These 3 jewelry businesses are run by military entrepreneurs
(Photo: Nomades)

By Lizann Lightfoot

The military spouse community is full of creative entrepreneurs who have started a business aligned with their passions. It should come as no surprise that several military spouses have created jewelry companies that provide unique items to the military community. We got in touch with some of them to learn more.


Nomades was started in 2009 by four Marine wives who wanted to tell their stories of life in the military–deployments, moves, jobs, kids, marriages, and more. The Nomades Collection is comprised primarily of charms for custom charm bracelets or necklaces. Nomades jewelry is made of .925 sterling silver and manufactured in the USA.

According to Marijke Landon, one of founders, it took “a lot of trial, error, plan B’s and investigation! We knew nothing about jewelry.” They sought online mentors who helped them find foundries and artists. Starting out small, they focused on just ten charms that they sold at military-affiliated craft shows and luncheons.
“At every duty station, deployment, or school attended, our husbands would receive things that would help him tell his story of those times, but we as wives didn’t have anything to tell our story,” Landon explained.  “We looked at other companies, but not one of them could understand what we went through.”
Nomades is a direct sales company, catering to military spouses with business sense.”We provide a military spouse a way to have her own business and be a CEO of her own company with the opportunity to be an independent consultant with Nomades.”
Landon said her favorite part of the company is “watching where our jewelry pops up.” During the 2016 presidential campaign a Gold Star mother wore a Nomades charm on a national television ad. Nomades has been worn to White House luncheons, retirements, and promotions. “These are women who are not advertising for us but just love our product and what it stands for and we were lucky enough to be part of their story.”


Charliemadison offers handmade glass bead bracelets, necklaces, and oil diffuser jewelry. You can order something patriotic like their Military Tribute Bracelets, or you can choose a color that matches your favorite outfit. There are even options to design your own bracelet by choosing from a variety of colors, charms, and tassels.

Hively, a Navy spouse whose husband retired after 20 years of service, has lived all over the world and now resides in Maryland. All Charliemadison jewelry is handcrafted in her home studio. She donates 5 percent of all sales to military organizations such as The Milspo Project, the Duskin & Stevens Foundation, and Operation Purple Camps run by the National Military Family Association.

Bang Bang Ballistic

For a unique military flair, check out Bang Bang Ballistic–a jewelry company that fashions jewelry out of spent bullet casings and ammo rounds. Purchase a brass pendant made from a flattened bullet case or earrings made from the primer of a 9mm or .45 round. The bottom of a 12-gauge shotgun round makes a lovely pendant for a necklace. There are even items like cuff links or money clips that would make a great gift for a man’s birthday or Father’s Day.

The founders are an unlikely pair of artists. Fred Bassett ended up in the jewelry trade by accident. A friend brought him some spent shells from a 21-gun salute and asked if he could make them into memorial earrings. He soon had more requests for unique jewelry made from bullet casings. His business partner, Shanna Rodenberg, is a veteran who served in the Army National Guard in Afghanistan. When she returned, she worked with Bassett, a family friend. Rodenberg says that creating jewelry that is meaningful to someone in the military community is like therapy for her: “It’s a way to honor them continually.”

Lizann Lightfoot is an associate editor at Military One Click and a Marine Corps spouse. She can be reached at