On & Around the Street

INSPIRED BY SICILY: CASSANDRA GOAD’S NEW COLLECTION

Once upon a time, about 1,100 years ago, when the Moors were the wealthy conquerors of Sicily, a rich Moor merchant saw a beautiful young Sicilian woman tending her balcony garden in the in the Kalsa Arab quarter of Palermo. He was captured by her beauty and declared his love to her, which was immediately returned.

One day, the girl discovered her lover had plans to return to his native country in North Africa, where he had a wife and children. Now deflowered and dishonoured, she went mad with anger and jealousy and hatcher her revenge. On their last night together, she waited until he slept, then sneaked into the kitchen and returned to their bed with a butcher knife. She cut off his head and put it on her balcony. She planted basil seeds in the skull and soon her lush basil plant was the envy of every woman in the neighbourhood, so they began to forge colourful clay heads pots wishing to have the same magic green thumb.

These pots are still made today, known as Teste di Moro, and inspired a stunning pendant in jeweller Cassandra Goad‘s new Bella Sicilia collection.

Traditional Testa di Moro head
Traditional Testa di Moro head
Testa di Moro pendant
Testa di Moro pendant

When Cassandra visited Sicily recently, she was inspired by the vibrant Maiolica ceramics as well as architectural details in Palermo. The exotic mosaics at the La Mortorana church informed the delicate patterns of the delicate Mortorana set of diamond and gold pendants and earrings, while the gold Florio drop earrings feature a swirling motif inspired by the stylised fig trees that appear in doorway lunettes and are peppered with little diamonds.

Mortorana pendant
Mortorana pendant
Florio earrings
Florio earrings

Meanwhile, the Teatro Massimo bracelet is made up of tiny golden cylindrical beads engraved with markings inspired by the pillars inside the Royal Box at the Palermo theatre. The Teatro Massimo necklace is made of volcanic lava beads, a direct nod to the legendary Mount Etna that towers over 3,000 metres above the island, and features spacers made of those same engraved cylinders.

Elsewhere in the collection, circles found in wrought iron fences reminded Cassandra of a flight of angels, so she transformed them into graphic pieces dotted with diamonds and sapphires, and the stunning gold and pearl La Quintessenza necklace was inspired by the inlaid pattern of stonework and lava on the walls of the cloisters at the Monreale Cathedral.

Here are a few of the collection highlights, available now at Cassandra Goad, 147 Sloane Street, SW1X 9BZ; www.cassandragoad.com.

Teatro Massimo necklace
Teatro Massimo necklace
Conca d'Oro necklace, inspired by Canoli
Conca d'Oro necklace, inspired by Canoli
Volo d'Angelo bracelet
Volo d'Angelo bracelet
Volo d'Angelo earrings
Volo d'Angelo earrings
La Quintessenza necklace
La Quintessenza necklace
La Quintessenza bracelet
La Quintessenza bracelet