Le Tour de France (TDF), the world’s biggest annual sporting event, kicked off on Saturday 5 July with a road race between Leeds and Harrogate in the north of England. A contemporary local jeweller, Element, joined in the festivities by creating Perspex® acrylic bicycle rings!
Element designed and produced hundreds of non-official Tour de France bike rings, and asked customers to take photos of themselves wearing their rings and soon ‘bike ring selfies’ began appearing on Element’s Pinterest page.
Nick Shields, in-house designer at Element, usually designs jewellery for customers using precious metals and gemstones, but that didn’t seem to fit the colourful, carnival vibe that surrounds the TDF. He searched for the perfect bike related jewellery but couldn’t find just what he was looking for anywhere; a colourful, simple design in a variety of sizes that captured the fun of the big event coming to Yorkshire. And then he thought of Perspex® cast acrylic with its easy fabrication qualities. Nick chose 3mm thick Perspex® opaque yellow 261 and transparent yellow 2202 for the unique TDF rings.
Element worked closely with a local fabricator, The Laser Hive. Several designs were sketched and paper prototypes were made before the artwork for the laser cutter was produced. A small batch of samples was created before perfecting cutting techniques, and then the rings went into production.
Nick said: “The interest in the Perspex® rings has taken us by surprise. In the weeks preceding the event we sold nearly a thousand rings, I suspect that’s not just to do with the TDF, our customers love the colourful and fun aspect of these rings too. It doesn’t stop here, we are already designing our next Perspex®jewellery collections, watch this space!”.
*Element will be making a donation to the Alzheimers Society from their profits from selling their TDF rings.