Academy Award winner George Chakiris, known internationally for his role as Bernardo in “West Side Story,” parlays his talent from the Silver Screen to Sterling Silver Jewelry, featuring necklaces, bracelets, earrings, dramatic belts and more. “It is something that I started doing as a way to remain at home with my beautiful Italian Greyhound named Sammy. I used to travel and be gone for eight to nine months out of the year, and one day I looked at Sammy and realized I needed to be home to spend time with him,” said the “West Side Story” icon George Chakiris.
“Tommy, I sell my jewelry world-wide now. It’s amazing. The creative process really is a fascinating thing to do. Whether it’s on screen in film or making jewelry, both are equally as fulfilling, and it’s even more so with the jewelry, because you know that the piece of jewelry will be a part of someone’s life and of them forever, or as long as they keep it,” said Chakiris.
His jewelry making business may have started out accidentally, but it’s really taken off. George’s work is now all over the world, and he’s working with someone to capitalize on the business side of things. “I really am not a person with a business head, unlike our mutual friend Phyllis Diller. She’s so smart, people would be surprised,” George said. And I agree with the handsome actor. Phyllis Diller is a genius and many people don’t realize it, because of her great humor, which she is well known for. George however is very modest, because he too is a genius, an artist who believes in the ARTS and believes young people in school need this more than ever.
“When you are acting on the stage, on TV or on the silver screen. You are offering yourself to others, and you hope they will love it. It is so important to connect with your unconscious side of creativity, and eventually it will transcend to your work, whatever it is that you are creating, it will make a difference,” added the jewelry maker. “I love the creative process of making jewelry, because it is something you can hold in your hands, it is tangible. I really do appreciate that you and others have taken interest in it.”
George has absolutely nothing to worry about. His jewelry is now being sold on almost every continent, and in Japan, it’s sold in a very exclusive department store. “That is still surprising to me, Tommy. That something I make and enjoy doing has become so popular in Japan and elsewhere. It makes it all worthwhile. You know in life we have so many biases, and it’s very harmful to the nation and to us as individuals. However, in the ARTS, there is no bias. That is a beautiful thing,” concluded the Hollywood icon.
After meeting George for the very first time. I have to admit, I do now have a bias. I believe he’s the single most creative man in Hollywood, a genius with modesty. A man who has touched millions of lives in his film, TV and stage work, but yet, he is far too humble to realize he’s a giant in the entertainment industry and the business world as well. And for those of us who know him, he’s a giant amongst giants on the planet. A true American, who embraces his belief and hope in human kind and our future. And a man who creates the type of beauty that only a beautiful person could possibly make. Knowing George is a benefit to our society, to the entertainment industry, our nation, the world and personally, to my soul.
Living a life with passion for the creative arts drew George quite by chance to jewelry making as a hobby. What began as a hobby became a full time appreciation for design and construction and a new creative outlet, which became The George Chakiris Collections. Recently unveiled in Japan, The George Chakiris Collections are on display at Tokyo’s prestigious Mitsukoshi Department Store.
George’s jewelry is available at his official website at www.GeorgeChakiris.com.
Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photograph is Courtesy of the actor’s private collection
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