Founded by partners Danielle and Wade Papin in 1995, Pyrrha is one of Canada’s coolest jewellery lines—Patti Smith is a big enough fan to have electively played a concert at their Vancouver workshop; enough said. Yet Pyrrha’s cachet was not self-consciously developed—they don’t have a rehearsed “brand story”, and you won’t catch them sending swag to influencers. Rather, Pyrrha developed slowly and naturally, crystalizing around its founders’ interest in silver-smithing (self-taught) and their attraction to vintage wax seals—old world heirlooms popular in the Victorian era whose designs now characterize Pyrrha’s signature style.
The Papins developed an original method of casting wax seals in sterling silver, and have since expanded into reclaimed 14-karat gold, increasingly incorporating raw diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds, as well as pearls into their necklaces, rings, bracelets, and earrings (they are one of 12 jewellery companies worldwide with a B Corporation certificate of ethics and environmentalism).
For many, the personal meaning of a Pyrrha piece is paramount.
Each seal conveys a different message—some are talismans encouraging inspiration, others represent safety, optimism, and parental devotion. For many, the personal meaning of a Pyrrha piece is paramount, though the insignia alone attract some—anchors, foxes, and intricate crests are all open for individual interpretation, though the company provides a print legend for those keen on heraldry available online, at retailors, and at their L.A. flagship. “Of course we get people who buy our pieces just for aesthetics, but I think the underlying meaning is still important,” says Danielle. The message behind their work is of particular significance to costume designers, who frequently engage Pyrrha when crafting character wardrobes for actors that require telling details (Julia Roberts can be spotted in several Pyrrha pieces throughout 2017’s Wonder).
This July, Pyrrha releases its most complete gold collection to date. “In years prior it was more like a capsule, but now there’s been so much more call for gold,” explains Danielle of the expansion towards finer pieces, including alternative wedding bands. The gold is given a black ceramic treatment that emphasizes the delicate details of each design, and mimics the appealing tarnish of silverwork. The look is at once elegant, grunge—and unmistakably Pyrrha.
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