I had been on a jewelry kick for quite some time and with the advent of a milestone birthday, lots of accomplishments and life changes I wanted something with meaning. Splurging on expensive handbags or solo vacations like I did in the past were certainly options, but given where I was in life it felt necessary to get something timeless. I decided to purchase jewelry for myself but not just any jewelry would do. It needed to be real (sorry Claire’s) and it needed to be ethically sourced.
My frantic search for ethical jewelry was a quick one once I stopped by Bario Neal’s Lower East Side showroom to see the collection up close. Bario Neal was founded in 2008 in Philadelphia by Anna Bario and Paige Neal who set out to source and design ethical pieces for the milestones in our lives. Still based in Philadelphia, the duo work with a team of local craftsmen and artisans on Jeweler’s Row for most requests which are customized. The materials in their work consist of either fair mined or recycled metals, antique diamonds or diamonds from Canada, Namibia or Australia which are conflict-free, and ethically sourced gemstones like Zambian emeralds, Montana sapphires and Anthill garnets.
When describing why she and Bario are meticulous when it comes to sourcing gemstones and metals, Neal says “we wanted to feel good about our jewelry’s origins.” The history of mining gemstones and diamonds in harsh conditions that violate basic human rights is long, complex and tumultuous. Every stone regardless of size and piece of metal is accounted for using the founders’ rigorous standards that surpass the industry’s Kimberely Process. With customizable options and an average lead time of 6 weeks for rings I was ready to buy. I just needed to narrow down from my list of favorite pieces below.
Photo Credit: Bario Neal
700 S. 6th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
195 Chrystie St. #900-A
New York, NY 10012
By Appointment Only