Friday, November 15, 2019


By Eva Fydrych

Mona E. Awad
Callistus Jewelry

Photos by Lance Miller Photography and courtesy of Callistus Jewelry

“Jewelry compliments and accessorizes the outfit and gives it a final touch.” - Mona E. Awad

We are back with our interview series! 

Today, Mona E. Awad, the founder of very stylish Callistus Jewelry based in Northern California, talks about some of the most essential aspects of her brand, sources of inspiration, future goals, and current jewelry trends to follow. Enjoy the article and don't forget to follow Callistus Jewelry on Instagram and Facebook!

FASHION STUDIO: What inspired you to start your own business? 

MONA: My love for jewelry started at an early age. Dressing up and wearing jewelry was one of my favorite hobbies. I grew up in Jerusalem's Old City, where the history of Egyptian, Roman, and Byzantine influences are reflected in the city's architecture and art. This context has greatly formed my love for fashion and jewelry, as I reflect the environment I grew up with as well as the places I've traveled into my designs. After years of imagining my own jewelry practice, I materialized my dream a few years ago with the launch of Callistus Jewelry, a Latin word that means the most beautiful.

Photographer @lancemillerphotography | Model @gulyaeva_ola | Hair Stylist @nancycarillo_beauty
Makeup artist @juancruzIII (Photo courtesy of Callistus Jewelry)

FASHION STUDIO: Who do you design for?

MONA: My designs are unique and handmade to order. My pieces are described as antique, modern and timeless, so they are heirloom and stay in the family for generations.

I have a wide range of customers from 20 to 70 year old women. Some of my pieces include diamonds, so they are on the higher end price range. On the other hand, most of my pieces are affordable. Our company uses mixed metals, sterling silver 925, gold 18K filled, diamonds, and precious and semi-precious gemstones. Also our multi-color tourmaline ring bands are admired and could be worn by men.

FASHION STUDIO: What do you consider your biggest success so far?

MONA: My biggest success was when I first saw and felt my finished pieces. It was a dream come true to see my own designs coming to life with my logo imprint. Our name is getting out there slowly but surely. We are currently working on our website and social media platforms to cover our collections.

Lace Collection (Sterling silver 925, rhodium plated in several shades, diamonds, natural gemstones,
turquoise, amethyst, moonstone, tanzanite) Photo courtesy of Callistus Jewelry

FASHION STUDIO: Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

MONA: As I mentioned earlier, my background and travels helped my inspiration. I see art everywhere around me, in nature, art, fashion, architecture, and through other artists and designers. Jewelry and fashion go together. Jewelry compliments and accessorizes the outfit and gives it a final touch. 

FASHION STUDIO: What are your main challenges and how do you overcome them?

MONA: One of the first challenges I had was with designing. Every time I thought of a style, I would find that someone else had the same design or idea. Finally, I decided to just go ahead and start drawing what I like and give a special touch to be different from the rest. 

My dream was to create my own brand. I had my fears and doubts that kept me motivated to achieve what I really want.

One other challenge was deciding where to display and sell my jewelry. We started to advertise and promote the line to local, private boutiques hoping to have the brand recognized. 

Photographer @lancemillerphotography | Model @gulyaeva_ola | Hair Stylist @nancycarillo_beauty
Makeup artist @juancruzIII (Photo courtesy of Callistus Jewelry)

FASHION STUDIO: Which jewelry trends would you recommend for Fall/Winter 2019? 

MONA: Gold is in! I would recommend the gold finish jewelry. Yellow is a warm color and is always a great choice for the fall and winter seasons. Gold chains, gold statement cuff bracelets, gold brooches, and colorful gemstones with a touch of gold will finalize any fall/winter look. I am now working on my "Mediterranean Collection" that is gold-filled sterling silver with beautiful Tourmaline, multicolored Sapphires. 

FASHION STUDIO: What is the best piece of fashion advice you've ever received?

MONA: The best advice I received about fashion was to never over accessorize. It is better to wear less pieces of jewelry and show the beauty of each one of them than wearing many pieces that outshine each other. Match your jewelry with your outfit. Look in the mirror before leaving the house and try to take off one piece of jewelry. If you are layering necklaces, keep your earrings delicate. If you wear big statement earrings, you do not really need a necklace. As for the rings, if you wear several of them on different fingers, you do not need to wear bracelets. If you do like to wear multiple rings, try to keep the other accessories simple, matching, and elegant.

Mediterranean Collection includes all colorful gemstones. These particular bands: sterling silver 925, filled with 18k gold, multicolored tourmalinesEarrings and necklaces will be introduced soon. (Photo courtesy of Callistus Jewelry)

FASHION STUDIO: What is your ultimate goal? Where do you see your business in five years time?

MONA: I would like to have several collections and be able to share my jewelry with as many people around the globe as possible.

We would like to be able to give a percentage of our sales to some humanitarian organizations. I hope to share my art with everyone out there and bring a little joy to the heart of its wearer.

FASHION STUDIO: Thank you so much for your time and good luck with all your plans!

Photographer @lancemillerphotography | Model @hope.dacosta | Hair Stylist @nancycarillo_beauty
Makeup artist @juancruzIII (Photo courtesy of Callistus Jewelry)

Facebook and Instagram @callistusjewelry

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