It’s amazing to think that had it not been for a jewellery advert on TV, the world might have lost one of its most innovative jewellery designers to a different career altogether. Hearing her son profess his interest in the career he has dedicated the past 30 years to – an admission sparked by the advert being watched at the time – we have John Calleija’s mother to thank for seizing the initiative to set up an interview for him to become a jeweller’s apprentice.
With a natural aptitude for drawing and design, it wasn’t long before the young Australian jeweller was showing his potential, and when, at the tender age of 21, the opportunity came to take on the business owned by his mentor, Calleija naturally jumped at the chance. He soon attracted the attention of Rio Tinto, owners of the Argyle Diamond Mine in Western Australia, and became one of only 30 Argyle Pink Diamond Select Ateliers in the world, entering into a partnership that Calleija has treasured over the past two decades. “I spent years devoting myself to the art of diamonds – blue, yellow, cognac, champagne, white, and so many others,” Calleija reveals. “Then I realised we had the rarest and most valuable diamonds right on our doorstep at the Argyle Diamond Mine. These diamonds come in a full range of hues and it’s these gemstones that have truly inspired me, and continue to inspire me, year after year.”