Interview with Zara Phillips and John Calleija

The Zara Phillips Collection by Calleija is the exciting new collaboration between Olympic Medallist, Zara Phillips MBE, and international award winning jeweller, John Calleija. After launching the collection on Thursday 18 June 2015 at The Royal Arcade in London, Zara and John took a few moments to discuss the essence of their beautiful jewellery designs.

John, who do you envisage falling in love with these jewels?
JC: “Zara and I designed the collection for today’s modern woman – she’s outgoing, ambitious, happy with herself, forging her own path and sharing good times with family and friends. The designs really complement all fashion styles as well, with each one featuring unique elements in diamond detailing and shape. The pieces are designed to transition from day to night, particularly the Coronet Suite, whilst the Saddle Suite has added elements of glamour and encapsulates the Unbridled Elegance theme. I love how individual they all are, which reflects the philosophy behind the collection”.

Zara, when did you first start thinking about creating a jewellery collection?
ZP: “When I first met John on Surfers Paradise Beach in 2013 -- I was attending an event at the Magic Millions Horse Racing Carnival as Ambassador for Racing Women Australia. Calleija is the Official Jeweller for the Carnival and I was delighted to be dressed in Calleija diamonds during that week. I had an instant connection with Calleija designs – there is something very special about wearing them.  John and I talked about a creative partnership and how great it would be. He and I got along really well together -- we both have a real spirit for life -- and the collaboration just felt right to me. I have had a fabulous time working with him, and I hope everyone enjoys the collection as much as we have enjoyed putting it together”.

 What is it you look for in terms of design and quality of the pieces you wear?
ZP: I have a hectic schedule being a mum and preparing a professional team of horses for the Olympics, so I look for timeless, wearable pieces with a touch of elegance and sparkle. Classic, contemporary and beautiful, that’s what I really look for. I’m wearing The Saddle Suite now: the ring, earrings, pendant and cuff. There are ladies and gents cufflinks too. I love the curves and lines of these pieces, they’re all beautifully shaped. The Saddle Ring was one of the first designs we decided on, and the collection sprang from there”.

John, what was it like working with Zara to create this collection?

JC: “Inspirational! I started on this collaboration not really knowing where it would take us, but Zara is very sure of what she likes and the direction she wanted for the collection, which made the process easier and very enjoyable. As a designer, it’s great to create pieces that have meaning for both parties. We were bouncing ideas off one another  -- it was a fantastic experience. Zara and I both have an eye for precision and beauty that drove us to perfect the designs time and time again, until we both felt they were right and represented the unbridled elegance theme. It has been a lot of fun and I have enjoyed the process immensely”. 

John, can you tell us a little more about the Saddle and Coronet Suites?

JC: “As Zara said she’s wearing the Saddle Suite now, and the striking feature of all the rings from this suite are their concave and convex curves.  The rings, pendants and earrings sit comfortably on the skin because of their unique ergonomic shape. The Coronet Suite conveys a look of strength whilst remaining graceful and refined. The Coronet rings, pendants and earrings feature diamond set symmetrically curved arcs. The rings are available in Grande, Medium and Slender size, which appeals to all hand sizes, depending on whether the wearer prefers the stackable look of multiple Slender rings, or the bold look of one larger Coronet Ring”.

And what of the future -- will the collection grow?

JC: “We really see the whole collection as ‘evolutionary’ -- we are working on more designs and the collection will continue to unfold – a very exciting time ahead for the Zara Phillips Collection by Calleija.

Magic Millions 2015

Australia's Richest Race Day

Zara Phillips, MBE, returned to Surfers Paradise Australia, in her role as Official Patron of Magic Millions Racing Women, for what has grown to be the richest day in Australian horse racing. As a European and World equestrian champion, Zara is no stranger to the equine community, having won an Olympic Silver Medal in Equestrian at the London Olympic Games. Zara shone brightly all week, attending festivities in an exclusive selection of bespoke Calleija jewellery. Calleija also provided Magic Millions with $20,000 worth of prizes to the Fashions on the Field winners. Enjoy our wrap up of all the fashions below.

View: Magic Millions $10 million prize money in 2016 






How to store your jewellery

We asked John Calleija: What is the best way to store your jewellery to ensure years of joy and pleasure?

JC: "For bespoke jewellery, or any jewellery, to last a lifetime, it must be cared for correctly. Ensuring it is stored away from perfumes and solvents is a must and, above all, your jewellery should be kept away from abrasive materials and any harsh surfaces. This includes metals, glass and other hard surfaces. The solution is to store your jewellery wrapped in the appropriate materials, such as inside a cushioned jewellery box, soft fabric pouch or smaller pieces of tarnish-free fabric. This is particularly important regarding earrings, which should be split from their twin by placing each earring inside a piece of soft felt, or by placing both earrings inside individual pouches".

"I also suggest to ladies and gents who are attending functions and events to ensure they protect their rings when picking up a wine glass, or even when clapping their hands together where jewellery may contact other rings on the opposite hand. Overall, the value of your jewels relies on the standard in which they are kept over time. Limit tangles, tarnishing and damage by storing them well, and having them professionally cleaned regularly".

The Golden Hour

When it comes to deciding on which Gold to feature in your jewellery, how do you decide if White Gold, Yellow Gold or Rose Gold is best for you? 

Experts say that skin tone is the best indicator, ensuring that your jewellery truly complements you, and enhances your natural skin tone and eye colour. A quick indicator of whether you have a 'Warm' skin tone or 'Cool' skin tone is to check the colour of the veins on the inside of your wrist. Do they have a bluish colour or greenish colour? Greenish veins mean you have a Warm skin tone; bluer veins a Cool skin tone.

Everyone enjoys wearing diamonds (Calleija Diamonds we hope!), and the Coloured Diamonds and Gold that suit each skin tone are usually grouped as below:

  • Warm skin tones tend to suit Yellow Gold and Rose Gold with Yellow Diamonds, Peach, Coral, Green, Turquoise and Lemon coloured gemstones
  • Cool skin tones tend to suit White Gold, Platinum and Silver featuring White Diamonds, Blue, Red and Magenta jewels

Your skin tone and eye colour never change, so once you have determined whether you are Warm or Cool, every fashion choice becomes much easier -- not only towards jewellery but also regarding clothing, makeup and accessories.

Ultimately, there are many other decisions that factor into your Gold preference and accompanying gemstones, such as current style, your 'jewellery personality' and whether the piece is a family heirloom. These are all important when selecting your jewellery designs, however following the skin tone guidelines will always ensure that the piece truly suits you throughout your lifetime. 


Italian vacation - it's in the blood

We asked John Calleija about his love affair with Italy, and the area from where he draws inspiration in his jewellery design, plus his top 3 recommendations for visiting this beautiful country.

JC: There is something about Europe that continues to inspire me year after year. I have fond memories from my childhood hearing my Maltese father and Italian mother talking about their homelands: their family, friends and life-long memories. I always felt an affinity with Malta and Italy, even though I was born in Australia, and every year try to visit the beautiful hills of Tuscany with my wife Noni and daughter Jade-Monet. When I am in my country of origin, I feel a certain type of ease and happiness, a sense of belonging, and connection to the land and its people.

I find myself constantly inspired by the incredible surroundings so carry my sketchbook with me for those lightbulb moments when a jewellery design spills out onto the paper. The designs usually end up in the hands of our Master Craftsmen in the workshop, just like the Calleija Couture 'Florentine' ring, designed while I was on a family vacation in Italy.

You too will be inspired by this amazing country. My top three recommendations must surely be to immerse yourself into all apsects of Italy, or any country you might be visiting -- particularly the culture, the food and Italian landscape, especially its people -- all elements combined contribute to the essence of Italy. 

Buone vacanze (Happy holidays!)

'Florentine'  a briliant 3.02ct Oval White Diamond Ring, inspired by the beauty of Italy