Press Release: AGTA & Rio Grande Partnership

Tucson, Ariz. – Jan. 30, 2023 – AGTA (the American Gem Trade Association) and Rio Grande Jewelry Supply, a Berkshire Hathaway company, have begun a strategic collaboration based on shared industry values and goals.

“I am excited about AGTA’s momentous alignment with Rio Grande . . . AGTA-sourced gemstones will be available to Rio’s thousands of wholesale customers and the millions of consumers they serve,” said John W. Ford Sr., CEO of AGTA.

“AGTA has been the trusted source for colored gemstones and cultured pearls and the authority on ethical practices within the jewelry trade for over 40 years,” said Kimberly Collins, President of AGTA. “We see our new strategic relationship with Rio Grande as an opportunity to expand the knowledge and demand for ethically sourced and properly disclosed gemstones. Our goal is to offer Rio Grande customers the finest gemstones and the peace of mind an AGTA-sourced gemstone represents.”

Beginning in 2023, Rio Grande will fulfill AGTA’s founding vision by offering their customers an expanded selection of ethically sourced gemstones. AGTA will support the Rio Grande client base by promoting education, disclosures, and industry standards to help jewelers perfect their craft.

“Building on our core principles, we look forward to working closely with AGTA and its members, increasing supply chain transparency and deepening the trust Rio’s customers can have in the conscientious sourcing of precious gemstones,” said Arien Gessner, President of Rio Grande. “This relationship with AGTA gives us the opportunity to collaborate on our shared commitment to responsible sourcing,” said Becky Scheffler, Merchandising Manager at Rio Grande.

Strengthening the organizations’ mutual aspirations, Rio Grande will promote AGTA branded gemstones, prioritize the association’s vendors, and encourage AGTA membership among its suppliers in the United States and Canada. AGTA will offer Rio Grande’s retail jeweler clients exclusive membership opportunities.

For more information, email [email protected].

The American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) is a not‐for‐profit association serving the colored gemstone and cultured Pearl industry since 1981. Headquartered in Dallas, members are trade professionals based in the U.S. and Canada, and AGTA is widely regarded as “The Authority in Color.” AGTA’s activities include organizing educational programs, trade shows, and printed materials and maintaining strong relationships with government officials and other jewelry trade groups. AGTA is committed to upholding the highest ethical standards and practices.

Rio Grande, a Berkshire Hathaway company, exists to support jewelry artisans, designers, retail professionals, manufacturers, and educators. Founded by bench jeweler Saul Bell on historic Route 66, we have been part of the Albuquerque, New Mexico community since 1944. Today, Rio Grande is one of the jewelry industry’s largest wholesale suppliers. We manufacture, source, and distribute tools and equipment, gemstones, metals, findings and more. Offering unmatched support from our Jewelry Tech Team, exemplary service, educational resources, and programs like RioPro and Rio for Schools, we nurture businesses and support the industry’s next generation.