In 1896 Emidio Mele emigrated to New York City where he lived with a family from his small hometown of Volturara Irpini that nestles at the feet of the 'Terminio' in the Province of Compania in Italy. He was only twelve years old but moving to America meant a chance for a new life and he was lucky to have the help of his surrogate Italian Family as well as a few mentors to get him started on what would become his future legacy.
Learning his craft from fine Jewellery display case makers Wolfsam and Sachs, Emidio soon had the skills he needed to make a name for himself. His first designs were conceived and crafted at his kitchen table and in 1912 Emidio and his wife opened a store on 'Mulberry Street', New York and so our story begins. His new venture focused on designing and building his own elegant Jewellery displays for stores and eventually jewellery boxes for home storage. Ever the true entrepreneur, he was the craftsman, salesman, and deliveryman as well. With his attention to detail and design, it was not long before Emidio began to attract high-end customers for his jewellery boxes from New York's historic Fifth Avenue.
The business grew into the 1940's and 1950's ushering in a new generation of Mele family to the trade: his three sons Edward, Raymond and Joseph. Edward, the eldest son, joined Mele after graduating from college. Both Raymond and Joseph first served in the military, Raymond as a fighter pilot and Joseph as a tugboat captain. After graduating college they both joined the family business in 1947 and brought new growth to Mele.
The next decade brought excitement as we introduced a jewellery box with an automatic tray, a feature so successful that we still offer it today. In a 1948 Life Magazine article, Macy's listed a Mele Jewellery Box as one of the ten best-selling Christmas gifts. In the mid 1950's we introduced another new category to the collection; musical jewellery boxes. Shortly thereafter, the success of the musical line inspired an entire category of children's musical jewellery boxes with a twirling ballerina, a design with timeless appeal. From wood jewellery boxes to musical, ballerina boxes to lacquer and more, our selection over the years has led Mele to be known, as 'The Foremost Name in Jewellery Cases'.
Throughout the 1950's, the Mele business sprouted seven facilities across New York State. In order to be more efficient, we consolidated operations to our upstate New York location in the city of Utica. Our business family had found a new home and the Italian heritage of this Central New York community provided the best location to ground our roots. Half a century after founding and all under one roof, a new era for Mele began. In 1968 we expanded our business to the UK opening up a factory in Cardiff 'Mele and Co' and from those new roots we have grown and now supply more than twenty countries from our location in Wales.
Emidio's love for his trade has been passed down through the years. We now have Ray Mele the third generation of the family to own and operate Emidio's business and continue his legacy of excellence, as we continue to create beautiful jewellery boxes that you and your family can enjoy for a lifetime. We have a long history in Utica and Cardiff and we are thrilled we have been able to maintain our presence in cities rich with Italian heritage, just like our company.
As we arrive at our 100th anniversary having survived two World Wars, the great Depression the recession and energy crisis of the 1970's as well as the tumultuous economic landscape of the past few years, we now call our family brand “Mele & Co.” which best encompasses our brand – it's not just Mele – it is our entire company – our family. We continue to be the most desired name in jewellery cases throughout the world. Our name is our brand. We infuse the heritage of our family into each of our jewellery boxes and continue to offer you innovative and timeless designs for years of happiness and sentimental memories.