Strength and Courage through the eyes and lens of Pauline Caranton
Inspired by The Leone Medallion, one of the first pieces founder, Rosh Mahtani, made for herself as a secret reminder to be strong in moments of self-doubt, The Leone Series documents strength and courage through the eyes and lens of people who inspire us.

Here, Paris-based photographer, Pauline Caranton, talks to Rosh about rebirth, superstition and the beauty of the day-to-day.

RM: I founded Alighieri when I was in a really dark time in my life - I looked to Dante Alighieri’s journey through the selva oscura for comfort and found so much strength in his story. The Leone Medallion was one of the first pieces I made, for myself, as a secret reminder to be strong in moments of self-doubt. How do you remind yourself to be strong in moments of self doubt?

PC: I’m a really positive person, and I try to see everything in a good way because I know when sadness comes, it takes everything out of me. I think everything happens for a reason, even the bad things. I embrace the difficult moments, knowing happiness will follow. Sometimes you just need to accept the challenges, take time to handle the worst and ask your friends to be there to wait with you for better days.

RM: At Alighieri, we create talismanic jewellery as armour for your everyday adventures - the ritual of arming yourself for the day is at the heart of what we love. Do you have any sentimental pieces in your jewellery box that bring you strength in your life?

PC: I’m very superstitious, so every jewel I wear has a strong meaning for me. My love for jewels came at a young age, playing with my family treasures. My uncle was gemologist. We all wear his pieces as something to reunite us.

RM: Photography is all about capturing light, it’s such an ephemeral process and I’m constantly mesmerized by how you need to create a negative to create a positive - much like jewellery casting. What was your first encounter with a photograph or a camera?

PC: My first experience as a photographer came early. My parents gave me disposable cameras when I went on class trips, so I started to document my day-to-day life, with my friends. I never stopped this process. I’m still shooting my daily life to remember the beauty of every day.

RM: Dante Alighieri’s journey was not linear, he had so many ups and downs as he travelled through Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise. Alighieri celebrates the beauty of human imperfection, and part of our mission is to acknowledge that life can sometimes be difficult - bringing people together through shared stories of vulnerability. Are there any particular challenges you’re facing in your life at the moment?

PC: I’ve had a quite intense year, of ups and downs, but I feel like I’m having a rebirth. I just bought a new house and I’m doing it up this summer to move in in September. Changing your home is a big thing. Taking time at home is really important to me, to think and create. So this place needs to be me entirely.

RM: If you offer anybody in the world (past or present) strength and courage in the form of a Leone Medallion, who would it be?

PC: My friend Fay, @claustrophobiae, is one of those strong figures in my life. She is a real lion, full of strength and patience.

Photography by Pauline Caranton