Mellerio, the venerable Maison at 9 rue de la Paix, has been closely associated with the Ballon d’Or trophy since 1956, meticulously crafting this symbol of soccer excellence with a diligence and artistry that has stood the test of time. Renowned for its jewelry-making prowess, Mellerio’s journey began with the humble trade of goldsmithing when the Mellerio family, originally Italian goldsmiths, made the pivotal decision to relocate to France in 1515.
With a dedication to refining their craft in precious objects, the Mellerio family soon found themselves catering to the court, and over successive generations became jewelers and watchmakers. Today, the Maison stands as the guardian of a rare and precious know-how that seamlessly blends fine goldsmithing with the creation of rock crystal and hard stone pieces, table ornaments, academic swords and, for almost a century now, sports trophies.
Mellerio’s masterful craftsmanship graces the Roland Garros tournament awards, as well as sailing, equestrian, golf and soccer trophies. The relationship with L’Equipe, a long-time client, reached its peak in 1956 when Mellerio was commissioned to create a trophy to honor the best European football player of the year, a tradition that continues to this day.
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The creation of the Ballon d’Or trophy is a meticulous process, unchanged since its inception, that requires nearly one hundred hours of work, beginning six months before delivery. The process begins with the soldering of two brass hemispheres, creating a cavity to house the ball on a block of pyrite. This is followed by the intricate work of the chiseler, who fills the ball with “cement,” allowing him to manipulate the metal to reveal the seams of the ball, replicating the thirty-two panels of a football with absolute precision over a fifteen-hour period.
The trophy is then handed over to the polisher and then to the engraver, who meticulously engraves the France Football logo and the year of the edition, a testament to the trophy’s unique heritage and prestige. The trophy is then bathed in gold and mounted on its pyrite base, found and prepared by the Maison’s gemstone expert and lapidary to ensure a perfect fit on the gilded brass plate that supports the entire trophy.
Mellerio’s dedication to this craft ensures that the Ballon d’Or trophy remains a revered symbol in the world of football, a blend of tradition and artistry that continues to shine brightly in the hands of the game’s greatest players.
© Photos: Mellerio
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