In 1993, we met, fell in love and began handcrafting jewelry at our kitchen table in Vancouver. Less than two years later — following myriad conversations about our shared appreciation for good design and old things — we founded Pyrrha with a commitment to always follow our own rules.
Although we had arrived in Vancouver separately, we had both recently taken the leap to move to the west coast from Montreal (Wade) and rural Ontario (Danielle) with the requisite, 20-something-idealism that the grass is greener on the other side of the country. Pyrrha began as a side-hustle while we worked to pay our rent, supplemented by selling off our large and rare record collection. Neither of us had ever had any formal training in jewelry design—it was an exercise in trial and error (heavy on the error). We borrowed books from the library (the internet wasn't really a thing yet) and mined the ever-patient local jewelry community for information. Sometimes called out for doing things "the wrong way"—that is, for making things too heavy; for combining the ‘wrong’ materials; and for generally not following traditional rules of making jewelry, we stuck to our promise of doing things the way we wanted. We managed to eke out a living and, by 1995, Pyrrha was established as we’d envisioned it.
Our modern, colorful Catseye line initially drove us into the spotlight, and was picked up by design stores across North America, including The Conran Shop, The Andy Warhol Museum, and The MOCA Los Angeles. Over the next decade, we introduced other lines in varying styles and gained a following across the continent.
In 2000, our discovery of a small, dusty box of badly damaged antique wax seals at an estate sale shifted our focus and, in a way, brought Pyrrha home. Those seals inspired our idea to elevate the beauty of imperfection; they became the heart and soul of our work. Our new line of talismans, created from those original wax seals, aligned with our love of other authentic creative forms we appreciated in music and art. More importantly, those pieces—which, over the past 25 years have remained our globally treasured signature collection—encouraged meaningful dialogue with our customers.
Both of us have always come from a place of environmental care. Our desire to not only ‘do no harm’ but to make things better in the world, has always been an important consideration for us; Pyrrha is an extension of our shared belief in sustainability—something that mattered deeply to us even before we even knew the meaning of the word. Right from the beginning, we constantly explored alternatives to the traditionally toxic methods of jewelry making, and have since made those values official by becoming a carbon-neutral and a certified B Corp. It has always been our mandate to keep production in Vancouver, in a studio that we would want to be happy coming to every day.
Twenty five years in, it is our continued joy to make jewelry we love, in a city we love, and—above all—to enjoy the rare honor of engaging with customers and retailers around the world in a personal way every single day.