Well friends, it’s about time we put the spotlight on our A-List vendor Bario Neal. They have some of the most beautiful, unique engagement rings and jewelry that you’ll die for. Who doesn’t want to peruse a few sparkling rings anyway? Wedding jewelry is so special that it only makes sense you’d want to know the story behind each piece and it’s so nice to know that Bario Neal is handcrafted in the US with sustainability in mind. We’ve got a Q&A for you to learn a bit more about their materials and process, not to mention a giveaway you won’t want to miss.
The Aquamarine Halo Ring is simply mesmerizing, isn’t it?
Q: What is the difference between a recycled diamond and an ethically sourced diamond? What are the benefits of each?
A: The diamond mining industry has a dark and complicated history, rife with human rights abuses, environmental destruction, community displacement, and economic exploitation. The benefit of choosing a recycled diamond is simple: no new mining needs to occur for you to acquire your stone. Recycled diamonds are cleaned and re-graded, so (outside of the third party auditing that assures their recycled nature), there is no visual difference between a contemporary recycled or newly mined diamond. Antique recycled diamonds, like European and Old Mine cuts, are also available. The major issue with recycled diamonds is that they are not traceable.
However, an ethically-sourced stone from Namibia, for example, is traceable while supporting small-scale mining communities who are given a fair wage. Our Namibian diamonds also support economic development in a country where 2 million people depend on the mining industry. Since they are ethically sourced, they cost bit more than recycled diamonds.
Q: What is the difference between Fairmined and Fair Trade gold? What about recycled metals?
A: Fairmined gold is a label that assures gold is coming from responsible and empowered artisanal and small-scale mining communities. The label Fairmined is similar to Fair Trade and with a specific focus miner’s rights. The mining community receives a fair price and premium for the gold in exchange for meeting the strict Fairmined standards for health, labor, and environmental impact. Premiums placed in Fairmined gold are democratically reinvested into the community, going toward social development and other projects that improve efficiency and environmental protection at the mines, like a new high school for the community surrounding the Aurelsa mine in Peru.
Fairmined.com has a very informative infographic and is a great resource in general.
Recycled metal have the same pros of a recycled diamond in that no new mining has occurred in an industry with a complicated history. The recycled metals that Bario Neal uses come from a variety of sources- old jewelry and jewelry workshop scraps, electronics recycling, and photo processing. Another important point to mention is that our 100% recycled precious metals are refined at LEED certified facilities with closed-loop water supplies; the energy and water use is a big part of the environmental impact of metals recycling.
Q: My grandmother left me her engagement ring, but the design is not for me. Can I use this sentimental stone in your jewelry?
A: Absolutely. We understand the sentimental value of heirloom jewelry and will work with you to use the stone in jewelry in our collection or in a specially custom piece.
The blue-green sapphire Myrtle Ring is one of many non-diamond options…
Q: I’m looking for a non-diamond engagement ring, what can you tell me about my options?
A: There are many options for a traceable non-diamond engagement ring. Sapphires for one come in many colors, including yellow, orange, blue, and even clear. Zultanite is an ethically sourced stone from Turkey with a greenish hue that looks perfect in a gold setting. Other options include aquamarines, rubies, tourmalines, and garnets, just to name a few.
If a traditional diamond is not for you, but you still want a diamond, you might look at rough diamonds which come in many unique shapes and forms (macles, octahedrons, cubes), or champagne diamonds for a tinge of color.
Q: I’m looking for wedding bands, but nothing seems to sit flush against my engagement ring. Do you have any solutions for this?
A: Many customers come to us for custom curved bands for to go with their engagement rings. We’ve made custom curved bands with stones, without stones, with engraving, etc. We also have two bands with subtle curves in our collection: The Milla Curved Band and the Milla Curved with Diamonds. We also have bands whose natural form contours with a variety of engagement rings, like our Reticulated One Band with Diamond (or without diamond), or Reticulated 2 Band.
Big thanks to Bario Neal for sharing more about their work. Now, onto the giveaway!