For those of you who are literature fans will recognise the name Alighieri, it comes from the 14th century epic poem Divine Comedy;s Dante’s Inferno.
Rosh Mahtani, the leading designer and CEO of Alighieri, read French and Italian literature at Oxford University; upon graduating in 2012 she was inspired to create gold jewellery. This inspiration came directly from Dante Alighieri and his descriptions of the nine circles of hell.
During our talks with Rosh you could sense her love of poetry and creative outlets. She didn’t study jewellery design at University, instead a chance one-day course on its process changed her career direction. It showed her a way to combine her passion for accessories and design.
The first necklace Mahtani created was the Fortuna necklace is a ‘portafortuna’ in Italian. This means an item that brings you good fortune in your travels. It resembles a wheel, and reminds her to always be courageous. The beginning always needs a bit of courge and forthright so I was incredibly interested in her first piece. This leads me to her latest one – The Odyssey Necklace.
Alighieri was a product of travelling, a lot, after her studies. She was constantly searching for her next move, flitting, sometimes with ease, and other times with great difficulty. Travelling is a significant quality in the brand. This ties in beautifully with her affinity for Dante’s Inferno, those of have read the poems or researched them will know of Dante’s monumental journey – reminiscent of Homer’s Odyssey.
Mahtani designed this necklace as one to take with you on your own personal odysseys, to remind you that the best journeys are the ones that are slightly fragmented; they veer off-course, and never end up as planned.
I asked her who would be her favourite person to work with. And that for anyone is a pretty difficult questions so I expanded it to her top five people. Here is her answer;
The best part of Alighieri, for me, has been working with people I find really inspiring.
There’s something magical about the collective energy in a project, when everyone’s on the same page, and going for it with the same obsessive zeal.
I have such a long list of people I’d like to work with.
I would have loved to work with Ettore Sottsass; I feel a real affinity to his photographs and his writing.
Laura Bailey is the person I would love to see modelling Alighieri- she sort of epitomises the woman I envisage wearing my jewellery- intelligent, self-assured, and beautiful for it.
Esra Roise is a really cool illustrator, and I would love to create a modern-day illustrated copy of Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ with her.
In an absolute dream world, it would be amazing to work with Miuccia Prada. Just to shadow her, and the meticulous production that takes place at Prada, would be incredible.
Valery Demure is an absolute legend in the jewellery world, and she is somebody that I aspire to work with in the future. She would be the ultimate mentor.
See how her Odyssey continues here.
Photography: Charlie Pratt