Pyrrha Connects People With Pieces That Speak To Them

The BC sustainable jewelry brand has an A-list celebrity following, sure - but what keeps the owners inspired is how clients deeply connect to the talismans they choose to wear. Or is it the talisman that chooses the person?


Johann Wall

BC Living contributor Catherine Dunwoody sat down with husband-and-wife team Danielle and Wade Papin for a much overdue catch up about Pyrrha.

I’ve always wanted to know – where did the name Pyrrha come from?

Danielle: In Greek mythology Pyrrha and Deucalion were the only ones left on the earth after a flood, and to repopulate the earth they threw stones over the shoulders, and those stones became women. Interesting that we chose that name 29 years ago even though were not doing anything around Greek mythology (laughs). 

Wade: We feel the name is more important now than ever with female empowerment.  My brother suggested it because he was getting his PhD and studying mythology, and we loved the meaning. 


Has it really been 29 years now for your jewelry brand? 

Wade: Can you believe it? Yes. At our 20th anniversary part, we had Patti Smith perform and that was quite a coup. We have kept in touch over the years, and we just saw her in Paris. 

Danielle: Yes, we started Pyrrha in 1995 so next year we have our 30-year anniversary in 2025. 


Will you have Patti back for that party?

Wade: Well, we can’t do the same thing twice (laughs) but hopefully as an invited guest.


What was the very first piece you designed, and do you still sell it? 

Wade: We really hit our thing with fibre optic glass, and we still run into people that still have their cats eye pieces.

Danielle: 29 years ago, when we started, we were super experimental and trying anything, and we had 3 or 4 collections. In 2005 we started the talismans; they were just another thing we tried. Pretty much immediately we realized that this where we should be going. It struck a chord with people.

Wade: The original stuff was design, but without much meaning attached to it, and it felt more like a product. 

Jenny Pearce

Your talismans have evolved into symbols that truly mean something to the client, there is a sense of significance, and people are selective in choosing, aren’t they?

Danielle: Sometimes people take hours to choose. They want to make a connection with it, a bond to make sure it is the right fit. Sometimes a piece is for a certain time in their life, and then two years they add a piece, so it has a richly layered story.


I know your collection is continually added to with new designs, but is there any one collection that has never changed from the start, and still sold? 

Danielle: We make new offerings twice a year. Wade and I ask each other, if you could pick a talisman what do you want right now?

Wade: And things change depending on world circumstances, so our collection changes.


What milestones have been most significant to you?

Wade: The opening of our LA store in 2010. At that point we felt like we were no longer plugging along. We are already such a Hollywood following, it just made sense to open there.

Danielle: Our B Corp Certification in 2014 was a huge milestone, we felt like we had arrived.

Wade: And it takes a lot of effort and years to achieve that. You’re held to task with that certification, and we like to think we walk the walk, in sustainability.

What ‘live and learn’ moments have been important?

Danielle: That is such a good question, I feel like when we started, we were all over the place, and there was a certain amount of experimenting to find what we wanted to do, and we had watered ourselves down a bit.

Wade: We had such an excess of energy, we wanted to design everything that was in our heads. But to this day we don’t follow all the trends.

Danielle: We might read in a trend forecast that things like brooches are all over the runways this season, and we have to reign ourselves in with “No…we don’t do that.” It is really hard to not get drawn into trends, you want to satisfy everyone and be creative, and be true to us, and think no, that is not us.


I think you understood branding, before branding was such a well-used term.

Wade:  You have to be true to yourself, and people throw the word authentic around all the time, but for us – it is a thing.


Which celebrities love your designs?  

Wade: We never used to blow our own horns and then realized that celebrity is a pretty big thing, and people like it. Because celebrities are ‘just like us’ they buy Pyrrha for themselves, and they wear it and forget that they are wearing it. Taylor Swift used to show up at every magazine shoot wearing one of our pieces and it never got credited. We just didn’t capitalize on it. 

Danielle: Ryan Gosling most recently was photographed wearing our pieces.

Wade: And Andrew Garfield in GQ listed his talisman as one of the 10 things he can’t live without. He mentions this piece is so important to him, gifted to him by a friend, and wears it all the time.


Any new or well-known films or TV series that feature your designs?

Wade: HBO approached us about working with Game of Thrones for their mood board.  

Julia Roberts was wearing a ring and necklace in the feature film Wonder

Danielle: Julia’s husband had bought her a piece for Mother’s Day from our LA store, so she knew it. These little webs get woven.


What is next for Pyrrha?

Danielle: We can hint that we are working with someone pretty big!

Wade: You will just have to wait and see, but it will be this year 2024.

Michael Elkin

Danielle: But in general, we are focusing on our new studio. We have been building up a much bigger community, in person, so we are really happy to be making in person connections with people, events and face to face. It is awesome to be directly relating to people now, for many years we could rely on our online store and retailers to relay our story, and being table to do this now, one on one it is a game changer. We love hearing peoples stories, why they have the talisman, their life history, and that is very satisfying. 

Michael Elkin

Wade: There is a certain amount of vulnerability for the client. And it seems that all the people who buy our pieces are nice. It is doubtful anyone, celebrity or not, was ever mean to the wait staff (laughs).