Alighieri jewellery tells of the narratives that connect us, the desire to hold onto a moment and keep it close. Designed by Rosh Mahtani, each piece is imbued with memories and instilled with stories: they are talismans, not trinkets. “Alighieri,” she explains, “is all about finding beauty in sadness… each piece has a meaning”.

“Everything that I create, even now, stems from the Divine Comedy: Inferno, Paradise or Purgatory. That sense of longing and loss is just so universal. Dante touches on everything - there’s humour, there’s sarcasm, there’s politics, there’s romance -  it really is a study of life.”

The matte gold jewellery seems almost raw, discovery more than design. Mahtani explains that she chooses not to polish the cast metal “because it feels too perfect. We wanted the feeling to be that they had just come from the earth.”

The studio from which she works is filled with objects found in markets and vintage shops, the walls plastered with imagery of relics and architecture.

For Mahtani, jewellery “because it is on your skin, creates some kind of heightened strength or courage - a sort of alchemy in that it becomes a part of you.”

“The Egyptians would be buried with their possessions, bronze and stone, hard things that will deteriorate, change over time, but never disappear. And the Romans used to do the same: going with your armour. And it is armour, absolutely.”

She goes to fetch some Roman artefacts found on the banks of the Thames by a mud larker.

“I love them,” Mahtani explains, “because it felt like they had had a previous life, and that was what I wanted to create with Alighieri: that feeling that these objects had a past and then you could take them into your life and before passing it onto the next person. For me it is a medium to escape loneliness, to build families.”

As with her previous designs, her most recent collection, based on the Chinese zodiac, also attempts to create this feeling of connectedness.

“Chinese New Year is all about tiding in the New Year and spending time with your family, people that you care about. And these symbolic objects are a way to call for good fortune. It just felt very Alighieri because I think everybody feels an affinity to their sign.”

She has designed a necklace for each animal: a rat, an ox, a tiger… Her process is considered - this collection has been something that Mahtani and her team have been working on for over a year. “I always like to start with the bare bones of what exists and then distil it down. Finding the traditional symbol of the animal then recasting it and taking away from it.”

“And I work in quite an instinctive way, I don’t plan too much. But once I have the waxes in front of me, that’s when I feel free.” The shape and feel of each piece is distinct, intentionally so, to distil the characteristics of each animal.

Mahtani herself is the year of the snake. “So I started with that,” she explains. "A snake is really intuitive, it sounds a little obnoxious to talk about… Elegant and determined!”

Alighieri’s zodiac collection is available now.