One-of-a-kind-jewelry handcrafted in the South of Italy

Italian designers Manuela Girone and Francesco Di Tommaso are the creative force behind Mela Jewelry, a contemporary brand from Puglia acclaimed for its elegantly enchanting collections that weave together organic materials such as linen, silk, laminated cords and leather, with wondrous pearls and semi-precious stones. The founders need not venture far to find inspirational materials for their creative designs. Their motherland, Puglia, offers enchantment in spades.

“We are children of this land,” Manuela affirms. “Puglia is a hidden treasure that, with a bit of curiosity and patience, reveals itself generously. This is evident in the abundant beauty, its mild climate, its open-minded and friendly people, in the cuisine, and its crystal shores — but above all,” Manuela emphasizes, “Puglia is still able to show itself with simplicity without useless refinement.” Stemming from the inventiveness that only an alluring territory like the south of Italy can inspire, Mela’s designs have captured the attention of discerning eyes from enthusiasts around the world. Each piece evokes a simplistic luxury as if the owner has always owned it.

Specialty boutiques have commissioned Mela capsule collections, with the brand producing one-of-a-kind designs for respected American bridal companies that requested haute jewelry to be tailored to dreamy wedding gowns. Recently, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago selected Mela’s new collection as part of an art exhibit, displaying the brand’s work among living artists worldwide. This recognition marks an extraordinary achievement for the husband-wife team behind the brand. Bespoke creations are the standard at the team’s creative studio in Bari, Italy, with compositions made to match each client’s specific style and character.

The result, no two pieces are alike. The design duo delights in the daily experimentation of materials in a continuous process of playful combinations and contrasts, constantly evolving the concept of jewelry from fashion ornament to art form. Each piece is the result of a four-hand assembly line, and in a world that increasingly pushes towards mass production, Mela’s craftsmanship is an artisanal treasure intended to be preserved. The careful combination of rope, pearls, and gemstones that dance in the light looks natural, as if the jewelry was retrieved from the seabed in one piece. This intertwining was born spontaneously — it was never planned, yet it perfectly represents the brand’s coveted signature look.

The selection of linen, silk, cashmere, baroque pearls, and semi-precious stones allows the seasoned artisanal eye to bestow depth and character to each design, the final creations being a harmonious reflection of the couple’s magical union. The natural and organic materials used in the production of each Mela piece are of the highest quality, found during travels around the world, from the South Sea to the Indian Ocean. Resulting in a varying array of color, bathed in shades of pink, gold, bronze, and gray, as Manuela says, “Each design is magically born as if it were always there waiting to be triggered.”