The Studio – Jewelry Blog by Rio Grande

The Evolution of

Jan 2, 2012

2011 was a huge year for, and 2012 promises to be just as big. We rebuilt our site into the best place to shop online for jewelry-making tools and supplies AND the best place to learn how to overcome any tricky bench technique you might encounter. As we were reworking pretty much every online feature of our site, we came across some screen captures of our website in it's formative years. Take a look at our website timeline below and have a laugh with us! You'll see our first stab at the internet, then follow along into those awkward teenage years of the late 90s and early 2000s.

Of course, just because we're all grown up today doesn't mean we can't make our website even better! Please tell us how we can improve by filling out a brief survey about our website functionality and features. Participate and you will enter to win $100 in Rio Grande credit! We'll pick a winner on January 17th, so give us your thoughts and good luck!

And the timeline begins...


Best feature : "This site has been optimized for Netscape Navigator." Whatever happened to Netscape, anyway?



Best feature: "Online Order Form" and "New Addition, Precious Metal Clay." Wait, we had a website for two years before you could even order online? What was the point before?



Best feature: "Catalog Express" and "," which to my best guess is a subdomain we used to manage the giant influx of online shoppers. Perhaps this internet will stick around after all...?

1999 2002

Best feature: MSDS sheets offered online and finally, a search bar! Like most sites, the search bar is now the favorite place for our customers to start when shopping online.



Best feature: Member logins arrive along with Live Chat - the same live chat we use today. Try it sometime if you  haven't - you'll chat with the same great customer service people from our phone lines.




2011 --Before improvements


2011 --After improvements!


Be sure to tell us how serves you by commenting here AND filling out the website survey! Remember, you could win $100 in Rio Grande credit!

Comments (9)
  1. Love progress. Your website now is so user friendly.

  2. Love seeing how the site has evolved! I think my favorite enhancement is that Quick Order section. One thing I’ve noticed about Rio Grande and your web site is that everything you do is an actual improvement (at least that I’ve noticed ;)), not change for the sake of change. Not many companies have done that. Kudos!

  3. soooo awesome to see the comparisons!

    It’s kinda funny, that the 1996 site wasn’t TOO long ago… but the design looks so glaringly 80′s, to me!! ;)

  4. A change that would help me out is to see the triple-key price of an item — an option we could select for a sort of “Countertop Catalog View” vs. a shopping view. Now that I use the website for customer quotes so often, it would save me time in the way I look up items online, then have the customer wait while I turn to the right page in the catalog and then do the math on the current price vs. what the catalog shows — all with an enthusiastic customer right there wondering why they can’t look at the online results with me. Just a thought…

  5. That’s a very interesting idea. I’m not sure what the logistics of that would entail, but I will pass it on to our web development team. Thanks!

  6. All it needs is a side banner linking to some Zubaz pants and the latest Ace of Base single. :)

  7. Thanks, Becca! We’ve gotten great feedback on the Quick Order section, I’ll pass your kudos along our guy who developed it.

  8. Thanks so much! If you ever have any suggestions on how to make it better, just let us know.

  9. Its great to see how the internet has gone from Wild West to a settled area.

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