Cufflinks Buying Guide

Cufflinks Buying Guide

by RITIKA CHANGRANI

Believe it or not, cufflinks actually go far back in history. The use of cufflinks can be found in ancient hieroglyphics in King Tut’s tomb. These cufflinks are not like the cufflinks of today. The cufflinks that people wear today were first worn in the late 18th century.

What is a cufflink? A cufflink is a fastener that is used to fasten or link the two portions of a cuff of a jacket or dress shirt. They can have very simple designs or be very complicated, depending on how much the cufflinks are. Like everything else, cufflinks do back in time.

Cufflinks History

cufflinksBelieve it or not, cufflinks actually go far back in history. The use of cufflinks can be found in ancient hieroglyphics in King Tut’s tomb. These cufflinks are not like the cufflinks of today. The cufflinks that people wear today were first worn in the late 18th century.

No one is sure when the cufflinks of today first arrived. They are originally mentioned in writing pieces in 1788, but they had actually had been worn sometime before that. It just seems that all of sudden people had started cutting cuff-fastening slits into clothing. Tape ties or ribbons had been used in the past to fasten cuffs. These ribbons or ties were replaced with luxurious items, made of gold or silver and set with gemstones. They were a luxury reserved for the aristocratic classes and were hand-made.

above image courtesy: http://www.cufflinks.com/

The invention of the steam-driven stamping machine, electro-metallurgy and the Tour a’ Guilloche machine in the 18th and 19h centuries opened up cufflinks to a wider audience. By the 1840s, the French cuff or double-cuff shirt became popular and has never gone out of fashion since. The middles classes were able to afford cufflinks that were replicas of the silver or enamel cufflinks that the rich wore. The replicas would usually have fake diamonds or be made of gold-colored alloys with foil.

During 1880s in America, a George Krementz invented a device that could mass produce one-piece cufflinks. The device was based on an American Civil War shell-making machine. This enabled US businesses to use cufflinks for advertising purposes or as gift incentives for clients.

By the 1920s, the most popular style was the enamel cufflink. After the Communist revolution in Russia, the luxury artisans of Faberge fled to Europe and America. These artisans taught their enameling skills to others. Their designs were based on the art movements of the day. The low-cost production of plastics in the 1930s led to the decline of enamel cufflinks. Enamel cufflinks have now become collectors’ items, especially the hand-made ones.

The peak of cufflink popularity was probably in the mid-1960s. Swank, Inc., a popular manufacturer at the time, was making 12 million cufflinks a year. Today, they probably make about 200,000 a year. Cufflinks are making a comeback and sales have been increasing over the last ten years. The French cuff shirt is still the most formal and prestigious of shirts.

Reflections of Art

Cufflinks have often reflected the significant art movement of the day. To see proof of this fact one can visit the Cufflink Museum in Conway, New Hampshire. This museum has over 700,000 pairs of cufflinks.

Most Expensive Cufflinks

The most expensive pair of cufflinks ever sold was a pair that was given to King Edward VIII by his wife Wallis Simpson. These cufflinks had diamonds and were made of platinum. They were sold at an auction for $440,000.

Cufflink Styles

Today, there are numerous styles of cufflinks. You can buy novelty cufflinks, contemporary cufflinks and humorous cufflinks. Some top designers of cufflinks are Sonia Spencer, Murray Ward, Babette Wasserman and Simon Carter.

Cufflink Design

Whatever the style of the cufflinks, they have a very simple design. Cufflinks consist of a post, a short cylindrical portion or a chain connecting two disc-shaped parts, one of these is sized to fit through the button-hole of the cuff. The other disc-shaped part, positioned on the most on the most visible side, is wider. This part is one that is usually monogrammed or engraved.

For First Timers

When you plan to wear cufflinks for the first time, you should take your cue from the tone of the event and what the other event goers will be wearing. You should link the cuff with a cufflink, then close the swivel bar and insert the cufflink through the holes from outside. The next thing that you should do is open the swivel bar to secure the cuff.

Cuff Styles

You have a choice of at least five cuff styles that you can wear cufflinks with. The cufflinks should be matched with necktie, button cover, ascot or bolo tie / bola tie.

The Variety of Designs

Cufflink designs do vary widely. There is almost an unlimited variety of designs and construction details that could appear on a cufflinks. The hidden side of a cufflink could have a portion that swivels on the central post, aligning with the post while the link is threaded through a button-hole, and swiveling into a position at right angles to the post when worn.

Silk Knot

In Europe, there is an alternative to cufflinks called the silk knot. They are also known as monkey’s fists. They are cheaper than cufflinks, but they are still considered to be appropriate for formal occasions. French cuff shirts could be accompanied with a set of color-coordinated silk knots instead of double-button cufflinks in Europe.

As a Gift

If your friend or your special someone likes cufflinks instead of silk knots, you could get cufflinks as a gift. When you choosing cufflinks as a gift, the most important thing are that the pair of cufflinks reflects the personality of the wearer. One of the best things about wearing a pair of cufflinks is that they are a tiny reflection of a person’s style and taste.

You should also give some thought to the person’s wardrobe and what their favorite colors are. Do they like to wear gold? Do they prefer metals? Do they like to be flashy? Are they looking more for a quiet understatement?

You should think about the person’s style of dress, their personality and how they like others to see them. Ideally, you will be able to find a pair that can fit all three areas. You should not worry too much. It is usually the thought that counts anyway.

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