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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 76 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

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Jewelry Insurance Startup Firm Raises $2M

The founder is a third-generation jeweler.

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BriteCo, a jewelry-insurance startup company, announced a $2 million seed round.

The round’s investors include Brian Spaly, the founder of Trunk Club; and Jeff Taylor, the former chairman and CEO at Cole Taylor Bank.

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The firm provides verified appraisals and immediate replacement coverage by HDI global, an A-rated insurance carrier, according to a press release.

“As a third-generation jeweler, my family and I have a long history delighting customers and helping them celebrate moments of joy in their lives,” said Dustin Lemick, BriteCo founder and CEO.

“But the jewelry buyer is changing rapidly. Millennials now represent the largest jewelry buying demographic, and their expectations are different from those of prior generations. BriteCo helps jewelers by providing them with the optimal blend of online convenience and personal attention.”

Lemick and his family have owned and operated retail jewelry locations in the Chicagoland area for over 60 years.

BriteCo explains that its coverage has no deductible, automatically updates protection each year using advanced price analytics and predictive models, and offers a streamlined claims experience. It also “offers an easy to use, cloud-based Appraisal Management System (AMS) that is faster and more accurate than the jewelry industry’s traditional manual processes,” according to the release.

“What Dustin and his team have accomplished in such a short period of time is amazing,” said Jeff Taylor, one of the company’s investors. “Getting BriteCo licensed in virtually every state before officially launching is a testament to their hard work and the professionalism with which they’re approaching this big challenge.

“I’m excited to be a part of their push to modernize the jewelry insurance and appraisal process and to help millions of people across the US protect their most valuable possessions.”

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Fugitive Jeweler Arrested in $2B Fraud Case

India is seeking to extradite him.

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Nirav Modi, the billionaire jeweler who’s suspected in a $2 billion fraud case in India, has been arrested in London, The Telegraph reports.

He was arrested on behalf of Indian authorities, and he appeared Westminster Magistrates’ Court to fight extradition to India, according to the newspaper.

In court, he “spoke only to confirm his details and to refuse to submit to extradition” related to embezzlement allegations, The Telegraph reports.

He’s due in court again on March 29.

Modi had been staying in a high-dollar apartment in London’s West End, according to the newspaper.

Last year, The New York Times described Modi as being “on the run” and noted that figuring out his location had become something of a “national pastime” in India.

He remained at-large despite Interpol’s issuance of a reed notice for his arrest in July, according to The Telegraph.

Modi is at the center of a fraud case involving Punjab National Bank, where employees are “suspected to have steered fraudulent loans” to Modi’s businesses, Reuters has reported.

Modi has apparently been involved in a new new diamond business in the UK, according to The Telegraph.

Read more at The Telegraph

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This 13-Carat Pink Diamond Just Sold for $8.7M+

The sale represents a dollar-per-carat price of $656,933.

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Gem Diamonds Ltd. announced that a 13.33 carat pink diamond recovered at the Letšeng mine in February has been sold for $8.75 million.

The sale represents a dollar-per-carat price of $656,933.

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That’s a record for a Letšeng diamond, according to a press release from Gem. The company owns both the Letšeng diamond mine in Lesotho and the Ghaghoo mine in Botswana.

The diamond sold on tender in Antwerp. Gem did not reveal the identity of the buyer.

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Yahoo Finance reports that Gem mined about 127,000 carats of diamonds last year.

That amounts to under 1 percent of the worldwide total, making the company a relatively small player compared to industry titans such as Alrosa and De Beers.

 

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