Charmed by Newport Jewelry Company Alex and Ani
Monday, May 10, 2010
It’s not often you enter a retail store and feel a “higher power” but enter Alex and Ani on Bowen’s Wharf in Newport and you just might. This is an eco-friendly jewelry company founded by Cranston native Carolyn Rafaelian who has been uplifting and celebrating a woman’s inner beauty since she founded the company ten years ago.
After being lured into the shop from the chain-and-charmed-adorned window displays, I discovered a company that cares just as much about doing good in the world as selling bangles and improving its impressive bottom line. Alex and Ani uses all recycled materials, and its Charity by Design Division creates charms to benefit various non profit organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Haiti Relief, Doctors without Borders, Stand Up To Cancer and the African Rainforest. But perhaps most importantly Alex and Ani creates jewelry that says as much about what’s on the inside of the wearer as the silver and gold wrapped around her wrists. “Alex and Ani is all about enlightening people through jewelry," says Rafaelian, "through the essence of things that make them feel good – protection, luck and peace.”
The “bangle bar” provides shoppers the ability to create their own bangles and necklaces with a sparkling array of charms and stones. These patented bracelets and chains replace the clasp with a sliding mechanism for a customized fit. There are spiritual charms of St Christopher, The Armenian cross and the Star of David, The Archangels, and The Buddha. There are charms displaying universal symbols of, Love, Peace, Luck, Wisdom and Hope as well as Swarovski crystals in every color. Each charm is accompanied by a description card of its origin. The bangle to the right, for example, features "Charm for Life," a Chinese peony symbolizing feminine beauty and reproduction - $5 of each purchase benefits The Prevent Cancer Foundation and raises awareness of cervical cancer.
“It says so much about that person’s essence and what is near and dear truly to that person," says Rafaelian. "Jewelry is a way to let others know who you are at this moment in time.”
Carolyn, left, far warmer and more humble than you would expect from a woman building a multi-million dollar global business mixes and matches Buddha, crystals, St. Christopher, hearts and shamrocks – loving and embracing and sharing all things uplifting. And share she does with some of Hollywood’s biggest celebs like Sandra Bullock, Jessica Simpson, Cameron Diaz, Gwyneth Paltrow and Oprah to name a few. Alex and Ani is sold at One Bowen’s Wharf, Newport, Henri Bendel, www.AlexandAni.com and is opening its newest bangle bar in West Hollywood, Los Angeles in June.
And if this review of Alex and Ani reads impossibly positive and uplifting, I can’t help it because that’s exactly how this company, this founder and this necklace make me feel.
(Footnote: The author is wearing a precious silver expandable necklace charmed with an owl (representing wisdom/truth/patience, a cross representing Life/Union/Immortality and Archangel Michael representing Warrior/Guardian/Judge. It tells my story or at least the story I hope to be mine.)
Alex and Ani, www.AlexandAni.com
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