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Pyrrha - Putting A Stamp On The World

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By: Kristen Turner | Photos: Courtesy of Pyrrha

In a society where products are mass produced and frequently replaced, dynamic design team and married couple Danielle Wilmore and Wade Papin are offering consumers something worth holding on to. Pyrrha (pronounced peer-ruh) is a unique Vancouver-based jewelry collection fashioned using wax seals as inspiration to imprint historic and meaningful designs onto necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings and other accessories. We caught up with the inventive duo behind the brand to find out how they are putting their stamp on the world, one seal at a time.

Making Their Mark

Inspiration for Pyrrha struck when Wade and Danielle stumbled across a box of 19th century wax seals. Wanting to bring new life to their ancient findings, the couple came up with a jewelry line that would give permanence to the seals. After much trial and error and a complete disregard to the rules of how jewelry should be made, the couple developed Pyrrha out of their home in Vancouver.

“We always knew that there was a constant glut of mass-produced overseas factory made jewelry and we did not want to be a part of that.”

Wade and Danielle share, adding, “The line is unaffected by the tides of fashion because the pieces have more depth of meaning to the eventual owners than a trend can provide. Our pieces are worn every day and kept as personal talismans.”

From their original talismans to cufflinks, every piece in the line is cast in reclaimed sterling silver, 14k gold or bronze from 19th century wax seals. Each of these unique pieces of jewelry feature insignia rich with meaning culled from heraldry and is handmade in their Vancouver studio. Danielle and Wade also find imperfections endearing as they offer a glimpse into the piece’s past. “Our first piece in this line was a ring that Wade still wears every day: The Duke. It’s made from a large seal from Luxembourg that is full of royal imagery – knight’s helmets, swords, crowns, etc. It’s full of cracks and the border is very uneven which is exactly how we found it on an old envelope,” Danielle shares.

Seal of Approval

With the seal of approval from A-list celebs like Taylor Swift, Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Piven, Pyrrha’s popularity in the press has catapulted the brand’s demand to new heights. Miley Cyrus was shot for numerous magazine covers, including Elle and Glamour, wearing her Cross wax seal necklace. Twilight’s Taylor Lautner has been photographed many times in his Love + Friendship necklace. And Reese Witherspoon was so enamored with her Venus necklace that she asked them to design wrap gifts for her movie Penelope.

“With over 300 seals in the collection, it allows everyone to have their own favorite and celebrities are no exception to this rule.”

“There are a few pieces that seem to speak to many different types of people, like the Carpe Diem or the Love Conquers All (for obvious reasons), but often someone will just fall in love with a piece because of a meaning that they connect with. We feel like we learn a little bit more about our customers when we see what piece they have chosen,” Wade and Danielle describe.

With its cult-like following, celebrity fan base, creative designs and equally unique story, Pyrrha has become a media magnet. Pyrrha can be spotted on TV shows including Weeds, Sons of Anarchy and CSI while Cosmopolitan, Teen Vogue and Marie Claire are just a handful of the publications that have featured the brand.

A Sustainable System

From the jewelry itself to their in-house recycling philosophy, Wade and Danielle take their environmental and social responsibilities seriously.  The entire line of jewelry is crafted from recycled and reclaimed 14k gold, sterling silver, and bronze.  To ship the products, they use biodegradable plastic bags and transport the purchases inside of old, used film reel canisters.  The brand practices eco-friendly marketing by printing on certified FSC or recycled paper using only biodegradable ink.  As a business, they take every step possible to recycle or reuse their materials whenever possible.

“In our whole organization, we use as much reclaimed and recycled material as possible. We use all reclaimed metal for the casting of the jewelry because we feel it’s a waste of resources to pull metal out of the ground when it can now be reclaimed from tech sources,”

the couple explains adding, “When you think about it, it’s quite amazing: Mining 20 tons of ore is required to produce enough gold for a single ring!”

In addition to their eco-friendly business practices, the brand is also a longtime supporter of Animal Acres, an animal sanctuary saving animals from the cruelties of stockyards and slaughterhouses while teaching humans about compassion toward all creatures. The couple’s animal-friendly ways also extend to their personal lives.

“The way we decide what to put into our bodies is just an extension of how we think humans should treat the world: Tread as lightly as possible and have some respect. For some, this means riding their bike to work and for us it means being vegetarian,” Wade and Danielle comment. “We also just love animals! A lot of our promotions benefit animal charities like Animal Acres in Acton, CA and the Humane Society.”

Pyrrha

“In Greek mythology, Pyrrha and Deucalion repopulated the earth by throwing the “bones of their mother” (stones) over their shoulders, and the stones that Pyrrha threw became women. When we named the company, we thought this seemed fitting as our raw materials (metals and gems) came from the earth and the story of the myth carried a strong image of female empowerment. Our design process is heavily influenced by mythology, and the name of the line links it directly to symbolism and story-telling.”

Treasure Troves

Pyrrha is available for purchase worldwide at stores like Fred Segal and Liberty of London.  Purchases can also be made on their website, pyrrha.com, or at their flagship store in L.A:

Pyrrha - Los Angeles
8315 West 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 424-4807

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