Josie Adele :: Green Jewelry

When we
first saw Josie Adele’s jewelry designs at the PLAYgreen festival, we couldn’t believe such beautiful work came from X-rays and old film canisters. The San Francisco designer uses recycled, reclaimed sterling silver for her line Global Verve, and every purchase offsets a month’s worth of typical energy use through the carbon offset company Terrapass. BARE caught up with Adele to hear more about the what, why, and how of her eco-friendly jewelry line.

How did you get the idea to start Global Verve?
Josie Adele: Global Verve was inspired by the Brauer Youth Awards, with the Earth Island Institute. They honor six or seven youth under 22 years old that are making change in the world. Just hearing the ambition and excitement that these youth had, I was like, I need to be doing something more with my artistry. So I thought about what challenges we’re facing in the world today, and looking at climate change, that would be my first goal, to give back in some way to reduce the carbon footprint. I started researching local carbon offset companies and that’s when I found Terrapass, and I put that together with jewelry to support that issue. And when success with that comes, then focusing on endangered species, and maybe a third series focused on renewable energy. It took about two weeks, this creative process, of all of a sudden designing the concept of having these four coins and casting them in recycled, reclaimed sterling silver, and using recycled packaging.

How did you think of this design as the motif of the collection? How did that creative process work?
JA: I sketched four things I felt spoke to climate change, and that was the sun, the tree, the polar bear, and the water drop. And within this, we have a reflection of humanity, wildlife, and our environment. Thinking about the modularity of it, I thought about coins, possibly they could be a collector’s item at some point, as the collections grow. But then with the coins, I felt round was too round. I looked up the earth, because the earth is not round, the earth is actually a geoid, and it kind of swells from the center and comes out. That’s what inspired each of the four attributes to be uniquely-shaped coins, based on the earth’s form. As for the clasp, I always loved the detail of a clasp, which is often overlooked in the jewelry design process. That came from creating one of the geoid shapes to represent a pebble and having the name Global Verve on there to remind the wearer what they’re supporting.

What was the most difficult part of this process?
JA: The business plan, marketing, finances. I really felt it needed to have a solid business plan to move forward, so that took about a year. It was September when I met with someone to review the business plan, and I’m still figuring out the direction and looking for marketing and sales support.

When did you first start making jewelry?
JA: I’ve been making jewelry since I was in first grade, and then I made some stuff in college. I went to college for interior design at Colorado State. I worked in the field of interiors for about three or four years and then moved to San Francisco. I had started the Fluidance [Adele’s other jewelry line] concept while I was in Denver, about 9 months before I moved out here. I was playing with things from the hardware store, refrigeration tubing, aluminum, copper, and that’s what I was making my jewelry out of. And then when I moved to San Francisco, I did a street fair, and nobody wanted to wear aluminum. The copper you could maybe get some interest, but the aluminum, no way. So I happened to meet someone that became a mentor to me in jewelry, and told me where to buy metal. That was in 2004, and since then I’ve just been developing my personal jewelry-making skills with classes here and there, and pretty much self-taught. So I’ve been designing Fluidance for 5 years, and I have now incorporate the recycled sterling silver into that collection with this innate sense to do something larger to help the healing process that’s so necessary right now. That’s why I wanted every design to give back in some way. Fluidance is more of a fashion-oriented collection, and Global Verve has a bigger purpose.

You studied interior design. What made you want to go into jewelry?
JA: At the time I was doing corporate planning, and I was laid off when the dot com crash happened, and the whole creative process wasn’t fulfilling, I guess. It all started with leftover aluminum from a Halloween costume that I’d made a headdress out of, and I took the aluminum and shaped a bracelet, and everyone really loved it, so then I started making more and selling them on consignment in little boutiques in Denver and doing art shows and people liked the concept. When I moved to San Francisco, it was such a supportive environment for artists, that was really the catalyst. San Francisco is really amazing for support. It kind of just felt like one thing has led itself to the next, and I can’t stop.

Do you have any advice for college students want to get into jewelry design?
JA: I think focusing on sustainability is very important, because it’s really a very dirty industry, unfortunately, and to know where the stones and metal are being mined. And to push the envelope creatively. Learn the rules and then break them. That’s the best way to innovation.

Any ideas about materials you want to incorporate into later collections?
JA: I’m really interested in finding remnants from the fashion industry in general. I don’t know if it would be fabric, leather from shoes, or just pieces that are scrap materials from production, because I know it’s a huge industry. I think that would be really neat, and that’s my next research, to figure out how to incorporate these scrap materials.

So you’ll be continuing with Global Verve for a while?
JA: Yes. I’m still doing Fluidance as a fashion focus, but my focus right now is bringing Global Verve to the market, to try and educate the consumer in how to buy more consciously. Hopefully every person who wears Global Verve will understand the meaning behind it, and every person they come in contact with, they’ll be able to share that meaning. And by doing that, I’m hoping to spread a greater consciousness in consumerism in general. I think Global Verve could grow to be a collective, even, in bringing other designers in to support these issues, whether it be sustainable furniture, or a yoga clothing line. I’d really like to see a clothing line, but I’ll focus on jewelry right now.

Check out Adele’s sustainable collection at

Elena Radicati
BARE Reporter


  1. Good interview but it would have been nice to see some pictures of the pieces in her collection throughout the post.

  2. Yeah, I agree. Great article, but would lov eto see some up close images of her jewelry!