As printed in Canadian Jeweller, June/July 2005 issue, p. 106
By Ronald R. Dupuis, FGA, GJ

Cufflinks with the Past

Despite the fickle fluctuations in fashion, a handsome pair of cufflinks, whether antique or modern, still denotes a well-dressed man.”
Cufflinks have the power to convey the personality or mood of the wearer. They can make a formal impression or a more casual, playful one, depending on their style and use of materials. From single, large diamonds connected by chains to basic gold-plated discs with brass connections, they are available in myriad manifestations, in every price range.
jewellery manufacturer created the cufflink, as we know it today. George Krementz, a prominent Newark jeweller, patented a design that would not require the wearer to attach each terminal together by chain. Instead, the cufflink became one whole piece. He also applied this invention to collar buttons and shirt studs.
Growing demand during the first part of the 20th century motivated manufacturers to improve fastening devices.

The history of cufflinks corresponds to that of the button and buttonholes on men’s shirts. The French cuff was created in the mid-17th century and required fasteners. The cufflink, in its basic form, was introduced as a solution. They were only worn by members of the aristocracy and were fittingly designed as elaborately jewelled buttons. By the end of the 17th century, cufflinks took over from the conventional ribbons and ties that were worn at the wrists of men’s shirtsleeves.
By the next century, cufflinks had grown in popularity and were worn by
the rising merchant class. As Queen Victoria ascended the throne, they became essential to men’s fashion. Cufflinks made in this era were often simply gold, silver or pearl terminals chained together by hollow linking. As the Industrial Revolution kicked off, electroplating was invented and brought jewellery to a wide sector of the population. The cufflink quickly became the most expressive‚Äìrather than the most expensive‚Äìof men’s fashions.
It was only toward the end of the 19th century that an American
Throughout the Second World War, the post-war period and into the early 1970s, extreme cufflink designs were created during this period. The designs with which a man chose to adorn his attire revealed much about his personality. Because of this inherent symbolism, cufflinks have maintained a stable and continuous popularity through centuries that is rarely seen among other types of jewellery.
Despite the fickle fluctuations in fashion, a handsome pair of cufflinks, whether antique or modern, still denotes a well-dressed man.

Top: Enamel and 18k gold cufflinks by David Webb, circa 1970; Art Deco onyx, diamond and platinum cufflinks, circa 1915; Antique enamel and diamond cufflinks, St. Petersburg, circa 1900.

More Articles

Pearls: The evolution of a classic
Alloys through the ages
Time and tide: Men’s jewellery through the ages
Understated beauty: Diving into mid-century modern design
Being cute: Whimsical jewellery captivates and charms
Leaf motifs: Perennially popular and always in vogue
SHE SAID YES - Now say yes to the jewels
Jadeite Jade
Culture of the supernatural
Timing is everything
Silver Linings
Industrial Chic
Put some thought into it
Romancing the stones
Orange you happy?
Cocktails anyone?
World events shape design
And the bead goes on
The state of estate sales
An endearing and enduring motif
Production evolves as it revolves
Wearable Art
Neither faux nor faux pas
World of Watches
Queen for a day
Future Connections
Function follows form
Convertible Creations
Gemstones A kaleidoscope of choice
Gifting: the vintage advantage
An eye for detail
Evolution in White
For the boys
A case for the watch
Vintage value
Gold: A standard of adornment
Portrait of an auction
Platinum period
Demistifying auction values
A magnificent tiara
Appraising the appraisal process for period jewels
The story of the Asscher cut
The Timeless Elegance of Art Deco
If jewels could talk... What stories they'd tell!
Solving the puzzle of period pieces
The jewellery of 1918 to 1939
The Magnificence of Micromosaics
Jersey Jewellery
Love, Victorian style
Fabergé: Jeweller to the Czars
Untouched jewels retain their value
'50s design full of optimism, exuberance
Cameo Appearance
Diamond aristocrats: a history of cut
Cufflinks with the Past
Estate jewellery as a source of rare and fine gems
The beauty of authentic Deco