New Kid on the Block: Metal Alchemist

The founder of Alex + Ani has launched a new jewelry company called Metal Alchemist and the first store has opened on Reade and Greenwich in a beautifully renovated space. Tribecan Carolyn Rafaelian’s new lines are designed and made in her native Rhode Island; she splits her time between here and there. (That’s store manager Mack Pholsina, below.) She’s had the lease there since 2016.

“This new venture is incredibly special to me because it combines elements of my culture, my beliefs and one of my passions – fine jewelry,” Rafaelian said in a statement to Providence Business News. (Her family is Armenian and the company has created partnerships with Cher and Kim Kardashian to celebrate Armenian culture.) “Metal Alchemist jewelry is the first of its kind in so many ways, from the quality of the precious metals to our proprietary refining and bonding processes that we do in-house right here in Rhode Island, to working with ancient alchemical techniques in a whole new way.”

The lines are well priced — cuffs range from $119 to $500, and rings from $68 — and include metals such as sterling silver, 14-karat and 18-karat gold and stainless steel. (I added the Woven Armor cuff to the shopping guide, along with the Posy Wire bangles with inspirational messages.)

Rafaelian’s father opened a jewelry factory in 1966, Cinerama Jewelry, in Rhode Island and she and her sister grew up working in the factory. (There’s a Factory Collection coming soon to Metal Alchemist.) In 1994, Rafaelian joined her father’s business, and eventually began to work on her own line. In 2004 she founded Alex + Ani, named after her two eldest daughters. The brand started with five cocktail rings and expanded into a full line of jewelry anchored by its patented expandable wire bangle.

She’s been on the Forbes list of richest self-made women, and at one time was a billionaire. Alex + Ani peaked in 2017, when it had 100 company-owned locations across North and South America. And this from Frobes: “After a 2019 dispute with Bank of America over a loan default, she agreed to divest her controlling interest in Alex and Ani to Lion Capital. In May 2020, Rafaelian was fired by Alex and Ani after months of restructuring.”

Metal Alchemist
156 Reade at Greenwich
Monday & Tuesday – by appointment only
Wednesday – Friday, 12 to 6
Saturday, 12 to 5 through December; by appointment in January
Sunday – closed