Finding business solutions for independent jewelers has been the driving force behind RDI Diamonds® for over 30 years.
Recognized as an international leader among wholesale diamond distributors, RDI offers a large inventory of more than 8,000 diamonds, with free overnight shipping, and an array of flexible memo and stock options, and engaging marketing tools designed to drive consumer traffic and grow retail sales.
Named among Inc. magazine’s 500 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America, 2006-2013, RDI is a vendor partner to more than 2,000 independent jewelers nationwide, and a member of all the major jewelry retail buying groups, RJO, IJO, and the Leading Jewelers Guild.
While diamonds are RDI’s passion, customer care is the company’s priority driving it to continually innovate business solutions for its retail partners – from its Lifetime Trade-Up Policy and Mobile Diamond Connection® to its You Me We® customizable diamond stock solution, and its most recent Rare & Forever® collection of A.I. technology-graded natural diamonds.
Persistence & Ingenuity
For RDI CEO and founder Michael Indelicato, it’s all about listening to retail customers and giving them what they want and need to close more sales in the easiest, most efficient way.
The son of immigrants, Indelicato was taught that hard work pays off. His father Salvatore worked for Xerox, one of the many large manufacturers in Rochester, New York at the time. But he always had a few side-hustles going, from working as a weekend realtor to selling gold chains to co-workers and friends.
When Indelicato was 16, in addition to shoveling snow and bussing tables, he helped his dad with the gold business. He was always looking to make more money so he could buy mail order business ideas he saw in Success magazine.
“My father told me that by the time I graduated high school I would have to decide if I was going to college or work for Xerox, neither one of which I wanted to do,” he shares.
About a year later, Salvatore (aka Sam) was diagnosed with cancer and died several months later. But he did see his son graduate high school, and acknowledged his spirit of entrepreneurship, slipping him a few hundred dollars in cash, urging him to “pick something and stick to it.”
With his father’s passing in 1986, Indelicato felt responsibility to take care of his mom, who was not fluent in English, and his sister, who was only 12 years old at the time. Indelicato began selling off the remainder of his father’s gold inventory, which evolved into a small jewelry business, Rochester Diamonds Incorporated, which he founded in his mother’s basement in 1987.
In 1991 Michael’s sister Sara joined RDI as its trained gemologist, earning her Graduate Gemologist degree at GIA after high school. As the company found its stride, Rochester Diamonds Incorporated became RDI Diamonds®, and moved to downtown Rochester’s historic Sibley Building in 1992. It was at that time that the focus of the company shifted to providing quality wholesale diamonds to independent jewelers. It wasn’t until 2019 that RDI moved, in search of more space, to its current location in the Gem Tower in New York City.
Among its pioneering solutions, RDI launched in 1997 its “hassle-free” Lifetime Trade-Up Policy that offers full credit (100 percent of what was paid for it) towards a new diamond of greater value (minimum just $1 more).”That’s better than 1:1 stock balance,” says Indelicato. “Our program gives jewelers’ the peace of mind to comfortably stock fast movers without the risk.”
In 2013, RDI introduced its Mobile Diamond Connection® offering a jeweler kiosk on an iPad with preloaded inventory, jeweler’s name and markup, and the ability to schedule customer appointments and keep key people in the loop via email.
Around this time, RDI introduced its You Me We® customizable diamond stock solution. Retailers nationwide agree that up to 70 percent of diamond purchases fall into consistent categories of shape, size, quality, and price. You, Me, We® positions retail jewelers as the go-to for these popular diamond items. The program allows jewelers to mix and match from a range of leading diamond categories to create the presentation that is right for their demographic.
Just prior to the onset of the COVID pandemic in 2020, RDI launched its Rare & Forever® A.I. technology-graded natural diamonds.
“We prescreen for brown, green, or milky (BGM) qualities to ensure maximum brilliance,” explains Indelicato. “Our diamonds go through a rigorous selection process for quality control. Moreover, AI-based grading allows for the greatest flexibility in how diamonds are examined and graded. Advanced scanning and imaging technology, coupled with machine-learning-based grading algorithms, can enable faster diamond grading, without the need for extensive lab equipment.”
Indelicato underscores that Rare & Forever® has a larger table inscription that’s easier to see with a loupe, noting that retailers find it difficult to locate the inscriptions on other diamond brands. He says at JCK Las Vegas, June 2-5, 2023, Rare & Forever® will have a greater presence at RDI’s booth.
Christy Davidson joined the RDI crew in 2022 as director of brand training and business development, and the company continues to up the ante when it comes to training and education. RDI offers everything from employee spotlights and webinars to blogs with sales tips and more.
Most recently, Indelicato’s son Sam joined the business after graduating college (which would have made his grandfather proud). Like his dad, Sam is engaged when jump-starting projects and getting new things in motion. It will be interesting to see what’s next for the family company.