For Khai Khai’s Haim Medine Jewelry is a Family Affair

Leah Bourne

The Flamingo Pete Ring

Jewelry runs in Haim Medine’s blood. His father Mois founded the Mark Henry Alexandrite Jewelry Collection, specializing in the ultra–rare Alexandrite stone, and he’s been in the jewelry business for decades. Then there is his sister Leandra, better known as the Man Repeller. Along with running one of the most influential fashion blog’s on the web, she coined the term “arm party”—and ushered in the trend of wearing as many bracelets as possible (just take a walk down the street to see how palpable this trend is).
Medine is quickly catching up to his family’s influence. He launched his own jewelry collection Khai Khai Jewelry—fine jewelry with fun modern twists—in February, quickly racking up accolades and fans (you can now buy the jewelry at Fivestory in New York and London Jeweler’s in East Hampton).
We chatted with Medine about the launch, the perks of growing up in the jewelry business, and why he is lucky to call the Man Repeller his sister.
The Vivant: How did the collection come about?
Haim Medine: We launched in February, but it was really a work in progress for three years before that. I was working in production in my family business—buying stones, buying diamonds—and I got really invaluable experience. You can’t put a price on that. I wanted to branch off and do something that I was really passionate about, and target a younger audience. I saw the opportunity, and I felt I had the skill set to tackle it.
What made you say, OK, I want to follow my family into the jewelry business?
I had dabbled with other jobs in college but I was always mesmerized by jewelry. I definitely think in more creative ways, in ways that are more abstract. I can’t see myself at a desk job from nine to six, following someone else’s rules. Jewelry was just really appealing.

Haim Medine Headshot

Khai Khai Founder and Designer Haim Medine

Your jewelry incorporates everything from hashtags to flamingos. How do you find inspiration?
I really let my mind run free—I could be walking down the street and see a bunch of great ideas. You can’t force it and you have to let it come naturally to you. Sometimes you can have a two-month dry spell and something creative will just come to you. I’ve learned that along the way.
Prices start at under $500 and nothing is over $3,000. How important was it to you that this line be attainable?
I want everyone to be able to wear it, and it is really a luxury to be able to sell at this attractive of a price point. Because my family is in the business, and my father’s had 30 years to build his connections, I’ve had the opportunity to use his facilities, and to get competitive labor. Sometimes I can’t believe what a competitive market jewelry is—I’ve stumbled across designers who are doing really amazing things who I have never even heard of.
It sounds like your father’s been a huge help to you and your business. What advice has he given you along the way?
He’s given me advice at all stages. He’s been through it all and made mistakes, but one of the most important things he’s told me is to not force the creative process.


Leandra Medine Wearing Khai Khai Rings

And what about your sister Leandra?
It is really phenomenal that my sister is considered a fashion fixture at this point, and so influential. And she’s my younger sister! Every time she speaks I take advantage of it because people would kill to have my sister help them launch a brand. She’s come up with concepts, and given me incredible exposure.
How do you hope to see women wear your pieces?
I love seeing them layered. Stacking rings that are delicate and small. There are just so many combinations and you can wear this jewelry 100 different ways.
Give us a preview of what you are working on.
I have a lot of pretty exciting things in the works. I’ve always loved dinosaurs and Danny and the Dinosaurs was my favorite book growing up and I have dinosaur inspired pieces in production that will hopefully be in at the end of September or early October. So expect an 18-karat diamond T-Rex soon.