Restaurateur launches jewelry line, St. James Court Art Show in Louisville

Lee Milward of Lexington has launched SuedeJewel, a collection of hand-crafted necklaces.
Lee Milward of Lexington has launched SuedeJewel, a collection of hand-crafted necklaces. Cristy Elaine

What do you do if you can’t find the perfect necklace? Lee Milward of Lexington decided to make one herself, then launched her own accessories collection called SuedeJewel.

“This started so organically. I couldn’t find any statement pieces that I really loved,” said Milward, who along with her husband Rob, is a partner in Chatham’s restaurant on High Street.

Milward began her enterprise in April, learning how to create her own leather tassels. “I bought a hide and cut it up on my bed,” she said. “Then I just played around with different beads and I made a simple one. I got more elaborate with the beading and bought more expensive beads.”

Soon, all of her friends wanted one of her necklaces and encouraged Milward to create a business.

The company, SuedeJewel, is named for Milward’s grandmother Jewel Threlkeld.

“She loved huge, amazing jewelry,” she said. Necklaces, which range from $185 to $285, feature a variety of accents such as ceramic beads, bone, sea glass, shell, coral and salmon vertebrae. “The perfect piece will totally make your outfit,” said Milward of her intricate creations. “Jeans and a white tee and you’re done.”

Shop the SuedeJewel collection and meet Milward on Thursday and Friday at a trunk show at AJ’s Casuals at 867 East High Street.

You’ll also find SuedeJewel pieces at the Keeneland Gift Shop and Milward plans to sell the necklaces at the L.V. Harkness open house in in November. The company website is scheduled to launch soon at In the meantime you can message Milward at

More shopping news

▪  The St. James Court Art Show, featuring more than 700 artists from across North America, is Friday through Sunday in Louisville’s historic district on St. James and Belgravia courts, and South Third and Fourth streets. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.

▪  Purchase the new Woodford Humane Society 2017 calendar, $18.50, when it debuts at the Sniff ‘n’ Mingle event 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in The Mall at Lexington Green. Refreshments will be served and leashed dogs are welcome. Online sales start Saturday at and look for the calendars in coming weeks at area retailers.

▪  As the holiday season approaches, special gift sets are hitting stores. At Sephora, limited edition sets include Origins Bestsellers, featuring six of the brands bestselling skin care products including GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream and Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash. The set is a $93 value for $45. Shop at or visit your local store, including the one at Fayette Mall.

▪  ABN Rug Gallery from Atlanta will be at Thoroughbred Antique Gallery, 637 East Main Street, through Sunday with a selection of Persian, Turkish and Indian rugs in all shapes and sizes.

▪  Belk’s Girls’ Night Out, featuring refreshments, music and discounts, is 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 6 at all Belk locations. Customers may register to win giveaways and receive gifts with cosmetic purchases. During the event, customers will get 20 percent off purchases of sale and regular priced purchases in ladies’ apparel, shoes, dresses, handbags, accessories, intimates, swimwear, young contemporary and Belk & Co. fine jewelry, including rarely discounted designer brands. The event is free.