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Alex and Ani: Beauty Behind The Designs


Part of my responsibility as owner, founder and CEO of HairBoutique is to wear tons of hats. Depending on what time of the day it is, I might be writing articles about the latest hair and beauty trends, interviewing celebrity stylists or acting as an instant editor for the site's hair and beauty content.

(Image of Carolyn Rafaelian-Ferlise - CEO & Founder of Alex and Ani - all rights reserved).

When I am not up to my eyeballs managing the content for I am wearing even more hats for the site's e-store, the Marketplace. When I am wearing my buyer's cap, I find myself spending my time investigating prospective new product lines for the site's Marketplace e-store.

Since hair accessories are my own personal passion, I tend to use every opportunity to research the little beauties and baubles that can turn any hairstyle from style challenged to stupendous in an instant. While I love to discover the latest deep conditioner for parched strands or find a hot new curling iron, discovering a new accessory line definitely makes my heart beat a little faster.

In my quest for the best accessories that the world has to offer, I have had the privilege to meet some of the truly brilliant accessory designers whose passion and creative spirit gives life and form to their breathtaking collections.

Carolyn Rafaelian-Ferlise

One thing that has impressed me over the years is that some of the most celebrated designers are also the kindest and most generous with their time.

Recently I had the great honor and fortune to personally chat with Carolyn Rafaelian-Ferlise, the brains and beauty behind the spectacularly famous Alex & Ani accessories line. Although she was busy preparing to leave for her Tribeca showroom when I caught up with her, Carolyn graciously took time out of her frantic schedule to share wonderful stories with me about her Alex & Ani designs, the accessory business and where the industry is going, in general. Needless to say, I was mesmerized, charmed and fascinated.

If you love gorgeous accessories you probably have seen Carolyn's mouth-dropping designs in the pages of all of the most prestigious fashion and beauty magazines ranging from Women's Wear Daily, Cosmopolitan, Lucky, Ocean Drive, W Magazine and Elle to the ultra chic InStyle. In fact, Carolyn's designs have been featured in the media so many times that it is virtually impossible to list all the mentions. Carolyn's breathtaking collections encompass everything from hair accessories and stellar cuffs to antique brooches, cocktail rings, necklaces and drop dead gorgeous earrings.

A Family Business

Hailing from Providence, Rhode Island, Carolyn has grown up in the jewelry business. Three generations of Carolyn's family have been in the jewelry biz.

Following in the esteemed footsteps of her family, Carolyn utilizes her father's well-established jewelry factory for inspiration and to guarantee the absolute highest quality and perfection of her collections. Specializing in the production of rhinestone jewelry since the 1960s, Carolyn's father has amassed an amazing collection of many hundreds of original jewelry casts.

Creating her own company a mere 8 years ago, Carolyn lovingly dedicated her new business to her two eldest daughters, Alexandria and Ani. Hence the company's Alex & Ani moniker.

In the time that I spent chatting with Carolyn I was incredibly touched by the deep love, devotion and dedication she has to not only her two eldest daughters, but her youngest daughter.

A True Flare For Design

Born under the Venus inspired sign of Libra, Carolyn was gifted with a fabulous flare for design and an instinctive sense of style. An artistic genius, Carolyn has produced an extensive array of distinct collections. Each one of her lines focuses on a different trend, shape, material or pattern that she dreams up.

During our conversation Carolyn expressed her fierce dedication to producing only American-made products with materials that are strictly of American origin. As a result of her commitment to USA made goods, Carolyn has manipulated exiting materials into new and original tools.

Examples of her ingenuity lie in the development of American Crystal, a specially treated crystal created as an alternative to Austrian crystal and her latest development, the introduction of Wire Wraps. Based on her desire to produce pieces that fit like new every time you wear them, Carolyn has invented a new combination of metals that retain consistent tension and have memory to ensure the perfect fit forever.

No Boundaries

Demonstrating that she is not held back by any boundaries, Carolyn is taking her genius for transforming the familiar into edgy and inspiring with a new beauty collection that marries vintage designs from the 40s, 50s and 60s with the latest innovative beauty products that will make any fashionista swoon.

Describing her cozy fireplace enhanced loft and latest accessories laden showroom in Tribeca was almost enough to motivate me to flee Dallas for New York on the next plane to view her latest collections. Graciously providing me with her New York information so I could call if I had more questions, Carolyn signed off our call with a warm farewell. I felt I had found a kindred spirit.

For more information about the fabulous Alex & Ani collection visit:

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- Revised Publication Date: 01/01/11

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