Alighieri is the jewellery label inspired by Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ and Salvador Dalì

Words by Cat Spanti


Rosh Mahtani is a London-based designer with an unusual creative mission: translating Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy into modern heirlooms. Having studied French and Italian literature at university, she officially launched her jewellery label with the Italian author’s surname as a direct homage in 2014.

I was captured by the visual aspect of the story, and the universality of it – a young poet, lost in a dark wood, trying to find his way in the world,” Rosh explains. “That’s when I decided to create one piece of jewellery for each poem and interpret the story through photography and objects.”

It’s an ambitious task, given the piece of medieval literature was written in the 14th century and has since endured as one of the world’s landmark pieces of written art. It chronicles the writer’s journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, and formed the cornerstone of Western literature through to the Renaissance.

It’s a tale as old as time and human nature, but what interested Rosh the most about Dante’s epic work was the idea of imperfection at its core.

As Dante travels through the underworld, his footsteps are unprecedented, and his travels through the scraggy landscape are fraught with challenges,” she explains, touching on the universality of the story.

After working for a year in visual merchandising and interning for a stint at Harper’s Bazaar, her love of writing and poetry resulted in a desire to marry visual language with poetry, which in turn led her to design. So Rosh taught herself how to make jewellery, and now makes all Alighieri close to her home in London.

“We do everything within three streets from our studio,” she explains. “I make everything in wax, then the pieces are cast in recycled Italian bronze by our caster in Hatton Garden.”

Rosh then turns the bronze and gold-plated material into rings, earrings and medallions reminiscent of Renaissance treasures.

To celebrate Alighieri’s fifth birthday this year, Rosh worked with Net-a-Porter to launch an exclusive pair of espadrilles. The shoes are made to be worn all summer, with a gold teardrop talisman wrapped around the ankle.

“When you retire your espadrille for the summer, you can slide the talismans off the ribbon and add them to your necklace layers in the winter,” she says, highlighting the transeasonality and versatility of the jewellery.

As for the inspiration for the collaboration? None other than Salvador Dalì, whose illustrations of Dante’s work are Rosh’s favourite interpretation of the text. But it wasn’t just the artwork that inspired her, it was Dalì himself.

I began to look more at his singular style. I was inspired by the way in which he wore his espadrilles in the French Riviera, in Paris, and on the rocks of Cadaques, so we sought out the artisans in Barcelona who used to fabricate Dalì’s shoes, and convinced them to work with us.”

In the next year, Alighieri is planning to expand its collection to include homewares and a men’s jewellery line.


Lazy Loading