Interest

The Red Arrows – Origins of the World’s Greatest Aerobatic Display Team

We are really proud at Icarus Originals to work with the Red Arrows, as one of their official licensees and so we thought it would be good to give a bit of insight into the origins of the team.

The Royal Air Force Red Arrows have a special place in the hearts of the British public and have delighted crowds around the UK and indeed around the world for decades.  As famous as the ‘Reds’ are amongst aviation fans and the general public alike, less is known about their predecessors and how the Red Arrows came to be.

Early Years – Aerobatic Displays and the RAF

After World War 1, and a heightened public interest in aviation, there were a series of displays during the 1920s.  These included a pageant in 1920 featuring a number of squadrons, and notably the 1925 ‘London Defended’ display.  This event featured 32 Squadron flying specially-adapted Sopwith Snipes during a series of evening displays above the Wembley arena.  The event entailed:

  • Red painted aircraft with white lights fitted to the wings and tail to aid visibility.
  • The firing of blank ammunition.
  • The dropping of pyrotechnics into the arena coupled with explosions on the ground

Into the Jet Age

The post-war years were to see a plethora of unofficial and official display teams utilise a wide range of aircraft. The increasing sophistication of the available jets was to allow for a number of ‘firsts’, both in airmanship and technical innovation. Aircraft used in displays included:

  • De Havilland Vampires
  • Gloster Meteors
  • Hawker Hunters
  • English Electric Lightnings
  • BAC Jet Provosts
  • Folland Gnats

The first of what came to be the iconic smoke trails was utilised by No. 54 Squadron in the mid 1950s, whilst in 1956 No. 111 squadron became the official RAF team, flying Hawker Hunters.  For the first time, these aircraft sported a special all-black paint scheme, becoming known as the ‘Black Arrows’.

Official Teams

The Black Arrows became the first of a number of teams with specific names and liveries that were to originate from various RAF commands.  They achieved a world record in 1958 with a 22-ship formation performing a loop and barrel roll. The Black Arrows passed the mantle of display team to No. 92 Squadron, also flying Hunters, but now known as the Blue Diamonds.

The creation of the Red Arrows

During the early 1960s there were a number of display teams in addition to the Blue Diamonds, including the ‘Tigers’ and the ‘Firebirds’, both flying English Electric Lightnings.  By 1964 the ‘Red Pelicans’, a team of six BAC Jet Provosts became the leading display team for the Royal Air Force. Even so, that same year yet another team emerged when No. 4 Flying Training School sent a team of five Folland Gnats to perform at Farnborough.  This latter team would become known as the ‘Yellowjacks’.

RAF senior leadership became understandably concerned that a sizeable portion of their aircrew were spending more time practising for aerobatic displays, than for front line operational duties.  Hence in 1964 it was decided to amalgamate all the teams into one official unit – The Royal Air Force Red Arrows.

A Final Word – Why the Red Arrows?

The name Red Arrows comes from an amalgamation of “Red” from the Red Pelicans, and the heritage of the Black Arrows.  (If you’ve ever wondered why red was chosen as the team colour – aside from the name of course – then unsurprisingly it’s simply due to the higher visibility that colour confers to both aircrew and spectators. Also, it looks awesome!

  • Official Red Arrows Bracelet
    £45.00
  • Red Arrows Box Set reclaimed aluminium
    Official Red Arrows Ultimate Gift Set
    £184.99
  • RAF Red Arrows Cufflinks made from Hawk T1 aluminium
    Official Red Arrows Cufflinks
    £134.99
  • Red Arrows Cufflink Gift Set made from Hawk T1 Aluminium
    Official Red Arrows Cufflinks Gift Set
    £169.99
  • Red Arrows Hawk T1 Mini Model in reclaimed aluminium
    Official Red Arrows Mini Model
    £54.99
New Products

G-CIVY: The last BA 747 to depart London Heathrow

 – why her story isn’t quite over –

Final Departure from Heathrow

BA 747-436 G-CIVY became the last BA 747 to depart Heathrow (with sister aircraft G-CIVB) on the morning of 8th October 2020. In overcast and drizzly conditions, she carried out a flypast of the airfield before setting course for St. Athan, near Cardiff, where she was scrapped in December 2020.

Twenty-two years of service

G-CIVY first flew on 25th September 1998 and was delivered to her British Airways London Heathrow base four days later. Her Manufacturer Serial Number was 28853. Her final revenue (cargo) flight, as BAW192, landed at Heathrow from Dallas Fort Worth on 5th April 2020, when she was withdrawn from service and entered storage having accumulated over 90,000 flight hours.

Heathrow, United Kingdom – August 03 2019: British Airways Boeing 747-436 registration G-CIVY, flight number BA217 departs Heathrow airport en route to Washington seen from Myrtle Avenue

Origins of the 747

The 747 was the result of the work of some 50,000 Boeing people. Called ‘the Incredibles’, these were the construction workers, mechanics, engineers, secretaries and administrators who made aviation history by building the 747 — the largest civilian aeroplane in the world — in roughly 16 months during the late 1960s. The incentive for creating the 747 jumbo jet came from reductions in airfares, a surge in air-passenger traffic and increasingly crowded skies. As the world’s first wide-body jetliner, the 747 revolutionized air travel becoming known as the ‘Queen of the Skies’, cementing Boeing’s dominance in the passenger aircraft market.

747-400 facts

The 747-400 rolled out in 1988. It was truly monumental in size and required construction of the 200 million-cubic-foot (5.6 million-cubic-meter) 747 assembly plant in Everett, Washington, the world’s largest building (by volume). The fuselage of the original 747 was 225 feet (68.5 meters) long; the tail as tall as a six-storey building. Its wingspan is 212 feet (64 meters), and it has 6-foot-high (1.8-meter-high) ‘winglets’ on the wingtips. Pressurized, it carried a ton of air. The cargo hold had room for 3,400 pieces of baggage and could be unloaded in seven minutes. The total wing area was larger than a basketball court. Yet, the entire global navigation system weighed less than a modern laptop computer.

BA and the 747-400 series

British Airways was one of the Boeing 747’s earliest customers and the world’s largest operator of the jumbo jets. Having operated 15 BOAC 747s following BOAC’s merger with BEA, the British Airways that we know today took delivery of its first 747 in 1974.

The airline’s first 747-400 was delivered in June 1989. Over the years, British Airways operated a total of 57 Boeing 747-400 aircraft. Deliveries of British Airways 747-400s took place for ten years until April 1999.

On 16 July 2020, British Airways announced it was immediately retiring the remaining Boeing 747-400 aircraft. BA had originally intended to phase out the last 747s by 2024 but brought the plans forward in part due to the downturn in air-travel following the COVID-19 pandemic and to focus on replacing the 747 with the more fuel-efficient Airbus A350, Airbus A380, and Boeing 787.

747 436 British Airways Boeing GCIVY
747 436 British Airways Boeing GCIVY

Continuing the Journey – Icarus Originals and Aerotiques

Prior to her final demolition, sections from the port and starboard rear fuselage were removed. These were acquired by Aerotiques Ltd to produce unique items. Icarus Originals has been entrusted with some of this reclaimed material to manufacture this special range of BA 747-436 G-CIVY cufflinks and desktop models in association with Aerotiques.  These have been produced by melting down the original airframe aluminium and recasting (using the lost wax method) ensuring this iconic aeroplane will live on beyond her retirement.

To find out more about 747-436, G-CIVY and the production process please visit our Original Icons section or click here.

British Airways 747-436 G-CIVY Mini Model

Own a piece of BA 747 history with this model made from aluminium recovered from BA 747-436 G-CIVY.

Created in partnership with Aerotiques, these limited edition mini models feature a perfect replica of a 747 cast from fuselage aluminium recovered from the last BA 747 to leave London Heathrow – 747-436, G-CIVY.

Set on a laser engraved plaque which pays tribute to BA’s famous ‘Oneworld’ design, each of these mini models has been handmade and polished in the UK.

Get your mini model today and continue the journey of this aviation icon.

  • 747 436 British Airways Boeing GCIVY Cufflinks
    747-436 G-CIVY Mini Model
    £54.99
  • 747 436 British Airways Boeing GCIVY Cufflinks
    747-436 G-CIVY Cufflinks
    £134.99

Own a piece of BA 747 history with these cufflinks made from aluminium recovered from BA 747-436 G-CIVY.

Created in partnership with Aerotiques, these limited edition cufflinks are a perfect replica of a 747 cast from fuselage aluminium recovered from the last BA 747 to leave London Heathrow – 747-436, G-CIVY.

Individually cast, each of these cufflinks has been handmade and polished in the UK.

Get your cufflinks today and continue the journey of this aviation icon.

About, Production Process

Launch of Bluebird K7Range

Icarus Originals are honoured to be working in partnership with the Ruskin Museum and Campbell Family Heritage Trust to mark the 100th anniversary year of the birth of legendary speed record breaker Donald Campbell CBE (23 March 1921 – 4 January 1967).

Campbell broke eight absolute world speed records on water and on land in the 1950s and 1960s. He was awarded the CBE in January 1957 for his water speed record breaking. He remains the only person to set both world land and water speed records in the same year (1964). He died during a water speed record attempt at Coniston Water in the Lake District, England.

Campbell began development of Bluebird K7 in 1953. The K7 was a steel-framed, aluminium-bodied, three-point hydroplane with a Metropolitan-Vickers Beryl axial-flow turbojet engine, producing 3,500-pound-force (16kN) of thrust. The designation ‘K7’ was carried on a prominent white roundel on each sponson, underneath an infinity symbol. Campbell set seven world water speed records in K7 between July 1955 and December 1964.

Icarus Originals has been entrusted with a precious piece of aluminium from Bluebird K7 to incorporate into our Donald Campbell Centenary designs. The limited edition cufflinks all come with certificates of authenticity signed by Campbell’s daughter, Gina. A proportion of monies raised will go towards the care and conservation of the Campbell Collection housed within the Ruskin Museum in Coniston.

  • Official Bluebird K7 Pin Badge
    £69.99
  • Bluebird Cufflinks
    Official Bluebird K7 Cufflinks
    £174.99

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Special Occasions

Our 2021 Top Father’s Day Gifts

Fathers Day Banner
Fathers Day Banner

With Father’s day just around the corner, we thought we’d highlight some gifts that might appeal to men that might be a little more tough to buy for. There’s no shortage of gifts out there, but finding something unique can be tough. With that in mind, keep reading for our top gift ideas based around the three things most dads love – trains, planes and automobiles.

Planes

Officially Licensed Red Arrows Range

We’ve all missed seeing the Reds in action over the past year, and in time with them recently securing public display authority, you can give your father the perfect red arrows memento with a piece of the teams Hawk T1 jet. 

Officially licenced by the Royal Air Force and made from aluminium reclaimed from a former Red Arrows Hawk, this beautifully rendered bracelet is a unique gift combining iconic aviation history with modern wristwear suitable for any occasion.

If a bracelet isn’t his thing, why not check out the other items in this range such as the Limited Edition Cufflinks or Mini Model that we currently have available.

  • Official Red Arrows Bracelet
    £45.00
  • Red Arrows Box Set reclaimed aluminium
    Official Red Arrows Ultimate Gift Set
    £184.99
  • RAF Red Arrows Cufflinks made from Hawk T1 aluminium
    Official Red Arrows Cufflinks
    £134.99
  • Red Arrows Cufflink Gift Set made from Hawk T1 Aluminium
    Official Red Arrows Cufflinks Gift Set
    £169.99
  • Red Arrows Hawk T1 Mini Model in reclaimed aluminium
    Official Red Arrows Mini Model
    £54.99
  • Concorde Cufflink Gift Set made from Concorde Aluminium
    Concorde G-AXDN Cufflinks
    £174.99
  • Concorde G-AXDN Mini Model in reclaimed aluminium
    Concorde G-AXDN Mini Model
    £54.99

Concorde G-AXDN Range

If you’re after something a little more formal than a bracelet, and maybe want something supersonic to boot, what could be better than gifting a piece of the fastest ever Concorde to that special man in your life? 

These limited edition cufflinks are made from aluminium reclaimed from Concorde G-AXDN, perfectly capturing one of the greatest icons of aviation history.

We aren’t wearing cufflinks very much at present, so make sure you’ve come prepared with some super(sonic) special ones for the next cufflink wearing opportunity.

If Cufflinks aren’t his thing, why not take a look at the Mini Model we have to offer instead.

Trains

InterCity 125 Range

If the Father figure in your life ever spent any time as a long distance commuter, the chances are he spent a lot of time on the InterCity 125.

Still soldiering on almost 50 years since its inception, capture a piece of this legendary train with a Mini Model or set of our Cufflinks cast from aluminium reclaimed from one of the InterCity’s carriages.  

  • HST InterCity125 Model
    £59.99
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    HST InterCity 125 Cufflinks
    £134.99

Automobiles

  • E-Type Pin Badge
    1961 Series 1 E-Type Pin Badge
    £69.99
  • 1961 Series 1 Jaguar E-type Cufflinks made from reclaimed EType Aluminium
    1961 Series 1 E-Type Cufflinks
    £174.99

E-Type Cufflinks

Enzo Ferrari called the E-Type “the most beautiful car in the world”.

Just like Concorde, the E Type is a well known British icon and 2021 marks its 60th anniversary.

What better way to celebrate the “Father” in your life than by presenting him with a pair of limited edition cufflinks melted down from the pistons of an original 1961 Series 1 Coupe!

DeLorean DMC 12 Range

2021 also marks the 40th anniversary of the DMC DeLorean, which is also well known for its role as Doc’s Time Machine in the Back to the Future Trilogy. 

He will have very likely seen and loved the Back to the Future movies like the rest of us, so we don’t need to say too much more other than how 1.21 GW cool it’d be for him to own products made from an original DeLorean car.

If you’re clued up on your DeLorean’s you’ll know that they were notable for being made with Stainless Steel; our products are cast from aluminium reclaimed from part of the wheel.

  • delorean dmc aluminium bracelet
    DeLorean Bracelet
    £45.00
  • DMC Back to the Future DeLorean Cufflinks
    DeLorean Cufflinks
    £134.99
  • DMC DeLorean Model
    DeLorean Model
    £59.99
  • DeLorean Time Machine Bracelet
    £45.00
  • DMC Back to the Future DeLorean Cufflinks
    DeLorean Time Machine Cufflinks
    £134.99
  • DMC DeLorean Back to the Future Model
    DeLorean Time Machine Model
    £59.99

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Special Occasions

Unique Father’s Day Gifts

Happy Father's Day Banner

Finding the “right” gift for Father’s day can sometimes be a troubling task. At Icarus Originals, we believe that picking the perfect present should involve more than a last-minute run to the local shop or a swipe through Amazon, where you will most likely be met with run-of-the-mill, basic products. Dear old dad deserves a form of recognition as unique as he is, even, and especially, if he insists he wants nothing at all this year. 

Now, more than ever, we are increasingly acknowledging the value of our loved ones and how important their presence is in our lives. So, why not look like you’ve put some actual effort into finding a gift for your dad this father’s day and get something that completely meets their wants and style while providing the satisfaction that spans a lifetime? In order to help, we have rounded up our top 3 unique father’s day gifts that will certainly put a smile on their face…

Father’s Day E-Type Cufflinks

Is your dad a car enthusiast? Or does he just love “beautiful” and “iconic” designs. If so, our E-type Jaguar cufflink set is the perfect Father’s Day present for him. 

Carefully cast from the pistons of an original 1961 Series 1 fixed head coupe and in collaboration with renowned ‘classic motor cars’, these stunning sets of E-Type cufflinks will provide a sense of purpose, potency and beauty to your father’s day gift. 

Unlike your prototypical store bought cufflinks, the E-Type gift set adds a whole new meaning to collectible gifts. As our first foray of automotive heritage, the E-types proudly portrays a genuine icon of the twentieth century, with many referring to this vehicle as the ‘greatest’ and most ‘beautiful’ sports car of all time. 

Indeed, when it comes to customised jewellery, the sentimental and emotional value is even greater. Knowing that you’re presenting a carefully and painstakingly crafted piece for someone you love is an incomparable feeling. Often a design is based on the concept of emotions, ideas or even memorable moments – in this case the iconic Jaguar – that you can recreate in a special item.

When purchasing a unique, custom gift, you are able to appreciate the materials and production methods chosen, including the reason for doing so. You will have a part in shaping the products final design so it becomes an investment and story that can be passed through generations…

  • E-Type Pin Badge
    1961 Series 1 E-Type Pin Badge
    £69.99
  • Concorde Cufflink Gift Set made from Concorde Aluminium
    Concorde G-AXDN Cufflinks
    £174.99

Father’s Day Concorde G-AXDN Cufflinks

Does your dad have a real passion for aviation? Well how about presenting him with a unique piece of aviation history, or more specifically, a piece of the fastest airliner to ever grace the skies…

Our Concorde limited edition cufflinks have been cast from the air intake assembly of Concorde 101 (G AXDN) – the fastest ever example of this majestic aircraft type. T.

The genuine and authenticated Hiduminium RR58 aluminium alloy used in the Concorde fleet has been melted down and re-cast in the UK by our master jewellers and finishers. These products blend the best of British craftsmanship with the most legendary of aircraft designs, to produce a truly unique piece of aviation history. 

At Icarus Originals, we are extremely proud to design, manufacture and hand-finish in the UK, where we work with some of the finest and most established jewellers in the industry. Our G-AXDN products’ are inherently timeless classics, authenticated and traced on an audit line from its manufacture back to the original craft the product commemorates, creating a truly unique and beautifully crafted product that captures a small piece of history.

Father’s Day F-35A Cufflinks 

A force to be reckoned with… 

The popular F-35A cufflinks are the ideal Father’s day gift for those dads who have a close affiliation to the forces. 

With this being said, presented in their very own gift box, the F-35A cufflinks have been designed in conjunction with pilots of an Air Force operating the F-35A and manufactured using aluminium reclaimed from the airframe of an operational F-35A, truly encapsulating our tag line ‘designed by heroes to be worn by legends’. Every cufflink bar is etched with the aircraft type highlighted in black enamel. Limited to 750 sets globally, these cufflinks celebrate the introduction of one of the world’s most advanced combat aircraft.. 

“Our mission is to make the world that little bit more special by making these unique and perfect pieces of design, available to the people who deserve them the most”. 

Recreating designs reclaimed from their original models for those people who have had an immense involvement or love for them is what makes a difference. The historic and sentimental aspect of each of our products is what makes these cufflinks stand out. Each design is created with the customer in mind and in collaboration with the heroes who brought these incredible designs to fruition. So whether you dad, grandad uncle or brother has a passion or admiration for all things aviation, then these F-35A cufflinks are the perfect unique father’s day gift that shows you have gone the extra mile. 

  • F35-A cufflink gift set made from reclaimed F-35 Aluminium
    F-35A Cufflink Gift Set
    £174.99

Why our cufflinks are the perfect father’s day gift…

Indeed, Icarus Originals is inherently more than your “run-of-the-mill” pop-up online jewellery shop. Each product is made from genuine and authenticated metal from a range of iconic aircrafts, trains and now automotive legends that defined a generation, then melted down and re-cast in the UK by master jewellers and finishers. Whether they are a bespoke pair of cufflinks cast from the aluminium of a Red arrows Hawk T1 aircraft, or a premium pair of giftset cufflinks cast from the air intake assembly of Concorde 101 (G AZDN) – each distinct piece enables customers to own their very own piece of history. Because everything is individually handcrafted and finished in the UK, thankfully for those of your last minute shoppers – our “homegrown” manufacturing style means we can have your order processed and delivered in a speedy turnaround, so you won’t be going empty handed on Sunday 16th. 

Make your Dad feel special this father’s day with a unique, bespoke, premium gift that celebrates  iconic craft that has defined transportation in the last 100 years, by blending the very latest technical innovations with the highest quality British craftsmanship. Shop online now to explore our products, packaged perfectly for the big day…

  • 1961 Series 1 Jaguar E-type Cufflinks made from reclaimed EType Aluminium
    1961 Series 1 E-Type Cufflinks
    £174.99
  • Concorde Cufflink Gift Set made from Concorde Aluminium
    Concorde G-AXDN Cufflinks
    £174.99
  • F35-A cufflink gift set made from reclaimed F-35 Aluminium
    F-35A Cufflink Gift Set
    £174.99

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Special Occasions

5 Occasions To Wear Cufflinks

Cufflinks are the best accessory for a wide array of occasions. They inject some personality into any outfit you decide to wear, whether it’s attire for a wedding, a corporate meeting or a night out on the town, Cufflinks can spruce up the blandest of outfits for a clean-cut and stylish finish. And, with a variety of cufflink materials and distinctive designs, we have a pair to suit every occasion. From commemorative pieces to polished profiles, timeless classics and quality craftsmanship, our bespoke, hand-made cufflinks are the ideal accessory to store in your wardrobe for years to come. Here is a list of the occasions where you can finesse your attire with some custom-made cufflinks.

Cufflinks for a Wedding

Cufflinks are a staple wedding accessory. Whether you are attending the event as a guest, presenting a gift or even getting married yourself, a cufflink should always be an essential item on your wedding checklist. Whilst the attention typically tends to be focused on the bride during her big day, it’s important not forget that the groom’s outfit plays a major role too and cufflinks provide a perfect way to soigné your suit to look spectacular. A well-chosen pair of cufflinks can highlight your personality and really make a statement. By choosing a refined design, you can stand out from the crowd, but without being too overbearing. We recommend the F3 cufflinks in reclaimed aircraft aluminium for an eye-catching design.


Cufflinks for a Graduation

After all the hard work and stress, everyone wants to look smart and sophisticated for graduation. And such a special occasion deserves a distinctive pair of cufflinks. Whether it’s for your own graduation, a gift for the graduate or for a proud parent who desires a commemorative piece to complement their suit – it’s important to have an exceptional accessory – particularly if there’s going to be a photo displayed for years to come! We recommend a pair of our simple and engineered steel cufflinks for a contemporary look that is both formal and aesthetically pleasing.


Cufflinks for Work

In work, dazzling attire tends not to be permitted. It can therefore be difficult to stand out and express your personality in a corporate environment. Cufflinks alleviate this problem and ensure that you can bring an appropriate slice of your own style into the office. Looking sharp will only help to emulate an inner professionalism and confidence to help you excel – meaning not only will you look the part, but your attitude will make you feel the part too. And the best part? You can go straight out for afternoon drinks in the same attire – with the classic metallic accessories providing some sophistication to your office wear. Alternatively, make sure to add cufflinks to any job interview outfit you plan. First impressions are essential in this environment and a classic pair of cufflinks can show that you take yourself seriously. With a simple pair of cufflinks you can show that you have style, good attention to detail and that you take time over your appearance.


Cufflinks for a Black-Tie Event

Surely cufflinks are synonymous to black-tie events? The essential dress code is a shirt with a double-cuff secured by cufflinks (not buttons). These designs do not need to be extremely fancy either, the simpler the better most of often than not. Although, a detailed, polished finish can ensure that you stand out against the monochrome. The trick is to marry your studs, watch and cufflinks – so if silver is your chosen hardware, then synchronisation is key to conform to the black-tie standard. We recommend our Vulcan Cufflink for a classic and masterful link that will help you party the night away.


Cufflinks for a Wedding

Cufflinks are a staple wedding accessory. Whether you are attending the event as a guest, presenting a gift or even getting married yourself, a cufflink should always be an essential item on your wedding checklist. Whilst the attention typically tends to be focused on the bride during her big day, it’s important not forget that the groom’s outfit plays a major role too and cufflinks provide a perfect way to soigné your suit to look spectacular. A well-chosen pair of cufflinks can highlight your personality and really make a statement. By choosing a refined design, you can stand out from the crowd, but without being too overbearing. We recommend the F3 cufflinks in reclaimed aircraft aluminium for an eye-catching design.


Cufflinks for a Special Occasion

Many of our customers may showcase their custom made aviation cufflinks for events such as remembrance or armed forces day, where we all commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of our courageous soldiers. In addition to the poppy positioned on your clothing items (prototypically placed on the left side of your body), celebrate the special forces with some bespoke cufflinks that have been flown into battle by the very same soldiers that we honour on these significant occasions. Wear the F4 Phantom Cufflinks made from the genuine and certified aircraft aluminium of Phantom XT907, with the iconic F4 playing a pivotal role with many of the world’s air forces. High-quality, british craftsmanship and hand finished with the latest hi-design, it seems only natural to add these detailed cufflinks to your attire to capture the essence of a classic combat aircraft and the people who flew it… Want more inspiration? You can view our full collection of bespoke cufflinks here and follow us on Facebook to see our variety of aviation cufflinks.


  • Red Arrows Box Set reclaimed aluminium
    Official Red Arrows Ultimate Gift Set
    £184.99
  • Bluebird Cufflinks
    Official Bluebird K7 Cufflinks
    £174.99
  • 1961 Series 1 Jaguar E-type Cufflinks made from reclaimed EType Aluminium
    1961 Series 1 E-Type Cufflinks
    £174.99

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About, Production Process

Making Memories Out Of Icons

How We Manufacture Our Products

At Icarus Originals we want to give our customers the chance to own a small piece of history. Whether it’s the fastest-ever Concorde, the classic E-Type coupé or the celebrated Japanese Bullet Train, these iconic legends of engineering, spark a feeling of excitement and progress.

We love to bring these small snapshots of history and technical achievement to life. But how do we research, design, develop and manufacture our products? It’s an intricate process that combines cutting-edge technology with traditional craftsmanship.  It’s this complete commitment to perfection that makes our pieces so distinctive and desirable.

Our signature product

In this blog, we’ll look exclusively at our signature product – our cufflinks. To illustrate our process, we’ll consider Concorde 101 (G-AXDN). There are six stages to take a project from an idea to something you can buy from our website:

1. Project research

2. Material acquisition

3. CAD/3D design & development

4. 3D printing & master production

5. Lost wax investment casting

6. Finishing

Concorde Cufflink Gift Set made from Concorde Aluminium
Concorde Cufflink Gift Set made from Concorde Aluminium

Project research

Understandably, we were very keen to offer our customers a piece of Concorde. Not just any Concorde, but the particular aircraft that set the speed record for the type at 1,450 miles per hour. We knew Concorde would be challenging to reproduce at a small scale but, given its iconic nature, it was a challenge we were up for.

Material acquisition

With so few Concordes produced, material is scarce and hard to come by. The majority of the surviving airframes reside in museums around the globe. We needed to find a surviving Concorde owed by a preservation group that was working on its restoration, and would be willing to collaborate with us on our project. This is how we usually come by our precious aircraft material, and in this instance we were lucky enough to be introduced to Duxford Aviation Society (DAS). DAS owns Concorde 101 G-AXDN and had a small amount of hiduminium aluminium alloy from the engine air intake assembly left over from its restoration efforts. This would be our ‘raw material’. Most importantly, we could complement the material with the guarantee of authenticity that comes from working with an aircraft’s owners. That guarantee is a critical element of our product offer. Where possible, we always look to collaborate with a museum or special interest group as this gives us a means of contributing back financially to supporting our beloved icons for future generations.

CAD/3D design & development

To ensure maximum accuracy of profile, we typically use a combination of 3D scanning and computer aided design (CAD).  For Concorde, this entailed taking a 3D scan of a scale model and then manually adapting the design in a CAD software package to make sure we faithfully replicate the most iconic features which is more of a challenge than it may sound given that the typical length of a cufflink is 26mm and the original aircraft is 62000mm!  This process is always difficult, since we need to thicken up certain surfaces and round off particular details to attain a delicate balance of accuracy, practicability (they will be worn, after all) and viability of manufacture.

CAD images of Concorde during the design stage.

3D printing & master production

With a finalised design, we can progress to 3D printing to allow us to cast a master component. Here, we use a high-resolution 3D printer to print, layer by layer, an exact rendering of our design. Once complete, we end up with a replica of our Concorde cufflink made of a special resin that melts away at 400 degrees centigrade This can now be used to make a master using the magic of lost wax investment casting..

This delicate rendering of Concorde will now be cast in silver using the lost wax process detailed below. Once in this precious metal, expert jewellers ensure the master is perfect and free of defects. Once we are happy, we can create the mould that lets us produce the miniature wax models we cast in aluminium reclaimed from Concorde.

Lost Wax Investment Casting

The lost wax method allows jewellery artists to copy the finest detail.  It’s as old as human history and the only major changes since its inception has been the addition of technology to allow casters to repeatedly cast without generating a high number of failed items.  Lost wax casting is no more complicated than filling a high-definition impression left within a cylinder of modelling plaster.  To do this, we take a number of the miniature wax models created in the mould and attach them via sprues (think tiny bits of wax spaghetti!), to a central wax stem.  This assembly, called a tree, is placed carefully inside a metal flask about the same size as a large thermos flask and liquid modelling plaster is poured around it so that only a tiny bit of the stem is visible above the plaster.  The flask is then vibrated rapidly for an hour to make sure any air bubbles are worked out and that every one of the wax models is completely covered by the plaster.  Once this sets, the flask is heated on a vacuum pump.  The idea here is to completely vaporise all of the wax and expel it completely from the flask, leaving with you with a perfect impression of each of the wax models and a clear route to the atmosphere via the sprues and the central stem.  Once you have reached this point, the final step is to heat up your crucible containing the aluminium alloy removed from an aircraft and very carefully pour it into the hole left by the central stem protruding through the plaster.  If you’ve heated the metal to exactly the right temperature (655 degrees centigrade for aluminium), it will pour like a viscous liquid and fill all the voids evenly meaning that the void created by what was once a wax model is filled with aluminium.  Once it’s all cooled down, the plaster is cracked off and if you’ve got everything just right, all that’s left is a central aluminium stem with lots of perfect aluminium Concordes attached to it via now little aluminium pieces of spaghetti.    

A Jeweller assembles a tree ready for lost wax casting. In this case they are making rings rather than cufflinks but the process is the same.
Industrial lost wax casting. The process of pouring for filling out plaster shells with molten aluminium from ladle.
A master jeweller hand-finishes one of our cufflinks

Finishing

The final step in the process is the finishing (or polishing). Each cast that is cut directly from the tree will appear relatively rough, and a dull metallic hue. Each casting needs to have the remaining sprue removed and then the whole piece can be polished against a special abrasive polishing wheel. The hand finishing takes a tremendous amount of skill to ensure the correct pressure is applied to every angle and surface.  The individuals who polish the Concordes have often been apprenticed since a very young age and are rightly recognised as master craftspeople within their area of expertise.  Given the nature of the process involved in creating them, each Concorde can have slight differences meaning that they are matched into perfectly complementary pairs.  The final result will be a beautifully hand polished rendering of Concorde 101, perfectly unique to the wearer.  Throughout every step of this whole process, quality control and removal of defective casts means that from start to finish perhaps as many as 35 per cent of all items will be rejected.  The whole process can be time-consuming and reliant on manual skills built up over many years. 

As you can see, there’s a lot more to turning a part of an icon into something you can wear than you might think.  Although it will hopefully become a treasured item that will be handed down to future generations, every single item we produce captures a little bit of the soul of an icon and allows you to carry on the journey of something that has affected the lives of millions of people globally.  With the extra knowledge that the item you have has helped sustain restoration activity and supported the livelihood of a wide network of artisans, there’s a lot more to our products than their superficial beauty and timeless designs.

Shop our Concorde range now to find a collectible or gift that will last a lifetime.

  • Concorde Cufflink Gift Set made from Concorde Aluminium
    Concorde G-AXDN Cufflinks
    £174.99
  • Concorde G-AXDN Mini Model in reclaimed aluminium
    Concorde G-AXDN Mini Model
    £54.99

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New Products, Uncategorized

New Year, New Jewellery Collection

Our aim at Icarus Originals is to always create bespoke products that are innovative, beautiful and extremely sentimental. 

Since inception we have celebrated the iconic craft that have defined transportation in the last 100 years, by blending the very latest technical innovations with the highest quality British craftsmanship in order to create a  selection of unique, premium products.

With this being said, we’re looking forward to some amazing projects ahead of 2021…

Let’s be honest, 2020 has been a pretty terrible year as a whole. So to give us something to look forward to, we are expanding our collection with new models, bracelets, tag range as well as our signatures cufflinks, too. 

Exciting projects include: 

  • A collaboration with Duxford Aviation society using material from their Comet 4B – the first ever jet airliner to cross the Atlantic.
  • English Electric canberra
  • Aston Martin DB5
  • Original Ford Mustang
  • An intercity 125 train model
  • AW Merlin helicopter
  • A World War 2 USAF C47 that took part in D Day

With many more exciting projects in the pipeline! 

We’ve also entered several of our products into Gift of the Year 2021 (see www.giftoftheyear.co.uk ) – so stay tuned as we eagerly await the results! 

All with original, authenticated material and all lovingly designed and made here in the UK. Our jewellerys create everything handmade with meticulous attention to detail to provide you with a beautiful and unique product that you will cherish for a lifetime. 

Here at Icarus, we are Wishing you a merry Christmas and a prosperous 2021.

About

How Icarus Originals Took Flight…

Get to know our owners…

Icarus Originals came to inception in 2018, after both Alan and John realised they were working on a similar design to commemorate the soon-to-be withdrawn Panavia Tornado. 

John is a serving RAF Engineer who has lived and breathed fast Jets since he joined the RAF aged 18. Alan originally started his career in the RAF, until becoming a Royal Navy Engineer. However, after losing much of his eyesight during his service, Alan retired and has been registered blind for the last 15 years. This, However, has not deterred him from striving for greatness, creating a bespoke jewellery brand and even holding 2 world records for being the first blind person to row across the Atlantic Ocean and to ski from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole!!!!!

So why did Icarus Originals start? 

With fashion and accessories a heavily saturated market – and one particularly difficult to break into – a product that is both bespoke and unique in design is integral for any successful business model…

Mixing fun and functionality together, John and Alan decided to create a product that could be worn by the everyday man, while embracing a topic that is close to both of their hearts. 

The idea behind Icarus was to allow people to own a small piece of history, and experience the emotional attachment that comes with that. This originally started with an aircraft, but now covers classic cars, trains and (hopefully soon) space! 

What was once just concorde cufflinks, has now expanded beyond their wildest dreams, with tornado pendants, HS2 cufflinks and the latest addition to their bespoke jewellery collection, the DeLorean “back to the future” bracelets. While Icaurs originals are continually expanding their unique jewellery collection, the quality and sentiment remains the exact same. Their products focus entirely on engineering excellence and achievement, honouring models that were trailblazers and innovations of their eras. Whether it’s the fastest ever Concorde model embodied in a cufflink design, or the iconic DeLorean automobile, globalised through the 80s classic “back to the future” franchises, each product holds that special piece of history with them. 

As well as producing unique gifts that capture a small piece of history, the company also seeks to give back with tie ups to support good causes and preservation activities such as the RAF Benevolent Fund and Panavia Tornado Preservation Group. These charities provide a range of support aimed at serving and former RAF personnel and their dependents. This includes welfare breaks, grants to help with financial difficulty and getting about inside and outside the home, specialist advice on benefits and support with care needs, as well as support for young people.

Icarus Originals understand the importance of giving back, as they themselves have received support as a company from X – Forces and Entrepreneurs, 2 organisations that help Veterans start a business. 

It’s a bit ironic really, that much of our Jewellery profits go back to helping veterans get access to adequate care after life in the forces, while honouring machinery that have had such profound effects on the industry they worked in and adore; the tornado and F35A to name a few… 

Indeed, the core foundation of this business was to provide that piece of sentimental history in the form of something attractive, fashionable and functional for everyday use, which Icarus believe that have achieved pretty successfully (and so do our amazing customer base)…

“It’s more than just another cufflink or a shiny pendant, our jewellery is uniquely crafted and contoured (here in the UK) with assistance from heroes, to be worn by ‘legends’…”

Check out our online shop today to browse our new and exclusive products just in time for christmas! 

Interest

Three Interesting Facts about Planes

3 interesting facts you probably didn’t know about Planes 

Planes have evolved a lot since their first inception. The vast technological advancements have created some of the best engineering designs that have defied air travel as we know it. 

Whether it’s through the creation of the Concorde airliner, which at its fastest speed – 1,354 mph – was twice faster than the speed of light. Or even the introduction of jet fighters such as the F-35 aircraft, whose major advances in aircraft design, avionics, and weapon systems have sky-rocketed the aircraft industry into a new generational shift of fighter aircraft and innovations never seen before… 

However, all of this aside, there are still a number of things you probably don’t know about this magnificent man-made machinery. Don’t believe us? Well, I can guarantee we’ll prove you wrong…

1) Airplanes are designed to withstand lightning strikes 

For safety reasons, planes hit by lightning mid-flight undergo inspection after landing, but in most cases, the aircraft is either unharmed or sustains only minor damage.

The last commercial plane airliner that was struck by lightning, according to Scientific American, was in 1967. As a consequence of the strike, the plane’s fuel tank exploded. Since then, technological advancements have been developed to reduce this risk factor. 

Indeed, airplanes are highly intricate machines. As a result of technical wiring now implemented into planes, if a lightning strike does occur, it will typically strike a sharp edge of the plane – such as a wingtip or nose. This means that electrical charges from the lightning bolt will only ever prevail around the outside of the vessel, with the electrical wiring blocking the electromagnetic fields and protecting the interior from any voltage. 

Airline giants such as Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350 are amongst the few within the industry to introduce composite materials to reduce the overall electrical conductivity of the fuselage and wings to fully withstand any lightning strikes, should they occur. 

So for anyone traveling during a storm, there’s really no need to worry, right? 

2) You don’t need both engines to fly 

Ok, some of you may all be familiar with this one. 

As aforementioned, technological advancements have continued to increase the safety of airliners. They have been thoroughly manufactured and tested to withstand a range of external and internal elements that could affect the plane during flight. As such, engineers have to meticulously create a ‘back-up’ plan should fail occur. 

As such, airplanes can function with only one of their engines properly working. Whilst two-engines allow pilots to reach higher altitudes, save fuel, and reach high speeds due to a reduction in friction if one engine fails then the plane can still continue to fly to safety! An engine failure does mean that the plane is going to have less power and will be forced to fly at a lower altitude – warranting an emergency landing. 

The same can be said for those larger commercial liners such as the Boeing 747 – equipped with 4 engines. From a safety perspective, it is not that dangerous if one engine completely fails. Pilots have reported flying a 747 with one engine malfunctioning and continuing to the destination. Both he and his 416 passengers lived to tell the tale. 

3) There is not really the safest seat on the plane 

As a general rule of thumb, there is no safe seat on a plane. 

While plane crashes on jetliners are rare, researchers have conducted tests to analyse where is the safest location on a plane itself. In 2012, researchers decided to take an uncrewed Boeing 727, fill it with crash test dummies and cameras, and fly it into the Mexican Desert.  

As expected, the results indicated that there was no safe seat on the airliner. However, passengers at the back were recorded to have less severe injuries to those located at the front of the airliner or in the cockpit. These findings align with a TIME study of plane accidents which concluded that the middle seats in the back of the plane had the lowest fatality rate in a crash. Their research indicated that the back of the aircraft had a 32% fatality rate, compared with 39% in the middle and 38% in the front third. Although, with so many variables at play, it’s difficult to draw a definitive conclusion. 

But don’t worry, crashes are incredibly rare. So on that note, enjoy your next flight!! 

Icarus Originals

For those plane-enthusiasts amongst us, At Icarus Originals, we have a range of bespoke and handmade plane cufflinks and mini models – the perfect bespoke gift or collectible item for those with a genuine passion for aviation. 

Taken from some of the most iconic aircraft that defined their generation and changed the landscape of aircraft technology as we know it, At Icarus Originals, we have afforded you the opportunity to own a slice of aviation history…

Whether you are seeking some speed and searching for a Concorde cufflink taken from the genuine aluminum of the fastest model of its kind, or from the fastest jet fighter of its generation – the F-35A, At Icarus, we have the perfect bespoke gift for your loved ones.  All our plane cufflinks and mini models blend high tech design with the best of traditional British craftsmanship.

Shop our range now to find a collectible or gift that will last a lifetime.

  • 747 436 British Airways Boeing GCIVY Cufflinks
    747-436 G-CIVY Mini Model
    £54.99
  • 747 436 British Airways Boeing GCIVY Cufflinks
    747-436 G-CIVY Cufflinks
    £134.99
  • 747 4q8 tinkerbelle bracelet g-vbig
    747-4Q8 G-VBIG Bracelet
    £45.00

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