Taking inspiration from Dante's Divine Comedy, every piece in Rosh Mahtani's collection of jewellery tells a story
The jewellery designer, Rosh Mahtani is a forager. With her brand Alighieri, taking its name after Dante, she crafts pieces that hold memories of many places. From an unconventional background in literature,
Rosh translates stories into objects and brings us modern heirlooms, meant to bring strength to its wearer. It is all part of her ambition to create a meaningful universe of love and togetherness.
Rosh Mahtani: "Ever since I was young, I always would believe in this idea that things we find on our journey remind us of some place and bring us strength as we move forward."
Where does the name of your brand come from?
The name is Alighieri. It is inspired by Dante Alighieri, the Italian poet, who was writing in the 12th and 13th century in Florence. And to give you a bit of back story of how I got there, I studied French and Italian in University and spent time living in Florence. I just fell in love with Dante’s story [The Divine Comedy]. This idea of a man lost in the dark woods, in love with a woman he can’t have, in political exile. And after I graduated from university, I kept going back to his work. And that’s when I decided I wanted to start telling stories and translating stories into objects. So I named the brand Alighieri.
Very cool. You come from quite a different background to jewellery making. How come this became your way of expressing these stories?
It is a really good question. I guess, ever since I was a kid, I always loved collecting objects. I lived in Africa when I was a child and I used to forage for objects quite a lot. I would collect stones and things, I would find, that were imperfect and they kind of became talisman. So ever since I was young, I always would believe in this idea that things we find on our journey remind us of some place and bring us strength as we move forward.
So the way that we adorn ourselves with objects, actually?
Indeed. And then as I kept reading the Divine Comedy, I found it really interesting how every culture uses jewellery as a way of finding strength and passing on the narratives through generations. And I love the universality of that. And for me, that went hand in hand with poetry. Universal sentiments of love and loss and fear and courage. And I think we live in, sadly, a quite divided world, there’s a lot of conflict and ideology and different religions and cultures believing in different things, and I found it quite amazing that jewellery is completely universal. Genuinely, you can believe in a god or not believe in a god, be religious or non-religious, but these objects say something. I love the idea of universality through objects and I also don’t see that as any different to poetry.