Saturday 24th February 2018
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Shopping for (mostly) pretend: Esqueleto

esqueleto3

My new favorite store in San Francisco is actually in Oakland (which Northern Californians are fond of calling the Brooklyn of the Bay Area), and is called Esqueleto. It’s part of Temescal Alleys, a cluster of shops (plus an ice cream place and the requisite hipster barber) gathered in a couple of small side streets.  A number of the stores are quite cute and cool—and all are worth popping in to—but Esqueleto is the jewel in the crown. Their website offers a fraction of what they actually stock, so it’s hard to give you a true sense of how lovely this place is. If you are nearby, you must, must stop in.

diamond claw ring

It is owned by the jewelry designer Lauren Wolf, and her insanely beautiful pieces—like this splurgestastic diamond claw ring—take up the biggest and most prominent counter. One emerald ring was so pretty, and looked so perfect on my finger that it almost made me cry. So my date for the day, the wonderful but horribly enabling Emily Hsieh (of old school Lucky fame) might have talked me into buying it.

gold braid ring

In addition to the boss lady’s line, they carry a quite robust and really, really well-edited assortment of pieces by other jewelry designers, too. Some names I was familiar with, but some were totally new: this gold braid ring Katrina LaPenne would be a glorious addition to just about any stack. (Here’s the less expensive silver version.)

diamond friendship bracelet

This diamond friendship bracelet  by Scosha is pretty nifty in a very undone-glamourous kind of a way.

judge print

Their selection of art and objects is almost as compelling as the jewelry. I of course loved this snake print and might have to make it mine at some point.

stoneware jug

And I’m not at all certain what I’d do with something like this stoneware jug, but it sure is fantastic.

Posted on May 7th, 2015 40 Comments

40 Responses

  1. Tammy says:

    Looks like an amazing store! I even love the Esqueleto skull store logo.

    I hope you’ll share a photo of the emerald ring at some point soon, Kim. If it’s as fabulous as the claw/diamond piece — I want to see it. 🙂




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  2. maryann says:

    LOVE Lauren Wolf. And so excited to learn that this store is hers.




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  3. Rachel says:

    Ooh – I love Esqueleto. Usually I just look, but maybe my new strategy will be to visit with an enabler…




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  4. Amanda says:

    Second the vote to show us the emerald ring!

    I’ll be heading through Oakland on my way to a wedding in northern CA this summer–looking forward to making a stop here.




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  5. Maria says:

    I love Lauren Wolf’s rings, they are gorgeous. Exactly the sort of thing one should get (or give oneself) for a 50th birthday, no? Plotting, plotting . . .




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    • caroline says:

      How did you know?!
      I was just thinking that. celebrating my 50th would be so much sweeter with that beautiful ring on my finger.
      So pretty…sigh.




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  6. Lee says:

    Love that shop. So glad you made it there!




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  7. MG says:

    Esqueleto is a cute spot. Love the blog but *had* to chime in that only New Yorkers/NYT trend pieces call Oakland the Brooklyn on the Bay Area. Not everything needs to be related back to a New York analog 🙂

    Glad you enjoyed the Bay!




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    • Rebecca says:

      Agreed.




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    • KimFrance says:

      Not true! More than one Bay Area inhabitant referred to Oakland as the Bklyn of the Bay Area to me. xxx




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      • C.Michol says:

        Sorry Kim. Have to echo everyone else here — as a Bay Area native, neither I nor anyone I know would ever call Oakland the Brooklyn of the Bay Area. It’s a reflection of New York narcissism, and we hate it.




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      • Merry Rower says:

        I’m an Okaland native (and 6th gen. Bay Area gal), who has also lived in NY and LA. I’m telling you, NO ONE who is actually from here would ever describe Oakland that way.

        It might be an easy frame of reference for someone unfamiliar, but it is inaccurate and inauthentic. Time to retire that phrase.




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        • Rebecca says:

          Six generations in the Bay Area! Your family must have AMAZING stories!




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        • Shirim says:

          As a native of San Francisco who relocated to NYC, I can appreciate why the description might get under people’s skin. However, I think in this instance the term was innocently deployed to provide a frame of reference for those readers on the east coast. I am just glad the post made clear how great Oakland is.




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        • Beth C. says:

          Must have been a transplant who said that. 😉

          I’m also 6th generation! Up top, Bay Area Brat!

          If you MUST call Oakland ANYTHING other than Oakland it’s “The Town” or maybe “Oaktown”. As others have said, the Bay Area is not looking to be New York, thankyouverymuch.




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    • Snufkin says:

      That looks like a lovely shop, but yes, please refer to Oakland as Oakland itself. A lot of the “Brooklyn of the Bay Area” or zillions of style/trend articles about how you moved to Oakland after getting priced out of San Francisco are patronizing at best.




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    • daisyj says:

      Absolutely. I’m sure your friends are very nice people, but I’m guessing they arrived recently, or would really rather be back east.




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      • Viajera says:

        I lived in the East Bay for quite a while, and I love the entire Bay to death. Granted I’ve been away for 11 years, but we never compared Oakland to Brooklyn. So I too suspect that it is former East Coasters who are doing that.

        That is no disrespect to Brooklyn though. Plus in LA, soooooome people try to say the same about the Silver Lake area. (They also try to say it is the “Eastside,” a major no-no here if you’ve been here longer than 10 minutes. But I digress….)

        It’s all a load of hooey, but … it really just means, people like Brooklyn and they miss it. No harm in that. I admit, when I imagine living in NYC, I always imagine that I’d be a Brooklynite too, except it sounds like now I could never afford it and would be lucky to be a Queens person. And, nothing wrong with that either!




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    • Inday says:

      Thank you MG! Oakland has always been the Town, San Francisco, the City, and my beloved Hayward, the Stack. Read/heard the phrase “the Brooklyn of the Bay” (in a previous post here) for the first time of nearly 40 years in the Yay.
      Also have to add I love this blog as well and am inordinately happy to read about your time here Kim!




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    • kates says:

      Lived in S.F., best friend still does so I go there once a year – agreed, I’ve never heard that phrase before.




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    • Susanna says:

      Ooh you Oaklanders seem to be a bit sensitive about your status, no? I have a friend, raised in SF, more recently a New Yorker, just moved to Oakland and indeed described it as the Brooklun of the Bay Area. So, there’s evidence if at least one native of SF who calls it that.




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      • Susanna says:

        And sorry for iPad typos.




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      • Leah Z says:

        I’m ok with it…Oakland’s a good place and the issues of gentrification are occurring all over the Bay Area…too bad folks got so ruffled over a name




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      • Prof O.C. says:

        Or is it that native or transplant New Yorkers are so “sensitive” to displacement that they need to NewYorkize all spaces in order to make sense of them? Let’s get over the NYC colonialism please, it’s desperate and boring.




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  8. Lori says:

    I hope you stopped next door at Doughnut Dolly’s while you were there – yum! (And I’m not usually a doughnut person)




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  9. a.d.s. says:

    Love the jewellery on their website, especially the rings.




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  10. Andrea says:

    So funny! I was just opening my darling Lauren Wolf pyramid studs that I bought on Gilt when this arrived in my in box. Love her jewelry, and Esqueleto took it to a new level around here. Did you check out Marisa Mason (used to be Marisa Haskell)? I have a few of her necklaces. Glad you are having a good time here!




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  11. Diane says:

    Wow, Kim, you have clearly struck a nerve! I will add that “Brooklyn of the Bay Area” ranks right up there on the grate-scale with “Frisco” and “San Fran.” Bigger picture, it also has to do with the uber gentrification and as others have pointed out, long standing communities being pushed out to make way for those barber shops and other upscale with not a single non-discretionary item. It’s complicated, and when the average rent goes up another month (now $3,458) it can be despairing when you’ve been here long enough to remember what the fuss was all about to begin with.




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  12. Leah says:

    I am a twenty-five year resident of Oakland and it was me who mentioned the Brooklyn – Oakland comment just for context…It works the other way too, I heard that Brooklyn is just like Oakland…




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    • Leah says:

      Maybe cause I’ve never been to Brooklyn and it isn’t as cool and fantastic as my hometown?




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    • Beth C. says:

      I do get it as a kinda-sorta descriptor as far as geography and such goes. I just get annoyed by the number of East Coast folks who move here and say it as more of a “since every city really WANTS to be New York we’ll just be lazy and slap a NY friendly label on this unique place rather than trying to let it be what it is on it’s own.” Oakland is too awesome and has too much of it’s own great history for that treatment. 🙂




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  13. Thank you for a new shopping destination in the East Bay! After living in Marin, San Francisco and now Sonoma, I am still relatively unfamiliar with the East Bay’s offerings. Your blog is an absolute delight.




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  14. caroline says:

    At the risk of a backlash,I feel compelled to say this..
    One of my 10 year olds vocabulary words this week is “petty”. I won’t insult you all by giving the definition.
    Choosing to be horribly insulted by a harmless commentary, which lets face it, is out in the world for a reason wether you agree or not is a wee bit humorless in my humble opinion.
    why not take it as the compliment it meant to be.
    I would live in either place(in a ny minute!) if I had the means!




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  15. y.k. says:

    that website has an excellent& really unique collection of jewelry – harder to find than one might think- it’s usually the same old. I’ll be in sf next month & will pop in there. great restaurants in that area too.




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  16. Jenny says:

    I’m just waiting for a New Yorker to deign to designate ANY part of the Washington, D.C., metro area as Brooklyn-esque. And as a frequent visitor to the resolutely un-chic parts of that borough (hello Sheepshead Bay!), I humbly submit that “Brooklyn” is more of a concept than a geography. In any event, what the NYT style section means by Brooklyn is a tiny little piece of Brooklyn.




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  17. Prof O.C. says:

    Love this post on Esqueleto! – but, um, no Californian calls Oakland the Brooklyn of the Bay Area. Can you dear darling New Yorkers pleeeeezzze stop NewYorkizing the entire world? It’s kind of colonialist and frankly usually not correct. You have NY, you don’t need to lay claim to the rest of the world as twins, clones, hinterlands, or outlands of NYC.




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  18. Lovely broke husband went over budget (budget being zero) to buy a Lauren Wolf necklace for my birthday, which I was wearing when I read your post. Darling will be very pleased when I tell him so tomorrow morning… he likes being fashionable. Funnily enough, I refer to the store where he bought it as “the Brooklyn store,” though we don’t live near NYC.




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  19. Alison says:

    Show the ring! Show the ring!




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  20. Erica Byrne says:

    They also carry Melissa Joy Manning’s stuff (I’m wearing her earrings as I type); she’s got a store of her own not far from there that is also totally worth visiting.




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