Leila Thomas wears the Monkey tassle earrings and monkey ring | Zoraida London


This year we decided to shoot the new collection - Nature Rocks - in the beautiful Cairngorm's in the Scottish Highlands. Scotland has a particular resonance for me as it’s where I grew up, just a hop, skip and a jump from the Cairngorms National Park. I have many fond childhood memories of family holidays and adventures in the wild and I knew the breathtaking scenery and dramatic skies of this part of the world would make the perfect place for the shoot.


When it came to choosing our muse it had to be the Hawaiian model, surfer and globetrotter, Leila Thomas. She is seriously cool and we were thrilled to have the opportunity to work with her for the first time. I loved the idea of combining her tropical, exotic features with the wild Scottish landscapes of the Cairngorms.  So with great excitement, we booked the location where we would all meet in July.

It had been an incredibly warm summer but just as we were packing up to set off, the weather took a turn for the worse. It looked like we would arrive in Aviemore just in time for the storms to hit. As you can probably imagine the prospect of non-stop rain was a worrying thought. But in the end, we counted our lucky stars as we couldn’t have asked for better weather. The sun burst through the clouds and bathed the Cairngorms in sunshine. It was spectacular.


On location in Scotland, Catherine Zoraida

It was such a joy to share this magical place with Leila. We all fell in love with her instantly, it was like working with an old friend. Her warmth and energy was such a joy to be around. I felt incredibly lucky to have such a fantastic team as well. Alongside my husband Ollie, who was shooting the new campaign, we also had Susanna Sanford. She is another absolute star who worked her magic with beautiful flowers to enhance the scenes and add that extra romantic touch. We also had the supremely talented Lily Gregory on hair and make up.


Leila Thomas wears the Diamond Polki Butterfly Pendant, Catherine Zoraida

Leila wears the onyx pineapple pendant

Catherine Zoraida Leila Thomas jewellery shoot

One of my favourite parts of the shoot has to have been the bedroom scene where Susie dressed a four poster bed with pink roses and beech leaves. I also love the scene with Leila in a sweet little rowing boat filled with flowers. It was a dream team, and we had loads of fun hanging out in the evenings after a long day’s shoot.


Leila Thomas wears the Diamond Polki Butterfly Pendant


Leila Thomas wears the Diamond Polki Butterfly RingCatherine Zoraida Leila Thomas Jewellery ShootWe were staying and shooting in the same location, Inschriah, for a week, so it quickly felt like home, and we all settled into its relaxed charm with ease. Just a short drive from the town of Aviemore, this estate has been in the same family for generations and is currently being run by the lovely Walter Micklethwait. He couldn’t have made us feel more welcome.

And what a place: both the house and the surrounding estate are heavenly. The River Spey runs through it so evenings were spent having barbeques on its banks and Ollie even got some fishing in.


Having a break, and enjoying the sun on location in the highlands

Grabbing a short break to bask in the sun next to one of the cool cabins at Inschriah.

Dotted around the place were all sorts of cabins, wandering wildlife and various intriguing structures, one of which won the Shed of the Year Awards in 2015. Walter has even made himself a small gin distillery. Attached to the side is a little shop where you can buy all sorts of weird and wonderful things that he has collected and treasured over the years. And it was with considerable delight that on the final evening of the shoot, Walter’s wife gave birth to twins. We all had a very fun evening that night celebrating this special news as well as it being our last dinner all together.


Last Night together on location in Scotland, Catherine Zoraida

After having such a magical time, it was sad when it came to packing up to leave at the end of the week. But I couldn't be more proud of the team and, of course, so excited to finally share the new collection with you.


Leila Thomas and Catherine Zoraida Scotland

And thats a wrap! A big hug at the end of the weeks shoot.


You will find butterflies with sliced gemstones for wings, polar bears resting on faceted chrysoprase icebergs, and tiny dragonflies that will dance around your neck. There are lots more pieces besides, and I loved introducing these more unusual cuts of stone into my designs for the first time.

 Polar and Moonstone Pendant

Diamond polki butterfly ring

I wanted to combine the new collection alongside some of my previous pieces on the shoot to show how well they can work together. Just by layering different pieces together you can effortlessly create your own look. Nothing makes me happier than seeing people having fun with their jewellery: mixing it up, layering old with new. If it makes you feel good and happy, that is what it’s all about.


Jewellery - Catherine Zoraida

Model - Leila Thomas 

Photography - Oliver Blackwell

Hair and Make up - Lily Gregory

Flowers - Susanna Sanford

Clothes - Jessica Choay, Bec & Bridge, Under Protection, Free People, Missguided, Wren Cashmere, Madeline Thompson, Rag of Colts

Location - Inschriach