Diamond or Not? White Diamonds Aren’t the Only Gems for Unique Engagement Rings—Look to Natural Diamonds, Moissanite, and White Sapphire Rings Too

By Sarah on August 8, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Engagements aren’t just a matter of the heart. Don’t get us wrong. We live for our clients’ stories about finding each other and falling in love. (Seriously, tell us more. You met how???) But getting married can be a think piece all in itself, and your head might quickly start to spin when you think about big decisions, like choosing an engagement ring. When you visit one of our showrooms, in Philadelphia or New York City, to look at engagement rings, expect to have fun. But we’re also ready to answer serious questions about ethics, sustainability, and sourcing that you might have as you choose the right gemstone for you.

Diamonds are the most popular choice for engagement rings, but there are two other lovely colorless gemstones you can also consider: moissanite and white sapphire. We’ve made unique engagement rings using all three. Each can work for a couple who’s thinking about how communities and the environment are impacted by gemstone mining.

  • Moissanite is a colorless gemstone that is produced in a lab, so there’s no new mining involved.
  • For many Bario Neal diamond engagement rings, we use reclaimed diamonds. These are stones previously set in other jewelry, and buying reclaimed is the eco-friendliest choice. Not only do you avoid more mining, you’re not tapping into the energy involved in lab manufacturing either.
  • We source our white sapphires from a family-run sapphire mine in Sri Lanka that works on a small scale and strives to have a light environmental footprint. If you buy a white sapphire engagement ring, you’re supporting ethical small business owners and in turn their community’s economy. Mining means jobs for the miners and financial stability.

You’ll want to make the decision that feels like a fit for you, and when you visit our Philadelphia or New York City showroom, we’re happy to help you find an engagement ring gemstone that works for your heart and head. To start, here’s more on these three gemstones along with some design inspiration.

 

Moissanite Engagement Rings
L to R: Custom Moissanite Linear Cluster Ring, Custom 2-carat Oval Moissanite Cluster Ring with Diamonds
Moissanite Engagement Rings

Even if chemistry class made you yawn, it’s impossible to not be intrigued by a gemstone growing in a lab. Moissanite is actually a natural mineral, silicon carbide, though it’s rarely found in nature anymore. A chemist, Henri Moissan, is credited with first identifying it “” at the site of a meteor strike in Arizona in 1893. In the 1990s, some scientists (who probably did not fall asleep in front of their Bunsen burners in high school) figured out a way to produce the silicon carbide crystals that Moissan, when he first saw them, thought were diamonds. North Carolina-based Charles & Colvard filed a patent and started growing moissanite in a lab and selling the stones as an accessibly priced alternative to white diamonds. The company is Bario Neal’s source for moissanite today.

If there’s a giant stone in the perfect custom engagement ring design you have in your head, and budget is top of mind, a moissanite could be your go-to at about half the price of white diamonds. (A half carat diamond ring in a four-prong setting at Bario Neal retails for around $3,000. The same jewelry with a moissanite would start around $1,750.)

That accessibility has inspired some truly inventive collaborations with Bario Neal clients over the years, as you can see in this Custom Moissanite Cluster Ring. If you’re ready to swear those are diamonds in that ring, well, you’ve got good company.

“Most people can’t tell a difference between a diamond and a moissanite,” says Genna Fischer, Bario Neal gemstone sourcing coordinator.  

Diamonds and moissanite are so twinning, you can easily mix them in a stack “” or even in the same ring. The double-take proof is in this Custom 2-carat Oval Moissanite Cluster Ring with Diamonds.

At larger sizes, moissanite does tend to throw off rainbow vibes when sparkling, whereas a white diamond has a truer white/silver sparkle. Moissanite is nearly as hard as diamonds (at 9.5 on the Mohs hardness scale vs. a diamond’s 10) so they’re completely durable for a daily wear ring. If you’re passing on diamonds altogether but want smaller stones in your wedding band or encircling your center stone, moissanite comes in tiny melee sizes too.  

Diamonds have been the stars of engagement rings for decades and big marketing bucks go into generating a mystique around them, but we think moissanite has its own story to tell as unique-to-the-lab stones.

Two Bario Neal clients who happened to be scientists agreed. As a nod to their shared profession, they chose moissanite for this Custom Moissanite Linear Cluster Ring. Catalyst Wedding Co. called the engagement ring “seriously one of the coolest ideas we have heard.”

 

L to R: Custom Trillion Cut White Sapphire Bouquet Cluster Ring, Trillion Dyad Ring, Nikko Pear White Sapphire Ring
L to R: Custom Trillion Cut White Sapphire Bouquet Cluster Ring, Trillion Dyad Ring, Nikko Pear White Sapphire Ring
White Sapphire Engagement Rings

Sapphires are most famous in blue, but a white sapphire is another tempting and colorless gemstone for engagement rings, especially if you want a white diamond look without the diamond.

“White sapphires tend to have a bit more of a gray-blue undertone than a diamond, and you can see that,” Genna says. “A white sapphire looks different from a diamond or a moissanite. It’s its own thing. It’s more understated.”

We’re all for everyone being their own thing, so maybe that’s why white sapphires get us every time. There’s nothing not pretty about those undertones either, as you can see in our Custom Trillion Cut White Sapphire Bouquet Cluster Ring. There’s a reason that our Trillion Dyad Ring and its white sapphires stop wedding bloggers in their tracks.

Like moissanite, white sapphires are also more accessibly priced than white diamonds. They bring a less fiery but no less inviting look to an engagement ring, such as our Nikko Pear White Sapphire Ring.

“White sapphires don’t have the across-the-room flare of diamonds, which make them a budget-friendly option for someone who wants a colorless gemstone that’s subtler and less sparkly,” Genna says.  

 

Quince Ring
Quince Ring
Diamond Engagement Rings

By using reclaimed white diamonds, heirloom diamonds, and Canadian-mined white diamonds, Bario Neal maintains high standards about ethics and sourcing and gives our clients plenty of diamond engagement ring choices.

Our Quince Diamond Ring might not look guilt-free, but it is “” right down to the tiny diamonds in the halo. Many jewelers can’t assure that such small stones, called melee, are ethically sourced, but Bario Neal makes sure ours are 100 percent traceable and ethical. (For a complete takedown of diamond myths, check out our helpful guide to diamond facts.)

If you’re looking for a true antique cut in a reclaimed gemstone, look to diamonds. The 1990s-born moissanite and more newly popular white sapphires come primarily in modern-day cuts.

L to R: Avens Asymmetrical Raw Diamond Ring, Kalmia Raw Diamond Ring, Avens Raw Diamond Ring
L to R: Avens Asymmetrical Raw Diamond Ring, Kalmia Raw Diamond Ring, Avens Raw Diamond Ring

Raw Diamond Engagement Rings

Raw diamonds bring a more rugged or natural look to an engagement ring. While you might be well aware of the harm that mining can bring to people and the environment, there’s, unfortunately, room for abuse in the processing of stones too. Unfair labor practices are connected to cutting and polishing diamonds in many places. Bario Neal’s ethical jewelry standards mean that we fully trace our gemstones as they make their way to us, so if you’re buying from us, you can trust that’s not the case for your engagement ring. Still, raw diamonds have their own aesthetic appeal, and their shape and appearance open up different setting designs with a natural glimmer.

 

Raw (or rough) diamonds in an engagement ring make for a quiet contrast between delicate and tough in our Avens Raw Diamond Ring and our Kalmia Raw Diamond Ring. If you prefer cluster to a solo look, look at our Avens Asymmetrical Raw Diamond Ring, which puts a raw diamond with sapphires.

 

We know you’ve got the heart part of this engagement ring business down. We’re here to help you sort through details like gemstones and metals and design “” and ethical sourcing and sustainability. Get started by filling out our custom design questionnaire or by making an appointment to visit us (remember: first-date stories welcome!) in our Philadelphia or New York City showroom today.

Every Ruby Ring Isn’t Red (But That Just Means More Colorful Rubies!)

By Sarah on July 5, 2018 at 2:59 pm
Three custom rings by Bario Neal featuring rubies.
L to R: Custom Trillion Cut White Sapphire Bouquet Cluster Ring, Custom Diamond and Ruby Cluster Ring, Custom Solar System Ring

There’s a reason Dorothy’s magic slippers in “The Wizard of Oz” were changed from silver in the book to ruby red for what Judy Garland wore in the movie: Rubies make a bold statement. (They also pop against a yellow-brick road.) Those famous kicks are probably one reason that, when you picture rubies, you don’t think pink. Yet most rubies aren’t deep dark red and could be better described as magenta, fuchsia, raspberry, or jewel-tone pink.

RUBY CUSTOM RINGS

There are rubies, of course, that fit the image in your head, but they’re extremely rare (example: this Elizabeth Taylor ruby ring). At Bario Neal, we see the more accessible pink-hued stones as a powerful standalone in ruby engagement rings and ruby wedding rings. Rubies of all shades pair prettily with other gemstones too. Check out the pink ruby color in our Custom Trillion Cut White Sapphire Bouquet Cluster Ring holding its own at a unique gemstone party.

Rubies carry symbolism well beyond the birthstone for July babies. When it comes to giving a ruby meaning, cultures throughout time have seen them as representing the power of life “” understandable given our red blood “” the sun, and the stone of kings. The notion that rubies are a protective talisman even fits with Dorothy’s red shoes.

One of our most vivid ruby ring inspirations is our Custom Diamond and Ruby Cluster Ring. The ring has what’s called a “pigeon blood ruby.” The name makes us squirm, but the oval ruby represents one of the truest deep red rubies “” and happens to make a gorgeous partner to an Australian rose cut diamond.

This Custom Solar System Ring shows what you can do with a mix of colorful gemstones, including heirlooms. For this personalized jewelry with multilayered meaning, our client used gems from her collection. The ruby was her mother’s. (One of Bario Neal’s own sources for rubies has been the Tanzania Women Miners Association.)

Rings and Earrings by Bario Neal with Rubies and Garnets
L to R: Cluster Garnet Ring , Lash Linear Garnet Ring, Lash Garnet and Tourmaline Power Studs, Lash Mini Raspberry Sapphire Studs, Shield Ruby Slice Earrings
RED GEMSTONE GIFTS

If you’re set on having some shade of red in your custom jewelry, think about garnets too. People might easily mistake a garnet for a blood red ruby, but the garnet will be a fraction of the price. (We used garnets to spectacular effect in two pairs of earrings for our new one-of-a-kind Ceres Collection.) You might also try a raspberry sapphire. Rubies and sapphires are basically sisters. They’re both composed of the mineral corundum, but the presence of the element chromium makes the ruby color. In the U.S., rubies earn that label with a certain color saturation, but you’ll be forgiven if you call a raspberry sapphire a ruby. These distinctions weren’t even made till the 20th century, and the definitions are still a bit squishy.

Whatever the ruby color, if you’re searching for ruby jewelry for a July birthstone gift, shop our Shield Ruby Slice Earrings, Ruby Slice Pendant, and Ruby Slice Studs too. For these pieces, we set a just-right sliver of ruby into yellow gold (which happens to be our favorite metal pairing for rubies). And if you’re ready to work with us on a custom ruby engagement ring or ruby wedding ring, start by filling out our Custom Design Questionnaire or make an appointment at our Philadelphia or New York City shops today.

A New Signature Setting: The Lash Collection

By Constance on September 27, 2017 at 12:17 pm

In an ode to playful minimalism, we’ve re-imagined The Lash into a new collection featuring ethical Diamonds, Sapphires, Garnets and Andalusite. These bright and colorful gems shine when showcased in our subtly asymmetric, surrealistic, signature setting. An instant classic for modern celebrations calling for equally expressive, interesting jewelry.

 

New Bario Neal Lash Collection Featuring Ethical Diamonds, Sapphire and Garnets
This season, we refined and evolved the Lash into a shiny fleet of endearing, enduring options.

With a wink and a nod, the Lash setting debuted last year with our simple studs. Created to showcase our collection of ethically-sourced Emeralds, Andalusite, Champagne Diamonds and Iolite, with a twist”“ moving beyond an ordinary setting. The Lash’s unexpected, balanced asymmetry shines as a solitaire, grouped into a linear design or mixed with other settings for a brilliant cluster.

“The Lash setting grew out of a desire to move beyond the classic prong or bezel settings and to innovate with something that plays to BN’s proclivity for balanced asymmetry.” -Anna Bario, Designer and Co-founder

The story behind the collection’s origin matches the luster of these incredible gems. We’ll begin our new favorites for wedding season”“ Lash Dyad, Triad and Linear Cluster rings feature ethically sourced, neutral-toned gemstones in fresh, energetic combinations. These sparkling jewels, harvested from beautiful locales with the utmost care and intent are ready to ride high as you as you toast to your new forever.

 

New Bario Neal Lash Collection Featuring Ethical Diamonds, Sapphire and Andalusite

Our Lash dyad, Triad and Linear Cluster rings include Champagne diamonds from Australia, Half moon Sapphires from Sri Lanka and Andalusite from Madagascar.

 

Kimberley in Western Australia was once so abundant in diamonds that it is the only location in the world where Ant Hill Diamonds have been observed. (Yes, diamonds were once mined by ants!) After these early discoveries and prospecting, a human-sized mining operation was installed and today the Argyle diamond mine is famous for producing the most prized diamonds in the world.

 

 

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Known the world over for its unique pink and red diamonds, the mine produces many shades, including the champagnes we use in our Lash Diamond Cluster Ring.

 

The Argyle mine is close to the end of its commercial life, due to close in 2020, the diamonds produced from the mine are bound to become even more prized and valuable. Because the mine is in one of the world’s richest, most developed nations, it is subject to strict working and environmental standards and regulations. Traditional families and elders retain genuine control and empowerment over the exploration and development process, with the future of the land always in mind. As of 2011, all mines in Australia must follow a mine rehabilitation program for creating another use for the area when mining has ceased.

As for our other sparkler, Sri Lankan White Sapphire, we did a deep-dive into the story of the Sri-Lankan white sapphire in a recent feature with Catalyst Wedding Co. In a nutshell, these are the most-diamondy-diamond-alternatives you can get straight from the earth and cut into these cool half-moon shapes, with close to no environmental impact.
New Bario Neal Lash Collection Featuring Ethical Diamonds, Sapphire and Andalusite

We use Pleochroic Andalusite from Madagascar for its hues of red and green, sourced from an ethical jewelry pioneer who spent time in Sierra Leone developing a traceable diamond supply chain.

 

We segue from the diamonds once mined by ants, to the only gemstone still mined by those cute, tiny workers”“ Ant Hill Garnets. As the name suggests, these garnets from the Four Corners Region are brought to the surface by ants building new colonies. The ants dig out the stones, carry them to the surface and then deposit them at the top of their ant hills. They are then washed down to the bottom of the pile and cleaned by rainwater, ready to be collected by gem hunters. Generally small in size, because the ants dig around the bigger stones and leave them put, ant hill garnets are rarely more than 1ct in size when cut.

 

Ant Hill Garnets

Our new Lash Linear Garnet, Lash Solitaire Garnet and Garnet Cluster Rings feature Arizona’s Ant hill garnets.

 

While we can’t vouch for the working conditions of the ants involved in this process, (we assume most colonies enforce rigorous health and safety protocols and workers are paid fairly) we are able to tell you exactly how these stones make it from the moment they are collected to when they are set here in our studio.

Being from inside the US, the stones are free from any issues surrounding conflict minerals and you won’t find a more environmentally friendly, less invasive mining process. We source our Arizona Ant Hill garnets from a true innovator in the field of ethical gemstone sourcing and production. Once collected, the stones are sold to gemstone cutters and polishers, otherwise known as lapidarists, to be prepared for the jewelry market.

 

2017_Fall_LASH_Sapphire_Garnet_Jewel_Tones_H-4193

Meet our new Signature Sapphire Solitaire- it plays well with everything and can be personalized with almost any gemstone!

 

Another gem proudly mined in the USA features in our new signature solitaire, the Lash Blue Sapphire Ring. Discovered by gold prospectors 150 years ago, these Sapphires are a sought after dark blue from Rock Creek, Montana. We adore working with different sapphire colors and shades, Montana is such an exciting ethical source, given it has the widest variety of color of sapphire anywhere on earth.
2017_Fall_LASH_Sapphire_Garnet_Jewel_Tones_C-4200

Our Lash collection is colorful, playful, minimal and classic. Have fun mixing and matching it up!

 

In addition to being designed as suites or companions, the Lash Collection is designed to show off almost any of our ethical gemstones. Want to create a Lash Diamond Solitaire, a Blue Sapphire Lash Dyad Cluster or a Lash Linear Emerald Ring? Just fill out our Custom Design Questionnaire with your idea for Personalization and we’ll get back to you right away.

Get Ready to Fall in Love with Emeralds

By Sarah on October 13, 2016 at 9:56 am

This season we introduce our Helia Collection, featuring emerald cut, octagonal cut, and pave emeralds, sourced from a mining collective located in the Province of Northern Zambia.

 

The Ray and Sol Emerald Rings, shown in 18kt and 14kt yellow gold.
The new Sol and Ray Emerald Rings

 

At Bario Neal we go above and beyond to create a high standard of ethics focused on traceable diamonds, colored gemstones, reclaimed precious metals, and Fairmined gold. Inspired by the majestic emerald hue, we diligently searched for an emerald source that adheres to our environmental and labor standards.

After many years of research, we proudly release our star of the new Fall Collection, Helia: celebrating both the natural beauty of the emeralds and our partnership with the Zambian collective. The mining collective processes rough gemstones without introducing harmful chemicals to the environment, while rehabbing the mine’s waste areas by planting new trees in fresh soil. Moreover, the mine supports two local farms, and provides both a school and teachers’ quarters to the local mining community. This particular collective’s miners use screens to sort and pick the finest emerald crystals by hand, providing us with the lush hues showcased within the Helia Collection.

Co-founder and designer, Page Neal, describes this collection as being “inspired by architectural drawings and photographs of transoms and window frames.” From there, our enchanting Zambian emeralds led the way. Emerald is the green to greenish blue variety of beryl, a mineral species that also includes aquamarine as well as beryls in other colors. Emerald, most commonly know as the birthstone for May babies, is first known to have been mined in Egypt as far back as 330 B.C.

“Cleopatra was known to have a passion for emerald, and used it in her royal adornments.” – GIA

 

The Ray Studs, in 14kt yellow gold and tiny bead-set emeralds with the Sol necklace and Ray pendant.
The Ray Studs, shown with the Sol and Ray Pendants

 

Our Ray Studs and Pendant are yellow gold bursts, adorned with tiny bead-set pave emeralds. The Ray Ring features a traditional emerald cut stone held tightly by eight soft prongs. This minimal setting showcases the gemstone’s rich depth of color.

Sisters to the Ray pieces, the bright, shiny Sol Pendant, Hoops, and Ring, radiate glimmering flares of sunshine on any day. The Sol Ring features a large, octagonal cut emerald. With this piece, our design team explored unconventional stone setting options, resulting in the emerald being set low, table side-down, and secured by twelve prongs in various sizes. This uncommon setting style highlights our stone’s mesmerizing, magical glow.

One of our team’s challenges this season was seemingly simple: gold hoops. And after many, many rounds of prototyping- we rocked it. Inspired by Caribbean style and mobiles created by the prolific artist, Alexander Calder, we hand fabricated our giant Circ Hoops from solid square wire. They may be big, but they are as light and airy as they look.

The Circ Hoops in 14kt yellow gold.
The Circ Hoops in 14kt yellow gold.

 

Up next, meet the Forma Collection, an eye-catching array of modern treasures, defined by graphic shapes set with precious, ethically-sourced diamonds. All our white pave diamonds (also known as melee diamonds, weighing under .18ct each) are fully traceable and of recycled, Australian, and Canadian origin. We worked extensively to find a reliable black pave diamond supplier that meets our rigorous standards, sourcing through a trusted ethical buyer who travels to three different mines in Brazil, Canada, and Australia. To us, an ethical diamond isn’t just certified as conflict-free. We go deeper; working with a fully traceable supply chain, from mine to market.

 

The Forma Collection: Lau Necklace in 14kt yellow gold & sterling silver with white diamonds, Lau Studs in 14kt yellow gold with white diamonds, Aira Studs in 14kt yellow gold with white diamonds, Linea Pendant & Studs in 14kt yellow gold with black diamonds.
The Forma Collection: Lau Necklace and Studs, Aira Studs, and the Linea Black Diamond Pendant and Studs

 

Our Lau Studs and Necklace might be teeny tiny, but these delicate classics symbolize Bario Neal’s values bigtime. Inspired by the Fairmined gold logo and our longtime support of LGBTQIA rights and worldwide marriage equality, the rainbow shapes are channel set with 1mm white diamonds.

Fairmined is an assurance label that certifies gold from empowered responsible artisanal and small-scale mining organizations. It transforms mining into an active force for good, ensuring social development and environmental protection, providing everyone with a source of gold to be proud of.

Since our classic Aira Ring motif is so beloved, we decided to rethink it and shrink it, creating the mini Aira Studs. These diminutive diamonds are perfect for a second or third piercing. With this pair, our team envisioned affordable and timeless diamond studs, since we believe that everyone should be able to own jewelry of lasting value and ethical origins.

 

 

Aira Studs and Ring
Our Aira Studs and Classic Aira Ring

 

Other Forma Collection rockstars are the Linea Pendant and Studs. Our designers describe this bold pendant as a gestural squiggle, a quick scribble, and a border line- but what can’t be denied is how glam the black diamond/yellow gold combo is. And if the pendant wasn’t striking enough, how about the killer matching asymmetrical Linea Studs? The duo might just give you vixen super powers.

In case you haven’t noticed, we are cluster crazy. If you head over to our Diamond Ring, Gemstone Ring, Personalizations, or Custom pages, you’ll find a captivating array of sparkling, clustered constellations, designed for their lucky owners to wear and admire.

 

The Cluster Collection: Hex Cluster Studs, Ring, and Necklace in 14kt yellow gold. This collection features an array of blue-green and seafoam sapphires, aquamarine, and champagne diamonds.
The Cluster Collection: Hex Cluster Studs, Ring, and Necklace

 

Inspired by our most popular cluster, the Hex Sapphire Cluster Ring, is the Hex Cluster Pendant: a geometric bouquet of ethically sourced sapphires, and one champagne diamond surround a sublime Montana (Go USA!) hexagonal cut sapphire. Enter our new Hex Cluster Studs, featuring color-coordinating gemstone bunches”“ one champagne diamond, and one aquamarine adorn two blue-green sapphire sprinklings”“ the perfect, asymmetrical pairing.

While you’re checking out the new collections, please remember that when you shop with Bario Neal, you support the craft and manufacturing community of Philadelphia, environmentally conscious studio practices, and the responsible mining and sourcing of diamonds, gemstones, and metals. Thanks for helping us design an ethical way forward for the jewelry industry, one handmade piece at a time.

Want to see more? Explore the new collections in our Fall Lookbook.

The New Hexagonal Sapphire Cluster Ring

By Constance on April 14, 2016 at 9:54 am

 

Hexagonal Sapphire Cluster Ring

Introducing the dreamy new Hexagonal Sapphire Cluster Ring.

The concept of spring giving new life is one we fully embraced this year, choosing to debut the first part of our SS16 Lookbook, Spring Ceremony, highlighting an incredible new design”“ The Hexagonal Sapphire Cluster Ring.

The design combines a hexagon cut sapphire with an artfully clustered array of colored gemstones to create a gradient or ombre effect. Each hexagon is surrounded by an asymmetrically-placed champagne diamond, aquamarines, green-blue and seafoam sapphires. With an overall effect evoking a life-forming molecule, the Hex Sapphire Cluster ring is the perfect metaphor for a new beginning.

 

Hexagonal Sapphire Cluster Ring 14KY

The Hex Sapphire Cluster Ring looks great from any angle.

 

All of our gemstones are ethically sourced and of the highest quality, but these sapphires are special. In order for each gem’s inherent natural beauty and variation to shine, every arrangement is unique.

“Our hexagons are from Montana- go America! They are totally untreated from Gem Mountain. Each one is unique because they were cut in a way that saves as much of the original stone as possible.” ““Anna Bario

 

Natural variations in Hexagonal Sapphires from Montana

Natural variations in color and shape will occur in these Hexagonal Sapphires from Montana.

This cluster ring of colored gems in a sea of blue-green hues is a cool addition to both Spring fashion and bridal looks. The Hex ring is perfect for a bride looking for an alternative ring that shows off a strong sense of personal style.

 

Spring Ceremony, Bario Neal SS16 Lookbook. The Avens Round Cut Ring and the Curved Narrow Half-Eternity Band.

More new designs appear in our Spring Ceremony story, inspired by an artist’s touch.

 

Delicate, yet statement-making craftsmanship inspired the theme of pigment-tinted fingertips and vibrant colors. We adore the idea of the wearer as painter or other artist, in the studio, creating their own work, while wearing one of ours. From the artists of our handcrafted jewelry, the creative process extends to the wearer of a Bario Neal creation.

Joining the Sapphire Cluster Ring in this Spring story are two new classic designs, the Avens Round Cut Ring and the Curved Narrow Half-Eternity Band. In creating the story, we also reimagined our recent colored gemstone designs in Opal and Andalusite, and staples like the signature Linear Diamond Ring, into a complete collection to spark imaginations this SS16 and for seasons to come.

Shop Spring Ceremony and the SS16 Collection.

 

Bling in the New Year with Alternative Engagement Rings

By Constance on December 31, 2015 at 12:20 pm

The Baguette Solitaire Ring, a little bling goes a long way

A little bling goes a long way with the understated Baguette Solitaire Ring.

 

This New Year, we celebrate all that glitters AND all that is gold, all for under a $3K price tag. This round-up of some of our favorite alternative engagement rings include tons of sparkle for those of you that love your bling, but still want to say “Yes” with a little more personality (and sustainability) than your average bride. From the industry’s first ethical baguette diamond (see above!) to alternative gemstones, like sapphires and quartz, we love to create rings that satisfy the non-traditional side, but remain as timeless as your love.

 

 

The Rose Cut Filigree ring has vintage appeal.

Our Rose Cut Filigree ring has timeless appeal and sparkle for days.

 

This contemporary version of an antique filigree ring features a bezel set, pink, rose cut sapphire for the offbeat bride with vintage elegance on her mind.

 

The Herkimer Ring is pure magic.

The Herkimer Ring: pure quartz magic for a crystalline union.

The Herkimer Ring is reserved for the most badass of betrothed. A low-set solitaire ring, featuring a double-terminated quartz, also known as a Herkimer diamond, mined in upstate New York. It also starts at just $750.

 

Sapphire Half Moon in Rose Gold, an alternative engagement ring

The Sapphire Half-Moon Ring is an alternative engagement ring that needs no diamond to shine.

Sparkle abounds in this alt-bride’s dream ring. It conjures Gatsby-era, custom-cuts, with a distinctly modern approach, featuring 100% sustainable white sapphires from Sri Lanka. This the newest of our engagement ring designs on the list, creating a new gold standard for gemstone and diamond-alternative engagement rings.

 

The Linear Diamond Ring: packing maximum bling for the buck.

 

Last on our list is our top seller of 2015, the Linear Diamond Ring. This ring says forever without the trappings of tradition. Modern brides know that a diamond doesn’t have to be a whopper to have impact, favoring instead to have a comfortable, low-set array of stones in various cuts and sizes. Further proof that diamonds can also be “alternative” by remaining low-key, sustainable and affordable”“ the Linear Diamond Ring starts at just $2,420.

Thanks for reading and following us as we share our news, successes and milestones, including the landmark legalization of same-sex marriage. Cheers to another year of creating beauty through new traditions!

 

12 Days of Gifts, Collection Classics: Sapphire Slice Pendant

By Constance on December 13, 2015 at 11:19 am

Sapphire Slice Necklace

On the sixth day of our 12 Days of Gifts, we highlight one of the coolest classics in the collection, the Sapphire Slice Pendant, a shield-shaped pendant inlaid with an ethically sourced sapphire slice on a delicate chain and a handmade toggle clasp. Every sapphire slice is hand-shaped and has natural variations in color. Available in 14kt gold or sterling silver, this necklace also makes a perfect set with a pair of our large or small Sapphire Slice or the *brand new* Ruby Slice Earrings.

 

 

Sapphire Slice Necklace  and Earrings14KY

Sapphire Slice Pendant shown in 14kt gold with handmade large and small sapphire slice earrings.

 

Donate an art supply in store to qualify for 10% off these gorgeous statement-making-staples and 25% off the entire boutique line. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Malawi Dzone development project, which creates advancement in the education and health of communities surrounding the Chimwadzulu Mine, a major source of our sapphires.

 

art supplies under the tree

The art supplies go to help out Philadelphia’s Congreso after school program

 

Stay tuned to for a new gift idea daily! BNGood Sale in-store only through 12/23.  See locations page for more info about our extended Holiday hours.

 

12 Days of Gifts: Limited Edition Cluster Gemstone Engagement Rings

By Constance on December 12, 2015 at 2:22 pm

Cluster Rings

No Twelve Days of Christmas would be the same without the five golden rings, so for the 5th day of gifts we are very excited to celebrate our Limited Edition Cluster Rings. We love gemstone engagement rings and these are two very special”“ they are both the only ones out there and ready to come home for the Holidays.

 

Limited Edition Gemstone rings for the Holidays 2015. Pariaba and Opal Cluster, Garnet asymmetrical avens, Andalucite cluster rings

Limited Edition Gemstone Cluster engagement rings for a special holiday proposal.

 

First up is a rare Paraiba Cluster Ring. This ring is truly a one-of-a-kind! Sure it looks beautiful here, but believe us when we say no photograph does it justice. This gemstone is one of the most precious and valuable in the world, and with one glance, it is easy to see just why. Glowing from within, this paraiba tourmaline is an almost electric shade of aqua, set above a small emerald-cut apricot sapphire and a .1ct diamond, in 14kt gold.

 

Limited Edition Gemstone

The Paraiba gemstone is one of the most precious and rare, even moreso for its ethical origins.

 

Next up, our Opal Cluster Ring features a similar design, set with complimentary-colored gemstones to bring out the natural swirling beauty of an ethically-sourced Australian opal. Also one-of-a-kind, this 14k rose gold ring is available in size 5.75.

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The Opal Three Stone Cluster Ring pairs an iridescent opal with apricot and raspberry sapphires.

 

Drooling yet? Good news: these are ready to ship, so if you were hoping to gift or propose with a gorgeous gemstone engagement ring this Christmas, but missed our deadline for fine jewelry orders (bad news: as of today, we can no longer accept even rush orders for Holiday production of rings and bands), just order by 12/23 to have under the tree.  Or right now, because after these limited edition rings are gone, that’s it.

 

Fine jewelry bands and rings are not included in the Holiday sale. Please contact for details to see if this ring can be adjusted to your desired ring size.

 

Holiday Give to Education Sale: December 9th-23rd

By Alyssa on December 3, 2015 at 3:38 pm
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 Art by students in the Congreso after school program
 Our Holiday Give to Education Sale is almost here! December 9th-23rd Bario Neal, will offer a 25% discount on boutique jewelry and a 10% discount on fine earrings & necklaces with your donation of an art supply to benefit Congreso After School Program, a Philadelphia education initiative. This percentage will be donated to the Malawi Dzone development project to benefit the education and health of communities surrounding the Chimwadzulu Mine, a major source of our sapphires.
sapphire slice stud earrings
Please note, this sale is in stores only. Our New York Showroom will be open for walk-in shopping December 12th-13th & December 19th-20th from 11-6! Philadelphia location open extended hours.
Congreso’s art supply wishlist includes: beads, comic drawing pages & books, markers, drawing paper, construction paper, drawing pencils, colored pencils, tie dye kits, white tee shirts, paint (tempura & acrylic), tissue paper, pipe cleaners, elmer’s glue, & small paint brushes. Not only will you receive a discount for your donation to Congreso, but we will donate a portion of the proceeds from this sale to the Malawi Dzonze development projects”“ you give and we give to education.
Congreso is a non-profit 501 (c)3 organization based in Philadelphia, PA and founded in 1977 with the mission of strengthening Latino communities through social, economic, education and health services, as well as leadership development and advocacy. Congreso offers countless invaluable services to adults, families, and youths in the Philadelphia community, and your donation will specifically go to its after school program, which offers vital enrichment and educational support in academics, dance, music, visual arts, sports, science, and technology. Students in the after school program benefit from well respected programs including Girls Today, Leaders Tomorrow (GTLT), Transitions Program, Family Engagement, and Tutoring and Senior Project Support. Congreso’s numerous awards include Philly.com’s top work places for 2014 and 2015, and NLCR Affiliate of the Year Award, and Leap of Reason.
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 Art projects completed by students in the Congreso After School Program
The Malawi Dzonze Development Project was established in 2008 by Nyala Mines Limited in collaboration with Columbia Gem House, a mining, cutting and marketing company committed to corporate social responsibility (csr). The Project’s mission is to raise funds for projects that will directly benefit communities surrounding the Chimwadzulu Mine, a producer of sapphires and rubies where Bario Neal sources many of our colored gemstones. Focus areas for funding include agriculture, education, environment, health, sports, and drinking water projects, and the project is directed by the managing director and local community nominees. The Project has delegated funding to the Kandoma Primary School to help pay for the employment of qualified teachers and assistants, teaching and learning materials, construction of school water and sanitation facilities, construction of two classroom blocks, and over 300 desks for students. Funding comes directly from the sale of Nyala rubies and sapphires. Columbia Gem House also conducts fundraising through specific promotions for its retail clients. With these two combined sources, the Project has 1 million US dollars budgeted for projects through 2020, making the Malawi Dzonze Development Project the most successful CSR model in Malawi.
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Hospital in Malawi
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School (two classroom blocks)
Consider donating one of these supplies to receive 25% off boutique jewelry or 10% off fine jewelry earrings and necklaces.