Since 1956, Maison Mellerio has been discreetly crafting the Ballon d'Or, the trophy which is awarded each year to the best football player.
While Mellerio is renowned today for its jewellery-making expertise, it was as a goldsmith that its story began.
The Mellerio family were originally Italian goldsmiths who moved to France in 1515 to develop their trade in precious objects. Silver boxes, buckles and snuffboxes were soon sold to the Court, and generation after generation they became jewellers and watchmakers.
A unique know-how
Today, Maison Mellerio has preserved this know-how, which has become extremely rare, and continues to make pieces of Haute Orfèvrerie, precious objects, table ornaments, academicians swords and, for almost a century, sports trophies.
An exceptional handmade craftsmanship
Its manufacturing process has not changed: it requires almost a hundred hours of work, and begins 6 months before delivery. After soldering two half-spheres of brass, the silversmith creates an opening that will allow the balloon to be set into the block of pyrite. The balloon then passes into the hands of the chiseller, who fills it with a material called "cement" so that he can push the metal into it according to a pre-drawn line, thus revealing the seams of the balloon.
This stage requires a great deal of precision and rigour to reproduce exactly the thirty two panels that make up a football. It takes around 15 hours. Then it is the polisher who collects it before entrusting it to the engraver, who will write the name of the winner as well as the France Football logo and the year of edition. The penultimate stage takes place at the gilder's house, who will cover the balloon with a thin layer of gold. Finally it returns to the hands of the silversmith who carries out the final assembly of the balloon on its pyrite base, always unique, so that it can be returned to its happy owners.