Not many guys can say their first pair of cufflinks were inspired by the rotary engine of a classic Mazda RX-7.
But it was the perfect dating anniversary gift for Jo's husband Henry, who devotes much of his time to his 22-year-old sports car.
“Ten years of being together is a really nice milestone, and I thought it was a great opportunity to get him a gift that would be really meaningful,” Jo explained.
“He loves his car so much – all he does is talk about it and work on it!”
Mazda stopped selling this model in the States in 1996, but the Wankel rotary engine has become iconic in its own right ever since. And once the idea had come to Jo, she was determined to create a pair of cufflinks that would perfectly match the design of the engine.
“I thought I'd find a place online for really nice custom cufflinks, and that's how I found Chris & Alix.” Jo recalled.
“Chris got back to me and said they'd love to work on the project with me. I'd actually Googled 'rotary engine cufflinks' to see if any had been made, and found some photos. I told her I really wanted it to look like the rotary engine.”
The resulting sterling silver cufflinks were exactly what Jo had imagined, and more – and her only problem now was finding somewhere safe to hide them for the few months leading up their anniversary in July.
“I'm so happy with the results,” she said.
“When they sent me the renderings I could see that they were making them with so much more detail than the photographs I'd found. I thought 'he's going to freak out'."
She wasn't wrong – but the cufflinks were just part of a memorable 10-year anniversary celebration that Jo had in store for Henry.
Once he'd opened his classy gift, the Chicago couple took to the skies in a hot air balloon above Wisconsin's Lake Geneva, in specially printed t-shirts commemorating their milestone.
“He absolutely loved the cufflinks,” Jo said. “He had no idea I'd made them, and he could tell right away that they were rotary engines.
“We had such an amazing day. We were a little worried that it might not happen because of the wind, but everything fell into place!”
Jo told us Henry had not worn cuff links before – and for his first ever pair to be something so incredibly intricate and unique made her gift to him that little bit extra special.
“It was very straight-forward,” said Jo of the custom process.
“The fact I was talking to a couple of other people who were obviously very knowledgable about what they were doing made it much easier. I had no idea what kind of metal they should be, I just didn't want them to rust. I wanted to make sure that they'd last a long time.”
We were delighted to be able to work on this project with Jo, and we wish them both – and Henry's stylish new cufflinks – a long and fun future together!
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