Georgian inventor Giorgi Machabeli’s perfume line in New York

Georgian inventor, chemist and politician – Giorgi Machabeli  is known as The Prince George Matchabeli. His name is primarily connected with the a perfume line created in the United States, and due to it, he is often called “Princess of Fragrance”. Nephew of famous translator  Ivane Machabeli was buried in New York at Long Island Cemetery. As for the perfume line, created by him, it is one of the oldest and most demanding perfumes in America.

Giorgi Machabeli  was born in Tbilisi in 1885, Georgia, he was educated in the Tiflis College of Nobles and later in the Royal Academy at Berlin. After graduating from the Academy, Giorgi Machabeli worked throughout the world – sometimes as a sailor, sometimes a driver and a courier. Despite a wide range of interests, Machabeli was actively involved in political processes and since May 26 of 1918, after the state of Georgia was restored as a democratic republic, Giorgi Machabeli was the first secretary of the Embassy of Georgia in Italy,where he lived with his wife – the famous Italian actor – Norina Gilli.

Machabeli was a member of the noble family of Machabeli and a nephew of the writer Ivane Machabeli. 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.

 In 1922 Giorgi Machabeli  moved to the United States. He opened a small antique shop called “The Red and the Black”. Here the husband and wife sold antiques of all sorts: Persian rugs, furniture, Italian and Spanish brocade textiles, antique jewels, etc. However, later, when Giorgi Machabeli created his first perfume, named after his wife, Princess Norina, the perfumes outsold the antiques and Matchabeli grew.

In 1926, Machabeli founded the perfume line “Prince Matchabeli” in New York, “I’m creating a perfume for America and its Parisian prices have never been so acceptable here, but in fact, I’ve been in the field of chemistry whole life and was creating perfume, but only for my own pleasure. The demand for them was so great that I decided to turn it into business (Giorgi Machabeli, 1928).

Machabeli often came to the attention of the media. In 1930, The New-Yorker wrote that Giorgi Machabeli had a habit of being modest to women and if he noticed that any woman used inappropriate fragrance he sent one of his products to her. In the future, if he again  noticed that any of them still used the old fragrance, he told her jokingly- “You did not devote to me.”

Despite successful business activities, Machabeli actively continued his public activity and was one of the first initiators of the establishment of the Georgian Association in the United States, as it was known that Machabeli provided financial support not only to the  Association, but to all the needy Georgians in America. Giorgi Machabeli died of inflammation in 1931, shortly afterwards, his perfumery house was handed over to a private person, then to the “Vicks Chemical Company.” However, it is noteworthy that the last product of the Perfumer’s home was released in 2002 and its name is Prince Machabeli even on the modern market.

Author: Tamar Devdariani

Translation: Tamar Tabatadze

The Hall of Young Scientists & Analysts – “Doctrina”

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