George Khalife, also known as George the Jeweler, has become one of the most sought-after celebrity jewelry designers as of late, offering custom pieces for A-listers like Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Ashley Graham, and Bebe Rexha.
Known most famously as the man behind Khloe Kardashian’s trending diamond 14k gold “True” necklace, George the Jeweler also happens to be the largest wholesale gold retailer in Detroit with his family-run company. So where did it all begin?
“My love for gold came from watching my dad work with gold chains,” Khalife said. “He’d organize them show me the different styles. That really stuck with me and as I grew I loved working with them just like he did.”
Khalife continues to bring sentimentality with his pieces, even creating a custom dog paw print in 14k gold for Khloe Kardashian after her dog Gabbanna passed away. “It was crazy watching Khloe give it to Kendall on Keeping up with the Kardashians,” Khalife reminisced.
Khalife connected with actress-singer Christian Milian on Instagram in 2016, beginning to create custom designs for her. Their friendship eventually culminated in a design collaboration with the launch of House of Fine Gold, a jewelry line that quickly evolved into a lifestyle brand including swimwear, clothing, and accessories. “Christina is such a breath of fresh air to work with,” Khalife gushed. “She truly works hard and is involved in every aspect of the business.”
Their natural chemistry added to the ease of the design process, complementing one another’s ideas. “[I find inspiration] everywhere I look,” Milian explained. “Old, new, vintage stores, in my travels or just using our creative minds. Sometimes I tell George ‘I have a gut feeling people will really like this.'”
House of Fine Gold’s signature pieces include layering necklaces and pendants, usually incorporating religious iconography and subtle imagery. Milian was drawn to collaborating in the design process after discovering her own emotional tie to gold and the symbol it represents for women. “I’m most intrigued by the women who are in the midst of a growth stage in life and have found a passion and love for jewelry. Making our 14k gold jewelry an everyday statement that almost expresses where they are in life,” Milian mused. “I feel like you really are a woman when you make the choice to invest in real gold and diamonds. As I have grown I have come to value certain jewelry because they carry quality and good memories.”
Milian also brings a customer mindset to the design process, emphasizing a diverse price range and jewelry options to appeal to all clients. “We have challenged ourselves to try new things and I want to be able to provide something for all of our customers in every price range and any style,” Milian said. “I am a consumer at the end of the day still too so I kind of have a good idea what I think girls and women like.”
Milian herself opts for minimalist jewelry that can easily be converted into different looks as she goes from the recording studio to filming upcoming FOX show Mixtape. “I think petite structured pieces are feminine and add a dimension and a confident flare to any look without having to be ‘loud,'” Milian explained.
House of Fine Gold is looking to expand even further this year with two new ventures. Last holiday season, the company launched a mens capsule collection, and both Milian and Khalife hope to expand further into category, albeit with more trepidation. “Men are a little more difficult to design for in my experience,” Khalife explained. “They tend to prefer bigger and bulkier pieces. Women are more open and there’s room for more creativity.” House of Fine Gold also announced Silver House, a sister line for customers who prefer silver.
As George the Jeweler puts it, gold is a necessity for anyone, adding that extra flair. “To me, jewelry is the cherry on top [of an outfit],” Khalife said. “It’s an amazing feeling to be able to design the finishing touch.”