*This is a paid post from an APW Sponsor*
I haven’t always had the easiest time shopping for ethical jewelry. (I know. I’m sorry!) I want so much to like it, and I appreciate sustainable jewelry in practice, but a lot of ethically produced wedding jewelry is just… not my cup of tea. (My tastes run a little shiny, so shoot me.) But if you gave me a few thousand dollars, I could clear out Bario-Neal’s stock in half an hour.
Bario-Neal’s designs are pretty much the best. They’re organic without being crunchy, and blingy without being blinding. Bario-Neal is also leading the game in ethical engagement rings and jewelry you can generally feel good about purchasing, making them the no brainer choice for my next piece of important jewelry (Michael has it on good authority that I’d like this ring for our ten year wedding anniversary… in five years. A girl can dream.)
From start to finish, shopping at Bario-Neal is the exact opposite of everything you’re expecting out of wedding shopping. Bario-Neal employee Roxana told us:
A lot of our customers say that they like the personal and stress-free experience they have here. I feel like, being a small business, we have the opportunity to make personal connections with our customers. When I first started working here and had a question about a certain ring or project, I was amazed that the staff members knew pretty much each project by name, just by looking at the ring.
For as long as I can remember, Bario-Neal has boasted ethically sourced stones for all of their rings. And today I am excited to announce that Bario-Neal is now certified to offer eighteen carat Fairmined gold, expanding their ethical sourcing beyond just diamonds and gemstones. Fairmined gold ensures that miners
- have developed democratic and accountable organizations and have formalized all of their operations;
- are using safe working practices including the management of toxic chemicals, such as mercury and cyanide, used in the gold recovery process—and are working to reduce the use of these chemicals;
- are respectful with their environment;
- recognize the rights of women miners;
- do not allow child labor in their operations (no one under fifteen years old may be contracted to work in the mining organization and those under eighteen must not work in potentially hazardous or dangerous conditions);
- receive a guaranteed Fair Trade Minimum Price set at ninety-five percent of the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) fixing;
- receive a Fair Trade premium payment (calculated at ten percent of the LBMA fixing), which gets democratically reinvested in community projects and improving miners’ operations; and
- receive an even higher premium (fifteen percent) for Ecological Gold (extracted without the use of chemicals).
For all that they make shiny hard edged jewelry, Bario-Neal is a warm fuzzy operation. (Did you know they are a women-owned company? Founders Anna Bario and Page Neal started the company in 2007.) Their support for marriage equality is part of their mission statement. They believe in environmental responsibility and are committed to using low-impact environmental practices. They even have a friendly shop dog in their Philadelphia location. (Their shop dog is named Kemba and you can hear him howl whenever an ice cream truck rolls by.)
But mostly, Bario-Neal is just a flat out great team to work with. They’ll make your shopping experience awesome, and you’ll have beautiful, personal jewelry as a result. (Psst…have you seen their custom work? I mean.) They say:
We know that buying engagement rings and weddings bands can be intimidating, but we believe in having a relaxed, personal experience when it comes to these things. We can work with you from anywhere! We’ve made custom engagement rings and bands for people from all over the world.
Bario-Neal has worked with APW since way (way, way) back. Meg swears by their work, and wears one of their bracelets incessantly. And years of APW readers have told us how happy they are with their Bario-Neal rings, and what a joy they were to work with. And the jewelry? Well. It speaks for itself.