Tag Archives: Richline Group

Richline Group Brings its Lab-Grown Diamond to JCPenney

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Richline Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, today announced its new jewelry brand, Grown with Love, is now available inside select JCPenney fine jewelry departments and at JCPenney.com.

Richline Group is touting the product as conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, Grown with Love is aimed at ethically-minded shoppers that still want diamond jewelry or an engagement ring.

“By partnering with JCPenney, a leading retailer with one of the most renowned fine jewelry departments in the industry, we’ll be able to introduce Grown with Love to shoppers across the country,” said Michael Milgrom, Senior Vice President, Product of Richline Group. “By choosing a lab-grown diamond, future bridal and fashion customers now have a new, conscious choice, and can get a larger or higher quality stone for the same price. And with the most popular season for proposals – and shopping – just around the corner, this partnership is destined to shine.”

As the name implies, these diamonds are grown in a lab and are chemically, physically and optically identical to mined diamonds. The stones are, by nature, conflict-free and made with clean technology. Lab-grown diamonds follow the same grading standards as mined diamonds and are evaluated based on cut, color, carat and clarity. Now, customers have a fifth “c” to consider when purchasing a diamond – choice.

Grown with Love features a curated collection of bridal jewelry including solitaire and halo engagement rings, wedding bands and bridal sets as well as a small selection of non-bridal items including diamond earrings and necklaces. All diamonds in the Grown with Love line are certified by the International Gemological Institute, which uses a scientific system to evaluate a diamond’s cut and then issues a certificate documenting the characteristics of the stone. The fine jewelry professionals at JCPenney will receive dedicated diamond training on the integrity, grading and analysis of these precious lab-grown stones. Sale prices for this collection range from $500 to $10,000.

“By bringing Grown with Love into the JCPenney fine jewelry department, we are filling a void in our assortment for lab-grown diamonds. These unique diamonds are growing in popularity and by offering her this option for bridal jewelry, we are appealing to a new customer base,” said Pam Mortensen, senior vice president of merchandising for JCPenney. “Grown with Love fits nicely within our larger Modern Bride concept that offers today’s bridal customer an expansive assortment of engagement jewelry for any budget.”

Shoppers will find Grown with Love displayed in all-new vignettes within the JCPenney fine jewelry department along with new signage and graphics to educate customers about the difference between lab-grown and mined diamonds. Grown with Love will be promoted via JCPenney direct mail, email, social and digital marketing channels.

© 2018 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Dave Meleski Promoted to CEO of Richline Group

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Richline Group is announcing the retirement of Dennis Ulrich after almost 11 years as CEO of the Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary.

Dave Meleski, current President of the Richline Group, will assume the role of CEO.

From Dennis’s letter to employees and friends, “It is with both pride and excitement, I wanted to let you know that I will be retiring this year. It has been a wonderful 45 years for me in the jewelry industry, sharing all the experiences, with my wife Liz, both my kids and all my associates. I am leaving Richline in the very capable hands of Dave Meleski. Dave and I have worked very closely, in all aspects of the business, and I am confident his leadership will bring Richline to many new and exciting successes in the future.”

In 2007, Ulrich’s Bel-Oro and Meleski’s Aurafin, were sold to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Under the leadership of Dennis (CEO) and Dave Meleski (President), the company expanded the Richline brand from gold jewelry business into the diamond, gemstone, and pearl categories. Richline has also grown to include business units that manufacture raw materials, findings, and supply packaging, and tools to over 150,000 customers. This also includes patented products used to pierce over 250 million earlobes around the world.

All Richline business units are supported by vertical, global sourcing, manufacturing and sales facilities, each fully compliant to the highest world standards. The Richline family today is over 3,000 valued associates around the globe.

Dave Meleski stated, “I have enjoyed the past 11 years working in partnership with Dennis to create a business that we, our employees, and Berkshire shareholders can be proud of every day. The path that Dennis has forged will be one that I look forward to continue.”

© 2018 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Two Berkshire Companies in Consortium of Jewelry Industry Leaders’ Global Blockchain Initiative

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Two Berkshire Hathaway companies, Helzberg Diamonds and Richline Group, Inc., have joined a consortium of gold and diamond industry leaders for the first cross-industry initiative to use blockchain to trace the provenance of finished pieces of jewelry across the supply chain for increased transparency.

Helzberg Diamonds (U.S. jewelry retailer), LeachGarner (precious metals supplier), The Richline Group (global jewelry manufacturer), Asahi Refining (precious metals refiner), and UL (independent, third party verification) are launching the TrustChainTM Initiative, powered by the IBM Blockchain Platform, delivered via the IBM Cloud.

“This initiative is important for our industry as we seek to raise the collective responsibility and provenance practices to new heights. TrustChain is the first blockchain of its kind within our industry, designed as a solution that marries IBM’s leading blockchain technology with responsible sourcing, verification and governance by third party organizations, led by UL as the administrator,” said Mark Hanna, Richline Group’s Chief Marketing Officer.

TrustChain is initially tracking six styles of diamond and gold engagement rings on the blockchain network. As the program continues to develop, TrustChain jewelry is expected to be accessible to consumers in participating retail stores by the end of 2018.

“Consumers care deeply about the quality and source of the jewelry they purchase,” said Bridget van Kralingen, IBM Senior Vice President, Global Industries, Platforms and Blockchain. “This is evidenced by the fact that 66 percent of consumers globally are willing to spend more to support sustainable brands. TrustChain is an example of how blockchain is transforming industries through transparency and viable new business models that specifically benefit the consumer.”

The TrustChain Initiative tracks and authenticates diamonds and precious metals through every stage of the supply chain as it becomes a piece of finished jewelry. It provides digital verification, physical product and process verification, and third-party oversight.

The collaboration’s goal is to instill trust in the origin and ethical sourcing of jewelry by bringing together a community of responsible and ethical organizations across the complex and multi-tiered jewelry supply chain.

Built by IBM Services on open source technology and based on the IBM Blockchain Platform and the Hyperledger Project, TrustChain uses distributed ledger technology that establishes a shared, immutable record of transactions that take place within a network and then enables permissioned parties access to trusted data in real time.

By applying the technology to digitize processes, a new form of command and consent is introduced into the flow of information, empowering those in the blockchain network to collaborate and establish a single shared view of information without compromising details, privacy or confidentiality.

For consumers, TrustChain establishes a trusted product with documented provenance and brings together quality assurance, social and environmental responsibility, and authenticity spanning the entire jewelry ecosystem – from miners, manufacturers, wholesale suppliers and retailers – on a single digital platform.

© 2018 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Richline Group Acquires International Jewelry Manufacturer

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Richline Group, a leading jewelry manufacturer and marketer, has acquired The Aaron Group. No terms of the acquisition were announced.

Since its founding as Samuel Aaron Jewelry in 1950, the Aaron Group has grown from its New York City roots to become a widely renowned, vertically integrated international jewelry manufacturer. Along the way, the Aaron Group has remained a true family business and, under the stewardship of third-generation leader Robert (Bobby) Kempler, has achieved stature as a major global force, with operations, factories, partnerships and hundreds of employees in New York, London, Mumbai, Hong Kong, and Guangzhou.

“We are extremely excited and energized about joining forces with The Aaron Group. The Aaron Group’s differentiated, prime-manufactured products will offer Richline’s retail partners a dramatic new range of options and increased value, while preserving the legacy of customer satisfaction that both companies prioritize,” said Dave Meleski, Richline Group’s President.

Richline’s CEO, Dennis Ulrich, said “this acquisition will allow The Aaron Group to continue as the leader of bridal, three-stone and fashion diamond and gemstone fine jewelry while leveraging Richline’s advanced capabilities across our entire jewelry value chain.”

Per Aaron Group President, Robert Kempler, “Richline Group support will enable The Aaron Group to grow faster, introduce new designs and collections more rapidly, and expand on our history of success by reaching a broader array of customers and markets. Our mutual goal is to anticipate, foster and drive positive change in our industry.”

About The Aaron Group

The Aaron Group is an international jewelry manufacturer with hundreds of employees in offices around the world. A firm believer in the power of jewelry to connect people, The Aaron Group has grown from its 1950 founding as a one-man shop to become globally recognized in the jewelry industry, with an unblemished reputation for quality, value, and commitment to the customer.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

After Berkshire Acquisition, Silpada Launches Revamped E-commerce Site

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Richline Group’s acquisition of the assets of jewelry designer Silpada has brought a new launch of the Silpada e-commerce site will come in time for Black Friday.

Richline Group announced the purchase of Silpada’s assets in late October.

The new website focuses on Silpada’s sterling silver jewelry, including never-before-seen pieces and best-selling legacy styles, in a direct-to-consumer model.

“We could not be more excited about this launch,” said Matt Nichols, Senior Vice President of Richline’s Digital division. “We’ve worked hard to craft a digital shopping experience that is worthy of Silpada’s dedicated fanbase and its beloved sterling silver designs. These fresh styles, as well as a new digital presence for Silpada are just the beginning. We look forward to building upon the extraordinary brand that the Kelly and Walsh families created.”

At launch, Silpada will unveil 40 entirely new designs. In addition to these new styles, silpada.com will bring back hundreds of customer favorites at permanently reduced prices. As the team at Richline Group develops the next line of Silpada jewelry, the site will host “The Sale Shop”, which offers exceptional last-chance values on legacy designs.

“Since acquiring Silpada in October, we’ve spent considerable time taking in feedback from passionate customers and representatives. Their insights have been invaluable as we work towards a new and inclusive direction for Silpada. We believe the new silpada.com is the right first step forward,” said Richline Group Chief Marketing Officer, Mark Hanna.

© 2016 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed

Richline Group Acquires Silpada Designs

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Richline Group, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, has acquired select assets of Silpada Designs, including the “Silpada” brand name, its jewelry designs and all sterling silver and fashion jewelry inventory.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

From its humble beginnings as a business founded by stay-at-home moms, Silpada saw stunning success, becoming the world’s largest home party seller of sterling silver jewelry. Over the past three years significant investments were made to keep Silpada operating as the company worked to enhance and evolve its business to remain relevant in an evolving market.

As it struggled, the company shut down its online business earlier this year.

Richline Group, a manufacturer and marketer of fine jewelry brands, will continue to produce and market the Silpada brand through new channels, focusing on Silpada’s sterling silver jewelry heritage.

While the Kelly and Walsh families will no longer be a part of Silpada moving forward, they are “extremely pleased that the Silpada brand will live on as a member of the Richline family of brands.”

“We see a tremendous opportunity to bring Silpada back to its creative roots. We plan to focus exclusively on these unique and accessible sterling silver designs that have clearly resonated with so many women across the world. We look forward to honoring the Silpada legacy while finding new ways to invigorate this unique and nationally-recognized brand”, said Richline Group CEO, Dennis Ulrich.

Going forward Richline plans to refocus the Silpada name around its sterling silver offerings. For the balance of 2016, Richline will continue serving Silpada’s loyal customer base with the core products Silpada is best known for, as well as a previously unreleased line of jewelry, as it refines a new direction forward for this national leader in silver jewelry.

In addition to ongoing retail sales for the brand, Richline will continue honoring the Silpada Lifetime Guarantee that was in place prior to June 1, 2016 for all qualified purchases until September 2017.

© 2016 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Richline Group Makes Third Acquisition This Year

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One of the most active of Berkshire Hathaway’s companies this year in regards to acquisitions is one of its lesser known. The Richline Group, a fine jewelry manufacturer and marketer, has acquired its third company in the last three months.

Richline has announced the acquisition of Viawear, an innovative wearables provider for jewelry brands.

In April, Richline acquired Gemvara, a leading online provider of customizable fine jewelry, In June, Richline announced the acquisition of John C. Nordt, a leading manufacturer and supplier of precious metal products to the jewelry industry.

The acquisition of Viawear continues Richline’s focus on wearable tech, which included launching the Wearable Style News Website, and partnering with Omate on the distribution of Omate’s Ungaro smart ring.

“The world has embraced wearables, and we intend to provide our customers with the right jewelry products that blend seamlessly with the latest technology. Viawear’s technology and designs compliment everything we’ve set out to achieve in the smart jewelry space,” said Joel Schechter of the Richline Group.

According to Richline, Viawear has developed a unique approach to filtering mobile notifications and delivering the most contextual wearable alerts. With Viawear, wearers can stay connected to their most important alerts, and eliminate the need to constantly checking to see if they missed something important.

“Our objective has always been to develop smart accessories that truly complements our wearer’s lifestyle. Blending Richline’s tremendous jewelry acumen with Viawear’s technology platform allows us to make this vision into a reality that can help drive the world of fine jewelry into the world of wearable technology,” said Ben Isaacson, Founder and CEO of Viawear.

Bolt-On Acquisitions Continue to Power Berkshire’s Growth

© 2016 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Richline Group Acquires Second Company in 30 Days

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Things are really hopping at Berkshire Hathaway’s jewelry retailing and manufacturing companies.

Less than a month after it announced the purchase of online jewelry retailer Gemvara, Berkshire Hathaway’s Richline Group has announced it will acquire John C. Nordt, a leading manufacturer and supplier of precious metal products to the jewelry industry.

The acquisition will be completed on June 1, 2016.

Nordt has what it calls a unique and proprietary process of hot extrusion for precious metals. Known as FusionForged®, the technology creates metals of extreme ductility and sound micro structure which permit the creation of products of extreme precision and adaptability to many types of finished products including the setting of diamonds.

Joe Esposito, Richline’s EVP of Manufacturing said that, “Nordt is another important and strategic addition to our brands. The firm’s unique and successful business model is a tribute to the leadership of the Nordt family. The synergies between Nordt and our LeachGarner and Nobilis business units will accelerate our growth into the PGM industrial markets. Nordt has a great product line, talented people and long term relationships with its clients.”

Joe White, President of LeachGarner, A Richline Group Company stated, “The combination of Nordt’s proprietary process technology and LeachGarner’s scale is unique in the precious metal industry. We look forward to integrating our businesses to deliver enhanced value to our existing customer base and leveraging our new synergies outside our traditional channels.”

Founded in 1872 in New York City, Nordt has operated in Roanoke Virginia since 1984, where it has a 45,000 sq. ft. manufacturing plant has been specifically designed to fabricate precious metals products including wedding bands, diamond rings, bracelets and tubing of highest quality under precise control guided by the certification of ISO 9001:2008.

Among the company’s services is private label manufacturing using its FusionForged metals.

Five generations of the Nordt family have led the firm over 140 years. Paul Nordt III, Rob Nordt, Sr. and Rob Nordt, Jr. will continue to lead the company along with a highly experienced professional management team.

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkshire and Wearable Tech, Really? Really!

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Those who think of Warren Buffett as a technophobic investor who has no interest in technology companies, are overlooking the fact that Berkshire Hathaway has its hands in many technology companies. Berkshire is a minority owner of IBM and BYD Co., and its own wholly-owned companies often have areas of leading-edge tech if you look for it. One of those companies is the Richline Group, one of Berkshire’s lesser-known group of companies.

What is the Richline Group?

The Richline Group, Inc., is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway that was formed in 2007, and is both a fine jewelry manufacturer and marketer. The four independent strategic business units in Richline’s portfolio are LeachGarner, Inverness, Rio Grande and Richline Brands.

Embracing Wearable Tech

Early in 2015, Richline signed distribution deals with Omate and Cuff, and Richline will also introduce new products featuring differentiated technology from companies including Say and MightyCast.

Richline is debuting two tiers of product offerings: fine jewelry, which primarily consists of designs made with precious metals, and fashion jewelry, which offers more affordable designs made with bronze and base metals. In addition to fitness tracking, many of Richline’s proprietary designs will offer features centered on personalization, notifications and discrete personal security. Designs look to bring a combination of style and tech to an entirely untapped audience of fashion-forward fine jewelry shoppers.

“We are extremely proud of our initial offering of smart jewelry,” said Ramona Genao-Archibald, Richline Brands’ EVP of Merchandising, “and we feel like we are just getting started. We have an amazing team here at Richline that is dedicated to finding the best emerging technologies and finding new ways to make them look better than ever before.”

In addition to its proprietary innovations, Richline is introducing an assortment of “compatibles” which will offer millions of women stylish and luxury alternatives for use with existing wearable products such as Fitbit and Jawbone.

“Understanding the impact that the emerging wearables space will have on the jewelry industry has been a core focus for Richline over the past two years,” said Richline CEO Dennis Ulrich. “A lot of hard work and collaboration has gone into this project, and we are thrilled to finally be able to show the industry our vision for the future of fine jewelry wearables.”

Promoting Wearable Tech

In addition to its product offerings, Richline is promoting wearable tech through the creation of the WearableStyleNews website. The site is dedicated to sharing the latest in the rapidly-emerging world of luxury wearables. It features a wide-range of news from the mundane to the oddball, including a 3-D printed Bitcoin ring with a QR code in lieu of a stone setting, and L’Oreal’s partnership with Bay Area startup Organovo to achieve 3D printing of human skin for makeup testing.

© 2015 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.