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.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

All About Jewels Dictionary

All About Jewels Dictionary

This incredible reference dictionary on jewelry, from Enchantedlearning.com, is both beautiful and comprehensive. S… [read review or visit site]

The Black Tie Guide

The Black Tie Guide

Peter Marshall became an authority on formalwear out of necessity — he needed a tux to wear on the maiden transat… [read review or visit site]

Ventagli.org

Ventagli.org

Anna Checcoli's homage to the beauty and art of hand fans ('ventagli,' in Italian). Use the left-hand nav to browse… [read review or visit site]

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Jewelry collectors, feast your eyes on this internet gem! It's a goldmine of jewelry information featuring all styl… [read review or visit site]

Fashion Columbia Study Collection

Fashion Columbia Study Collection

The Fashion Columbia Study Collection (FCSC) is the digital home of the Columbia College Chicago’s fashion archiv… [read review or visit site]

Antiquespectacles.com

Antiquespectacles.com

Dr. David Fleishman's comprehensive spectacles site (over 3500 images), in collaboration with museums around the wo… [read review or visit site]

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

With its vast galleries featuring clear images of jewelry and style, this site really covers it all! Divided up by … [read review or visit site]

Jewel History

Jewel History

Since March of 2007, readers of Lori Ettlinger Gross’s Jewel History blog have been treated to her weekly (someti… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Antique Handmade 14kt .585 Gold & Hand Carved Chinese Jade Mens Cufflinks18k Yellow Gold Blue Round Sapphire Cabochon Pair Cufflinks925 Sterling Silver Green Gemstone Cufflinks, 10.11g - H29Antique Anglo Indian Raj Era Solid Gold Cufflinks Hand Painted Miniatures 8.8g 14k Yellow Gold Carved Chinese Jade Gent's CufflinksDavid Andersen Cufflinks Four Seasons Spring Sterling Silver/enamel Norway -ex!Fine Vtg 18k Gold Tiffany & Co Jean Schlumberger Modernist Knot Rope CufflinksSigned Numbered Genuine Cartier Midcentury Retro Deco 14k Gold Cufflinks Colt Revolver Cufflinks In Original Colt BoxCollection Vintage Silver Mounted Wedgwood Jasper -cufflinks, Pendants, BroochVintage 14k Rose Gold Cufflinks 7.3 Grams NrTiffany & Co. Sterling Silver Elsa Peretti Tear Teardrop Comma Mens Cufflinks Vintage Portuguese Sterling Silver Can Of Sardines CufflinksGenuine Tiffany Co. Fine Natural Sapphire 14k Gold Vintage Cufflink Stud SetHeavy 18k Gold Freeform Bark Tree Trunk Awesome Retro Deco Manly CufflinksTiffany & Co Gents CufflinksVtg All Gold Filled Pocket Watch Fob Chain Knife Cufflink Parts Lot S143Pair Vintage Chinese 14 Carat Gold Cufflinks 8.4 GramsSet Of Vintage 9k Yellow Gold Enamel And Mother Of Pearl CufflinksAc Designer Signed Vintage 14k Gold Golf Club & Ball CufflinksLg Collection Mens Vintage Snap Link Cufflinks Kum A Part Costume Jewelry Lot SMen's Cartier Cufflinks Gold With Box - Never WornArt Nouveau 18k Gold Plique A Jour Enamel & Diamond Frog CufflinksDunhill Sterling Silver Cufflinks 925 David Donahue 9868 Mens Blue Sterling Silver Diagonal Torpedo Cufflinks O/s BhfoVintage 14k Yellow Gold And Mother Of Pearl CufflinksLg Lot Mens Vintage Mesh Cufflinks 35 Pair Wrap Around Costume Jewelry M30Lg Lot Mens Vintage Mesh Cufflinks 30 Pair Wrap Around Costume Jewelry M26A Pair Of Vintage Wedgwood Cufflinks, Vintage Silver And Wedgwood CufflinksLg Lot Mens Vintage Mesh Cufflinks 30 Pair Wrap Around Costume Jewelry NTiffany & Co. Sterling Silver Bull & Bear Wall Street Mens Cufflinks $400Cartier Cufflinks Blue Silver Brass Jewelry For Men Fashion Designer ClothingLarge Collection Of Mens Vintage Cufflinks 36 Pairs Costume Jewelry Lot X10Large Collection Of Mens Vintage Victorian Cufflinks Costume Jewelry Lot VHuge Mens Vtg Jewelry Collection Tie Clips Cufflinks Watches Tie Tacks Swank BoxVintage 1950s Midcentury Modern Mens 14k White Gold Bark Texture Shirt CufflinksVintage Modernist Triangle Sterling Silver Cufflinks Signed Hh For Hans Hansen Cufflinks - Sterling Silver .... Angela CummingsVintage Modernist Amber On Sterling Silver Cufflinks With Polish Hallmarks & ZkAntique Solid Silver Cufflinks, Chester 1907, By J&r, Box Included.Rare Pair Of Antique Saphiret CufflinksVintage Sterling Silver - Swank Mop Japanese Koi Fish 35.3g - Cufflinks MensNew Gucci Tie Cufflink SetLouis Vuitton CufflinksVtg 925 Sterling Silver Round Diamond Three Pairs Cufflinks SetVintage Shield Sterling Silver Cufflinks Signed "ja"St Dupont 18k Wg Cufflinks - 2x 16 Brilliant Cut Vvs Diamonds 0.48 Ct.Fine Toshikane Japan Buddha Porcelain Cufflinks- Lucky Nr!Pair Of Antique Hallmarked 9ct Rose Gold Oval Cufflinks Chain Torpedo BacksVintage Eiler & Marloe Arts & Crafts 830 Danish Sterling Silver CufflinksVintage Signed Anson Unique Reverse Glass Painted Sail Boat Cufflinks 11 Pairs Vintage Cufflinks & 4 Tie Clips Nice Interesting Lot Wrap AroundVtg Aviator Radial Engine Cufflinks - Stearman Waco Fairchild Continental R-670Top Quality 15ct Victorian Solid Gold Cufflinks Hm1899 15k 9.4g Antique No ScrapCartier Mens Silver Cufflinks New In Box AuthenticMens Vintage Free Mason Masonic Cufflinks Tie Tack Gold Filled Jewelry Lot E24Cufflinks - Sterling Silver And EnamelVintage Signed Rey Urban Scandinavian Sterling Silver Cufflinks 1970'sVintage Sterling Silver - Hopi Geometric Overlay 11.7g - Cufflinks Mens Ie0543Interesting Job Lot Of Vintage Cufflinks - One Pair Paul Smith