Tell us about Bario Neal, how long have you been established and who is behind the brand?
Bario Neal was created by me, Anna Bario and Page Neal with the shared idea that our most precious things come with a story. Drawn to the imaginative possibilities of jewelry, yet disillusioned by industry standards that turned a blind eye to metal and gemstone mining’s environmental and human tolls, we began to envision how to make jewelry of lasting value and ethical origins.
What sets the Bario Neal brand apart, and what do your clients come to you for?
BN is design-focused, handmade, and ethically-sourced. And our clients access those skills and that knowledge when they come to us for collection pieces or standout custom designs. They can also see much of the work being made – our jewelers work in an open workshop in of Philadelphia flagship store.
Ethical Origins is a large part of your business, tell us a bit about this and how it impacts your design process?
To us, creating objects of lasting value means understanding their full impact + origins: the places the raw materials come from, all the hands that touch the materials and the jewelry as it’s made.
We are dedicated to purchasing stones that can be traced to ethical mines and cutting facilities. Knowing your stone’s origin is one of the most important factors in determining its true value. Our precious metals are all either Fairmined or 100% Recycled.
Our design process is very much design-focused – we start with the aesthetics, then the craft and functionality. Then we work out how to make it responsibly. That can mean researching new sources, new materials, or custom cutting gemstones.
Where do you find inspiration to keep your designs creative and unique?
I recently read this book about Wabi Sabi – I like thinking about the element of imperfection that humanizes modern design.
What have been some of your favourite commitment pieces to create, and why?
The Hex Sapphire Cluster Ring was kind of a dream to design. The pattern of stones just flows from the Hex sapphire. And the band has the softer lines and texture that balance the geometry of the Hex.
Do you have a favourite metal or stone?
I love yellow gold. It feels ancient, bright and warm. I am pretty awestruck by sapphires – there’s the range of colors -white, yellow, orange, pink, red/ruby, blue, green, purple. It’s wild. They are so durable, we can work with them in slices, rose-cuts, and really interesting custom cuts.