Shirts with French cuffs—which are cuffs with two buttonholes instead of one buttonhole plus a button—are designed for cufflinks (or cuff links, as they are sometimes spelled). Some cufflinks feature straps that wrap around the outside edges of a shirt’s cuffs, but most cufflinks feature an embellished surface that is worn facing out, as well as a pivoting post that discreetly secures the decorative side of the cufflink to the cuff.
In the late 19th century, as Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts vied with Edwardian sensibilities for style supremacy, cufflinks were often made of 14-karat gold and set with everything from onyx to agates. Lion heads were popular designs, as were cufflinks made from Roman coins. At the turn of the 20th century, a manufacturer called Fenwick and Sailor made numerous styles of cufflinks that resembled charms on a charm bracelet.
By the 1920s and ’30s, enameling techniques common to other types of jewelry—from rings to bracelets to brooches—had found their way to cufflinks. South of the U.S. border, Mexican silversmiths in Taxco created cufflinks in the shapes of tropical birds and other animals. And at some point, Royal Copenhagen and Wedgwood got into the act, the former creating pillow-like porcelain cufflinks in the firm’s trademark blue, the latter producing cameo cufflinks out of Jasperware.
The functional design of these cufflinks was as varied as their decorations. Instead of a pivoting post, some so-called “dumbbell” or shank-style cufflinks would feature a backing piece that was just small enough to squeeze through the cuff’s buttonholes. Small lengths of slender chain were substituted for posts in some designs, while double-face cufflinks (also referred to as double-side or double-panel cufflinks) had no “good” or “bad” side since both faces were richly detailed.
Cufflinks achieved a cachet of cool after World War II, when the sophisticated man about town kept a collection of cufflinks on hand that rivaled his array of neckties. In the 1960s in particular, a company called Swank was making 12-million pair a year, most of them big and brassy as costume jewelry. Crown shapes were a popular Swank design, as were cufflinks that showed off large chunks of topaz, smoky quartz, and other semi-precious stones. Swank also made cufflinks for Masons and other fraternal orders, while Hugh Hefner sold his devotees square black cufflinks with a white bunny at their centers.
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The Black Tie Guide
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Fashion Columbia Study Collection
Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery
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- Association for the Study of Jewelry and Related Arts
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Recent News: Cufflinks
Source: Google News
Sophie Hannah: 'I love being thought of firmly as a crime writer. I'm snobby ...The Guardian, September 19th
Cufflinks – monogrammed, naturellement – have been placed into the mouths of each of the victims; Poirot makes a link with the terrified Jennie, who had pleaded "Please let no one open their mouths!" And we're away. Hannah is one of a handful of...Read more
Sunken 'Ship of Gold' Contains Bounty of Jewelry, Other TreasuresYahoo News UK, September 18th
So have bits of jewelry, including earring hooks, badge pins, buckles and a set of gold-and-quartz cufflinks. In early August, divers found pieces of an old music box. Even the pits from long-rotted fruit have been recovered from the wreck. Odyssey...Read more
Gatorade hits trifecta with Derek Jeter adESPN (blog), September 18th
During the course of his season-long retirement tour, Derek Jeter has been given everything from kayaks and cowboy boots to cufflinks and paddleboards. The Jeet Index. As Derek Jeter plays out his final season in Yankee pinstripes, ESPNNewYork.com will ...Read more
Mystery roundup: A new Hercule Poirot taleazcentral.com, September 18th
Three people at a swish hotel in London are murdered on the same evening, monogrammed cufflinks placed in their mouths. A helpfully dim Scotland Yarder, Catchpool, narrates Poirot's investigation into the past that ties the three, and the puzzle is...Read more
Across OhioHarvard Crimson, September 18th
He adjusted his cufflinks and, lowering his arms, knocked the metal against the podium. It clanged, and people winced. Sarah tugged the hem of his jacket, and his lapels strained suddenly over his chest, gaping at the button like fruit split open. He...Read more
Mashrabiya diamond cufflinks by Mario Uboldi: a touch of Dubai for Dh39,000The National, September 10th
To craft a pair of Mashrabiya diamond cufflinks by Mario Uboldi, with almost 300 stones of approximately 3 carats set in 18k white gold with rose gold backing takes time, skill and patience. A personalised engraving can be added to this limited edition...Read more
In Defense of Chain LinksNew York Times (blog), September 4th
Why is the best, most elegant kind of cuff link — two flat ovals, connected with a chain — nearly impossible to find in any store? It's simple, symmetrical, beautiful. Bar cuff links, by contrast, are unnatural and unbalanced. On one side, they go...Read more
Dog jumps into pond and emerges with a jacket and cuff links after uncovering ...East Grinstead Courier, August 27th
The search was carried out after a dog that left its owner and jumped into the pond in Whitebeam Wood, Durrington, emerged with a jacket and some cuff links on July 23. The recovered items have been cleaned and examined but officers have been unable to ...Read more