Ulysses handpiece

It took three days to drive across the Southern coast of Iceland. It was immediately apparent to me how the island’s dramatic landscapes gave inspiration to the the country’s rich tradition of folk tales. Thinking, at the time, about my next Alighieri Jewellery collection, I was taken by the jagged landscapes; the storybook castles; the at once melancholy and beautiful expanses of space. While the traditional landmarks and phenomena were impossible to ignore – the Blue Lagoon, Northern Lights, geezers galore – I had come for my own portraits: stolen moments looking through filters, peering down from hilltops, and catching sight of those elusive colours that punctuate the stretches of Iceland’s white scrolls. The terrain is not all that different from Dante’s depiction of the infernal realm, in its scraggy ways and exaggerated natural elements. There are flickers of these stolen moments that run through the Teardrop Collection.

The first morning was spent in a suburban guest house outside of Reykjavik. We were eager to explore the sleepy town, and those that neighboured it, and those that neighboured them. Only three streets away, we found the coast, where a rocky shoreline was being pummelled by waves. I almost preferred seeing the horizon from behind the glass of the car’s windscreen. As it began to rain, the view was transformed from a generic postcard, four by six, into a more enchanting frame. The clouds tumbled onto each other to the beat of the sun’s glimmers. The raindrops fell and slid, diagonally, from the top left hand corner, to the bottom right, with the balletic grace of a dancer’s limbs.

The teardrop necklace

If you are brave enough to drive the 200km traverse to this distant shore you are rewarded with a moment of monochrome bliss: the Black Beach. Looking down with giddy trepidation, it feels as though you have swapped your colour vision for a black and white filter. The sand is the black of a catastrophic oil spill, and the wind is so violent that it renders the blue ocean waves white with speed as their peaks unfurl on the sand. There is one lonely rock to the left, almost acting as a life guard’s tower, watching the chiaroscuro duo of sand and waves, making sure the rhythm is in order, at all times.

Black ring

I found an element of fascination in Iceland’s petrol stations; perhaps because infrastructure is so sparse, perhaps because of the way in which they are integral feeding stations within the context of such vast distances. Aesthetically they are sad, attractive, illuminated, pop-coloured, fluorescent, filthy: I want to stop at all of them, scope them out in the midst of mountains and waterfalls, skylines and darkness. The pink petrol station captures my heart; it stands still, politely, in front of the warm morning hues. Fluffy clouds peacock behind it, tarmac sprawls out in the forefront, and the pink petrol station stays put, politely, to a pearly backdrop of snow.

la neve snow drop ring and bracelet

In the midst of such a white blanket it can be difficult to navigate; certain trees, gas cylinders and houses become integral landmarks. They are your friends when visibility is poor, snowstorms approach and depth of field is non-existent. At the start of our journey, like the first crumbs dropped by Hansel and Grettle, we find a bright red doll-church. It sits in the valley; from the hilltop the tall trees look like an idyllic green picket fence. The frozen lake is a deadly moat, protecting this church that could have been cut out of a children’s pop-out storybook and pritt-sticked onto the landscape.

Ulysses handpiece

It was these stolen moments that were translated into the Teardrop Collection; the Black Onyx Ring mimicking the jet black sand; the Teardrop Necklace bearing the tale of balletic raindrops; and the constantly changing icy shards and eroded boulders that are so in sync with Alighieri’s battered gold cornices.

Words by Rosh Mahtani, founder of Alighieri

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