I bought a pair of silver cycling cufflinks from Andrew at English Cufflinks about 5 years ago. They were a gift for my husband and he loves them due to their crisp, contemporary design and great finish (check out my review here).
As a result, when we decided to set up an Epic Road Rides shop, Andrew from English Cufflinks was at the top of my list of people to contact about stocking his cycling jewellery.
I thought it would be fun to find out more about his business and how they’ve come to make such nice bicycle cufflinks and jewellery - hence this Q&A.
If you’re interested in buying bicycle cufflinks and necklaces in silver from a small UK business, read on!
1.Tell us about yourself
I’m Andrew, a designer specialising in contemporary silver jewellery. Having spent a while running a designer jewellery studio in the south east of the UK, my partner and I moved to Somerset (in the south west) in order to find more space for our growing family (and animals).
We decided that the web was the best route forward for marketing and the web likes niches… so we set up our shop in around 2000.
2. Tell us about your design style. Where do you get inspiration from?
My designs are clean and contemporary. Not too much fuss and hopefully some impact.
I do a bit of road cycling, hence the bicycle cufflinks, bicycle necklace and other cycling jewellery we make.
3. What makes your designs unique?
Quality is really important to us, as I think that if you are asking someone to part with sums of cash over the internet then the level of trust needed should be reciprocated by a flawless piece.
Great quality also makes the item easier to photograph, which is really important when presenting a 3d object in 2d!
Head to our shop to take a look in more detail here.
4. Talk us through the process of how each item of cycling jewellery is made
We sketch out some design ideas which are usually then made using a process called lost wax casting.
First we finalise the design and then make the master pattern. This is the most important stage as everything has to be perfect in terms of scale, weight and the logistics of producing castings from it. We then produce identical castings from the master which are individually prepared, assembled and finished.
If the master isn’t right then the assembly and finishing stage becomes difficult, resulting in poor quality finished pieces. Unfortunately the market is full of poorly made jewellery, which is so unnecessary as the difference between bad craftsmanship and good is usually fundamental decisions at the design stage and a little more time and skill budgeted in.
5. Do you create bespoke cycling jewellery?
Bespoke pieces are great fun and if customers have the budget they can really be responsible for creating something truly special, resulting in treasures that become heirlooms.
We have made literally thousands of bespoke pieces over the years.
We photograph everything before they go out and you can see a selection of these specialities on the site.
6. Can your products be personalised?
We are lucky enough to have one of the UK’s very best hand engravers on board. Peter, in Herefordshire, handles all our personalisation.
He can do anything from simple initials and dates to complex crests, which can transform a piece to a truly unique gift.
Head to our shop to take a look in more detail here.
7. What kind of person wears/buys your bicycle cufflinks and jewellery?
The fact that we have specialised in cufflinks has put us in the ‘professional’ bracket in terms of our obvious recipients. And usually male.
However we are often asked if we can make other items and the answer is a resounding “yes”. A very good example of this is our bicycle pendant necklace.
8. Why do they make good gifts?
A gift that sums up someone’s passion for cycling whilst not actually being cycling ‘gear’ as such can be difficult to find and can often sink to rather throwaway novelty items. Do we need any more of them?!
I like to think our pieces are going to be treasured forever and will be a talking point at the next ‘do’ (if and when they happen again - but at least might be commented on at the next work Zoom conference)!
9. Do you get many returns?
Hand on heart, we fortunately get hardly any returns. However, if any of our pieces aren’t what you expected or the recipient already has some they can be returned for a full refund as long as they are undamaged and not engraved. There’s more details on our returns policy here.
10. Do you have any tips for looking after your silver cycling jewellery?
Most of our pieces are made from solid silver. This is a precious metal which, like gold, will not rust. Ever.
Silver will inherently tarnish however, depending on where it is kept. Commercially available dips or a quick wipe with a soft cloth will remedy this. If worn a lot, silver will gradually take on the patina of wear which is part of its beauty.
A big thanks to Andrew for telling us more about his beautiful cycling cufflinks and jewellery.
If you'd like to take a look at his jewellery in more detail, head over to our shop.
Want to buy Andrew’s cycling cufflinks and/or necklace?
Go to our shop
(that every road cyclist should watch)
Mountains: Epic Cycling Climbs by Michael Blann