The practice of wearing jewelry is almost as old as wearing garments itself. Since ancient times, people have adorned themselves with precious pieces, some to establish their rank, while others simply for aesthetic purposes. Through the years, some religions have even incorporated jewelry into their traditions and practices. One huge example is the papal ring, worn by the current Pope, the head of the Roman Catholic church. Beyond the excess of the rich and famous, jewelry has always had a religious undertone, with some brands even highlighting it. Among the many today, Alighieri stands out as a label that is built on jewelry’s religious meanings.
The brand’s name, Alighieri, comes from the name of Dante Alighieri, an Italian poet from the Late Middle Ages of the Mediterranean country. His most famous work is the Divine Comedy, a collection of narrative poems detailing his descent into hell and eventual ascent into heaven and what each is consists of. These poems inspired a series of jewelry from the London-based brand named after the famous poet. Each of the poet’s adventures into hell, purgatory, and heaven are detailed into a single piece, highlighting the fervor of the journey with precious stones and fine metals.
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How the brand came about
The brand was established by Oxford University graduate Rosh Mahtani back in 2014. She studied French and Italian at the famous school and went on to make jewelry-inspired by the historical literary works she came upon. With no formal training, she made her own set of jewelry, inspired particularly by Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. During the day, she would talk to stylists on how to go about making her pieces and making them look both rustic and refined, traditional yet modern. She would also meet with e-commerce websites, establishing retail relationships. She did everything herself, and now the company boasts of multiple collections.
Since opening her brand, her unique brand of jewelry has gotten the attention of the London-based fashion crowd. As a result of her meetings, her pieces are carried by prominent e-commerce websites, the likes of Matches.com, Farfetch.com, and Joseph—some of the biggest contemporary online retailers in the UK. Even the biggest e-commerce site in fashion and luxury, Net-A-Porter, now carry her items. With such back stories behind each piece, stars like Kim Kardashian and Cara Delevingne have all been spotted wearing Alighieri designs. Such is the magnitude of Mahtani’s work, and the draw of a historical poem made into accessories.
The Dance Of The Storm
One of the brand’s most notable collections is “The Dance Of The Storm”, an array of gilded pieces that depict ancient artifacts from the time of Dante Alighieri. Some of them feature pottery designs, historical coins, and even small vases—all inspired by the artistry of the Italian Renaissance. The “La Francesca” necklace, for example, features a small vase that one can put anything in it. The pegasus choker includes a pendant carved with the mythological creature. The “Selva Oscura” earrings look like swirling serpents that dangle from the wearer’s ear. These pieces offer rustic illusions that harken back to Dante’s iconic poem.
The Floating Questions
The name of this line refers to Dante’s meeting with Ulysses, the main character in Homer’s Odyssey. Ulysses was put to hell for not recognizing the limits of man and his intellect, and he drowned during his adventure on the sea. Inspired by this part of the poem, the collection features a series of aquatic-inspired pieces, such as pearls and shells, all broken to symbolize the tragedy of Ulysses’ story. One of its standout pieces is the “Conflicted Man” necklaces that has three coins reminiscent of the currency of Ancient Greece, where the story of Ulysses is set. There’s also the “False Promises” necklaces, characterized with a gilded pearl that is both beautiful and beguiling.
The Lost Dreamer
The Lost Dreamer refers to Dante Alighieri himself, an artist who got lost in his books, paintings, and other principles. By focusing on the art of literature, he was able to accomplish one of the most epic and most poignant poems ever written, “Inferno”, an imagined look at hell, heaven and purgatory. The collection is filled with dream-like pieces that are contorted and surreal as if you’re not sure what they are. Their beauty stems from their uniqueness and awkwardness, displaying no sense of logical shape and silhouette. The “Persisting Nightmare” earrings, for example, look like disfigured silhouettes of humans dangling from the wearer’s ear. While the “Fractured Memory” necklace appears to be a teardrop for a lost love.
Joseph x Alighieri
To this day, the only company to collaborate with the young jewelry brand is London-based fashion label, Joseph. While the Alighieri’s pieces are known for their gilded finery, their items for Joseph are silver and a lot more pristine. With their signature roughness and contorted silhouettes, the added silver shimmer gives off a pristine sheen that is slightly far from the brand identity of the literary-based jewelry brand. Their “La Pina” choker stands out as enigmatic pieces with a silver stone that catch anyone’s eye. The “Found Talisman” bracelet, on the other hand, is a chain of silver charms that echo the rustic romance of Italian Renaissance.
It’s not everyday luxury is interspersed with literature, but that is what makes Alighieri stand out as a must-buy for clients and consumers. Beyond the shimmer and shine your pieces will give you, it also tells of centuries-old tale of a famous Italian poet who went to the depths of hell and the heights of heaven, all for the name of love.