View all Eco in Issue E

PYRRHA

Wade Papin and Danielle Wilmore don’t try to hide the fact that they are self taught jewelry designers, in fact they cite it as one of the reasons for their success.  From their Vancouver studio, a 100 year old converted house, the pair craft the heraldic seal talismans that have become the Pyrrha signature, using techniques that evolved from trial and error and a disregard for rules. “Jewelers traditionally try to make everything look flawless”, says Papin, “but we like to show the maker’s hand. We celebrate the flaws.” Pyrrha’s most recent incarnation came about after the designers were inspired by a box of 19th century wax seals. “Making jewelry out of them was inspired by a desire to give the seals new life and permancence,” says Danielle. “As we started researching the imagery in the seals we were intrigued by the richness of the symbolism. A protection symbol can have many faces: eagle wings, dragons, gryphons.” 

As their business has grown, Wade and Danielle have remained solidly connected to their Vancouver base. They’re firmly committed to local production. Pyrrha jewelry is made with reclaimed silver and gold, made without chemical cleaners, and packaged in recyclable containers and biodegradable bags. Both vegetarians, Wade and Danielle have made environmental responsibility a priority in a business which hasn’t typically been green. Their design direction is largely a reaction to the proliferation of overseas factory made, mass produced jewelry that is so common in their industry.  Wade explains, “everything seems to be cranked out at a staggering pace and then left for dead. Because we live in such a throwaway society, it’s necessary to create some things that can be kept.”

“Everything seems to be cranked out at a staggering pace and then left for dead. Because we live in such a throwaway society, it’s necessary to create
some things that can be kept.”

Pyrrha has a celebrity client list that includes Taylor Swift, Scarlett Johansson, Reese Witherspoon, Miley Cyrus, Brad Pitt, Jodie Foster, Emma Thompson, Ashton Kucher and Taylor Lautner.

pyrrha.com

 

What were your ambitions and aspirations at the age of 26?

To be able to work for myself forever.  So far, so good. Danielle

To retire at 27.  It didn't happen. Wade

Pick a word beginning with the letter ‘E’ which best sums you up. 

Energetic. Danielle
Erratic. Wade

For each letter of the alphabet, pick a word followed by a sentence that inspires you.

ANTS
They are so driven (and they save extra trips to the car). Danielle

BELIEFS
The spectrum of difference. Wade

C.S LEWIS
I wouldn't be in a hurry to leave Narnia. Wade

DECAY
A Zed and Two Noughts changed my life. Wade

ENTOMOLOGY
I love bugs. Danielle

FLEA MARKETS
I find that the endless variety of things for sale there is very inspiring. Danielle

THE GARDEN
The best place for thinking. Danielle

HATS
I don’t like to wear them but I appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into the making of them. Danielle

INK
Penmanship is next to Godliness. Wade

JELLYFISH
They are so beautiful. Danielle

KEFIR
Fermentation is cool. Wade

LAPIDARY
Taking a stone from rough to polished is a real feat. Wade

MATERIALS
I love discovering something new to work with. Danielle

NOTES
Without music I would be dead. Wade

OCEAN
In Vancouver, we live 5 blocks from the water. Danielle

PANCAKES
With maple syrup...we are Canadian, after all. Wade

QUANTUM THEORY
Sexy. Wade

ROSES
The smell of an antique rose. Danielle

SCOTCH
A good salty, smoky single malt. Danielle

TELEVISION
The band, not the box. Wade

UNDERWATER
It's a different world. Wade

VICTORIAN
My favourite era. Danielle

WAX
Try keeping me away from candle runoff. Wade

X-RAYS
They scare me but I secretly think they are pretty cool. Danielle

YELLOW
It’s such a happy colour. Danielle

ZIPPERS
Much quicker than buttons. Danielle