By Luke Cairns
The history of Mellerio, also known as Mellerio dits Meller, is a fascinating tale that spans over four centuries, making it the oldest family-run company in Europe. It all began in 1613 when the Mellerio family, renowned Italian goldsmiths from Milan, arrived in Paris and established a jewellery workshop. Mellerio's exceptional craftsmanship and talent quickly gained recognition and admiration in the French court and high society. As a result, they became the official jeweller to Queen Marie de Medici, the wife of King Henry IV of France. This prestigious connection helped elevate the reputation of Mellerio and solidify its position as one of the leading jewellery houses in Paris. The name "Mellerio dits Meller" comes from the Queen, who 'Frenchified' the jeweller by adding 'dits Meller' to its name, meaning 'called Meller' in French, familiarising it to the local Parisians.
Over the years, the Mellerio family continued to pass on their knowledge and expertise from generation to generation, ensuring that the tradition of fine craftsmanship is carried forward. The jewellery house thrived during the reign of Louis XIV, who was a patron of the arts and commissioned many exquisite pieces from Mellerio. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, Mellerio continued to create jewellery for various European royal families and aristocrats, further enhancing its reputation as a distinguished jewellery house. The house also expanded its clientele to include prominent figures from the worlds of politics, culture, and high society.
Mellerio's success endured even during turbulent times, such as the French Revolution, where they claimed sales were excellent, despite the unfortunate demise of one of their best clients, Marie Antoinette. The house managed to survive and adapt, continuing to produce remarkable pieces despite the challenging circumstances. In the 19th century, Mellerio received significant recognition for its craftsmanship and design at international exhibitions, including the Great Exhibition in London (1851) and the Exposition Universelle in Paris (1867 and 1889). It is also during this time that they took up residence at 9 rue de la Paix in Paris, where they remain to this day.
In the 20th century, Mellerio remained a symbol of luxury, elegance, and artistic expression. The house continued to create unique jewellery designs, often incorporating a mix of traditional and contemporary elements, appealing to a new generation of clients. Throughout its long history, Mellerio has maintained its family-owned status, now in their fifteenth continuous generation, with each new generation contributing proudly to the legacy of the house. The brand has endured and flourished, retaining its position as one of the most prestigious and respected jewellery houses in the world.
As of today, Mellerio's rich history and exquisite creations continue to captivate jewellery enthusiasts, collectors, and those who appreciate the timeless beauty of their designs. Mellerio dits Meller's journey from a small Parisian workshop to a globally recognised purveyor of exceptional jewellery is a testament to the enduring power of artistry, innovation, and tradition. For over four centuries, the house has upheld its legacy of excellence, creating pieces that capture the essence of beauty and luxury. Mellerio dits Meller's name continues to shine brightly, a beacon of craftsmanship and elegance in a world that constantly evolves. As we admire the intricate details and timeless beauty of each creation, we are reminded that Mellerio dits Meller is not just a brand; it is a living embodiment of the art of jewellery-making and a symbol of human creativity and aspiration.