28 October 2015
Craveggia: the fief of Mellerio
400 years ago, the exciting story of Mellerio the jeweler began in an incredible way in Craveggia in the Italian Piedmont.
For this jeweler all began in 1613 when Marie de’ Medici granted him protection and the right to trade freely “for services to the Kingdom of France”. This privilege was given after a chimney sweep belonging to the family was surprised in a chimney of the Palais du Louvre in a plot to assassinate Louis XIII. In reality, the Mellerio family today evokes a geostrategic reason: Craveggia is located in a valley to descend safely to Milan. If necessary, the French armies could easily cross borders. Other valleys enjoyed the same situation, in particular the Valtoline border with Austria benefited from this type of agreement.
The decree signed by Marie de’ Medici, carefully preserved in Craveggia’s town hall, is not on view to the general public. But to wander its streets is to plunge back into the wonderful story of this important house in the history of jewellery. Nicknamed the “jeweller of queens”, it has created pieces for Marie Antoinette, Isabel II of Spain and the Empress Eugenie. The fourteenth and fifteenth generation Mellerios are still head the house and still meet each summer in the family home in Craveggia.