- Category: Volume 85 (Fall 2013 - Spring 2014)
- Published: 16 October 2013
When you walk around campus, you’re sure to see many people wearing bangle bracelets with dangling charms around their wrists. Some may have silver, some gold, and some may even mix and match. There might be a whole stack of bracelets on their arms, or they may only have one or two. This new Alex and Ani bracelet trend is becoming increasingly popular. But, will the fad die out or will Alex and Ani withstand the test of time?
Carolyn Rafaelian is the woman behind the brand, which is named after her two eldest daughters. The company was started in 2004, so it has been around a lot longer than many probably think. Featuring expandable bracelets, rings, necklaces and even wine glass charms, all of the products are made in America.
The concept behind the jewelry is Rafaelian’s belief in positive energy and symbolic empowerment. This is why each piece boasts a different charm. Each charm has a different meaning that is explained in the packaging. For example, the anchor represents hope, tranquility and stability.
Assistant to the Department of Disability Services Stacey Brewer said, “I have one as a gift from my daughter. It is the seahorse, which means patience. I really like how it is jewelry with thought behind it.”
Each month, Alex and Ani features a charm of the month and offers a $5 discount off of the bracelet purchase. October’s charm is the feather, which represents truth, light, and virtue. There are also Greek letters, sports teams, and birth stone lines to suit any interest or passion.
Senior physical education and health major Brittany Fuentes said, “I’m obsessed with the bracelets and have so many of them. Some of my favorites are my birthstone, a seashell, and one that says ones of my favorite quotes, ‘It is what it is.’ They’re my favorites because they really define who I am.”
Adjunct communications professor Lauren Payne said, “To me, they’re like a modern day charm bracelet. They are special tokens to remind you of a special place, person, activity or just a favorite thing.”
The popularity of Alex and Ani cannot be pinpointed to one specific reason, but there are a few reasons why the brand may have gained recent attention.
With a simpler look, Alex and Ani is an alternative to the also popular Pandora charm bracelets. Its eco-consciousness is also a huge ploy in the world of going green, because each bracelet is made with recycled scrap metal. The focus on positive energy and spirituality may also be a big selling point. Tailoring each charm to different symbolic meanings allows the buyer to connect to the piece. The fact that all products are made in America is something that also attracts buyers. Plus, the fact that you can mix and match charms to create your own unique set makes the bracelets stand out from the crowd.
Junior political science major Cara Turcich said, “I think Alex and Ani is a fad just like everything else. Everyone wanted Pandora bracelets until the new cool thing came out. I think they will be popular for another six months or a year and then the hype will die down.”
Just recently, the brand has released a line of their newest products, Light and Ignite Candles. These are meant to ward off negativity and bring positive light to their users. Each candle has a different symbol, similar to the ones features on the popular charm bracelets. The candles range from $12 to $28, depending on size. Through Nov. 28, 20 percent of proceeds will go to Blessings in a Backpack, a charity that donates to underprivileged children.
With the repertoire of retailers expanding, Rafaelian is optimistic about Alex and Ani’s future. The popularity of the jewelry is obvious and it seems like the trend won’t be fading any time soon. If you like eco-friendly jewelry and a product that is made in the USA, check out www.alexandani.com. You can also visit the Alex and Ani store located in downtown Red Bank.