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.

5 Simple Tips for Caring for Your Engagement Ring or Wedding Bands

By Sarah on September 5, 2018 at 3:18 am

Engagement rings have been lost and then found washed up on beaches, in the crack of a sidewalk, and around at least two garden carrots. One even turned up in an ice bucket. We get why these stories make headlines. Engagement rings and wedding bands are such a meaningful purchase for couples, and the thought of losing or damaging your ring is pretty scary. You don’t have to bundle your hand in bubble wrap though. All you need is a few do’s and don’ts on ring care, and we’ve made the short list of tips memorable with help from incredibly talented illustrator K-Fai Steele. These beautiful drawings reflect the personal style that Bario Neal brings to custom jewelry. “At the end of the day, jewelry is about people and relationships, not about the individual pieces of gold,” K-Fai says. We totally agree.

Illustration of Interracial Couple Holding Hands
Jewelry Care Tip #1 “” Yes, sometimes you have to take your engagement ring off.

Your engagement ring or wedding band is likely designed for daily wear. (When you’re picking out your ring or working with us on a custom design, the Bario Neal team will talk about which ethically mined metals and gemstones best fit your lifestyle.) That said, protect a ring by taking it off when doing activities that could damage the metal and/or gemstones.

You will want to remove your ring when gardening (see “carrots,” above), doing the dishes, working out, rock climbing, and sailing. H2O lovers, note: There’s a reason you see metal detectors on the beach. Rings easily slip off as fingers shrink in the water at the ocean (or in a swimming pool). We also recommend you take your engagement ring off while sleeping and before bathing (that water warning!).

To stow your wedding rings temporarily at home, put them in the same safe and secure spot every time. Don’t put your jewelry by the sink or within a child’s reach! (See our Senna Tall Black Enamel Band and Octillo Studs resting easy in a dish on a high cabinet in illustration below.)

Collage of Care Guide

Jewelry Care Tip #2 “” Cleaning your engagement ring is easy.

Wearing your ring every day means that it will get dirty and need a good cleaning. Do NOT use any kind of chemical cleaner. This can damage your ring. Most jewelry should be cleaned with a gentle little bath. Put a small amount of regular dish soap into a bowl of barely warm water, and soak for 5 minutes. Gently clean behind the settings and around the stones with a soft bristled toothbrush. Then wipe dry with a soft cloth. One strict exception: opals. If you have a piece like our Cluster Opal and Morganite Ring, remember that opals should never be submerged in water. (Just use a very soft cloth dampened with warm, soapy water to wipe clean, and speak with us directly about a more thorough cleaning.)

You can bring your ring back to that brand-new look with a professional cleaning at Bario Neal too. If you take it to another jeweler for cleaning, be sure to give them the details on ALL the stones in your ring. This should ensure they won’t do any damage.

Illustration of hand cleaning ring

Jewelry Care Tip #3 “” Get a checkup for your engagement ring.

We use our hands constantly, so daily wear and tear means you’ll need to put some love and repair into your ring. Don’t panic if you notice a loose stone in your engagement ring. Bumps to the ring can shift or loosen stones over time. Do have the stones checked for security annually.

If you lose a stone, see any damage, or find cracks in an enamel ring, get in touch with the Bario Neal team to have your ring spruced up. Definitely wear your rings with care””and don’t try to DIY!

Illustration of Bario Neal customers shopping

Jewelry Care Tip #4 “” Getting insurance for your wedding rings is a simple stress reliever.

Protect your purchase””and know that you’ll be covered even if your engagement ring gets knocked into a lake because you took it off to eat a big, juicy burger. (Errr, see Tip #1 above.) You can add your wedding rings to your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, or get a dedicated policy specific to jewelry. If you need additional paperwork, or want information on getting an appraisal, get in touch with the Bario Neal team.

illustration of diverse couple

Jewelry Care Tip #5 “” Yes, you can refresh your scratched engagement ring.

Like you, your ring will change over time. The first place where this is noticeable is in the finish. Daily wear creates tiny scratches on the surface of the metal, giving every ring its own unique patina. High polish and matte finishes will all move toward a satin finish over time. If you’d like to refresh your finish for your wedding or another big event, get in touch with us!

illustration of couple

Your wedding rings are special, and they should definitely bring more happiness than worry. Our engagement ring and wedding band clients stay part of the Bario Neal family. So if you’re ever concerned about jewelry care, please get in touch!

Rethink Pink: Reclaiming the formerly femme hue

By Constance on January 4, 2018 at 1:14 pm

Millennial pink is the color of a generation. But can Pink”“ formerly a symbol of the saccharine-sweet or a girly-girl cliche”“ become a powerful statement? Umm… yes! It’s time to rethink pink as both a fashion and forever jewelry choice and we couldn’t be more excited about it.

Re-think Pink with Bario Neal RingsMany of our designs Rethink Pink using ethical gemstones like Morganite, Tourmaline and Sapphire.

 

Pink is not just all about girl-power, though embracing the feminine is empowering for everyone. People of all genders who want to feel beautiful and celebrate pink can reclaim the hue. Same with the pressure surrounding diamond engagement rings”“ play with pale or bold color for your wedding palette if that’s who you are every day. And as for everyone’s favorite holiday”“ Valentine’s Day”“ try to embrace it as more than just a commercial romantic cliche, but as an opportunity to show your S/O, yourself, or your BFF some love.

 

Re-think Pink with MorganiteLike the pastel pink that’s now unavoidable on Instagram and ubiquitous on Pinterest, pale pink Morganite is abuzz.

 

Found in the eastern states of Rio Grande de Norte and Minas Gerais in Brazil, Morganite is a member of the Beryl family of minerals, the same family as Emerald and Aquamarine.

Unlike Emeralds, which are often full of inclusions, Morganites are readily available as eye clean stones and thus differentiated more for their intensity of color than their clarity. Rarer than Aquamarine and registering 7.5 – 8 on the MOHS scale of mineral hardness, it is an ideal choice for jewelry, both bridal and every-day jewelry.

 

Re-think pink

People of all genders can reclaim the pink hue with both gem and metal choice.

Although emerging as a thoroughly modern choice, Morganite and its discovery are steeped in the finest and most prestigious traditions of the jewelry industry and mineral exploration.  The mineral was discovered in the early part of the last century and in 1911 was named Morganite after J.P Morgan, who sponsored the activities of legendary gemologist George Kunz, who discovered the stone.

 

Re-think Pink with a Bario Neal Stack

Morganite is known primarily as a pastel-colored gem in light, soft shades of pink, purplish pink, and orangey-pink. It looks great with opals, green and blues.

 

Associated only by name and by virtue of him being an avid collector of precious gems, Morganite mining was never a commercial interest of Morgan’s and to this day the mining of the stone is done almost entirely by small scale mining operations run by local people and not by large, faceless corporations.

At Bario Neal, we support small miners and source our Morganite through a GIA graduate gemologist who has an intimate knowledge of the gemstone extraction, processing and manufacturing cycle and who operates a multi-pronged approach to fair-trade practices and sustainability.

 

Re-think pink with ethical tourmaline

The Trillion Triad Cluster and Hex Sapphire Linear (above) rings feature our perfect pink tourmaline.

 

Next, we move to another magical pink gemstone – Tourmaline. The new Hex Linear Ring and Dyad Cluster Ring feature a striking sunset-pink variety, but the gem itself can be one (or two or three!) of 60 natural colors. Found all over the world, they are one of the most versatile and diverse gemstones around.

Tourmalines are often dichroic or pleochroic which means they show two different colors in one stone. Although this effect is less pronounced and sometimes not noticeable in pink stones than it is in green, blue or green-blue tourmaline. It is even possible to get tourmaline that shows multiple colors in one crystal. The best known of these to jewelry lovers are watermelon tourmaline which has a red core surrounded by green.

The Tourmalines that we use in our Hex Sapphire Linear and Trillion Triad Cluster Rings are recycled gemstones, in that they have already be involved in the jewelry production process and we are reusing them. This approach means that no new mining is required thus eliminating the potential for damage to ecosystems and labor issues.

 

Re-think Pink with pink sapphire

#Roseallday? Choose a Pink Sapphire Filigree in reclaimed 14kt. Rose Gold.

Lastly, we turn to another gorgeous, natural, forever gemstone: the Pink Sapphire. Basically, a Ruby that’s not red, (Bonus points for anyone who already knew that Rubies are technically Sapphires) Pink Sapphires get their color from containing chromium. Rubies must contain at least 1% chromium to exhibit a deep red color and if the chromium content is lower, the stones are lighter and classed as Pink Sapphires. Ours come from a small mine in Madagascar. Our Pink Sapphire Filigree Ring is also set in reclaimed 14kt Rose Gold”“ to help us all (millennial or not) maintain a rosy outlook.

Want to see them blush at a bespoke beauty? We can create a custom design in a range of rosy hues, like this gorgeous stack, featuring white diamonds, deep garnets and a variety of ethical pink gemstones:

 

Re-think pink with a Custom Bario Neal design

Rethink Pink with this crazy beautiful stack of recent Custom Cluster rings in a powerful palette of Whites, Pinks and Reds.

Want to dream up a way to reclaim pink from “blush and bashful”? Check out more new custom work featuring ethical diamonds, rubies, garnets, sapphires and tourmaline, then design your own concoction using our Custom Design Questionnaire.

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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