Alex and Ani: Rhode Island’s Answer to Pandora


To a little shop on Main Street, East Greenwich, and another in Newport, folks come in droves to pick up these little circular bands that enjoy an ever-widening arc of popularity.

Photo immediately below is the signature bangle, with initial charm of loved one, in silver or goldtone. Then, too, there’s the gem-studded charms and crystal ones, as well. And look below for the masculine line.

I first noted them on the wrist of a friend, a woman who’d always kept up with fashion.  Extending up several inches on her arm were a series of metalic bangles, each unique from the others.  On some were pendants and charms, while others exhibited gemstones.  I asked her what they were, and she proclaimed “Alex and Ani,” just as easily as if it were Swarovski or Pandora.  It got me to thinking…

I remember scarab bracelets so popular in the 1950’s and the ever-perennial charm bracelets.  People bought these as gifts for the women in their lives.  Now, both sexes can enjoy a fashion product that bears the important moniker “Made in America,” that’s eco-friendly and the height of fashion…Even better than that… they’re made in Rhode Island, former jewelry capital of America. 

The product line’s giving a healthy run for its money to another hot fashion trend, Pandora. 

Why’s Alex and Ani so special?  It’s creator, Carolyn Rafaelian,  is the daughter of a Providence jeweler. She continues her Dad’s craft and designs her lightweight marvels from recycled metals (so they’re eco-friendly).  Each one’s allegedly imbued ‘with love.’

But she first began her company, Alex and Ani, some years ago, naming it after her daughters.

Now, the business has gone global, and her jewelry is a household word among fashion icons, retailers, and those on the cutting edge of “What’s hot.” Her latest move is into the corporate offices at Chapel Hill shopping district, across from Garden City, in Cranston, Rhode Island.

So, the product’s highly-regarded (by an international clientele); it’s said to be eco-friendly; it’s less expensive than many competitors; and it’s just darn sweet. Young and older women go about with many bangles on their wrists, representing any number of important events in their lives from marriage, children, birth/work city, charity. 

Men enjoy a chunkier line, too, as is evident in photo below, far right. 

But don’t take my word for it; access the website to see her glorious line (necklaces, earrings, rings, too.) You can order off the website too, and with your purchase, you’ll be (1.) eco-friendly and (2.) helping Rhode Island’s economy, too…

Now, Christmas and Hannukah presents, anyone?

And P.S., Alex and Ani–What Biddy Bytes wants is a really smoking emblem for Rhode Island, a charm I can dangle off my bracelet with pride.  I just don’t see that yet.  Oh, sure you have “Hope” (our state slogan) but it appears to apply to the fight against cancer. 

So, Alex and Ani, when you get an insignia clearly representing our state, in all its glory, I’ll be the first in line..Now, below is my favorite…and read the economic news about Carolyn Rafaelian’s company’s that puts alex and ani in the vaulted top 500 companies, a nice nod to little Rhody.

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A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog,, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
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