About the ZoZo CollectionThe ZoZo collection captures the essence of a Mediterranean summer, a magical reverie in painterly hues of blue, green and purple. Inspired by a family retreat to the Italian village of Bogliasco, Mimi personally selects each captivating Australian opal to convey the intrigue and beauty of the Italian seaside.
So swim away with me...
In the summer of 2011, my family and I took a vacation to Bogliasco, a small village along the Italian Riviera. Our daughter’s best friend from elementary school, Zoe, invited Coco Mei to join her family there on a trip. We gave permission, but only if we were allowed to tag along as well! This was by far our most memorable trip to Italy as a family. The Biaggi estate where we stayed looked like the subject of a Monet painting. Behind the grand mansion, the cobblestone steps lead you down a jungle-like path of exotic greenery to the most powerful view of the Mediterranean sea I had ever seen.
Each day we jumped into the deep “piscina” and the feeling was exhilarating. The strong push and pull of the sea currents left us with an impression never to be erased. I was instantly inspired to capture this experience in a collection. Naturally, I had to name it after our host, Zoe, or Zozo, the girl with the brightest blue eyes. I felt the only stone worthy enough to match this incredible sea was a boulder opal from Australia. The rich, fiery blue color and the natural dips and waves found in these opals are created by water running down through the earth. The trip was really one-of-a-kind, like all the precious jewels in the ZoZo collection. — XO MIMI
Behind the Scenes
Inspired by a family trip to the Italian Riviera, the Zozo collection is a mesmerizing, fun and colorful group of precious statement jewels. Comprised of one-of-a-kind, handmade pieces featuring boulder opals, the collection demonstrates a mindboggling feat of craftsmanship.
No two boulder opals are the same therefore the rings, necklaces and earrings in the collection are all designed according to the shape of the stones. No two settings are alike because the natural shape of the stones requires its own unique setting. Due to the uneven nature of the opals, traditional pronged settings aren’t utilized. Instead, the setters had to think outside of the box to find creative ways to set the stones. It was a delicate dance because if the metal was pushed too hard, they might risk chipping the stone or the setting itself.
The Zozo collection took an extraordinary amount of time to produce because the jewelers had to model each new jewel from scratch. There were no molds, or techniques to reference from earlier pieces. Each piece became an exploration of craft and skill all its own. The jewelers had to be extremely careful not to damage anything in the process because opals are fragile and precious and impossible to replicate.
The statement rings were great fun to carve. Rolling waves were fashioned around the 18k gold settings that frame a grand opal. Important to note because unlike a traditional, even bezel setting, this was the opposite. It was uneven and unpredictable because the stones themselves aren’t perfectly symmetric. They are always irregular. Once finished, the beauty is always worthwhile. Each handcrafted ring takes up to 2 months to create and a more elaborate necklace takes up to 6 months to complete from start to finish.