appointments. (We’ve got tips on planning a memorable engagement ring shopping appointment!)

Jewelry is, of course, part of the special life moments for Page and Anna too. Page got a new pinky ring that matches her Eternity Diamond Band to celebrate the birth of her daughter. Bario Neal’s new-this-year Keepsake Collection, engravable heirloom bangles for babies and children, echoes that family feeling. Anna and her husband add engravings to their wedding rings every couple years. She says her husband’s Milla Shoulder Hammered Wide Band is his most prized possession.

 

Bario Neal 10 Years Halo Release

Going for Another Decade of Ethical Jewelry Design

Bario Neal fans should expect to watch their favorite jeweler keep breaking the rules and pushing jewelry design.

“We’ve worked hard to build a strong foundation,” Page says. “We have a fantastic staff right now. I am excited to see the business thrive and continue to grow with other people.”

Page and Anna want to keep collaborating with other artists, like they did recently when they teamed up with Xavier Schipani on a print to raise awareness about LGBTQIA issues in the wedding industry, and commissioned K-Fai to illustrate tips on jewelry care.

“It’s interesting to see other people interpret your work, to see it reflected through their eyes,” Anna says. “It shifts your perspective and that’s fascinating.”

As they’ve come up on this 10-year anniversary, Anna and Page have been exchanging old emails they sent to each other when they were starting the company “” and laughing over their abbreviations and silly codes. Yes, there was some stress, they admit, but that was a motivator. At the end of the day, they say, they each had a perfect business partner.

“Anna is amazing at remaining calm and grounded and positive,” Page says.

“Page is so good at keeping us moving forward, reminding us when something seems really challenging, that all we have to do is try,” Anna says.