The Royal Jewellers S01 ep14 : Mellerio dits Meller Jewellery [Paris]
PARIS - Francois Mellerio - 14 generations of Jewellers.
Mellerio is a very old family firm and was created in 1613 and I am the 14th generation. We have always been in the jewellery business - high jewellery, and also clock, watches and silver. We are definitely the oldest jeweller in France and maybe even in the world!
FM - Mellerio is a very old family firm and was created in 1613 and I am the
KM - Fourteenth?
FM - Fourteenth, and we are always been in the jewellery business - high
jewellery, and also clock, watches and silver.
KM - I gather you must be the oldest jeweller in France.
FM - Yes of course we are, and maybe in the world.
KM - I suppose you never had a choice of what you were going to do? Or did
you have a chance?
FM - Yes, I had a chance because I have five brothers and two sisters and
there is only one place for one of us, so I am the only one
KM - Are you the eldest brother?
FM - Yes, I am the eldest.
KM - When you first joined the company, what was it like compared to now?
Was it very different?
FM - Yes, quite different, but first of all I had to learn the business. I had to
learn how to buy diamonds, how to buy precious stones, so that was my first
work. After a while I was able to do buy and that was the most important thing.
KM - Did you do a gemmological course?
FM - Yes of course.
KM - In France?
FM - Yes, in France and also in the States at the GIA in New York.
KM - How do you compare say the design and the times in the late 60's and
early 70's to now?
FM - In ‘68 high jewellery was mostly in Platinum and now a days is mostly in
yellow gold. That is one of the differences and you know the techniques of the
ways have changed. It is still all made by hand.
KM - What is jewellery?
FM - Jewellery is something beautiful, I love the stones and I love to make it
my business. First of all it is very nice for me to do what I am doing.
KM - Now you were saying you do jewellery and you do watches and you do
FM - Yes.
KM - Are they all made all here in Paris?
FM - Most of them are, but for the watches we buy the movements in
Switzerland, but the rest is made here by our own workers who make our
KM - How big is your workshop?
FM - Oh it is not very big, we have about thirty people altogether. About ten
people working to make the jewels, ten people for the selling and ten people
for the services.
KM - Who does the design work?
FM - We have designers some of them are in the firm and we buy ??? from
others, people working on their own.
KM - What would you say is unique to Mellerio? How would you explain the
style of Mellerio Jewellery, for someone who has never seen it?
FM - We make things very special, like the horses, objects like that, but
mostly we deal only with very very fine stones.
KM - If you have been around since 1638 did you say?
FM - No 1613
KM - 1613. Who were some of your customers, historic customers?
FM - We have plenty. Many of the Kings of France, Kings from other
countries, we have many, many famous customers.
KM - Do you still have drawings....
FM - Oh yes of course., we have very interesting things.
FM - Last year we made all the objects for the ??? for the Basilica of ???? in
the Ivory Coast. Maybe you remember they make a big Basiilica in the Ivory
Coast. We have made all the objects. A cross of two metres and a half high
and one metres and a half in width.
KM - This is for a Church in the Ivory Coast?
FM - Yes.
KM - Why did they come to Paris?
FM - Because we are very famous for these kind of objects.
KM - Any other things you have done that are very unusual?
FM - I make a special clock for Mrs. Thatcher, and this clock was to take in
the tunnel under the channel. And the clock I made was just the digger and it
was offered by the French company to Mrs. Thatcher because the President
thought that the tunnel has been made because Mrs. Thatcher was for that.
KM - What is your favourite part of the business?
FM - My favourite part is to create, to make something new. I am very proud
when I make something that nobody else has made before. I made this
collection of horses, which is very unusual. You won’t see that anywhere else.
KM - What happens when a customer comes to you and wants a major
piece? Do you then go around to all your suppliers to see what you can find?
FM - Yeah sure, I have friends, and I would say friends, more than suppliers,
all over the world and it is a very small business world wide and we know all
the big dealers in the world.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Mellerio Jewellery