Terrazzo traces its roots back to Ancient Egyptian mosaics. A more decorative approach is found in the practice of 15th century Venetian masons who developed a new method of floor-making that was substantially less costly than laying marble, as it used fragments of marble waste from the quarries.
Terrazzo was the dominant method of floor-making in Greek architecture of the 60s and 70s, its legacy living on to this day in the form of a multitude of different versions of terrazzo floors which have survived the test of time both in terms of construction and aesthetic merit. In fact, terrazzo today has resurfaced as a popular trend in contemporary architecture globally.
However, apart from financial considerations and our nostalgia for the urbanscapes of the postwar years, there are other reasons for which terrazzo has such a familiar, ‘genuine’ feel to it. For one, the human factor is integral to it. As a technique, terrazzo requires specialized knowledge, experience, and a level of aesthetic sophistication, while it bears all the trappings of a craft that is quite distinct from the realm of industry.
Another reason for terrazzo’s special appeal is that it fills space with different colours, patterns and materials sourced in the natural world (stones). All these tend to have a positive effect on our mood and state of mind. In environmental terms, terrazzo is a sustainable method as it uses fragments of natural stones, thus making the best of material that has been left over from other projects.
These are precisely the qualities of terrazzo that George Giannoutsos and Both Jewellery Studio found so appealing and which led them eventually to combine this age-old technique with methods of silver- and goldsmithing to create contemporary jewellery.
Following years of experimentation with organic and synthetic materials, they arrived at producing a mixture of minute chips of quartz crystal, mineral powder and a water-based acrylic resin, all mainly natural, nontoxic and environmentally-friendly. The end result is a product whose properties make it ideally suited as a medium for jewellery-making. In other words, it is lightweight, hard and resilient to wear, water and heat. Processing it employs sculptural techniques, while its surface acquires a very natural-looking matte texture that is consistent with the designers’ particular aesthetic vision regarding contemporary jewellery.
Developing innovative techniques for combining terrazzo and silver have helped produce original designs informed with terrazzo’s intrinsically ‘human’ qualities as well as with its natural attributes, which speak to the values at the heart of Both Jewellery Studio.