As a kid George Khalife often found himself in his dad’s jewelry store, Goldcorp Inc., and he’s the first to admit it wasn’t his favorite place to be. Thankfully, that changed.
“Initially, when I was younger, I hated it but then I would say in my twenties I was like, oh wait, this is actually really incredible,” said Khalife, who is now widely known as “George the Jeweler.” “So I started working with my dad and making my own jewelry right away. I wanted to be wearing things no one else had.”
Now, the Bloomfield Hills native not only serves as Goldcorp Inc.’s junior vice president (which is in Oak Park), but has been producing his own work, creating pieces that include a famous clientele, with celebrities from Khloe Kardashian and Gigi Hadid to Giuliana Rancic wearing them. The personalized name plate necklaces he creates are often named after the client.
For Khalife – who thinks everyone should own a diamond tennis bracelet – jewelry can not only make or break an outfit, but complete it.
“It’s like the last thing you throw on that ties everything together,” he said. “I love that aspect of it...it’s the cherry on top.”
Khalife also loves to work with, and be inspired by, his clients. Take for example his collection House of Fine Gold, which launched late last year. Khalife created the collection with one of his celebrity clients, singer, actress, and entrepreneur Christina Milian.
The duo began working together a few years ago when Khalife made some custom pieces for Milian. That working relationship grew into a fast friendship and led to them collaborating together. The collection has everything from sterling silver to 14K gold to custom name plates. They wanted to be able to hit every demographic, even those who can’t afford the line’s more expensive pieces.
“It’s something that everyone can find a little something that they like,” he said.
So far, Khalife said they’ve been able to grow into a successful business, and are even adding new pieces each month, with plans to continue expanding.
No matter how big he and his jewelry collections get, though, the Cranbrook Kingswood School alumni doesn’t think of what he’s doing as branching away from the family business – where he still can often be found – but elevating them to the next level.
“You know what this generation can do better than the last?” he said. “The networking…I say that social media, like Instagram for example, is our digital business card.”
That presence on social media has had a huge influence on Khalife’s success. It’s how he met Milian and his first celebrity client, upcoming singer and Sirius XM host Symon. Khalife said Symon was the one who really opened the door for him. Soon after their introduction it skyrocketed into what it is now – and he is showing no signs of slowing down.
Currently, he has plans to begin doing some pop-up shops, is looking to do other collaborations with celebrities, and has been getting more involved in fundraising, like his recent work with the American Cancer Society’s Real Men Wear Pink campaign. He also has hopes of a small shop in Los Angeles, where he travels to from Michigan every few months. Anything else?
“What else is next?” Khalife said. “Taking over the jewelry world.”