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Watch: This Mount Pleasant heritage home is the entrance to a famous jewellery company

Pyrrha is a sustainable B-corp loved by celebrities.

When Danielle and Wade Papin first introduced their wax seal-inspired talismans to jewellery stores they were told that no one would want something that looked old.

The husband and wife duo had been designing jewellery since 1995. They started out of their house playing around with seasonal collections, like brightly coloured glass, geometric designs, and even wood; seals were just meant to be another one of their collections.

Turns out the store owners were wrong.

Pyrrha as it is known today, almost two decades later, has an archive of over a hundred seals and their solid distressed silver is instantly recognizable from across the room.

When first designing the seals, Danielle and Wade sought out antique imagery but after a while, they wanted to invent their own. “We're never going to make a baseball talisman,” says Danielle, explaining that the designs have to feel real to what you could find throughout history. But, she adds that there are so many possibilities within "that heraldic zone."

The pair begin by asking themselves, "what kind of inspiration do people need in their lives?"

Based on the answer, the imagery changes, each with its own distinct meaning, and the core inspiration remains the same. When COVID restrictions were easing they developed the theme 'struggle and emerge.'

Why set up shop in L.A. if Vancouver is home?

Pyrrha's flagship store is in Los Angeles and many of the city's famous residents are big fans.

Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt and Taylor Swift all own Pyrrha pieces and HBO approached Pyrrha to make a Game of Thrones collection back in 2014.

Last month, Patti Smith wore their newest "Music Unites Us" talisman on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, sales of which benefit the charity Pathway to Paris. "The music community is very tuned in,” jokes Wade.

“We had such great support [in Vancouver] already,” says Danielle of their decision to add operations in Los Angeles. However, all of the jewellery is made in Vancouver, they have a showroom available by appointment, and many local stores like Blue Ruby stock Pyrrha.

Vancouver will always be home

In 2009 the Papins bought a heritage home in Mount Pleasant and while they worked out of it as-is for a while, they needed more room to grow. They chose to keep the house and grow around it because they wanted a permanent home somewhere that felt like part of a neighbourhood.

The facade of the house looks the same, but no one could guess that it's actually a gateway to a world-class sustainable facility. The house is connected to a cross-laminated timber tower by a courtyard and the entire property is Zero Carbon certified by the Canada Green Building Council and all manufacturing is done in-house. It has Photochromatic windows in the tower which help regulate heat and the courtyard encourages biodiversity with special holes in the concrete for birds and bugs to make their homes.

The business as a whole is carbon neutral, a B-corp, and certified by a host of other industry-specific organizations but the pair are aware of all of the greenwashing in their industry, too.

“It’s kind of like when you’re the person who doesn’t lie on their resume but everyone else does,” says Wade. “We’re telling it like it is.”

“People don’t really understand how jewellery is made,” adds Danielle. It's a rigorous process from start to finish and while they don't run a factory by any means, the rampant aestheticization of different industries drives her crazy. “People don’t have a realistic idea of how much something should cost or how it’s made,” she says.

Watch: Tour Pyrrha's unique Vancouver jewellery-making facility

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