Behind the Scenes: MADE in the deep south Jewelry

The founder and creative force behind MADE in the deep south, Michela Bruno Swafford, has always had an eye for design and creativity. Using vintage pieces which are deconstructed and mixed with other elements, she creates one-of-a-kind treasures that come complete with a story card giving the history of the jewelry. “We start with vintage and antique pieces that are collected all over the world, some dating back to the 1800’s….and mix them with other materials to create ‘new,’ stand-out jewelry. Every MADE piece is unique and varies in style depending upon the piece itself and the era it came from.”

Today’s photos are all courtesy of Beth Hontzas Photography.

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Much care is taken to reinvent old into new.

Michela got her start in jewelry design by accident. While visiting a friend out of town, she bought a piece of vintage jewelry. Not sure what to do with it, she decided to add it onto a leather cuff. People began stopping her while Christmas shopping, wanting to know where she bought the it. It happened enough times that she decided to make a few more.

and then just few more...

and then just few more…

When first starting out, Michela would find her unique treasures at antique stores and estate sales, but now that her business has grown to include fifty four stores in thirteen states (and counting), she has made contacts with individuals all over the world who go on “treasure hunts” and then send photos of pieces that they find. “I choose what I think is beautiful. The truth is, it doesn’t matter to me where I find them, just that I find beauty in these great old pieces.”

Each piece of MADE jewelry is unique.

Each piece of MADE jewelry is unique.


Family heirlooms can be turned into modern wearables.

Family heirlooms can be turned into modern wearables.


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Your grandmother’s brooch might make the perfect statement necklace…


…or a rockin’ leather cuff!


Michela Bruno Swafford

Michela Bruno Swafford

Michela also makes custom jewelry. She’s taken many a brooch to adapt as an element for a cuff or necklace–what a great way to use the pretties from Grandmother’s jewel box! In fact, her most treasured heirloom is a cuff she made with a Star of David that belonged to her own grandmother. (Read the touching story about how this came to be here.)


To find MADE in the deep south jewelry locally (which is easy to do in virtually all of our SB sister cities!), visit the website: MADE in the deep south. And to inquire about having your own custom MADE jewelry, email [email protected].