Lauren Wolf has always had a decisive personality. “My mom says that when I was little she’d never buy me clothes or anything because I was always so opinionated,” says the 32-year-old Oakland-based designer. So when a friend told her about an artist community in San Miguel, Mexico, that offered silversmithing classes, Lauren didn’t think twice about abandoning a career in advertising to head south of the border in 2002. “I had studied journalism and anthropology in school,” she says. “But as soon as I heard about learning jewelry-making in Mexico, it wasn’t even a question: I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
It’s that same uncompromising self-assuredness that makes Lauren’s designs for her eponymous label, which she launched two years after taking the jewelry plunge, so badass: spikey silver stingray necklaces, gold bear-claw pendants, studs made with precious black pearls or unpolished ruby. Some of her boldness also comes from years spent honing her craft—after an intense six months in Mexico, she moved to New York City to further her studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology and did eight years in the city before moving to Oakland, where she now also owns a boutique.
Lately, Lauren’s expanded her business to include custom work, which means she has had to learn to curb her more stubborn tendencies. “It’s kind of daunting to create outside your normal box,” she says. But the intrepid designer who mixes diamonds with anaconda bones has always relished a challenge. “It always ends up much better than you think.” —raquel laneri
Behind The Scenes
Lauren Wolf’s Double Desert (Wedding!) Adventure Because two cacti-filled getaways are better than one.When the Oakland-based jewelry designer Lauren Wolf and her boy decided to get married, the desert called out to them—twice. “My husband’s family has celebrated Thanksgiving in Death Valley for over 30 years—it’s a special spot for them,” says Lauren of picking the spot for the ceremony, which went down in April. Six months later, the newlyweds headed to Oaxaca—an easy trip for them from the Bay Area—to honeymoon it up. Get the scoop on (a... READ MORE »
Lauren Wolf Takes Us On a Tour of Oakland’s Coolest Neighborhood Get yourself to Temescal ASAP, everybody.In 2010, Lauren Wolf and her boyfriend moved from New York City to Oakland, California. And though the designer behind the gritty-but-elegant jewelry line loved her old neighborhood in Brooklyn, she immediately fell for Temescal—so hard that she decided to open a shop, Esqueleto, there. “It’s sort of hidden,” she says, “but it’s a real community.” Here, six of her favorite local haunts. —raquel laneriCrimson Horticulture Rarities“Our store’s in a uniqu... READ MORE »
Lauren Wolf’s Super-Talented Artist Friends Beeswax-dipped drawings and bird-skull ceramics? Show us more.The space!Lauren Wolf’s Oakland boutique Esqueleto, which means skeleton in Spanish, sells jewelry—the work of a dozen designers, including herself, is up for grabs. But it also doubles as an art gallery. The ultra-rad shop, with its white walls, rams’ skulls, and Southwestern rugs, showcases a different on-the-verge artist every two months. Here, Lauren shares some of Esqueleto’s illustrious alumni, including, adorably, her illus... READ MORE »