Forbes – Armenian American designer Carolyn Rafaelian has joined the Forbes’ annual list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women.
Carolyn Rafaelian founded fashion jewelry company Alex and Ani in 2004, taking over what had been her father’s Rhode Island jewelry factory to manufacture the new age, celestial-chic bangles that have become the brand’s staple.
To say growth has been explosive would be an understatement. 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, catapulting the 49-year-old onto Forbes’ second annual list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women thanks to her majority ownership.
Rafaelian joins the ranks at #22, with an estimated net worth of $700 million, making her the second richest newcomer to the list, after Gail Miller, 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.