Stainless steel is an alloy of iron, carbon and chromium. The small percentage of chromium in the alloy helps protect the metal from oxidization and corrosion. Since the beginning of the twentieth century it has been used extensively in industry as a highly resilient and extremely durable material.
The construction of imposing skyscrapers in 1930s America coincides with the introduction of stainless steel in architecture and its use in the construction of buildings, bridges and other architectural projects.
Stainless steel was also used in sculpture as many artists from the days of Modernism even found in it an ideal expressive medium.
Vasia Pachi, a graduate of the School of Architecture, NTUA, and founding designer at Both Jewellery Studio, uses stainless steel as the main material in her jewellery-making. Both its mechanical properties (resilience, a combination of hardness and malleability) and its qualitative ones (colour, texture) are ideally suited to her particular aesthetics and vision. Besides, architecture, urban space and the industrial world have always been sources of inspiration for her.
The hardness of steel makes it extremely difficult to cut by hand, so Pachi’s pieces are digitally designed and laser-cut. They are then processed manually using traditional silver- and goldsmithing methods. Pachi uses welding methods (cold welding) ingeniously to join the metal parts together as well as with her other materials of choice (acrylic glass, laminate sheets), giving her pieces a distinctive character and often adding to them the element of movement.
The particular physical properties of stainless steel make it an ideal medium for jewellery-making as it is a lightweight material that is hard, resilient and rust-resistant and, more importantly, nonallergenic (unlike other metals such as silver or bronze). It is 100% recyclable and its carbon footprint is minimal compared to that of other industrial materials, which effectively makes it a sustainable choice.
Through the use of stainless steel Vasia Pachi manages to bring together her academic background and love of architecture and sculpture and channel them into contemporary jewellery practice.