Armenian Woman in the Ranking of the Most Successful Businesswomen by “Forbes”

An American woman of Armenian origin Carolyn Rafaelyan appeared in the rating of the most successful US businesswomen. She took 26th place in “Forbes” magazine.

49-year-old Carolyn owns “Alex and Ani” jewelry company.

The company was founded in 2004 by Carolyn Rafaelian. The name comes from a combination of the first names of Rafaelian’s two daughters. The company originally stated that they wanted to produce “bangle bracelets, necklaces, earrings and rings that adorn the body, enlighten the mind, and empower the spirit”.

The company first manufactured its jewelry in a factory that was founded by Rafaelian’s father in 1966 and all materials are made in America. The first retail Alex and Ani store opened in Newport in 2009, and in addition to the stand-alone stores, the jewelry was sold through national departments stores.

The company first came to national attention in 2004, when they produced a necklace featuring an apple for Gwyneth Paltrow following the birth of her daughter Apple, leading to a large number of orders of similar merchandise. The company has described its products as “eco-friendly”; much of the materials used in the firm’s designs are either recycled or from vintage articles.

In 2010, Alex and Ani — named after two of Rafaelian’s daughters — did an estimated $4.5 million in revenues. By 2015, sales had hit $500 million.

Rafaelian joins the ranks at #22, with an estimated net worth of $700 million, making her the second newcomer, after Gail Miller, the billionaire owner of basketball’s Utah Jazz.

She’s the richest self-made woman in the nation to derive her wealth from jewelry and joins an impressive group of fashion and retail moguls on Forbes’ ranking that includes Spanx founder Sara Blakely, preppie-chic designer Tory Burch, and bridal tycoon Vera Wang.

Alex and Ani now have 65 freestanding stores as well as concessions in hundreds of department stores and boutiques.


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