Alex and Ani jewelry, designed by owner Carolyn Rafaelian, is a line that has been featured in magazines like MORE, InStyle, Modern Bride, Us Weekly, Life & Style, A, Glamour, People, Marie Claire, Seventeen, and In Touch.

The pieces have a bohemian charm to them (my favorite kind of charm), reminding me of a sort of Esmeralda gypsy-chic with lots of bangles, beads, and feathers. Many of the pieces are made of recycled or vintage materials. Rafaelian has developed an expandable wire bangle that adjusts to fit any wrist. I’ve tried it and it easily adjusted between my wrist and my daughter’s much slimmer arm.


Halo OM Necklace  


Zebra Stripe Feather Earrings


Peace Expandable Wire Bangle Set

I had the opportunity to interview Carolyn Rafaelian. Today, I’ve got Part One of the interview for you. Please come back tomorrow for Part Two of ourAlex and Ani interview.
Pretty By Nature: How did you become a jewelry designer?   Has jewelry design always been your passion? 
Carolyn Rafaelian: My father opened our factory in 1966, so I literally grew up in the jewelry industry. I spent many summers helping my father and started to create my own pieces and design at a very early age.  However, it wasn’t until my two daughters, Alex and Ani, were born when I decided I wanted to leave a legacy for them and branched off to start my own jewelry company. It was my destiny to become a jewelry designer. 

PBN: I love the idea of expandable jewelry. Women come in all shapes and sizes and by making your jewelry expandable, you’ve made sure that everyone can enjoy it. How did you develop the expandable feature?
CR: My showroom is in New York, so I spend a lot of time traveling back and forth from New York to Rhode Island. The expandable idea started during one of my trips (where I am alone to brainstorm and come up with new ideas) I was thinking about my endless hoop design and how it would be great as a bangle, to expand and fit everyone. I love that women come in all shapes and sizes, so I created these bangles with women in mind. 

PBN: Where do you find the recycled materials that are used in your designs?  The feathered earrings are gorgeous. Where did you find the feathers?
CR: A lot of the material that we use to make Alex and Ani bracelets and jewelry are recycled and vintage. Local mills in Rhode Island provide us with the recycled metals that are used for the bangles and the other metal pieces. Our feathers come from a local distributor and are gathered after naturally falling off the birds. We always make sure that consumers are aware that no birds are harmed in this process. All of our products are made in the USA, which holds higher environmental standards compared to other countries.

Image credit: Alex and Ani