Alighieri's heatfelt homage to Hatton Garden 


Alighieri's Rosh Mahtani Receives the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design at London Fashion Week

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On Tuesday 18th February 2020, at London Fashion Week, Rosh Mahtani of Alighieri was presented with The Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen. Mahtani is recognised for the craftmanship of her jewellery which is produced in Hatton Garden, for using responsibly sourced materials, promoting local manufacturing and supporting employment. 

The Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design was initiated in recognition of the role the fashion industry plays in society and diplomacy and the movement of young designers that are both talented and making a difference to society through either sustainable practices or community engagement.

Each year a designer is selected by the British Fashion Council, in collaboration with the Royal Household, to be recognised by this Award. The Award, designed by Angela Kelly, inspired by The Queen Elizabeth rose, has been hand-produced by Lucy Price at Bauhinia Studios and in Birmingham's famous jewellery quarter.

The inaugural Award was announced and presented to Richard Quinn in February 2018 when The Queen made Her Majesty’s first visit to London Fashion Week. In 2019, the prestigious Award was presented to Bethany Williams by The Duchess of Cornwall. With sustainability and ethical practice always at the heart of the design process, this year’s recipient has been chosen for her unique attention to detail and focus on craftsmanship and community. 

Caroline Rush CBE, CEO, British Fashion Council (BFC) commented:

“We are delighted to announce Rosh Mahtani from Alighieri as the third recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. Mahtani has managed to translate her passion for jewellery and storytelling into a highly successful business while using responsibly sourced materials. Her ethical approach and commitment to local manufacturing, combined with her ability to make beautiful, timeless, made by hand jewellery, makes her an inspiration for many young British designers. We are incredibly proud to recognise Mahtani and look forward to seeing her business grow.”

Born in London and raised in Zambia, the founder of Alighieri, Rosh Mahtani, studied French and Italian at Oxford University. Upon graduating in 2012, Mahtani was inspired to create Modern Heirlooms, born from the literature she had studied such as Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy in particular. With no formal training, and a vehement obsession with the idea of imperfect sculptures, Alighieri was officially launched in 2014. 

Alighieri has become known for its hand-made gold-plated antique-style designs. Each piece of jewellery is handcrafted in Hatton Garden, London’s Jewellery Quarter. The unique pieces are made through the process of lost-wax casting at some of the oldest local suppliers. The brand is firmly rooted in literature and travel and each biannual new collection is based on a different aspect of The Divine Comedy. Just like Dante Alighieri’s subjects, each piece of jewellery is unique, battered and imperfect. People and narrative remain at the heart of the brand; Alighieri has created a community through objects, forged friendships across all cultures through this universal language and celebrated the fact that it’s acceptable to be vulnerable and imperfect. 

A handwritten note given to guests of the ‘Love in the Wasteland’ show, where the award was presented expresses the designer’s gratitude, as well as the rationale behind the location of the show. It reads:

18 February, 2020 –

Thank you for coming to our AW20 show – Love in the Wasteland – in st Etheldreda’s crypt, four streets away from our studio in the heart of Hatton Garden.

It’s an incredible honour for Alighieri to be awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British design. I wanted to celebrate this by paying homage to the six streets that surround you: the six streets in which our Modern Heirlooms come to life before finding their way to cultures around the world.

This show will explore the sometimes treacherous road of finding connection in a fragmented world. We’ve looked to familiar elements around us for meaning, in the same way that we have used existing talisman in our studio, to recreate and reinvent new chapters of hope.

Thank you to the British Fashion Council – Caroline Rush and Sarah Mower – and the Palace for shining a light on this magical garden we call home and our supply chain.


Following up on Alighieri’s blog, she writes “I was truly overwhelmed by meeting Her Royal Highness and telling our story to a group of such engaged and inspiring creative minds.”

The Princess Royal is President of the UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT), a sister organisation to the BFC and lead for industry skills development, making Her Royal Highness’ role this year significant by recognising a young business supporting craft and jewellery making in London. 


Find out more here:

Images via Alighieri


Jessica Green


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