Turning bits of waste into beautiful things to wear

By Rita Wu

Globalcoolo was started after Patrizia Iacino came home to find that her apartment had been broken into. They had taken everything, including all of her jewelry that she had brought over from Italy. It sparked something inside her, and she decided to turn that bad experience into something positive: She started making her own jewelry. 

Her line pairs recycled material with metals and semiprecious stones. She’s taking “the bad” and making it into something good. She’s helping the environment by transforming trash into art. She’s having fun and experimenting.

The name globalcoolo is a play off of global warming. 

“Coolo,” or “culo” as it is properly spelled, means “ass” in Italian.

“It literally means ‘global ass,’” Iacino said with a laugh. She’s poking fun at herself.

The Milk Cap Collection was her first line. It combines sterling silver necklaces with plastic milk jug caps strung on them. She’s always been attracted to the caps’ colors and shape and started collecting them. She asked her friends to help.

“I always tell them it’s just an idea, and if you get used to it it becomes a habit,” she said. “So, instead of going to the garbage, you give it to me. You just need to put in a little effort.” 

And now, her friends are asking their friends. It’s become a chain of people who — though some might not even realize it — are helping both Iacino and the environment.

Her second collection melded contact lens containers with pearls, in what she dubbed the Eye Collection. This is a limited edition because the circular-shaped containers are being replaced with rectangular ones. Iacino is currently working on a new line using these new containers called Eye 2.

Next came H2O, a combination of water bottle and beer bottle caps with sterling silver wire.

In what has become a group effort, Iacino has friends all the way from Ontario to Italy helping her collect the bottle caps.

A bracelet/necklace from the Circle Collection

A bit of a departure, her latest line is entitled the SAL Collection. It’s a dedication to her friendship with Sal Bartolomeo of Rosario’s Pizzeria, at Orchard and Stanton Sts. Iacino, who lives in the E. 30s, was hanging out in the pizzeria’s kitchen, chatting and mindlessly playing with the rubber bands from the broccoli as Sal was cooking, and that’s when she got the idea to use the bands as her next recyclable material. The SAL Collection consists of sterling silver rings with intertwined rubber bands from bunches of broccoli and asparagus on top.

The rubber bands and contact lens containers cannot be recycled. The plastic bottle caps can, but most people don’t think to recycle them anyway.

Indeed, Iacino said she tries “to experiment with little things that most people don’t think about” and objects that aren’t recyclable.

Right now, she’s working on a new line called the Circle Collection, in which she uses the plastic pull tops from orange juice containers. This line is different from the rest in that it’s interchangeable from a necklace to a bracelet. 

“You just play with it,” she said of the concept.

In fact, with most of Iacino’s pieces, one can’t tell what the recyclable material is. She has taken something and made it unrecognizable, which is her way of playing.

Anyone and everyone is welcome to send her milk, water or beer caps and rubber bands. To those who send her eight or more wide rubber bands, she will give a $5 discount. It’s harder to find these rubber bands, and it’s even harder to find ones that aren’t blue or pink, she noted.

 She doesn’t have an actual boutique, but people can visit globalcoolo at www.globalcoolo.com. Her jewelry can be bought on www.etsy.com. Contact Iacino directly at jewelry@globalcoolo.com. Iacino will be selling her jewelry at the Brooklyn Indie Mart on May 2 and 9. For more information, go to www.brooklynindiemarket.com.