Massimo Maria Melis
Massimo Maria Melis was born in Rome in 1947 and commenced his long career by following the course of stage and costume design at the Accademia delle Belle Arti in that city. He worked as a commercial artist, a wardrobe master in cinema, a set photographer and an actor in three films of German production. In the meantime, however, he cultivated his love of the ancient art of jewellery. So great was his interest that he began to study and experiment with historical techniques for making things out of gold, finding his true vocation in this art.
Jewelry - Silversmithing - Goldsmithing
His early experiments produced good results and requests for jewellery started to come in from friends and acquaintances. So Melis made a crucial decision to change the course of his career, becoming a goldsmith in 1974.
Subsequently he left his old workshop, the former mansard in which he lived, and moved to a space in the historic centre of Rome, on Via del Cancello, which he opened to the public. He stayed there until 1982, and then moved to Via dell’Orso, known for its exceptional history as well as its concentration of prestigious craft workshops.
Over time, his ‘reappraisal’ of ancient jewellery (from the Greek, Etruscan and Roman periods) has come to be more and more appreciated, stirring considerable interest both in Italy and abroad. His regular customers include a royal family, high-ranking prelates, politicians, state institutions and people from the world of entertainment.
The New York Times has described him as one of the master goldsmiths who embody the spirit of Rome: his jewellery, examples of a cultured revival of antiquity, could be mistaken for museum pieces: necklaces and earrings in hammered gold, with ancient Roman coins, pearls and cameos, pieces of glass from the imperial age and semiprecious stones. He works gold plate and wire, welding them together by brazing the gold so that it melts only on the surface, and uses the methods of lost-wax and cuttlebone casting. The latter is an ancient technique that was also utilized by the Etruscans, of which the archaeologist jeweller is particularly fond.