12 Reasons We Love Breaking the Old “Rules” About Wedding Rings

By Sarah on June 13, 2018 at 9:00 am

We’re not big fans of restrictions or stereotypes when it comes to creating jewelry for our clients at Bario Neal. To counter the wedding industry’s marketing myths, we work extra hard to banish the notion of the so-called “perfect engagement ring.”

What matters to us: You love whatever wedding jewelry you buy (if any). What doesn’t: Tired rules about gemstones and sizes and prices and styles.

Whether you’ve always followed your own tastes instinctively, or you’re someone who is dipping your toe into breaking with tradition, here are 12 old rules about engagement rings and wedding bands that we know you’ll have fun leaving in the past.

Allium Round Engagement Ring with Milla Thin Wedding Band
Allium Round Diamond Engagement Ring with Milla Thin Wedding Band
Break This Rule: The metals of your engagement ring and wedding band must match.

Wearing only all gold or all silver jewelry is as unnecessary as gendered wedding parties. Take one peek at our Milla Square Rims Band, created with a wide strip of platinum, palladium or white gold that’s trimmed in 14k yellow or rose gold, and you’ll see how different metals work well together. We also like our modern Allium Diamond Round Ring in 14kt yellow gold with a band of another metal. Whatever your perfect metal mix, with Bario Neal, your rings and bands will be made with reclaimed or Fairmined solid precious metals.

 

Quill Wedding Band and Half Eternity Diamond Wedding Band in Bario Neal Box
Quill Band and Half Eternity Narrow Diamond Band
Break This Rule: Spouses have to have matching wedding bands.

Maybe you two have the same taste in music. Or clothes. Or art. Maybe you don’t — and that’s exactly what makes you work as a couple. If your aesthetics aren’t totally in sync, don’t force yourselves into matching wedding bands. If everyone had the same taste, after all, we wouldn’t create so many band styles. Our Half Eternity Narrow Diamond Band is classic, while the textured Quill Band makes a more natural statement.

There’s another way to break this old rule but still keep a hint of likeness: You might pick similar band shapes but each choose a different metal or different finish. One band might be polished, the other matte. For inspiration, look at our super-popular Milla Shoulder Wide Band and Milla Shoulder Narrow Band .

 

Icon Wide One Band, Icon Wide Two Band, Icon Narrow Bands, Lau Diamond Bracelet
Icon Wide One Band, Icon Wide Two Band, Icon Narrow Bands, Lau Diamond Bracelet
Break This Rule: Engagement rings require gemstones.

An engagement ring is an engagement ring because you both say it is. There are no carat quotas. No sparkle mandates. You might skip a gemstone and focus on metals and finishes, or different shapes. You may say “no thanks” to diamonds and love the tone that white glass enamel brings to our Senna Narrow Band.

Some of our clients have stacked two or more plain bands. Together, our Icon Wide One Band and Icon Wide Two Band shine without a gem in sight.

 

Wedding and Engagement Stack of Linear Hex Sapphire Ring, Open Lash Ring, Lash Solitaire Blue Sapphire Ring
Linear Hex Sapphire Ring, Open Lash Ring, Lash Solitaire Blue Sapphire Ring
Break This Rule: Your engagement ring and wedding band need to have the same gemstone.

This rule’s as anachronistic as a black and white television. Our Linear Hex Sapphire Ring proves there’s power in going full color, with its blue sapphire, green sapphire, pink tourmaline, and orange sapphire. (Rule-breaking bonus points: Gems in the same ring don’t need to be the same shape either.)

One fun way to mix gemstones: Pair our Lash Solitaire Blue Sapphire Ring with gorgeous green accents of emeralds in an Open Lash Ring.

Break This Rule: Keep your engagement ring and wedding bands in the same style lane.

The notion that you can’t mix modern and vintage or antique with new went out with plastic-covered living room furniture and fainting couches. If your style is a mix of throwback and very current, embrace it. You can even up the sustainability factor by wearing an heirloom solitaire ring that’s in your family with a modern Bario Neal wedding band like the Nikko Curved Band.

 

Milla Round Wide Band, Milla Round Hammered Wide Band, Milla Shoulder Wide Band
Milla Round Wide Band, Milla Round Hammered Wide Band, Milla Shoulder Wide Band
Break This Rule: Rose gold is “feminine.”

If your eyes roll at the gender conventions attached to jewelry, you might like to break out of the silver and gold mold with a different metal: rose gold. As we said on the blog in January, “people of all genders who want to feel beautiful and celebrate pink can reclaim the hue.” Rose gold looks awesome on all genders and every skin tone. (P.S. If you love to see stereotypes skewered as much as we do, check out this great blog post from A Practical Wedding that hilariously calls out sexist wedding photography.)

Break This Rule: Your wedding band has to be metal.

Wearing jewelry every day might not fit your work or lifestyle. Many couples prefer tattoos as a visible, creative, and meaningful symbol. We’ve seen dates, initials, band-like designs, and more that looked great in ink. A tattoo is a wonderful, and sustainable choice when you don’t want to wear your Bario Neal ring.

 

Cluster Andalusite Engagement Ring
Cluster Andalusite Ring
Break This Rule: You need two rings: an official engagement ring and an official wedding band.

If buying and wearing two rings doesn’t sound like joy to you, think all-in-one. Our free-form Gale Rose Cut Diamond Ring , Custom Andalusite Cluster Ring, and Senna Umbra Ring are all examples of rings that can carry the day solo.

Break This Rule: First comes the engagement ring, then the wedding band. Then the wait for an anniversary band.

Your wedding “band” might be two stacked bands instead. You could have two engagement rings. Or go for three from day one. (Hint: Forget the “ring finger rule” too.) Our Allium Diamond Ring, Cluster Fringe Diamond Ring, and Icon Hex Diamond Ring make a timeless trio. For a more playful look, mix our Open Lash Ring, Ray Ring, and Ray Fringe Band.

 

Halo Aquamarine Engagement Ring with Linea Diamond Wedding Band and Stackable Wedding Band
Halo Aquamarine Engagement Ring with Linea Diamond Wedding Band and Stackable Band
Break This Rule: You need one special set of rings.

Just like we understand why people pass on all wedding jewelry, we also see many clients think creatively about what a wedding set is. Depending on regular activities, workplace, and other lifestyle factors, some couples want a few rings that they can wear at different times or for different occasions. For example, if you have a Halo Aquamarine Ring, a Linea Diamond Band, and a Stackable Band you might wear all three, or just the Stackable Band, depending on the day.

Break This Rule: Never take off your wedding band.

Call us not superstitious. You should take off your wedding ring to travel, or to work, or to sleep. You might even, oh, take off your ring(s) to clean them. After all, never is a long time. By the way, daily wear does affect a ring over time. Check out our FAQs for what that means for finishes and for gemstones, and how we can help if you want a refresh.

Shield One Wedding Band with Filigree Curved Wedding Band
Shield One Band with Filigree Curved Band
Break This Rule: The amount of money you spend on your wedding jewelry reflects the level of your commitment.

This one’s about way more than rule-breaking. It’s about banishing a misconception built on top of a manipulative marketing scheme. Upending these kinds of exclusionary ideas is part of why Bario Neal was started in the first place. Your rings and/or bands should be something you buy because it’s fun and you want them to be part of your marriage story. There’s no minimum price tag on that. If you agree, check out our Milla Thin Band, Shield One Band, Filigree Curved Band, Aldine Band, Senna Tall Band, and Icon Band.

Breaking the rules is freeing — and will probably get you thinking more creatively about what kind of rings and bands you’d truly love to have. (Notice there are only a few “required fields” on our online Custom Design Questionnaire, and those are just about contacting you.) Follow your own inner style guide — and choose an engagement ring or wedding band right for you, your spouse, and you both as a couple.

Bario Neal Is an Inclusive Jewelry Designer for Every Couple

By Sarah on June 6, 2018 at 2:24 pm

Masculine hand wearing Linear Hex Sapphire Ring, Reticulated Two Band, Open Lash Ring, and Aldine Thin BandWhen it comes to weddings, there’s an entirely too long list of supposed do’s that we’d like to ban right along with any laws that dictate who can marry who. The very last thing you should feel on the happy occasions of getting engaged or your wedding day is uncomfortable or awkward or discriminated against. With Pride Month underway, we’re calling out all the ways that the wedding industry pushes a story of “Mr. & Mrs.” that excludes so many couples.

When our co-founders, designers Anna Bario and Page Neal, started in the fine jewelry business, they knew they wanted to work to undermine the heteronormativity of the wedding industry. We’ve been rejecting stereotypes ever since.

One direct action we take: We make everyone — whether you are a same-sex couple, trans, non-binary, or whatever your gender identity, whoever you’re marrying —  feel at home in our showrooms in Philadelphia and New York City, whether you’re doing some early browsing, have a million questions about engagement rings, or are in a rush to make a purchase. We take this as seriously as we do the ethical sourcing and mining of gemstones and metals.

As we celebrate Pride Month and mark the third anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage in all 50 states, we know that fight’s not finished. We also are certain that inclusiveness benefits every person. Studies show that more equality is good for society as a whole, but we see this as a no-brainer. In the world of weddings, for sure the old wedding do’s and don’ts won’t fit many couples whatever their orientation. Here, six ways we’re crossing them all out.

1. We never make assumptions about your partner.

When you call, visit, or email Bario Neal’s showrooms in New York City or Philadelphia to talk engagement or wedding rings, we welcome you to tell us about your relationship and why you’re shopping. You might visit with a partner, a friend, or a parent. We don’t assume anything about gender, orientation, or age and we look to clients for cues about what a wedding ring means to you and whoever you’re marrying. Our team doesn’t use the word “bride” or “groom” — but of course, we’re happy to have you refer to yourselves with any moniker you choose. We focus on getting to know YOU — who your partner is, which pronouns you prefer — and of course, we wanna know when and where the wedding will be, and if you’ve picked out your dessert. (We have lots of opinions on cake.) We may even be able to connect you with an officiant or photographer you’ll love. Everyone deserves to be who they are and experience enthusiasm for their proposal planning or their big day. We want these moments to feel special for everyone who walks through our doors, regardless of age, orientation, or gender.

2. Our INCLUSIVE jewelry designs don’t have a gender.

For same-sex couples and heterosexual couples alike, we don’t subscribe to gendered jewelry. Pro-tip: Rings don’t have a gender. A subtle band of Fairmined gold. A vibrant cluster of gemstones. You’ll find our cases divided into sections like “Rings with Stones,” “Bands with Stones” and “Bands without Stones.” We want all of our clients to find the rings and bands they love and that have meaning to them. For us, that’s non-negotiable.

3. We don’t believe an engagement ring needs to be a surprise.

Whoever is doing the proposing (maybe you both are!), we love when partners come into our showrooms to shop together for engagement rings and wedding bands. Don’t get us wrong: Spontaneity gives us goosebumps too. If the two of you are into surprises, then we’re on board. However, we understand that buying a ring is a big choice.

There is a way to get the best of both worlds. There’s absolutely no reason that you have to have a ring for a proposal. One of our clients recently brought his partner into our Philadelphia showroom to begin custom designing a ring after they got engaged. He captured the upside perfectly: “Buying an engagement ring is a huge decision so why wouldn’t I want my partner there with me? In the end, we couldn’t be happier with the results, and I know I made the right choice by foregoing tradition and proposing without a ring.”

4. We don’t size up your wallet.

When you walk in our door, we’re not calculating how much money you have, or how much you can or will spend. Yes, we’re aware of the jewelry-industry-fueled myth that you should spend two to three months’ salary on an engagement ring. We just have no time at all for it, and we stay true to our principles by designing affordable rings. Our mission is to make jewelry of lasting value, and we know it can be awkward to ask about prices and talk about budget. We always aim to make visitors to our showrooms comfortable enough so we can talk about cost plainly and presumption-free. Once we have your budget, we stick to it, and we won’t push any rings on you that don’t fit your budget. Seriously, who does that? Rude!

5. The word “upsell” makes a cringe.

When it comes to engagement rings and wedding bands, we want you to be free from rules. You might not be interested in an “official” engagement ring. You might love to have an engagement ring but pass on wedding bands. We’re not going to try to sell you more rings, bigger stones, “care packages,” or anything you don’t want.

6. We won’t sell you on a diamond if you don’t want one.

We’ve made countless beautiful engagement rings without even so much as a glance at a diamond. First, there are so many other gemstones to embrace. There’s also that still a diamond but not the traditional one: champagne diamonds. We’ve made scores of “nontraditional” custom engagement rings over the years, and we love all their stories.

A belief in the right to love and marry whomever and however you choose is one of the core principles of Bario Neal’s jewelry. That’s reflected in our designs and in our showrooms. Stop into a New York City or Philadelphia shop today to see how “at home” you can feel while shopping for jewelry.

 

 

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.)

section3

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.

 

de-beers-diamond-engagement-ring-1

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.


2017_White_Sapphires_Mixed_Gemstones-H-4622

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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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


Dream 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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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!