Georges V. Matchabelli
Diplomat and perfumer
July 23, 1885|
Tbilisi, Georgia, Russian Empire
|Died||March 31, 1935
New York City, United States
|Cause of death||Pneumonia|
|Spouse(s)||Princess Norina Matchabelli|
- This article is about the person. For the perfume line he founded, see Prince Matchabelli.
Prince Georges Vasili Matchabelli (Georgian: გიორგი მაჩაბელი) (July 23, 1885 - March 31, 1935) was an American perfumer. A Georgian nobleman and diplomat, he immigrated to the United States after the 1921 Soviet invasion of Georgia.
Origins and education
Matchabelli was born in Tiflis, Georgia, then part of Imperial Russia. He was a member of the noble family of Machabeli and a nephew of the writer Ivane Machabeli. He studied in Tiflis and later in Berlin as an engineer. He was one of the founding members of the Committee of Independent Georgia organized in Berlin in 1914. The Committee intended to garner the German support for Georgia's struggle for independence from the Russian Empire.
Marriage and career
In 1917 Matchabelli married Norina Gilli (born in Florence, Italy) who had become famous for her portrayal of the Madonna in Max Reinhardt's unique 1911 pantomime spectacle play The Miracle. He briefly served as part of the embassy of the Democratic Republic of Georgia to Italy. With the establishment of Soviet rule in Georgia in 1921, Matchabelli, with his wife Norina, moved to the United States. The prince was an amateur chemist and in 1924 he and his wife, now known as Princess Norina Matchabelli, established the Prince Matchabelli Perfume Company. Norina designed the crown shaped perfume vial in the likeness of the Matchabelli crown and in 1926 the scent "Ave Maria" was named for her. The company became known for color-coded, crown-shaped bottles that housed such classics as Wind Song, Ave Maria, and Princess Norina. The Matchabellis divorced in 1933.
From 1932 until his death, Matchabelli also served as President of the Georgian Association in the United States. Georges died in New York City in 1935 and was buried in Mount Olive Cemetery in Queens, New York. In 1936, Norina sold the company to perfume manufacturer Saul Ganz for $250,000.
- United States Petition for Citizenship, Southern District of New York, 17 May 1932
- "Georges Matchabelli". findagrave.com. 24 March 2004. Retrieved 2011-04-26.
- "Georgian Association History". GeorgianAssociation.org. Retrieved 2011-04-26.
- Kevin Walsh with Christina Wilkinson (19 November 2006). "Forgotten New York Tour of Maspeth". Juniper Berry. Juniper Park Civic Association. Retrieved 2011-04-26.
- "Man, 76, Is a Suicide; His Wife Is Near Death". New York Times (nytimes.com). 2 June 1986. Retrieved 2011-04-26.