At Rio, we believe in jewelers. In the digital age, perhaps this is a radical idea. But we remain committed to supporting anyone who has ever picked up a piece of metal and made something wearable. We exist to support the bench jeweler, the jewelry designer, the retail jeweler and the jewelry manufacturer. We stand for makers who create with their hands and their hearts and who are courageous enough to make jewelry their livelihood.
Why do we choose to work this way? Because we know that the work you do is important. After all, jewelry is more than fashion. It is art. It is history. It is a story. The pieces you make become heirlooms that transcend time. They capture stories and encapsulate them in metal. We work as a behind-the-scenes character in your own story as a jeweler, and we are proud to support you, your work and your business in every way we can. Follow #RioJeweler on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for stories from the Rio jeweler community.
We serve jewelers, metalsmiths, and artisans. We make their lives easier and more fun with innovative solutions, great service and know-how.
Our customers cover the spectrum from manufacturers and award-winning designers to students and hobbyists. They're innovative, driven, creative, passionate, obsessed, focused, proud, ambitious, professional and, like all of us here, utterly passionate about creating jewelry.
Our job? To spoil them in every way so that they can keep working, innovating, creating and building their businesses.
How do we do it? Our expert purchasing teams select every one of our 30,000+ products to keep our customers creating! Our customer service teams are the friendliest and most knowledgeable in the business. They get our customers answers. And if our customer representatives don't have the answer, our Technical Support team will—or will know just where to find it. With more than a century of combined jewelry-making experience, they provide an unrivaled level of information, support and advice. Dozens of teams make up the Rio family—from Shipping and Manufacturing to Information Systems and Marketing—and we all work together every day with the same vision Saul Bell began with all those decades ago.
It all began on old Route 66.
Our founder, Saul Bell, arrived in Albuquerque with his new bride, Olive, on one arm and his satchel of goldsmithing tools on the other. The year was 1937 and the wide, open spaces and turquoise-blue skies of the American west fired his imagination. In 1944, an opportunity arose for him to purchase the White Eagle Trading Post, located along Route 66. He ran White Eagle as his primary business while he launched Rio Grande as a wholesale supplier—first to the jewelers in and around Albuquerque and then, as time went by, to those throughout New Mexico and the southwest.
Saul delighted in sharing the old-world skills he had learned as his uncle's apprentice and then honed over years of experience—and he focused on doing just that: sharing know-how and serving jewelers. In teaching, collaborating with and supporting his customers, he built strong personal relationships that kept his business growing and his customers loyal.
Through the war years, when silver was scarce, Saul managed to keep his doors open, helping local silversmiths to continue their work. He extended credit to craftsmen who wouldn't otherwise have been able to acquire the materials they needed during such hard times. His strong belief in people, coupled with a passion for sharing his knowledge with anyone who asked, served the community well; his reputation grew for being a fair and honorable businessman as well as a trusted friend. In 1954, having outgrown the back room of the trading post, Saul moved Rio Grande into larger quarters—the first of several moves that would accommodate the growth of the business over the years.
Today, Arien Gessner (President) and Saul's daughter Molly Bell (Executive Vice President) serve the company along with Danny Cox (Vice President of Finance), Mike Quinn (Vice President of Manufacturing), Mark Weber (Vice President of Sales and Marketing), Nora Kennedy (Vice President of Leadership Development) and a team of business directors. The leadership team and 400-plus associates collaborate in a highly evolved approach to participative management, and strive to work in as flat a hierarchy as possible. The company is principle-based, rather than rule-based, and operates within a framework of 15 principles that have been developed over the years and continue to serve as the foundation for all business and interpersonal decisions.
The value Saul placed on sharing his knowledge with others continues, too, through Santa Fe Symposium®. This not-for-profit event, co-founded by Eddie Bell and held once a year, provides a forum in which jewelers gather to share information, build their professional (and personal) networks and gain knowledge that helps them manage their businesses more successfully. The vision Saul Bell had so long ago of helping others to learn and succeed, and the legacy he built of high standards and excellence, continues to thrive.
Today the Rio Grande vision remains much as it was when Saul founded the company, with customer service, support and satisfaction the basis for all business conduct. It permeates every space of our 180,000-square-foot, solar-powered facility and inspires every associate.
Our Principles have guided our decisions and interactions for decades. Developed to honor the foundations laid by our founder and built upon by our leadership members and associates, these 15 statements continue to guide us every day. Following our Principles rather than hard-and-fast rules allows us to be flexible and creative, free to apply our experience and know-how in meeting each customer's specific need within a thoughtful, consistent framework.
Honoring our Principles means that, in every instance, we are doing the right thing in the right way to achieve the most accurate and satisfying result for us and for our customers—whether we are interacting with a customer, with a fellow associate, or just doing our jobs the best way possible for the good of the company—without the constraint or fear of breaking rules.
Rio depends heavily on the natural environment for the raw materials our business needs. We believe this dependence carries a responsibility to be a good steward of these resources, and we take that responsibility seriously. In a variety of ways, we strive to minimize any negative impact to the environment and its resources, and we actively work to have a positive influence on the world around us. In doing so, and by passing along this information, we also help our customers be mindful of where their materials come from, and how they can in turn minimize their own environmental footprints to the extent they wish.
To learn more about the ways we work to make a global difference to jewelers, visit our page on Environmentally Responsible Jewelry-Making.