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Alex and Ani Bracelets (A.K.A.: How To Spot A Girl From New England)

Look familiar? Perhaps you’ve seen these delicate bangles stacked up the arm of the girl next to you in class or displayed in the jewelry department at Nordstrom. These bracelets are the product of a company called Alex and Ani, founded in 2004 by Carolyn Rafaelian right here in Rhode Island. Since its establishment, Alex and Ani has rapidly expanded and flourished, recently being named one of the top 100 fastest growing companies in the United States by American business magazine Inc.


These bangles have commanded consumer attention for several reasons. First, their unique, one-size-fits-all design that usually features either a single pendant or a collection of colorful beads is both elegant and simplistic. They serve as functional and delightful accessories for any occasion, from a relaxed family picnic to, say, an extravagant gala (if that’s your sort of thing.)


Secondly, the bracelets are intended to serve as symbols of what Rafaelian dubs “positive energy,” or a sense of poise, confidence, and originality. “Each design is…intended to empower the wearer and reflect the unique qualities of the individual,” according to the Alex and Ani website. With over five hundred of these designs currently available, the company actively encourages individuality and personalization.


Many of the bangles are linked to specific charities, such as the “Piece of the Puzzle Charm Bangle.” Twenty percent of all sales from this bracelet are donated to the National Autism Society, an organization that promotes autism education and provides support to affected families. Other philanthropic pieces include the “Stand Up Charm Bangle,” the “Make Your Mark Charm Bangle,” and the “Cupcake Charm Bangle.” This collection of over thirty bracelets, called “Charity by Design,” provides consumers with an outlet to show support for the organization of their choice.

Alex and Ani bracelets have become wildly popular across America, but particularly in the northeast. My friends and I have often joked that if a girl is spotted donning a stack of these bangles, there is statistically about an 87% chance that she is from somewhere between Princeton, New Jersey and Boston, Massachusetts. As an avid collector myself (and a New Jersey native, subsequently), I adore these charming accessories. They may jingle like Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve, but they add a playful je ne sais quoi to any ensemble.



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Devon is a Ben & Jerry's enthusiast, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. aficionado, Brown University scholar. Go easy on her, she's new here.
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