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Jewelry Supplier Rio Grande Names President

He’ll take over in early 2020.

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Arien Gessner succeeds Alan Bell as president of Rio Grande.

ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Rio Grande Inc. announced that its board of directors has appointed Arien Gessner to succeed Alan Bell as president of the business, a division of Richline Group. Gessner is a current member of the board and vice president of sales and marketing.

Since joining the company, Gessner has led innovation and projects related to Rio Grande’s marketing and sales efforts, including the popular RioPro program.

“Having worked with Arien for over five years, I am very confident that he is the right person to lead Rio Grande into the future while protecting the culture and core values that are so much a part of Rio Grande’s DNA,” said Bell. Gessner will work alongside Bell for the remainder of 2019 and will assume the helm in early 2020.

“Arien is a proven leader with business vision and the ability to bring people together. His vision and energy will be invaluable to our leadership team and our company as we continue our next chapters of product innovation and legendary customer service,” said Molly Bell, executive vice president.

“The entire leadership team participated in a thoughtful approach in determining Alan’s successor, a careful process that our customers, partners and employees expected and deserved. As Alan plans for retirement in 2020 and I am just a few years behind him, Arien’s transition to this role provides a sound and exciting long-term plan for the future,” Molly Bell said.

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Rio Grande’s executive team also includes Danny Cox, Mike Quinn, Nora Kennedy and Mark Weber.

Founded in 1944 by Saul Bell, Rio Grande is a supplier serving jewelers worldwide.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

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Failed Fashion Jewelry Chain Is Coming Back

It will operate primarily as an online brand.

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Jewelry and accessories retailer Charming Charlie may have gone bankrupt and closed its 261 stores, but you can expect to see the brand resurface in coming months.

Charlie Chanaratsopon, founder of the company, is acquiring its trademarks, internet properties and other intellectual property for about $1.23 million, the Houston Chronicle reports. He was approved to buy the assets following a bankruptcy auction.

He plans to revive Charming Charlie as primarily an online brand. It will have only a few permanent brick-and-mortar stores, which will open early next year.

The company’s main advantage is its 10-million-strong customer base, said Chanaratsopon, former CEO of Charming Charlie.

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“In this age of retail, we still see an opportunity for the brand to thrive in the online ecosystem,” he said, according to the Chronicle.

The company said in July that it was closing all of its stores in connection with its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed July 11.

Read more at the the Houston Chronicle

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Online Jewelry Brand Raises $6.2M in Funding

Ross-Simons has taken a majority stake.

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CRANSTON, RI — Luca + Danni Inc., a online jewelry brand based in Rhode Island, has closed on $6.2 million in funding, with Ross-Simons Inc. becaming the majority investor in the deal.

PJC, a Boston-based VC Fund and early investor in Luca + Danni, will retain a stake in the company.

The investments “create a powerful partnership between an iconic jewelry company and three-year-old digital brand,” according to a Luca + Danni press release.

Fred Magnanimi, founder of Luca + Danni, will remain as CEO and board member.

“I started this brand to honor my family’s 50+ year heritage in US made handcrafted jewelry and help others embrace the journey of life as I learned to do after losing my brother to leukemia,” said Magnanimi. “With the amazing resources and strategic support of Ross-Simons and PJC, I am confident we will help millions embrace their own journey and continue to build our community.”

Ross-Simons, also based in Rhode Island, has a long history in retail and direct-to-consumer jewelry sales.

“Luca + Danni is a digitally native brand rapidly taking market share in the jewelry space,” said Jim Speltz, president of Ross-Simons. “Our resources, product expertise, and go-to-market experience matched with Luca + Danni’s powerful brand will foster meaningful growth in the evolving e-commerce world.”

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She Woke Up Without Her Engagement Ring. Guess Where Doctors Found It …

It all started with a dream. (Story with video.)

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A San Diego woman woke up without her engagement ring, and she immediately remembered a dream she’d had the night before.

One where she’d swallowed her engagement ring.

Jenna Evans immediately told her fiance, Bob Howell, and they headed to urgent care. She told the story in a Facebook post that has gone viral, garnering 62,000 shares as of Sept. 16.

She ended up seeing a gastroenterologist, who performed an upper endoscopy.

“Everything went great, they found my ring just beyond my stomach in my intestines, retrieved it and gave it to Bobby, not me,” she wrote.

She also divulged a bit about the dream that got her into the predicament.

“I was having a dream that Bobby and I were in a very sketchy situation involving a high speed train and bad guys (I have very exciting and vivid dreams) and he told me I had to swallow my ring to protect it; so I popped that sucker off, put it in my mouth and swallowed it with a glass of water riiiight about the time I realized what I was doing,” she explained. “I assumed this too was a dream, because WHO ACTUALLY SWALLOWS THEIR ENGAGEMENT RING, so I went back to sleep.”

The ring was made by Simone Jewelry Designs in Houston. CBS8 reports that it includes a 2.4 carat diamond.

Watch a news video about the incident:

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