All text, and images © 2014, Debra Healy
unless otherwise stated.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

French Jewelry Today, Part 2, Mellerio dits Meller

Next door to Cartier at 9 Rue de la Paix
behind a beautiful wooden facade is

The Mellerio family traces its origins to the Lombardy region of Italy in the16th Century.
This is the oldest brand in France and virtually unknown outside of France, except for  a handful of collectors and jewelry historians.  My sister who shops at Harry Winston has never heard of them,
and she is not alone.

 Engraving of a goldsmiths shop 1576

They were jewelers and goldsmiths. Some of the family moved to Paris in 1515. They prospered and became  royal jewelers  to the court of  Louis  XIII.
In 1635 they were granted to use of of the name Meller. Hence Mellerio dits Meller.
During the revolutions of 1789 and 1849 Mellerio relocated to Spain.  In  
Madrid they were appointed as a supplier to the court of Queen Isabella II of Spain.

Mellerio dits Meller circa 1860
Very fine Second Empire parure, gold, emeralds, diamonds, pearls, and enamel.

The Mellerio family re-established in Paris. They participated in many of the international expositions .

The Mellerio exhibit  at the London World Ehibition of 1862.

They exhibited in Paris in 1867, in Vienna in 1873, and again in Paris in 1878 and 1900.

Extraordinary Mellerio neck ornament 1895 .

They also exhibited in The Exposition des Arts Decoratifs 1925.

Mellerio dits Meller tiara, 1867
Made for Queen Isabella II of Spain in the shape of a scallop shell
set with diamonds, diamond briolettes, and pearls.

The tiara of Queen Isabella II worn by Queen Victoria-Eugenie of Spain (1887-1969), 
Granddaughter of Queen Victoria, photo circa 1930's

Mellerio exhibited at the 1939 Worlds Fair in New York.

Mellerio brooch 1942
During the Nazi occupation  gemstone supplies were limited.
This bird's blue plumage is plique-a-jour enamel, which
is backless and as transparent as a stained glass window.

Mannequin wearing jewels by Mellerio 1950's

The French jewelry dynasty Mellerio dits Meller  is still  in business, and still in the original family this distinguishes them as France‘s oldest luxury brand. Unique for this fact alone, but is that enough.?

They are a family enterprise that has survived centuries of business, the reign of terror, various wars, and the Nazi occupation of Paris.  They have catered to noble families and the wealthy elite with jewels in keeping with  prevailing fashion in every stylistic epoch. Styles such as16th, 17th, 18th century, Empire, Second Empire, romatic revivals, Renaissance revival,   archeological revival, Art Nouveau, Louis XVI revival, Art Deco, and the retro style of the late 1930’s-1950's.
 The most interesting thing about Mellerio today is their history. Unfortunately this history in not at all reflected by the products displayed in their windows.

This ring looks like one of thousands available in the jewelers district of 47th street in New York City
 I am an American therefore I am not over-awed by the royal
patronage associated with this jewelry house.
 What I want to see is a unique differentiated style, Iconic products, and good design.

 These jewels look like products sold on TV shopping in America, on QVC, or Home Shopping
Network. The only difference is that these are 18 k gold rather than 14 k gold.

Mellerio dits Meller advertisment
Mellerio dits Meller advertisment

The jewelry displayed in Mellerio's windows appears to be a random selection.
The jewels are ultra-conservative and rather bland.
I do not see a clear vision, with iconic products, or particularly good design.
This is a shame given their long illustrious history.
On the positive side the jewelry appears to be well made with very nice stones.

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