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InteriorsStudio Tour

Studio Tour: Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry in Seattle, WA

by Sofia Tuovinen

Studio Tour: Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry in Seattle, WA | Design*Sponge

For the past five years, jewelry designer Valerie Madison has been busy building her business Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry (@valeriemadisonjewelry). What initially started as a hobby has grown into a busy and fulfilling career of creating pieces that commemorate meaningful events in her clients’ lives. From statement rings for women who want to celebrate significant career milestones, to special gifts and wedding bands, Valerie pours her heart into turning her clients’ ideas and wishes into truly special treasures.

Valerie and her assistant Liz work from Valerie’s studio near Seattle’s Central District. The two-floor workspace, located in a turn-of-the-century industrial building, offers everything the duo need work-wise. In addition, the space also serves as Valerie’s showroom. “It’s always been important for me to curate a space that feels inviting, cool, calm, and interesting. In decorating, I’ve learned that those are my own personal traits that I want people to feel around them so they can quickly understand me and the passion I have in my career,” Valerie explains. When stepping foot in the studio, clients are able to see Valerie’s personal touches everywhere. It’s filled with plants and various curiosities, such as crystal and mineral specimens, fossils, and dinosaur paraphernalia — all things that bring Valerie joy to collect and take care of.

With a growing business and a true passion for her career, Valerie sometimes finds herself spending more time in her studio than at home. She’s learned to understand how the space works, and how she can work best in it. “My studio is a representation of me and my work in a way that can’t be expressed at home,” she says. “As a solo business owner, my business is what takes up most of my energy and time. When I walk into my studio every morning and slide open my heavy door, I immediately feel gratitude for the beauty and brightness that greets me.” For Valerie, her workspace is a daily reminder of how hard she has worked to grow and cultivate business relationships with new and repeat customers alike — for that alone, her studio is a true gem among gems. —Sofia 

Photography by Valerie Madison@valeriemadisonjewelry

Image above: This view of the downstairs parlor room is the first thing that Valerie sees when entering her studio each morning. It is also the space where Valerie welcomes her clients for jewelry consultations, and where she and Liz host the occasional open house events. The exposed brick walls allude to the building’s industrial history. “I recently learned that this space was partially constructed with leftover steel beams from a waterfront pier that was torn down in the early 1900s. The beams were hauled by horses all the way up from the waterfront and recycled into usable building parts. The building owner continues with the recycling efforts, always preferring reusing old materials that still have life in them and quality restoration over new materials,” Valerie tells us. 

Studio Tour: Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry in Seattle, WA | Design*Sponge
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The large sliding door at the studio’s entrance is made from a deconstructed billboard and impresses most people who pass through it.

Studio Tour: Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry in Seattle, WA | Design*Sponge
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Valerie’s nine-year-old chihuahua mix Omar comes to the studio most days and spends his time lounging in a little bed upstairs. Occasionally he’ll come down to greet visitors, though, and see if they have any treats for him!

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Valerie’s studio has indirect sunlight downstairs, which is perfect for inspecting diamonds and designing pieces of jewelry.

Studio Tour: Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry in Seattle, WA | Design*Sponge
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The downstairs diamond table is where Valerie meets with clients and comes up with new jewelry designs.

Studio Tour: Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry in Seattle, WA | Design*Sponge
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Valerie works against a backdrop of exposed brick and greenery. “I’m most thankful for the freedom I have to express my simple, personal style in a way that makes visitors feel at ease and in awe of how powerful such a small space can be,” she describes. 

Studio Tour: Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry in Seattle, WA | Design*Sponge
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Valerie’s work is precise and all about details. “It’s very important to inspect every diamond and gemstone. This is half of the fun of my job, getting up close with my favorite thing — gemstones!” 

Studio Tour: Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry in Seattle, WA | Design*Sponge
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“My studio is just outside Seattle’s downtown core,” Valeries shares. “I love the convenience of the location of my jewelry studio. It’s not open to the public but if you make an appointment with me, it’s easy to get to — with free street parking!”

Studio Tour: Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry in Seattle, WA | Design*Sponge
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Valerie keeps an extra workbench downstairs. She hopes to one day have the chance to hire someone who can use it as a work station. For now, the table serves as display for beautiful crystals.

Studio Tour: Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry in Seattle, WA | Design*Sponge
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“I use my torch on a daily basis to solder gold and make earrings, necklaces, and rings for my customers,” Valerie shares.

Studio Tour: Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry in Seattle, WA | Design*Sponge
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Valerie runs up and down between the downstairs parlor and the upstairs office at least 30 times a day. “The beams that support the loft, staircase and run along the wall are all made of PSL (parallel strand lumber), a very dense and strong material. They are part of the building’s seismic retrofit and exist throughout [it]. In the event of an earthquake, highly likely in Seattle, I feel safe in such an old building because of how strong those supports are,” Valerie explains. 

Studio Tour: Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry in Seattle, WA | Design*Sponge
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Valerie’s collection of dinosaur fossils is displayed under the stairs. “Sharing my love of dinosaurs and beautiful geologic creations shows my visitors a little of my own personal traits. I was a paleontology lover and rock hound as a child,” she says. 

Studio Tour: Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry in Seattle, WA | Design*Sponge
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The upstairs office is where you’ll find Valerie when she’s not with clients. This is also where her assistant Liz works. “To be in [the same] space with another person for eight hours a day, you really have to enjoy their company and appreciate their presence. I’m lucky to have that with my assistant Liz and we’ve both worked on the space so that it works for both of us in our separate duties,” Valerie says appreciatively. 

Studio Tour: Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry in Seattle, WA | Design*Sponge
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Valerie’s desk offers a backdrop of greenery, a soothing view when working on orders or updating her website.

Studio Tour: Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry in Seattle, WA | Design*Sponge
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“I keep art and prints in the upstairs loft to keep it fun and light,” Valerie says. 

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