Meet the founders of George Rings, Chelsea and Jade Grimmius, two sisters with a passion for 18k solid gold.
Launched in 2021 with a belief that the best jewelry is perfectly imperfect like all human beings, and its beauty increases with age, patina, and the marks of a life well lived. Discover a line of simple soft rounded shapes with heft–these pieces are solid, never hollowed out. Believe me when I say when you put this jewelry on you feel it, and it’s very satisfying.
It is a pleasure to introduce a brand that we not only personally love, but also a brand whose values so closely align with our own, sharing a deep commitment to craftsmanship, creating pieces meant to be enjoyed first and foremost by the wearer for a lifetime and beyond, and placing sustainability at the heart of their practice.
While opening our new pop-up store in New York City, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Chelsea and Jade.
Can you share a little about your background, and where you grew up?
Hello there, we are happy to be here! We grew up just south of Portland, Oregon, in a family of five kids. We each have two brothers and two sisters, and we are 2.5 years apart in age (Chelsea is older).
How was creativity cultivated in your childhood?
Our mom gave us a lot of space and confidence to be imaginative, and really applauded our ideas (even if they were questionable); she gave us permission to delight in the things we would make — for better or worse.
When Chelsea was six years old, she really wanted a pair of high heels and our mom said no, so Chelsea made her own out of cardboard, tape, markers, and … wait for it … baby carrots. We both remember only that our mom praised the “carrot heels,” and said nothing when Chelsea discovered that walking on carrots didn’t exactly work as hoped.
The busyness and striving of life can tend to reduce opportunities for and faith in the ability to be creative — we’re grateful for a childhood that afforded space for that, and so glad to be turning back toward it at this point in our lives.
What was your experience of jewelry growing up?
Looking back we laugh because neither of us remember caring very much about or being interested in fine jewelry (or what was offered as “fine jewelry” in the 1980s), but we did always love simple silver pieces and everyday gold jewelry. Our parents wore plain gold wedding bands, and our mom rarely added anything other than her classic yellow gold hoops and a gold locket. During our teens, we took multiple jewelry-making classes where we learned how to solder and fabricate, and we both developed a love for the art and possibilities of jewelry during those years, even though we didn’t pursue jewelry-making in earnest until much later.
We still have some of the pieces we made in those classes, and it’s fun to see how the shapes lightly echo our first George collection. We’ve been drawn to softness and simplicity for a long time.
The brand launched in 2021. What was the path that led two sisters to create a jewelry brand?
Where does the name George Rings come from?
Our pieces are classic and timeless and we wanted to choose a name that would evoke a sense of familiarity and solidity. 'George' is a family name, and it just felt right. We briefly considered using our own names, but our intention from the beginning was to have our designs worn across genders, and men sometimes limit engagement with brands that lean feminine.
As for adding “Rings” to the name, when designing our collections, we always start with rings. They are the core of our brand, and most of our pendant and earring designs are inspired by the rings we create.
Can you share the concept behind the brand?
In the early stages of George, we wrote that our goal was “to create the most delicious solid gold rings you’ll ever wear.” Our experience with fine jewelry was that it was lightweight and hollow, flat or hard or sharp, and too ornate, which left us feeling unsatisfied and uninspired. The things we put on our bodies every day should be pleasurable and respectful, and oftentimes we’re asked to make a choice between beauty and wearability. We wanted to design the kind of jewelry that doesn’t require compromise.
We also chose really early on to make all of our pieces in 18k yellow gold only. It’s slightly heavier and softer than 14k, maintains its shape better than 22k or 24k, and has the most wonderful warm color — deep and peachy. We love the way it patinas and grows more beautiful with time.
So to reiterate, our concept is to create the most warm, soft, and luxurious 18k gold jewelry anyone has ever felt.
You describe your gold as “private pleasure” gold. What does that mean?
What distinguishes our pieces from all other jewelry is our dedication to simplicity, and our careful attention to curvature and weight. We use a lot of gold in all of our designs because the volume matters when creating jewelry that feels good.
Our calling cards are simple, rounded shapes, softened squares; always solid 18k yellow gold, never hollow.
Lost wax casting, a metal forming process over 6,000 years old. Why did you choose to go with this methodology?
The two main methods of metal forming are fabrication and casting. There are reasons to use one over the other in various situations but for our designs, casting yields the best results. Fabrication takes many parts (wire, sheets of metal, tubes, solder) to create a whole, whereas cast jewelry is made of one solid piece. The structural integrity produced by casting aligns with our desire to create pieces that will last for generations. Casting also allows for more substantial shapes — it isn’t possible to create the kind of curves, softness, and substance we love using fabrication.
The collection includes pieces made with sustainably grown Columbian emeralds and pink sapphires. What is the difference between a sustainably-grown gem and a mined gem?
When sourcing certain gems, we found that it is often impossible to extract them from the earth without major disruption and damage, and that the conditions for doing so are often very exploitive. So when we discovered that they could be sustainably grown, we were really excited.
A sustainably-grown gem is cultivated rather than mined from the earth. It is identical to a mined gem in every way — molecular structure, refractive index, dispersion, hardness, luster, and appearance. Sustainably-created gems have the same chemical, physical and optical properties as their mined counterparts because they are formed under equivalent conditions. Just as a fir tree in the wild is identical to a fir tree planted and grown in a park, grown gems are identical to mined gems.
We use both mined and sustainably grown gems in our designs, and we’re committed to sourcing beautiful gems from the most ethical supply chains, whether grown or mined.
Who / what are you inspired by?
European architecture (specifically, 19th century doors and windows); Katherine Hepburn; Alessando Michele’s (Gucci) FW 2020 menswear collection; watercolors and woodblock prints; natural materials like soft, worn leather, lovingly aged and oiled wood, cotton velvet, old marble steps; A Pattern Language (architectural book); Kendrick Lamar; Italy in general; 16th century Dutch botanical paintings; and anyone with strong, beautiful hands. Our cover model for our first lookbook was a man who came to wash the studio windows. He had incredible hands, so we asked him to model our rings and it was amazing.
What drives your creativity?
Travel, nature, and art.
If you could have anyone wear your designs, who would it be?
Who is the woman you are thinking of when designing?
www.georgerings.com and follow @georgerings
98 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012