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 permanence” 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.”
Pyrrha has appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers including InStyle, O, Nylon, The New York Times, Lucky, Elle, and Glamour, has regular appearances on TV and in film, and has a celebrity client list that includes Taylor Swift, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Reese Witherspoon, Miley Cyrus, Brad Pitt, Jodie Foster, Emma Thompson, Ashton Kutcher, and Taylor Lautner.
As their business has grown, Wade and Danielle have remained solidly connected to their Vancouver base. They are 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.”