Handmade Pendants Cast from 19th Century Wax Seals

Pyrrha's unique pieces are easy to layer and add style to any ensemble

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By Christina Pippin

Local Shopping & Fashion Blogger

Today’s green find takes us to Muse boutique in Oak Park (106 N. Marion Street).

I know a woman who only wears black. She considers herself (wardrobe included) a canvas for the jewelry she wears.

While I have a great appreciation for beautiful baubles designed by skilled artisans, I admit, I’m not drawn to jewelry the way many are.

It takes a really unique piece to catch my eye. A very distinctive piece just caught my eye.

Muse in Oak Park carries Pyrrha wax seal jewelry cast from 19th Century wax seals, crafted into gorgeous pendants on delicate silver chains. Each piece is handmade from reclaimed sterling silver, bronze or 14k gold.

Rich in symbolism, each of the wax seal jewelry designs have unique meanings culled from heraldry: gryphons denoting bravery, wings symbolizing protection and anchors signifying hope.

From our friends at Pyrrha.com:

From their Vancouver studio, using techniques that evolved from trial and error and a disregard for rules, Canadian jewelry designers Wade Papin and Danielle Wilmore craft the heraldic wax seal talismans that have become the Pyrrha signature. “Jewelers traditionally try to make everything look perfect, say Danielle and Wade, “but we like to show the maker’s hand. We celebrate the original cracks in the waxes.”

The pair designed the Pyrrha wax seal jewelry collection after they came across a box of 19th century wax seals. “Making jewelry out of them was inspired by a desire to give the fragile wax seals new life and permanence.” say Danielle and Wade. The handmade, thoughtful pieces are a striking contrast to the glut of overseas factory made, mass produced jewelry that is so common in their industry. Wade and Danielle explain, “everything seems to be cranked out at a staggering pace and then left for dead. Because we live in such a throwaway society, it’s necessary to create some things that can be kept."

Stop back next Monday for another eco-friendly find from a local, independent retailer. Until next time, I’ll see you around town and in the shops!

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David Hammond from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 7th, 2011 6:28 PM

"I know a woman who only wears black. She considers herself (wardrobe included) a canvas for the jewelry she wears." I have this related theory about fashion models, which I propose without meaning to sound at all derogatory. To me, an older man, these slender and attractive young women all look alike...but I think that's the idea. They are "frames" for the clothing (or perhaps hangars), and their physical presence is just a backdrop to the product they've been hired to model. I ran this idea by Tavi Gevinson at Thanksgiving, but I don't think she bought it.

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