The maker of the Mellerio Shell Tiara
The Mellerio Shell Tiara of the Spanish Royal Family is unique. The sculptural quality and the originality and naturalism of the design do not know their equal. It is no surprise then, that the Parisian jeweller Mellerio dits Meller delivered this tiara to Queen Isabella II of Spain in 1867 as a wedding present to her daughter the Infanta Isabella, and that the famed jewellery maker Oscar Massin was responsible for the design and execution. This exceptional work of art drew a lot of attention at the World Exhibition of 1867 in Paris, where it was exhibited in the stand of Mellerio. Even then, the quality of the tiara was so much appreciated the actual maker was awarded as well, and Henri Vever included his name in his La Bijouterie Française au XIX siècle.
On page 304 of the second volume of his magnum opus, dedicated to the Second Empire, Vever writes: 'Also indicated, amongst the jewellers craftsmen deemed worthy of a premium for the work they executed is "primarily Mr. Touay, workman for Mr. Massin, who executed notably the shell bandeau with pearles and mobile briolettes. The design and the lightness of this piece touch perfection"'. Vever also mentions Mr. Touay would later become the successor of the jeweller Janin in Rue Vivienne 2 in Paris.
Main picture: the design drawing of the tiara by Oscar Massin. Copyright: Mellerio dits Meller.
@allthingsroyal dat is inmiddels de nodige jaren geleden. Hij is klaar om gedragen te worden
@allthingsroyal die komt zeker wel. SB Zweden of VK
@courtjeweller the elements of the necklace are much, much older, the large stones 17th century
@courtjeweller only the necklace, just slightly less important. Might be the oldest jewel in the collection that is still worn