John Calleija’s story of becoming a jeweller is not a typical one. John recalls from a young age being given a pad and pencil so he could draw to keep himself entertained and draw he certainly did. One night, to his parent’s dismay, with a pen and a torch, he drew a car in great detail on his bed sheets. Many years later it became apparent that even though John didn’t know it at the time he was in fact preparing himself for his future profession. John is one of five children and when his Italian mother asked John what he wanted to do with his life he really didn’t have a clue. As John was trying to think of an appropriate answer for his mother, an advertisement appeared on television for diamond jewellery. From that moment John knew he wanted to be a jeweller. He wanted to create beautiful objects just like the ones he had seen. Mrs Calleija decided to help her youngest son find his vocation in life, even though she actually really wanted him to be a Catholic Priest!
John was quickly offered an interview with a Maltese jeweller who was seeking an apprentice to learn the trade. John took one look at how the jeweller created beautiful jewellery and he was hooked.
Calleija built his business from the ground up, with a keen eye for detail and a vision to design fantastic creations that would illuminate the face of the person who wears them. “The astonishing beauty of precious gems gives me the desire to express myself through the splendour of jewellery. If you can imagine it we can breathe life into it - much to the delighted eyes of our clientele.”
John’s gift for drawing and his flair for design allow him to play with shape and form to create the most extraordinary designs that are equally at home in the most sophisticated jewellery box or on the finger of a newly engaged bride to be. Not a day goes by when John does not put pencil to paper to design either a new creation for a Calleija client or a new piece that may be made that same day or may not come to reality until another decade. John’s creations all start with a hand drawn design; which he prefers over computer aided design. John says actually drawing with one’s own hand is more akin to creating a masterpiece; your hand can take the minds thoughts and directly create pure works of art.
John is not interested in creating the same design over and over again and neither are his clients. His preference is to find innovative and inspirational ways to create new pieces that come straight from his imagination. John’s design ethos carries forward to his entire team who are inspired by the new creations that are made. There is much excitement when one of the master jewellers has just put the finishing touches on a new creation. Each of these pieces that passes through the Calleija workshop is testament to the supreme dedication, passion and care that becomes a joy for the fortunate receiver. “Bespoke, handmade and individually created with dedication - that’s our passion. In my mind handmade jewellery creations that personalise and reflect your individual style are always treasured for generations to come”. Calleija believe in the ‘old school’ way of creating beautiful jewels, it takes longer but the end result is true perfection. “Its intangible - you can feel it, touch it but it’s hard to explain it. You just know it.” The beautiful hallmarks of his designs are meticulously set by the skilled artisans and master jewellers at the two Calleija workshops - one in the Marina Mirage boutique, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia and the other in the Bond Street boutique located in the Royal Arcade, Mayfair, London.
Calleija's design aesthetic caught the eye of the judging panel for the prestigious 2000 De Beers International Diamond Design Award that was presented at the Louvre Museum in Paris. John’s winning presentation of ‘Virtual Eros’, a $500,000 futuristic full diamond face mask featuring nearly 44 carats of scintillatingly brilliant diamonds, achieved him world recognition. “Virtual Eros’ has since had a perpetual life being chosen to appear in Alexander McQueen’s catwalk collection in New York, it has featured in countless publications, film clips and was personally selected by Madonna as her favourite piece from the Design Award entrants that year. John’s creation features cutting edge setting techniques and set a new standard in style, quality design and finish. The award winning Virtual Eros Diamond Mask toured main cities of the world in a showcase of De Beers Diamonds and is now on display in Calleija’s Bond St boutique in Mayfair, London.
John was also awarded the honour of The Grand Prix Winner of The Australian Jewellery Design Award for his creation of a Diamond Tiara featuring White and Rose Gold with Australian Argyle Pink Diamonds and brilliant White Diamonds. Recently he took out the Harpers Bazaar Diamond Guild of Australia Award for two of his creations. The Pure Zen creation won the Diamond Solitaire Award for its innovative design, giving the illusion that the diamond is floating in mid air above the wearer’s hand. The Matrix design was the other award winner in the Men’s Jewellery category with its futuristic approach to gents’ jewellery that broke all the rules of traditional design.
As part of his evolution as a leading designer John developed his very own engagement diamond cut titled the Glacier. He had one question driving him: What cut is worthy of my clients and the legacy it now carries?” John took the best aspects of all the various cushion cuts and created the perfect cut and named it “Glacier”. This design was a lesson in patience that took John two years to perfect, crafted with expert guidance from a virtuoso Diamond cutter. The result is nothing short of superb, beautiful in its shape and uncompromising in its brilliance. The Glacier cut allows maximum light to radiate from the stone while bringing femininity and grace to the gemstone. This design is one of Calleija’s important triumphs of craftsmanship and design that has been created to delight and enchant its wearer.
With stores in exclusive addresses such as the luxurious Marina Mirage, Gold Coast in Australia, The Westin - No. 1 Martin Place, Sydney in Australia and famed Old Bond Street, Mayfair in London, John is one of a select collection of privileged jewellers who have been chosen as a select Argyle Pink Diamond Atelier. Calleija features Argyle Pink Diamond in many of their designs and as one of only a handful of Argyle Pink Diamond Select Ateliers across the world, is recognised for their mesmerising and unrivalled collection of pink diamond jewellery. Rio Tinto’s Argyle Pink Diamond Mine produces a staggering 90 percent of the world’s natural pink diamonds. John is also invited each year to participate in the annual Argyle Mine Pink Diamond Tender. This exclusive and impressive tender allows John to submit sealed bids for the rarest, most beautiful pink and red diamonds emerging from the mine each year. The mine is predicted to have only a decade of diamond supply left.
Calleija Fine Jewellery is synonymous with the beautiful and the exceptional. Calleija is committed to transforming the rarest gemstones into incredible works of art.