Beyond the Glass Feature: Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry

Valerie Madison of Seattle-based Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry didn’t plan on entering the jewelry industry. In college, she pursued environmental science due to her deep love and respect for Earth, but along the way, she started making jewelry between classes and on weekends.

“I had a knack for it and knew my passion could take me far. After college, I continued making jewelry and made the leap to full-time designer and business owner in 2014,” she explains. “Making jewelry felt right early on, so I started planning for a future in it.”

 

Simple and Clean

Valerie designs one-of-a-kind engagement rings and works with clients across the country on custom designs. “I’ve developed a collection of modern, minimalist jewelry inspired by classic designs and new ideals,” she says.

“We offer gemstones and educate clients about what stones fit their lifestyle best,” she explains. If they’re looking for a specific shade or shape? “We can usually find that gemstone when they’ve been told elsewhere it’s impossible.”

Drawing on her respect for gemstones, science, and the natural world, Valerie put her expertise to use to make one thing a priority for her jewelry: responsibly sourced materials.

 

With a Purpose

“I’m a natural researcher, so I researched gold mining and its effects on habitats and communities. I realized I could apply environmental responsibility into jewelry making,” Valerie explains. “For instance, we use SCS-certified 100% recycled metals whenever possible, and we often use Canadian diamonds. The more we and customers ask for responsible sourcing, the more commonplace it’ll become.”

Even in the Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry studio, this mindset is apparent. A beautifully renovated, century-old building houses her studio currently*. With high ceilings, exposed beams, and lush vines crawling all around, the space is as natural as it is inspiring to her creative process.

Not only is this space utterly enthralling to behold — it’s also part of Valerie’s commitment to minimizing her impact on the world. “Our small studio has less sprawl in our surrounding community, so we make efficient use of our land,” she says. “We love our Seattle community and also the wider world.”

A few others things the team does to minimize their environmental impact include:

  • Using minimal packaging for their products
  • Incorporating recycled diamonds into designs

The recycled diamonds typically come from older pieces of jewelry, get regraded, and are set anew. “I will always prioritize the environment,” Valerie says. “And we’ll always use vendors who are transparent about their operations.”

 

Behind the Designs

Valerie’s creative process always starts with the stone. “My designs begin with my gemstones versus designing a setting and looking for one that’ll fit. I examine the gemstone, searching for special attributes, like iridescence viewable from only one angle, or a geometric profile.”

Once she has a clear vision of how to use the gemstone, she designs the setting, starting with what silhouette will best emphasize the stone. “I keep current trends in mind when designing, but I try to avoid things that may feel too dated someday,” Valerie explains. “We have a strong appreciation for gemstones and look forward to increased transparency in the industry moving forward. It’ll help us offer more gemstone options.”

 

Stuller is proud to support Valerie, her team, and her studio. To ensure jewelers like her have the recycled metals and other products they need, we have an ongoing commitment to ethical sourcing and sustainability, from recycled precious metals to our daily corporate operations in Lafayette, Louisiana.

 


* Exciting news: Valerie and her team will be moving to a new studio soon. Follow the Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry Instagram to watch their journey to a new space in the Madrona neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.

 

Read the full article about Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry in the Spring 2020 edition of Beyond the Glass.