Ritchie Grampp Jr.
Ritchie Grampp Jr. grew up on Cleveland’s Eastside in Gates Mills. At 32 years old, he is the President of Bluestone Trading Company, Inc., and the lead buyer of diamonds and estate jewelry. One of 9 children, he rose to a leading position and runs Bluestone Trading with his father RB Grampp Sr. His interests include entrepreneurship, dirt biking, and, of course, diamonds and estate jewelry.
He is an active member of EO, the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, a network of over 14,000 entrepreneurs globally, and attends chapter meetings regularly. Ritchie places immense focus on growing his skill set and experience as well as his employees’ through professional development. This has led to both himself and his staff taking GIA classes and receiving their accreditations as Diamond Graduates and Accredited Jewelry Professionals.
Ritchie has received both accreditations, A.J.P. and G.D., and has spent weeks at the famous GIA laboratory in Carlsbad, CA for GIA training. Graduating at the top of his Diamond Graduate class after receiving a perfect score, he accredited it to living and breathing diamonds his entire life.
He places extreme focus on helping the industry through education and presents across the country on diamond fundamentals and synthetic and enhanced diamond detection.
A Unique Childhood
Ritchie’s father RB Grampp Sr., CEO and founder of Bluestone Trading, took a hands-on approach to bring Ritchie into the diamond wholesale business. As a result, Ritchie became well-versed in Bluestone’s wares.
“As a kid, I would come in on the weekends with my dad and listen to him talk about diamonds, hear the verbiage all day, and then we would go out and dirt bike and have fun,” he said. “We grew up around it, working hard and then playing hard.”
In the early ’90s, when moissanite disrupted the diamond industry, RB Sr. was presenting and holding seminars about the detection of moissanite to help educate jewelry professionals and pawnbrokers in the industry. He chose to include his son in this process, and in a similar fashion, Ritchie presents on lab-grown diamonds and their disruption of today’s diamond market.
“I remember running around with moissanite as a toddler at JCK and pawn shows while my dad was presenting on detection.” It wasn’t just moissanite his father trusted him with, however. “I was picking up diamonds off the floor,” he continued, “and checking old parcels before shredding them.”
With an upbringing so close to this industry, it was only natural that he felt at home with Bluestone and the Bluestone Trading family.
Landing at Bluestone Trading
Before working at Bluestone, Ritchie worked both as a pizzaiolo and a salesman for commercial lawn products and gained an understanding of standard business practices. However, while both items surely sell, they couldn’t hold a candle to fine diamonds and estate jewelry. He attended Excel Tech in high school and worked at Bluestone part-time. And in his senior year, he switched to online classes so that he could work at Bluestone full time, proceeding to graduate early.
“There are things I’m good at, and things I’m not so good at. Diamonds and Jewelry…I’m great at,” he explained. “I just understand them, I don’t what else to say.”
“I always knew in the back of my mind that I would be in the family business,” he said. “I knew there was a strong need for someone to bring Bluestone back to life, so I seized the moment, and have been president for 6 years.”
He knew that Bluestone needed some fresh ideas and a new perspective on the industry. So he decided to make some changes.
“If you always do what’s always been done, you get nowhere new,” Ritchie said. “It was time to re-create the wheel.”
He did so by hiring new professionals. Then he marketed Bluestone as not only a strong buyer and seller but also as a resource for education in the industry.
Subsequently, educating the pawn and retail jewelry industry on consumer trends, as well as enhanced and synthetic diamonds, is where Ritchie believes he has made his mark in the diamond and estate jewelry trade. He and his team spend the year traveling to trade shows across the U.S. while buying and selling diamonds and estate jewelry. They also make the time to present and hold hands-on detection labs for diamond fundamentals, including lab-grown and enhanced diamonds.
Recently, Bluestone has started to market recycled diamonds and jewelry. “We’ve taken claim that this is who we are and what we offer; helping clients generate more sales through offering ethically sourced diamonds at a big discount,” said Ritchie. “It’s a product we have offered since 1978, but haven’t marketed ourselves this way.”
Preparing for the Future
Lab-grown diamonds, e-commerce, and millennial trends are challenges he believes the diamond and retail jewelry market are currently facing. While Bluestone is holding presentations and labs for lab-grown diamond education, Ritchie hasn’t stopped there.
“In three years, the jewelry industry will be completely different,” said Ritchie. Presently, “millennials and the younger generation aren’t trending towards jewelry. There is an oversaturation of stores that are not catering to the market.”
To combat this, Ritchie and his team spend time researching current trends in the diamond and jewelry market, and know not only what sells, but how to sell it. For instance, he has taken a step forward and even offers a package deal, to help retailers adapt to this changing market.
“We help our retailers by giving them insight and tips on their marketing” Ritchie said. Bluestone has found a way to be a recourse not only in education but also in sales. “We are heavily involved in the trunk show process by giving them ready-to-post photos to help get people in the door.”
Ritchie expects growth for Bluestone in the future. He trusts in his experience, employees, and expertise in the market to continue making Bluestone a recourse for the entire industry, and consequently, a sound business partner.
“I see Bluestone growing the brand, and continuing to be at the forefront of the diamond and jewelry industry by helping retail jewelry stores and pawn shops grow their business and presence,” said Ritchie. “It’s a win-win relationship. Because of our many years of success, we are able to offer our capital when deals come along to buy.”
Some Things Should Never Change
Bluestone is as it has always been; a family company. As the president, and son of RB Grampp Sr., CEO and founder of Bluestone Trading, Ritchie guides and manages every employee of the company daily, including his sister Morgann and brother Cody.
“Working with family…sometimes it’s great, other times it can be interesting,” explains Ritchie. But at the end of the day, “we put our differences aside, laugh and have a good time.”
In other companies, working with a parent and siblings during business hours might shift the family dynamic. However, the Grampp family anchors themselves to each other. They meet every week on Friday for a large family dinner full of fun, card games, good food, and better stories.
Ritchie and his wife Kelsey will continue to make family a central focus in their life, by creating a family of their own. He feels the keys to his success are hard work, his drive to satisfy clients, and the standards of integrity, fairness, and professionalism that his father instilled in him and the company.