Carolyn Rafaelian Net Worth & Biography


Carolyn Rafaelian Net Worth & Biography

Popular Name: Carolyn Rafaelian
Real Name: Carolyn Rafaelian
Birth Date: 1966
Birth Place:
Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Age: 55
Gender: Female
Nationality/Citizenship: American
Height: N/A
Weight: N/A
Sexuality: Straight
Marital Status: Married
Children: 3
Profession: Businesswoman, Investor, Entrepreneur
Years active: N/A
Net Worth: $100 Million
Last Updated: 2021


Carolyn Rafaelian has bucked the Jewelry manufacturing trend in Rhode Island and has turned Alex and Ani into a global success story. She is an American-Armenian businesswoman and entrepreneur who founded the jewelry and accessories company Alex and Ani. Additionally, she is the owner of Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyards and the Belcourt of Newport. Her company, Alex and Ani has licensing deals or partnerships with Disney, Major League Baseball, the United States Olympic Committee, and the Collegiate Licensing Company. Alex and Ani, since 2009, has opened 9 retail locations in some premier luxury destinations in the United States, including Palm Beach, Newport, Boston, Martha’s Vineyard, and Manhattan. Last year, the company branched into Portugal and Spain and is exploring opportunities in Singapore, Israel, and other countries. The company has gone further to implement a charity arm, working with different organizations including the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation and Hasbro Children’s Hospital to design cause-specific charms, then donating a significant part of the profits to the organizations.

Early Life: Childhood, Family, Education

Carolyn Rafaelian was born in the year 1966 in Providence, Rhode Island. Her father, Ralph, grew up in Rhode Island while her mother, Lucy, was raised in New York. Their parents had escaped the Armenian Genocide and immigrated to the United States where Carolyn was born. After apprenticing with a brother of his wife, Ralph Rafaelian started his own jewelry manufacturing business called Cinerama in 1966. Working as a wholesaler, he designed several patriotic pieces, including an American flag brooch and state flag pins. He eventually moved operations of his company to Greenwood Street in Cranston. The cement building became a place of interest for young Carolyn Rafaelian. She was one of five children of her parents, and when they behaved badly, her mother would send them to the factory to work and attach cards to the jewelry.  Over time Carolyn started picking a keen interest in her father’s business. She helped him design pieces and produced designs herself for the jewelry manufacturing company.

Carolyn studied at Prout Memorial High School for Girls (later renamed The Prout School) before enrolling at the University of Rhode Island where she studied for two years, before transferring to American College for the Applied Arts in Los Angeles because she wanted to experience the beautiful city where her favorite musician, Jim Morrison, had lived. At the American College, she studied first at its Los Angeles campus and later moved to London where she graduated. Meanwhile, her sister, Becky, was working at their father’s factory every weekend. After traveling around the world and gaining valuable experiences on the way, Carolyn moved to New York City and was employed for Mikimoto Pearl full-time while designing her own jewelry on the side.

Professional Life: Entrepreneurial Career

In 1994, Carolyn joined her father’s business and later started working on her own line. In 2002, she and her sister became co-owners of Cinerama. Her designs became the main seller for the fashion company.

In 2004, Carolyn founded Alex and Ani, a jewelry line she named after her two eldest daughters. The brand started with 5 cocktail rings and ultimately expanded into a full line of jewelry and accessories anchored by its expandable wire bangle. The firm grew in revenue quite rapidly, increasing from $5 million in 2010 to more than $500 million in 2016. The firm’s Charity By Design initiative, where 20 percent of sales go to charity, makes up 20 percent of sales.

Carolyn Rafaelian Net Worth
Alex and Ani Founder, Carolyn Rafaelian

Carolyn also owns a café franchise known as Teas and Javas. Though some of its cafés are independent, some others are attached to Alex and Ani stores. She also owns the Rhode Island wine producer Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard which she purchased in 2012. The winery features wine production, a dining area, and locally sourced foods.

Achievements: Awards & Honors

Carolyn Rafaelian’s works and accomplishments have brought her lots of attention, recognition, and rewards in terms of fortune and awards. She has been interviewed by several newspapers and media houses including the New York Daily News.

In 2012, the Small Business Administration presented Carolyn with the Rhode Island Small Businessperson of the Year award for her work with Alex and Ani. She has also received an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in the products’ category for New England.

Since taking over the Rhode Island wine producer Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard, the vineyard has won a list of awards in international competitions.

In May 2017, the David Lynch Foundation honored her for her humanitarian efforts.

Personal Life: Marriages, Children, Private Interests

The talented and brave businesswoman is divorced from her first husband.

Her charitable work has been described by Rhode Island Monthly to include projects with the Humane Society of the United States, and Project USA, a nonprofit, which has raised donations for the survivors of breast cancer, victims of Hurricane Katrina, and endangered species.

Carolyn Rafaelian Net Worth: Salary, Income Sources, Investments, Real Estate

In 2016, Carolyn Rafaelian was listed 22nd in Forbes list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women with a fortune of around $700 million. She was estimated to be worth $1 billion in June 2018, ranking 18th on Forbes America’s richest self-made women list as the owner of 80 percent of the Alex and Ani jewelry and accessories company.

Unfortunately, the good times didn’t last and her financial position has suffered extremely in recent years. By June 2019 Carolyn Rafaelian’s net worth had dropped to approximately $520 million. Today, her net worth is pegged at $100 million. What really happened was that she filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against Bank of America in July 2019. The bank in turn claimed that Alex and Ani, her company, was in default on a hundred million dollars line of credit. Sales at the company had dropped 60 percent as per reports, partially influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the ensuing debacle, Ms. Rafaelian sold 20 percent of her stake in the Alex and Ani company to an investor called Lion Capital, increasing their stake to 60%. She eventually stepped down from her position as chief executive officer in September 2019 and left the designing department in October 2020.

Despite the recent collapse of her fortune, Carolyn hasn’t given up any of her expensive real estate holdings. It has been reported that she owns many properties around the world. The most noted properties in her portfolio are the Belcourt of Newport and Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyards. The Belcourt of Newport is a 60-room house which was known formerly as Belcourt Castle. It is located in Newport, Rhode Island.

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