Why Monaco is a Gem for Jewelers

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Yana Kryshtofovych   Contributor

A nice ring to it:
The Madreperla ring from Mellerio’s Isola Bella collection features a 3.11 carat Ceylon unheated sapphire with 134 sapphires, 314 diamonds and mother of pearl set in white gold.Price: $73,500/€64,000.

The dangling carat of a million dollar budget.

It’s no secret that Monaco is a magnet for UHNWIs and celebrities. Having a glamorous Princely family is part of the allure (and so is the tax-free status to residents) but it doesn’t hurt either that the world’s top luxury designers and jewelry houses all have addresses here.

Jewelry fit for a Queen

The jeweler to the Queens of France since Marie de’ Medici in the days of King Henry IV, Mellerio dits Meller, founded in 1613, is considered the oldest jeweler house in the world.

In 1869, the jeweler designed a pearl bracelet for the Princess of Monaco.

... and a Princess

What could be called the most consequential sale in Monaco involved an emerald-cut diamond ring from the 1997 “Dis-moi Oui” (Tell Me Yes) collection by Repossi. Dodi Fayed and Princess Diana had been yachting on the French Riviera when they stopped in Monaco. Albert Repossi told the Associated Press in an interview in September 1997, “Absolutely, they decided on the line and the model they saw in the window,” which theGuardian newspaper estimated at a value of £11,600 or 115,000 French Francs at the time. The ring was sent to Paris, where Dodi picked it up only a few hours before the fatal car crash. The British daily also reported that after the couple’s death, “A receipt dated August 30 1997, the day before the crash, listing a ‘bague de fiançaille’ (engagement ring)” was recovered from Dodi’s flat.

Grand Prix but grandeur diamonds

For the 2004 Monaco Grand Prix, the Steinmetz diamond group teamed up with Jaguar Racing to create a customized Diamond Formula One race car, which had a flawless diamond “the size of a shirt button” embedded in the car’s nosecone.

In Monaco-Monte Carlo, the demand for jewelry falls on the side of extravagant, which is why luxury brands have to be creative, innovative and artistic to satisfy clients with sky-high expectations and dangling budgets.

Equally unprecedented, at that same race, Jaguar kitted up its F1 race cars, drivers and even pit crew to promote Ocean’s Twelve. The movie, starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt, prominently featured Jaguar, Aston Martin and Land Rover vehicles. In a plot twist, a diamond worth $130,000 went missing during the publicity stunt.

Precious stones meet environmental art

One of the most extraordinary pieces auctioned at the 2018 Monte-Carlo Gala for the Global Ocean was Lot 31, a one-of-a-kind gemstone designed by Nina & Ko and produced by Les Ateliers MC, newcomers to the Monaco jewellery scene who’ve spent nearly 40 years creating bespoke timepieces and jewellery for the world’s most distinguished jewellery houses. The unique Swiss-made handcrafted piece of art – a sea turtle made up of diamonds, coloured diamonds, blue sapphires, orange sapphires, yellow sapphires, pearls and mother of pearl – represents the fight against ocean pollution. Sea turtles eat jellyfish but with over an estimated 100 million tonnes of plastic floating in the world’s oceans, they often mistake a plastic bag for a jellyfish, which, when ingested, usually kills them. The piece was created exclusively to benefit the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

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Yana Kryshtofovych   Contributor