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

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
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

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
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 4q8 tinkerbelle bracelet g-vbig
    747-4Q8 G-VBIG Bracelet
    £45.00
  • Tinker Belle 747 Cufflinks
    747-4Q8 G-VBIG Cufflinks
    £134.99
  • Tinker Belle 747 Mini Model
    747-4Q8 G-VBIG Mini Model
    £54.99

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
Special Occasions

The Benefits of Buying Bespoke Aviation Jewellery

Why Should I Buy Bespoke Aviation Jewellery?

Bespoke Plane jewellery is the perfect amalgamation of masterful dexterity, unique design and individual expression. ‘Bespoke’ enables buyers to convey deep personal messages through a singular piece of jewellery, a factor that cannot be matched by mass-produced adornments. Our clients that purchase our products hold jewellery close to their hearts. Whether they are influenced by the quality, sentimentality or value for money – Bespoke triumphs fast-fashion for their accessories. Our cufflinks meet their wants and style while still providing the satisfaction that spans a lifetime. So to help you get the best from your future jewellery purchases, below are 4 benefits of purchasing custom-made bespoke cufflinks.

Sentimental Aviation Jewellery

Jewellery is often an extremely sentimental possession. And when it comes to customised jewellery, the sentimental and emotional value is what entices people to purchase products.

Our pieces are genuinely unique and allow our customers to own a small piece of a much larger story. Whether the metal has originated from one of the first Concorde airliners, an iconic classic car or a bullet train from Japan, our products are inherently timeless classics. Knowing that you are walking around with a carefully and painstakingly crafted piece of a Tornado GR4, designed in conjunction with the crew that flew the aircraft enables you to connect with the maker and learn their story on a much deeper level. A piece of history that you can forever treasure.

Quality & Craftsmanship

Unlike mass-produced jewellery which is created in bulk and often by automated machinery, Bespoke products are carefully crafted by a designer, with meticulous attention to detail that can only be achieved by a human touch.

With the very best of British craftsmanship, all of our jewellery is handmade utilising painstaking, traditional jewellery manufacturing processes to create some of the finest bespoke Jewellery money can buy.

  • 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

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
New Products

Back to The Future: DeLorean Cufflinks

DeLorean Cufflinks and Gifts

Delorean Car: The Tesla of its day? 

The DMC DeLorean, commonly referred to as the “DeLorean”, is an iconic sports car specifically engineered by John DeLorean’s DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) between 1981-198; the first and last car of its kind. 

The inception of this unique and innovative automotive design stemmed from DeLorean’s passion to create an “ethical” sports car: safe, fuel-efficient and long-lasting. It was the Tesla of its day, according to Stephen Wynne, who acquired the DeLorean inventory in 1997 and is CEO of the now-resurrected DeLorean Motor Company.

“DeLorean was a maverick who wanted to break away from the industry and do things his own way,” Wynne said in a phone interview. “At that time, the auto industry was in a slump. There was nothing exciting going on. So John DeLorean had the pick of the litter, as far as who he wanted to work for him — and he had the best of the best.”

The distinctive features of this automobile are what truly makes it stand out in an overcrowded and highly competitive marketplace. Carefully crafted by an Italian engineer, Giorgetto Giugiaro, who had previously worked on various Alfa Romeo and Maserati automobile designs, the Delorean’s notable and iconic features can be expressed through its gull-wing doors and brushed stainless-steel outer body panels. 

However, the DeLorean’s journey has not always been the smoothest of rides. After financial difficulties and bankruptcy by the DMC, paired with some legal debacles with the FBI, John’s innovative auto design slowly started to decline in the early 1980s. Until it expectantly rose again…

BACK TO THE FUTURE

The DeLorean truly fermented its way into the memories and hearts of consumers, with its iconic and memorable appearances as the time machine in the Back to the Future’s media franchise. 

In 1981, filmmakers Robert Emeckis and Bob Gale were writing a script which followed a teenagers time-travelling journey using a time-travelling machine made from a refrigerator – the refrigerator being the DeLorean, Throughout production, the car kept its basic styling, although minor revisions were made to the hood and wheels. 

40 years later and the DeLorean continues to have a cult following driven in part by the popularity of the Back to the Future movies. An estimated 6,500 DeLoreans are still on the road. Three cars were built for filming, and the “hero,” or lead vehicle, is today on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

Own Your Piece of Automotive History…

Widely considered to be the gold standard of family adventure movies, Back to the Future is one of those rare gems that is loved by all. Whether you’re into science fiction or not, there’s something extremely likable about Marty McFly and it’s hard not to rate the onscreen dynamic between him and Doc.

For young fans, the movie provides a heartwarming insight into what life was like in the 80s. For those who grew up when the film was released, it supplies a little bit of nostalgia to reminiscence about the ‘good old times’ and what was considered modern back then (something we probably need desperately now more than ever). While the inception of hoverboards has not yet come to fruition, the film surprisingly provides a few accurate predictions of the future. Whether it be the introduction of fingerprint recognition, personal drones, OH, and Marty’s advice to not go back to 2020 – don’t you wish we would’ve listened!!!!

With the number of Delorean models limited on the marketplace, chances of owning a DeLorean may feel that bit more difficult to come by, particularly when their market value is anything between £36-37,000. 

But all is not lost…

You can now own your own piece of automotive and blockbuster history. With the help of our incredible jewellers here in the UK, we have a selection of 1,500 special commemorative models made from the aluminium of a genuine DeLorean car. 

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

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
New Products

All About The Jaguar E-Type

JAguar E-Type

Since the Jaguar E-type came to fruition in 1961, it has regularly topped lists compiled by designers and car enthusiasts alike as an extraordinary object of desire. Innovative and streamlined, with its immensely long bonnet, aluminium body and monocoque – The jaguar E-Type was a trailblazing automobile that set a precedent for motorsporting design for years to come. Famously depicted as the ‘the most beautiful car in the world’ by Enzo Ferrari, the original Coupe and Roadster models are a clear symbolism of the glamour and excitement of the swinging 60s, with racing drivers and celebrities eager for their own slice of breathtakingly beautiful British engineering.   Indeed, the E-type is amongst Britain’s most celebrated cars – and with good reason. When 70mph was rapid for the average family runabout, this car could reach a staggering 150mph. With its 3.8-litre straight-six engine sourced from the XK, and a new independent rear suspension design that went on to be a hallmark of Jaguar models for four decades – it’s no surprise that its considered to be of, if not the greatest, sports car of all time.  In motor sports, the Jaguar E-Type was best known for its tremendous success in SCCA Production sports races with Group44, taking the B-Production championship in 1975. This car even managed to defeat the Nissan Z-car team in 1980 to become the national C-Production SCCA champions!   Nearly 60 years on, the Jaguar E-type Reborn programme will see Series 1 E-types restored to their original specification for future generations of enthusiasts and collectors to buy directly from Jaguar Classic. Its legacy still carries on, seen in the F-type models and E-type reloaded; a hefty price tag attached to such an iconic automobile. As the creators of the E-type, Jaguar Classic’s craftsmen are more than just technicians and engineers. They’re passionate custodians of one of Britain’s greatest ever brands and automobiles. This love and enthusiasm is exemplified in their quality craftsmanship and design, proudly portraying the genuine icon of the twentieth century.

It’s history lives on…

Jaguar E-Type Cufflinks… We are delighted to announce that we have partnered with classic motor cars, to showcase the best of engineering and design from around the globe. We started with aircraft and the iconic Tornado GR4, and have launched cufflinks made from the famous HST (Intercity 125) and shortly, the bullet train. Now, we are set to release the first of what we hope will be a range of automotive products, in the form of the legendary E Type.  Made from the original engine components of a 1961 series 1 fixed head coupe, these are a small, loving rendered piece of British automotive history. The classic motor cars have provided the designed material, graphics and packaging for these iconic products – facilitating the production of one of the most iconic automobiles that Britain has ever seen!

  • 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

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.