Ritani (Est. 1999) is a fine jewelry company specializing in engagement rings and bridal jewelry. It was a concept from one of the largest DeBeers site holders, the Julius Klein Group (JKG). After a few years, their stake was bought out by Cantor Fitzgerald. Throughout this ownership change, Brian Watkins remained at the helm of Ritani and has been the CEO since its founding.
Ritani is named for the founder of the company, Harout Ritani, who first sat at a jeweler’s bench at the age of 17 in his native Lebanon. In 1999 he founded his namesake company, which at the time was a forerunner in the use of computer assisted design, now commonplace throughout the jewelry industry. Today Ritani is one of the largest engagement and wedding ring companies in the world.
Since Ritani was established in 1999, it has been driving change in the American diamond industry and working to provide full visibility throughout its diamond supply chain - from diamond mine to engagement rings. Ritani is one of the leading companies in the United States to use the Kimberley Process to uphold strict ethical diamond sourcing standards.
By the mid-2000s, consumers had become increasingly aware of the difficult history surrounding diamond mining in Africa. Today, many people still assume that the diamond trade is riddled with violence and corruption. In some cases that is still true, and consumers should be cautious where they buy a diamond. Thankfully, due to a concerted effort from major industry players and the United Nations, a huge amount of progress has been made to ensure an ethical diamond supply chain. Ritani has been part of that work since its founding.
According to the Ritani official website, “It’s impossible to tell the story of Ritani’s diamond sourcing without also talking about Julius Klein Group. JKG, [is] a member of the Responsible Jewelry Council and [an] early adopter of the Kimberley Process. JKG was founded in 1948 as a diamantaire in midtown Manhattan. JKG evolved over the course of 60+ years into an American diamond manufacturing powerhouse.
“When Ritani partnered with JKG to launch an e-commerce platform in 2012, we gave JKG a way to sell their expertly cut conflict-free diamonds online, while they provided Ritani with strategic direction along with a foundation in ethical diamond sourcing. JKG’s ethical sourcing practices help define Ritani’s approach to diamond manufacture and supply.
“Historically, the African diamond industry took wealth out of the diamond-producing countries: Once the rough diamonds were mined, they were immediately shipped to Europe for the complex work of sorting, cutting and polishing. Because of this exportation, the diamond-producing communities had unstable economies, and the rough diamonds sold for far less than the cut and polished versions did in Europe. Julius Klein Group helped turn that trend around by investing in the economy of Namibia.
“In 2008, the Julius Klein Group invested $5 million US Dollars to build a factory for sorting and cutting rough diamonds in Windhoek, Namibia’s capital city. This provided stable, better-paying jobs for the people of Windhoek and helped create a more holistic economy supporting diamond production in the country.
“More than 90 Namibians made up the original workforce in 2008. The factory continues operations as of 2017. Shortly after opening the diamond factory, JKG also began an educational program: They found women and men who had no previous professional skills or experience, and taught them the complex art of diamond cutting. This education allowed the more than 50 program graduates to find work in diamond cutting facilities and provide for their families. Nearly 50% of the graduates were women.
“Since that time, JKG has donated hundreds of thousands of additional dollars to various human rights needs and groups, including several primary schools and the Moria Grace Orphanage in Namibia. As part owner of Ritani, JKG’s historical dedication to diamond communities is integral to Ritani’s philosophy as well as every element of its day-to-day operations. As it works to bring the best diamond selection available, it simultaneously works to ensure the fair treatment of those who mine and cut these precious gems.”
Ritani engagement rings and wedding bands are a blend of advanced computer aided design (CAD) and old world craftsmanship. The result is intricate and stunning detail in all their diverse collections. Ritani rings are designed with classic style, flawless quality, and an emphasis on wearability. The design of Ritani rings makes them worn comfortably every day and on every occasion.
There are many collections of Ritani diamond engagement rings but one feature common to many of them is the technique known as "micro-pave" consisting of many small diamonds set very closely together. Ritani has perfected this technique which creates the maximum amount of sparkle and reduces the amount of metal seen in the ring.
One of the Ritani collections that features micro-pave is the Ritani Endless Love Collection diamond rings. These represent the designer’s most recognizable styling.
The opulent Ritani Masterwork Collection features bold and impressive styles created by Ritani’s master designers. Some features included in this collection have halo settings, semi-bezel, split shank, and double and triple diamond bands.
The Ritani Modern Collection features unique design elements that reflect the eclectic inspirations of the designer. The clean lines of the rings in this collection are stunning and beautifully simplistic.
The Ritani Bella Vita Collection is similar to Endless Love but features the center diamond in a more prominent way. The brilliance of the diamond is accentuated in a Ritani Bella Vita diamond engagement ring.
The Ritani Romantique Collection rings are stylish and elegant with hand carved precision detail. Romantique rings feature a unique Grecian leaf carved design with pave set diamonds.
Ritani Andare’ Collection diamond rings contain designs that symbolize two hearts becoming one. This elegant vintage collection is both graceful and beautiful.
The Ritani Setting Collection showcases diamonds running up and down as well as in between the prongs. The Setting Collection is an example of craftsmanship and elegance from every angle.
Ritani also offers stacking rings, men’s rings, women’s eternity rings, and jewelry including studs, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and a range of other rings.
Ritani’s professional, talented, and accomplished jewelry designers offer free in-store previews of rings selected online so buyers can craft the ring online and then visit dealers to see it in person before making a lifetime commitment.
Ritani’s hand selected gemstones feature the True Measure of Sparkle™. The service includes scientific evaluation of gems, so interested parties know the diamond they’re considering has been certified by the American Gem Society (AGS) and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
Both these diamond grading services are known for ethical and consistent standards. Ritani diamonds include certification paperwork. The True Measure of Sparkle™ guarantee also includes a lifetime care package. Ritani’s designers and experts service rings to maintain its sparkle.
Some of Ritani’s most exquisite end exclusive rings are crafted using Ritani Reserve stones. These diamonds are the finest round and princess-cut diamonds available. Graded stringently for cut that maximizes beauty--not carat size--and sparkle, these diamonds are known for intense sparkle and patterns of flash and fire. Hand cut and hand polished, Ritani Reserve diamonds are recognized as works of art.
Although Ritani is an online seller, it has partnerships with independently owned local jewelry stores around the US. As potential buyers browse Ritani's online selection of diamonds and ring settings, they can make an appointment to see either the same type of ring, or even that exact one, in person at their nearest store and get in-person help figuring out what they want. In this way, they know exactly what they’re buying and can make changes to customize the ring even before they’ve paid or committed to making a purchase.
When ready to buy, one can either order it right in the store, or head back to Ritani's website. Either way, the store gets a commission.
This "clicks-and-bricks" combination of online commerce with the chance to see the stones and settings in-store makes sense, according to Ritani Vice President Josh Marion, because an expensive diamond ring is the type of thing that people aren't keen to buy based only on a photo.
"A car, a house, and a diamond; people want to see these things, feel them, really know what they're getting before they buy," says Marion.
In January 2014, Ritani was selected for the Forbes list of America's Most Promising Companies for this "clicks and bricks" model that blends online shopping and brick-and-mortar stores. In June 2014, Ritani announced that former Blue Nile, CEO Diane Irvine had joined the company's board of directors.
While based in New York, Ritani's network of independent jewelry store partners has over 180 locations across the US and Canada. The focus of "clicks and bricks" is to educate and guide the customer as they design their own ring and then establish trust and confidence with a free in-store preview. Ritani has an inventory of over 60,000 diamonds ranging in price from $184 to $1.7 million.