Vancouver jewelry brand Pyrrha sets up shop in Mount Pleasant

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Founders Wade and Danielle Papin talk about the unique new space

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Famous jewelry brand from Vancouver Pyrrha settled in Mount Pleasant.

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Open to the public by appointment only, the new space merges the brand’s retail and production operations into one heritage home located at 2040 Columbia St.

The destination is designed to be a celebration of the brand’s past and present creations, as well as a step in its commitment to sustainability, according to the brand. We caught up with founders Wade and Danielle Papin to find out more.

Q. For those who don’t know, what is Pyrrha?

A. Pyrrha is a brand rooted in personal storytelling. We offer meaningful, sustainably handcrafted jewelry designed to resonate with every wearer. Our range of talismans are rich in symbolic imagery and are designed to evoke a strong, emotional connection.

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Q. How has it evolved since the brand was launched in 1995?

A. In 1993 we met, fell in love and started making handmade jewelry at our kitchen table in Vancouver. Less than two years later, after myriad conversations about our shared appreciation of good design and old things, we founded Pyrrha with a commitment to always follow our own rules.

From those early days when Pyrrha was just a side business, we have grown into an internationally renowned brand, opening a boutique in Los Angeles and sharing our jewelry with customers around the world.

We’ve both always been environmentally conscious, and beyond jewelry, we wanted to create a business that not only “does no harm,” but makes things better in the world. After years of hard work, we became a certified B company – a rigorous process and a rarity in our industry. We are one of only 18 in the world in the field of jewelry. We are certified carbon neutral and proud members of 1% for the Planet and the Responsible Jewelery Council.

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Q. Who is the Pyrrha customer?

A. Our jewelry is neutral and designed for anyone looking for thoughtful pieces that go beyond mere adornment. Whether someone is looking to buy for themselves, a friend, or a loved one, we have talismans that will help them focus on what they need in their life. Our intention has always been to offer inspiration, connection or just a bit of comfort to the wearer.

Q. What has been your proudest moment with the brand so far?

A. Our proudest moment was on the evening of our brand’s 20th anniversary. Surrounded by approximately 200 of our closest friends and supporters, we celebrated with a Patti Smith concert at our studio. The party was the culmination of 20 years of hard work and determination. Having such an influential icon for us was an emotional milestone that probably won’t be repeated. Especially since it was a logistical nightmare. We had to rent a piano, a mic and a stage, bring in a sound engineer, make a green room, which our friend David had to open with a crowbar moments before Patti arrived, and deal with a fire marshal who cut our guest list in half.

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We were worried that Patti and her guitarist/pianist would get stuck at the border and not make it in time. When she arrived she was refused entry by the person we had hired to work at the gate because her name was not on the list! I was so worried that she would be irritated by the whole situation, but as soon as she told me she had the same boots as me, I knew things were going to be okay.

Q. What made it the right time to open a showroom in Vancouver?

A. We both moved to Vancouver in our twenties and have never looked back; it’s where we fell in love, where we raised our daughter and where Pyrrha was born. We opened our boutique in Los Angeles in 2010, but have continued to handcraft our jewelry from start to finish here at home. We’ve always dreamed of connecting with our customers in our own community, but we wanted to do it right, which takes time. After years of conversations and exploring possibilities, we finally felt we had the tools and resources to bring our vision to life.

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The new Pyrrha showroom and production studio located at 2040 Columbia St. in Vancouver.
The new Pyrrha showroom and production studio located at 2040 Columbia St. in Vancouver. Photo of Pyrrha

Q. What can you share on the new space?

A. Our new space is a juxtaposition of old and new. Pyrrha is a brand that honors history, so it was extremely important to us that we honor that mission with a facility that reflects those values. We fully restored a 110-year-old heritage home that we fell in love with over a decade ago and used as a studio in 2009. Simultaneously, we designed and built an adjoining production tower.

We have completely rehabilitated the house, retaining its original parquet floor, its exposed wooden ceiling, its functional fireplace, its stained glass windows and its exterior pillars. We wanted to celebrate its rich heritage while adding modern flourishes: a black powder-coated steel staircase that winds down its center, a glass-encased showroom, and a bird-friendly sunken garden that connects the house to the building. behind it – a newly built production studio on six levels where our craftsmen work.

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Keeping sustainability at the forefront of everything we do, we have taken all necessary steps to ensure that our facility will not harm the environment. We worked closely with landscape architect Cornelia Oberlander until her death (last May). She was known for her work in conserving nature and creating outdoor spaces that mitigate the effects of climate change, which is exactly in line with our values ​​and our vision.

We consciously designed the production tower to be low carbon in construction and operation and used sustainable elements such as cross-laminated timber (CLT) and a GeoExchange system for heating and cooling .

For environmental reasons, we encourage our employees not to drive to work, which we are very upfront about during the hiring process. Instead of an underground parking structure, the Vancouver Heritage Commission allowed us to provide a large bike room equipped with showers and electric charging stations for our team. We are currently awaiting zero carbon certification through the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) to recognize the performance achievements of our new facility.

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Q. And what can people expect to find there?

A. With our new space, we hope to enhance the retail and brand experience for our customers and connect with them on a more personal level. We strongly believe in transparency and will be offering tours of the new production studio, so people can see our processes and how our jewelry is made. Our yard was designed to be an outdoor space where we can comfortably chat with a client about a custom design over coffee.

Q. Finally, what is the next step?

A. The new studio has significantly increased our production capabilities, so we discussed the possibility of expanding our product lines. We both love design, so household items seem like the natural next step for us. For now, however, we plan to enjoy this next chapter bringing Pyrrha and our gems closer to the Vancouver community.

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  1. Danielle and Wade Papin of Vancouver-based brand Pyrrha.

    Pyrrha pair lights up: Vancouver-based jewelry brand aims for environmental sustainability, new studio

  2. A model is wearing jewelry from the Vrai brand.

    Vrai CEO talks about the power of lab-grown diamonds

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