Ralph (Raffi) Rafaelian was born on January 3, 1935. He was the son of Armenian immigrants who settled in Rhode Island when they came to America. After serving in the military, he worked for his brother-in-law in his jewelry business. In 1966, he opened his own company, Cinerama Jewelry, in Providence, Rhode Island. He later moved the company to Cranston, Rhode Island. As a wholesaler, Rafealian produced all types of costume jewelry. He became well-known for the American flag lapel pins that he sold wholesale to fundraising and patriotic organizations. His daughter, Carolyn, began designing for her father in 1994. Carolyn and her sister became the co-owners of Cinerama. They then opened the own company, Alex and Ani, at the Cinerama facilities.