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Get Charmed in Aruba

By Tina Causey-Bislick

Charm bracelets have been adorning wrists for thousands of years, favored by the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, and Persians, and later by many European cultures. My first introduction to charm bracelets takes me back to the early ‘70s. I was infatuated with my babysitter’s bracelet—it was filled with so many fascinating charms featuring states she had visited. I craved the jingle-jangle that accompanied her every movement, and even created my own with fishing line and seashells.

Somewhere along the way, charm bracelets became passé, and their popularity went dormant for a couple of decades. In the early 2000s, charm bracelets began charming a new generation of devotees, and the trend has demonstrated strong staying power and global popularity.

Ten years ago, the local Chugani family of jewelers partnered with eco-friendly jewelry brand ALEX AND ANI, known for its handcrafted expandable bangles and charm bracelets, chain necklaces, and rings—much of which is made from recycled and vintage materials—to open stand-alone boutiques in the Caribbean. The Chugani family felt a synergy with founder Carolyn Rafaelian’s vision to create pieces that aren’t just unique but also inspiring with positive and empowering messages, all while weaving a humanitarian thread into the company’s cultural fabric (about 20% of profits are donated to various charitable initiatives around the world).

Alex and Ani storefront in Palm Beach Aruba

The Chugani family opened the first ALEX AND ANI boutique in Aruba in 2016, thrilling shoppers with a vast selection of the brand’s diverse collections. Last summer, the Chugani family visited the headquarters of ALEX AND ANI in Rhode Island, pitching an exclusive opportunity to the board of directors. “Our vision was to differentiate the region and give those that love the Caribbean and ALEX AND ANI an opportunity to own something truly exclusive,“ explained Tesh Chugani. The Chuganis envisioned four to six exclusive bangle sets that would be produced in a limited quantity and sold in stores for no longer than six months. The first collection—the Life’s a Beach bangle set—arrived on Aruba last month, consisting of two perfectly grouped colored bangles that bring the Caribbean colors to life.

Life's a beach charm bracelet - Aruba - Alex and Ani
A,ex and Ani Aruba Life's a Beach charm bracelet

Our visitors come to Aruba time and time again, soaking up our distinct island vibe and taking those cathartic memories home with them. The Life’s a Beach set embodies this spirit, as explained in the custom card that accompanies this one-of-a-kind collection only available in the Caribbean:

In the Caribbean, the natural world combines with steel drums, vibrant nightlife, and tales of buried treasure. With a conscious attitude towards the environment, the islands boast a distinct ecosystem featuring colorful, lush wildlife. Inhale the seaside air and exhale your cares. Soak up the glorious sun of the Caribbean.

The set is available for $98 at the ALEX AND ANI store in Aruba at La Hacienda (across from Playa Linda Beach Resort). You can also contact Tesh Chugani about the set at [email protected].