November 28, 2019 – TCN meets the modern masters of Trogir in our latest series. First up, the red coral king Marin Miše of Mišel jewelry.
Earlier this week the town of Trogir unveiled a new branding strategy, visual identity, and promotional video, becoming the first coastal destination in Croatia to use branding at such a serious and professional level.
The result of the creative process is the slogan “Marked by Masters”, influenced by the continuity of life in Trogir for over 3600 years, the great masters who have operated in Trogir since the Middle Ages, and the indelible traces that these masters leave.
While the medieval master builders, sculptors, and stone-cutters who lived and created in Trogir left their mark through the traces of graffiti around the town, centuries later, we can find Trogir’s modern masters thriving as artists, chefs, jewelers, tailors, and klapa singers, to name a few.
Today, we meet Marin Miše of Mišel, a master of red coral jewelry.
Wandering Trogir’s twisted streets, it’s easy to miss the unassuming entrance to the Mišel workshop, nor would anyone presume that the expertise of five generations of red coral jewelers could be found behind their doors.
Namely, Mišel is a family-owned business with a tradition lasting over 100 years. Run today by Marin Miše and his two sisters Marina and Vesna, the family’s jewelry tradition began by great grandfather Duje in the 19th century, though the family’s first storefront came only in 1932 when grandfather Filip opened a shop in Split.
“Duje had three sons: Marina, Filip and Vjeko, who were famous jewelers, though Filip was the most famous. In 1937, when Roma and Hajduk played in Split, he gave Hajduk’s best player Mario Krulz a gold watch. He had his shop on Morpurgova poljana in Split. My grandfather Aleksander was Marina’s son. He was born in 1920 and at the age of 12, he made his first gold brooch. In 1962, he took part in an exhibition in Milan, where he presented two models of gold rings and garnered all praise. My grandfather opened his first store in 1970 near Trogir’s southern city gate. In the 1980s, the shop moved closer to the current location, which has been at Gradska ulica 22 since the early 1990s. Unfortunately, my father Gordan, who was also very successful in running the business, died early,” Marin recalled in an interview for Slobodna Dalmacija back in 2016.
Marin’s mother and father were killed in a car accident when he was 18. He has been determined to continue their craft ever since.
Today, Mišel creates jewelry and art pieces from precious metals, gems and other natural materials borrowed from the earth and the sea.
“I travel the world in search of high-quality gemstones and corals. Mines in India, Asia, Africa, and South America supply the perfect materials for our collection of cosmopolitan jewelry that exudes the Mediterranean spirit,” Marin says.
Given he has the right inspiration and materials, Marin claims he can craft a piece of jewelry in just a few hours – moments even. However, more complex pieces can see the process take years. This, of course, depends on how easily the materials are acquired and how grueling the artistic process is based on the needs of the client.
Marin gathers his inspiration from nature, which can be seen in Mišel’s considerable collection of red coral jewelry, their most recognizable product.
Thanks to Mišel’s unique coral, they’ve been lucky to travel not only around Croatia, but the world. In addition to the mineral fairs in Split and Zagreb, Mišel is a regular in the United States at the Tuscan Gem Show, the largest in the world.
“My jewelry pieces are not just jewelry; they are small sculptures. I design them and craft them with care and love. They will be recognized by people who feel a strong connection to Mother Nature and the Creator. More than one hundred years of keeping the tradition and following modern trends is no small feat,” Marin says.
Mišel is currently preparing for the next Tuscan Gem Show in January 2020, but until then, you can find them in the heart of Trogir, at Gradska ulica 22, or in the lobby of luxury hotel Le Meridien Lav in Split. And if you’re not in Croatia? Take a look at the creative coral collections on Mišel’s website.
To read more about the modern masters leaving their mark on Trogir today, as well as the latest from this gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage Site, follow the dedicated TCN Trogir page.