Designers / Gold / Industry

Of Gold and Goddesses


Anyone who’s read Edith Hamilton’s classic Mythology is probably familiar with Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, warfare, and handicraft, known as Minerva to the Romans.

“She was the daughter of Zeus alone,” Hamilton writes. “No mother bore her. Full-grown and in full armor, she sprang from his head.”

In most depictions, she is a gray-eyed warrior, regally clad in armor. But in British jeweler Alice Cicolini’s new Goddess collection of 18k gold rings, Minerva is represented by the symbols she carried—an owl, a snake, a flute, and an olive branch.

Alice Cicolini
Alice Cicolini

Minerva is one of nine goddesses whose symbols Cicolini had illustrated by the Parisian artist Charlotte Gastaut and re-created by the Colombian goldsmith Juan Galan Sebastian Bello in repoussé—a metalsmithing technique that requires hammering into relief from the reverse.

Alice Cicolini Luna ring
Luna ring in 18k gold, £11,900 (about $15,1`75)

“I had been thinking about this narrative around the goddess and how there’s something enduring about the archetype of femininity that goddesses represent,” Cicolini tells JCK. “And that maybe there would be something interesting in making jewelry pieces that had their symbols rather than their faces so we could all connect with their energy rather than their figurative representation.”

Alice Cicolini Flora ring
Flora ring in 18k gold, £12,300 (about $15,690)

The collection, which debuted in April, features rings honoring Venus, the goddess of love (apple, apple blossom, scallop shell, knots, birch, falcon, flaming heart, camellia, and cherries); Flora, the goddess of flowers (roses, butterfly wings, crown of flowers, and crown); Hebe, the goddess of youth (eagle, cup of youth/goblet, grapes, wings, and cherry blossom); Luna, the goddess of the moon (crescent moon, stag, Japanese maple, jasmine, melon, crab, and woodland glades); Aurora, the goddess of the dawn (scattered flowers, star, fire, marigold, saffron, lotus, swallow, and laurel); Ceres, the goddess of abundance (corn, dragon, artichoke, burning torch, wreath, oak, and snake); Iris, the goddess of the rainbow (lily, iris, rainbow, sea, sky, nectar, and water jug); and Juno, the goddess of womanhood (peacock, pomegranate, clouds, butterflies, and hummingbird).

Alice Cicolini Venus ring
Venus ring in 18k gold, £12,250 (about $15,625)

In order to create the rings—a mix of cigar-style bands, shields, and signets—Bello, who is based in Geneva, had to fashion smaller versions of the tools he traditionally uses for repoussé (which tends to be done for large-scale works) so he could execute the fine details of Gastaut’s drawings.

Each large ring is available in an edition of 25 and comes with a signed booklet that charts the making of the collection. Smaller versions are part of Cicolini’s standard collection. All capture the same sentiment: In goddesses we trust.

Top: Minerva ring in 18k gold, £12,250 (about $15,625)

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By: Victoria Gomelsky

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