A new jewelry store which creates ethically sourced, custom made rings, bands, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets has opened at 155 Grand Street. I spoke with one of the owners, Page Neal, to learn more about her store, Bario Neal Jewelry.
What was the inspiration for Bario Neal Jewelry?
I started Bario Neal with my good friend Anna Bario in 2008 with the shared idea that our most precious things come with a story. We’re honored to make objects that represent deeply felt experiences, loves, and losses — armor, glitter, vessels for meaning and value.
Jewelry allowed us to unite our creative, social, and environmental passions. It’s a gift to work with materials rarely treated as waste, materials from the earth with an infinite lifespan. Like gemstones, the cosmic-level pieces of planetary history formed into existence over centuries, long before we held them. These natural elements add a miraculous depth to what we make.
While we were drawn to the imaginative possibilities of jewelry, we were disillusioned by industry standards that turned a blind eye to the harmful, widespread effects of mining. So, before we launched, we committed to doing things better — for the earth, the people and communities within the supply chain, our customers, and in turn, our business.
Today, we’re an industry leader in ethical sourcing and mindful production. Our jewelry reflects individualism, gender and marriage equality, and conscious values rooted in ethical origin from mine to market.
I noticed this theme throughout your website and it’s lovely – “A belief in the right to love and marry whoever and however you choose is one of the core principles of Bario Neal’s jewelry.” – Can you expand on this? Was this part of the inspiration?
We make jewelry for everyone and any occasion, marriage and beyond. We don’t prescribe to the heteronormative ideals predominant in the jewelry industry — the right to love who you choose is one of our founding beliefs. Our design ethos is gender-neutral and size-inclusive, and we love working with customers to create pieces that celebrate and reflect their identity and experience.
What is the process for creating a custom ring?
Our Custom process lets us work with you on a one-of-a-kind design, whether you’re starting from scratch or have a specific vision, want to update an heirloom or create a new one, or are interested in personalizing a piece from our collection.
We strive to be accessible to a range of budgets and styles. To pursue a custom project, book an appointment in either our Brooklyn or Philadelphia showroom or start on-line by filling out our Custom Design Questionnaire.
Do you typically provide the stones or do customers bring in stones as well?
It really depends on the project and what you would like! We can either source stone from one of our trusted suppliers, work with your heirloom stones or do a combination of the two.
On ethics and environment: Why was publishing a sustainability report important to you?
We want clients to be assured that we are doing our best to ethically source our materials, promote transparency, and be a leader for sustainably within the jewelry industry.
Our biannual sustainability report demonstrates how much we push ourselves to evolve and do better each year.
What do you wish more people would know about the jewelry industry?
I think it’s important for customers to educate themselves about the negative environmental and human impacts of mining precious metals and gemstones so that they can ask the right questions when shopping for jewelry. It’s really not enough for a jeweler to say that their work is ethically sourced. The jeweler needs to provide more specifics of where their stones come from, where the stones were cut, and the origins of their metals. The Bario Neal website and blog is a great resource for learning more about these issues.
Bario Neal Jewelry also hosts community events. Most recently, they had a night of kids music featuring the talents of Mister John’s Music. Keep an eye out for more events such as this!