I recently had the pleasure of working with one of my favourite jewellers John Calleija while styling & art directing Calleija's beautiful fine jewellery campaign & films. Besides being one of the most incredibly talented jewellers in the world (handpicked by Aston Martin to design their exclusive jewellery collection!), John Calleija is one of the most genuine, down-to-earth people you will ever meet!
John Calleija's fine jewellery collection is truly a work of art, each exquisite design is handcreated on site at the Calleija workshop ajoined to their Gold Coast store. One of my favourite designs, is the new 'Glacier' cut, which is a unique & feminine variation of the angular cushion cut (pictured in the gallery below) which John pioneered himself, after two years of perfecting.
Today John Calleija talks to The LANE exclusively about the inspiration behind his work, the Aston Martin collaboration & advice for brides-to-be...
Tell us about the inspiration behind the Calleija brand…
It really has been about the clients that have inspired me throughout the years. I take great joy and inspiration from sourcing beautiful diamonds and gemstones from around the world then working on the creative design journey with the client. Our ethos is simple - we focus on the very best there is - delivering exceptional quality, service and design innovation that reflects in every facet of our business.
Something unique that not a lot of people would know about Calleija, or yourself!...
When I was a young boy my mum took me to the city and into a jewellery store. I was completely hooked and totally mesmerised by the sparkling beauty of all the gemstones. The lady in the store gave me a bejewelled diamonte horse which I absolutely treasured as a little nine year old and it was at that moment I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I still have it!
Calleija pride themselves on creating bespoke, handmade and individually crafted jewellery. All pieces are meticulously planned, designed and created on site in partnership with the client. Why is this traditional, custom approach to jewellery design so important to you?
In a world of mass production to make things easier and quicker for the retailer we believe that jewellery is to important and precious to have a one size fits all approach. We like to customise beautiful jewellery to suit the style of the individual and our clients love having something unique, hand made and beautiful.
Pioneering the exquisite "Glacier" cut exclusive to Calleija is an extraordinary achievement. Tell us about the design process involved and inspiration behind the Glacier? What is so unique about this cut?
My vision to create this cut was all about finding the most beautiful way to ignite fire, brilliance and beauty in the diamonds. It is a modernisation of the classic cushion cut diamond and cut itself was a lesson in patience for me and took two years to get it right exclusively for Calleija. The result is a diamond that allows maximum light and brilliance to radiate from the gem stone. You might even choose to have the edge of the diamond customised with your own wording to your beautiful bride.
(Interview continues under gallery...)
Calleija is renowned for their stunning range of rare Argyle Pink Diamonds. What advice can you provide to couples when selecting a pink diamond engagement ring?
The extreme scarcity of natural Argyle Pink Diamonds makes them the most highly prized and sought after diamonds across the globe. Quality is the key here - it's really important that you work with a select Argyle Atelier because they have been entrusted with these stones and specially selected due to their knowledge and expertise. These exquisite gems are one of the true wonders of the world and literally take billions of years in the earth's crust to form. With breath taking colours ranging from a delicate blush to a vivid purplish pink and occasionally red - these amazing gems have something to offer everyone, but naturally its always a personal choice.
You were recently selected by Aston Martin to create an exclusive range of jewellery for their clients. Tell us about this experience and your inspiration for the Calleija for Aston Martin collection?
Dealing with one of the world's coolest brands was quite an honour and to have been chosen from across the other side of the world was extremely humbling. The collection was inspired by the iconic curves and design of the Aston Martin One 77 super car. Each Calleija for Aston Martin limited edition piece has been created for today's jewellery connoisseur and represents our dedication to the highest standards of craftsmanship and design. We really focused on a deep appreciation of the brand and the ethos of Power, Beauty and Soul that Aston Martin stands for and then created our jewellery with this in mind.
What general advice can you offer couples when it comes to choosing their engagement ring & wedding bands?
Quality is the most important aspect to look for when you are selecting such an incredibly important jewellery purchase. Work with a company you believe in, that makes you feel comfortable and be selective. Ethical diamonds and sustainable practices are also becoming more recognised - look for that if its also important to you. Lastly, don't rush the decision and do your research - think about her style and the look on her face when she opens that beautiful box. You want something you can be proud of.
Do you have a favourite piece/creation? If so, which piece and why?
I have to say that by far my favourite piece is the engagement ring I created for my wife. It took me almost one and a half years to create it and she didn't see it until the wedding day in the church! I was so worried she wouldn't like it - luckily she absolutely loved it.
What current & upcoming trends are there for bridal jewellery?
Platinum metal being used in bridal jewellery is a big trend. Rare coloured diamonds for engagement rings - both yellow and also pink as well as pear shaped diamond engagement rings.
Many vibrant coloured gemstones are used in your signature pieces. What do you enjoy most about working with coloured stones and how can a bride incorporate coloured gems into her wedding look?
Coloured gemstones can make the most beautiful bridal jewellery and even engagement rings. A lot of our clients fall in love with the vibrant and intense hues that gemstones can offer them. They are so full of life and I personally love working with them for something special.
The best piece of advice you were ever given…
Follow your passion and everything just works out. This is something I often tell to others, that they would just be a slave to money but if you do what you love with passion and enthusiasm you never really work a day in your life and the money will just look after itself.