Truly a brand fit for royalty, the Prince Matchabelli perfume house was founded by Prince Georges Matchabelli of Georgia in 1926. A survivor of the Red Army invasion of Georgia, Georges immigrated to America with his family in 1921. They settled in New York, where the former engineer and ambassador established himself as a talented chemist.
Georges brought with him his wife, famous Italian actress Norina Gilli, and the couple opened an antique shop on NYC's Madison Avenue. Matchabelli's first two perfumes, Princess Norina and Ave Maria, were both inspired by and dedicated to his wife.
When Georges Matchabelli launched his Matchabelli House perfume line in 1926, it was only fitting that the royal chose a crown-shaped bottle and Byzantine-style crown logo. In 1928, he designed a perfume in memory of Georgian Queen Tamar, and he went on to create personal fragrances for noble clients, including Princess Marie, Prince Georges, the Princess of Wales and the Duchess of York. He even created a perfume just for First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, called Inauguration.
Matchabelli House changed hands several times over the years. After Georges death in 1935, Princess Norina sold the company to perfume manufacturer Saul Ganz for $250,000. It was sold again five years later to American company Vicks, and then again to Chesebrough Manufacturing Company. In 1986, it was bought by Unilever and became one of the nation's best-selling fragrance lines. As of August 2014, Matchabelli House continues to thrive, with 13 fragrances on the market.