Marie Antoinette, Mellerio’s first royal client, appreciated the small trinkets, precious boxes and sweet boxes, which she offered to her closest friends…
The precious link between Mellerio and one of the most charming and dignified queens started in 1777.
That year, Jean-Baptiste Mellerio, a twelve-year-old Italian goldsmith and jeweller took up position in front of the Versailles’gates with his merchandise.
Queen Marie Antoinette, returning from her walk, noticed this unique merchant and ordered her retinue to go and see what he was offering. The table was carefully arranged and Jean-Baptiste presented his jewels so persuasively that the lady of honour was won over and bought several pieces. The young man quickly drew interest, made a name for himself, executed with promptness and intelligence the small commissions that were given to him and soon became the supplier to the nobles of the Queen.
Among the pieces and jewels created by Mellerio for Marie-Antoinette, a cameo bracelet deserves specific attention.
At a time when the people had not yet begun to grumble and the avenues of Versailles remained the setting for strolls, parties and intrigues, our House created a bracelet made up of seven cameos and set with rubies for the queen. This rare piece charms and intrigues in equal measure: the finely honed ivory faces sometimes face each other and sometimes turn away, in a silent conversation tinged with eternity.
Given by the Queen to one of her confidantes when the people were sending her to the scaffold, this bracelet would pass through history, revolutions and wars, and be passed down from generation to generation.
Safe from prying eyes and covetous fingers, it today remains in the shadow of a safe to which only the initiated few hold the secret.