Lauren Shoff is the 24 year old designer behind Eco-friendly jewelry line L. SHOFF. She Launched the line in 2013 with the encouragement of her Accessories Design Professor at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. I was drawn to the bold, minimal style of her pieces right away, they have a slight masculinity which I love. Lauren also utilizes some very unique materials, like fossilized woolly mammoth tusk and Dinosaur bone. They have a beautiful look, plus there's the added benefit of something interesting to geek out on . There is much more to love about her line than just the aesthetics that originally pulled me in though. The designer spent years researching and planning out her brand in order to incorporate ethical and Eco-friendly standards into the companies backbone.
"I discovered that the jewelry industry is one of the most harmful industries in the world. I read that the production of one gold wedding band produces approximately 20 tons of waste, and through that a whole host of problems occurs; such as displacing communities, contaminating drinking water, and destroying environments. I realized that I can create the same, or better, products by using what is already available and not using any newly mined materials. The reclaimed metals used in L. SHOFF jewelry are identical in quality to newly mined metals and comes from a number of different sources, including existing jewelry and antique silver. "
All L. SHOFF pieces are handmade in Minnesota, the brand does everything themselves choosing to avoid outsourcing. This includes making their own earring backs and findings, as well as recycling their metals in house. As an added bonus L. SHOFF even ships their product in Eco-friendly packaging.
I am a huge vintage and antique jewelry enthusiast, both my wedding and engagement bands are from the early 1900's. So I loved hearing about Laurens heirloom pieces and the influence they have had on her designs, along with what else stirs her creativity.
"I am inspired by a variety of things. It could be from spending the day at a museum, a photograph that I took a decade ago, the lines on a piece of furniture, or a documentary I am watching. Anything can spark my creativity. Because of this, I always have to have a sketchbook or notebook with me to jot down ideas just in case. I am also largely influenced by the craftsmanship of the past. For my 20th birthday, also my golden birthday, I was given a diamond and gold Lavalier that belonged to my great-grandmother, along with two rings, a gold signet and a gold ring with a prong-set pearl. These pieces have stood the test of time, whereas pieces that you typically buy in a store will fall apart after two or three wears. Jewelry was made so much better because of the attention to detail and the processes used. That really resonated with me, which is why we use the same age-old processes at L. SHOFF. You won’t see large machines cranking out thousands of pieces per hour, instead you will see hand fabrication or lost-wax casting, a process that dates back thousands of years. These processes create the highest quality, and most durable pieces. In addition, stones like our fossilized woolly mammoth ivory and dinosaur bone are cut by hand, creating a unique and one-of-a-kind stone each and every time. I enjoy creating pieces influenced by the past with a modern twist, such as a unisex signet ring with a hand-cut dinosaur bone inlay."
Not only have antiques played a part in L. SHOFFs inspiration, they have also become part of a custom service they offer to clients. Customers can bring in precious family heirlooms of their own to have them reworked. Whether its a stone you want incorporated into a new piece, or the metal from a sentimental item that you want to recycle and reuse. They help make your nostalgic pieces new again while continuing to lessen the environmental impact of mining by repurposing pre-existing materials, a win win.
I am impressed by not only Laurens talent but her dedication to US and Eco-friendly manufacturing. She is thinking about our planets future, while utilizing the techniques and ideals of the past in her production. I can not wait to see what her next collection OOAK has to offer, launching later this year.