Southern Artist Spotlight: Monogrammed Necklaces With A Twist

July 5, 2013 | By | Comments (3)
Photo by Becky Luigart-Stayner

Photo by Becky Luigart-Stayner

Looking for a monogrammed necklace that’s out of the ordinary? We have one for you.

Meet Madeline Smiles. At first glance, when you look at Madeline’s jewelry, all you see are her rustic, earthy designs. But look closer and you’ll notice that her material choice is a bit … unusual.

That’s because, in addition to copper and silver, the Atlanta native works with animal bone. She was inspired to create her line of “Grass Fed” jewelry while touring White Oak Pastures, a 1,000-acre, 145-year-old farm near Bluffton. The largest certified organic farm in Georgia, it provides beef, lamb, and poultry to such restaurants as Atlanta’s Miller Union and Holeman & Finch.

Jenni Harris, the farm’s fifth-generation owner, provides Madeline with the materials, taking the whole nose-to-tail, waste-not concept one step further. “This jewelry is a nod to sustainable farming and the environment,” Madeline says. We love her custom monogrammed necklaces (pictured above, $199).

Also inspired by green space near her suburban Atlanta home, Madeline translates sketches of leaves and feathers into designs for necklaces and cuffs. Her work is sold at boutiques nationwide and on her website. Prices range $45-$450

The Process: “I collect, clean, and sand a piece of bone before shaping it with saws and files, being careful not to damage the material. It takes about three hours to create each piece.”

The Materials: “In addition to the bone, I make it a point to use reclaimed materials as much as possible, including recycled silver and copper.”

The Meaning: “Some people might think wearing jewelry made from bones is strange. But I see nothing strange about honoring animals that have been humanely treated. When I display pieces at art shows it always starts a conversation, and that’s what I intend.”

The Inspiration: “I love to go in my backyard and collect objects like leaves and rocks in order to study their lines. I spend days sketching before I start making a piece.”

Photo courtesy Madeline Smiles

Photo courtesy Madeline Smiles

Know a Southern artisan who should be featured in Southern Living? Leave us a comment.


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  3. evaziegler

    Great post! Check out Eva Ziegler Jewelry- I’m a Huntsvile, Alabama-based jewelry designer who likes to use unusual, high-quality materials! (

    July 16, 2013 at 8:17 pm

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