Gentleman’s Guide To Cufflinks

The Gentleman’s Guide To Cufflinks


Cufflinks are an essential clothing accessory for men. Any occasion requiring formal wear is an opportunity to make a tasteful and elegant statement with cufflinks. Whether it’s a set that has been handed down through the family, monogrammed cufflinks, wedding cufflinks, or luxury designer cufflinks, this understated accessory completes a man’s outfit.

Men generally have fewer options than women in terms of accessorizing to really complete their outfit and make a powerful statement.  When it comes to showcasing personal style, cufflinks have and continue to be the most indispensable fashion accessory for men.  With such a rich history in design and fashion, cufflinks are the peak of refined style and elegance, no matter the occasion.




History Of Cufflinks

Part of what makes this fashion accessory so powerful is the rich history behind it and the names that have led the way in men’s fashion. The 17th century saw the rise of cufflinks as a fashion symbol worn by dignitaries to signify wealth, luxury, social prestige, and often power. Prior to this era, it was customary to tie one’s cuffs with ribbon or string. The first cufflinks for men were glass, connected with a small chain. Over the next century, glass paste was introduced and jewelry makers began to fashion gem-like cufflinks.

They are now worn by average men who want to add a bit of style to their suit or french cuff. They can be found in silver, gold, onyx, ivory, platinum. Just about any precious metal or stone has been used at one time or another. As with any fashion trend, cufflinks can often be identified with a particular period in fashion history by looking at the materials used as well as the design.

With the advent of electroplating and electro-metallurgy, gold and silver became more accessible materials to market to the masses. Now, it wasn’t only the affluent upper crust of society that could afford them, they had also come within reach of the bourgeoisie.

In about 1840, the French (or double) cuff came into vogue. This, of course, led to a demand for more styles and greater selection. By the end of the century, gold, mother of pearl, enamel, mosaics and other precious stones were used to create the classic designs that have remained in style ever since.


Vintage Cufflinks

Vintage Cufflinks

Vintage cufflinks date back to the early 1800’s when designer cufflinks first came into vogue. The Art Deco period of the 1920’s and 1930’s saw the next most exciting fashion milestone in cufflinks for men. Irises, profiles of women and garlands came into vogue and were displayed on the faces of the cufflinks. It wasn’t long before Cartier, Chaumet, Mellerio, and Boucheron pursued this trend and embraced Art Deco styles. During this same period that the Boyer Company produced the first rolling rod-type cufflink system, which is still prevalent today. It was also during this exciting period that women began wearing cufflinks, which prior had been exclusively a man’s accessory.

The early 20th century also saw the advent of mass-produced shirts that had a button to bind the cuffs sewn in. Cufflinks began to take on a slightly different meaning and men who still opted for cufflinks became the quintessence for evening style and flair. To embrace this new era, Van Cleef & Arpels began a quest for design innovation, eventually producing the channel setting. This is where precious stones make up the design but no metal support is visible. This style is still with us today.

Today, cufflinks are not only for men as they were originally, and many vintage styles are sought after by both men and women alike. Originally, materials like gold, silver, and onyx were staples, but as demand grew, so did the materials used. Over the course of the 1800’s, the clasping system changed as well and came to be the pivoting rod we see so often now. Truly, a pair of vintage cufflinks are a conversation piece and can reflect an individual’s own personal style in a unique and distinguished fashion. Always understated yet powerful and elegant, vintage cufflinks from classic designers are always a win.


Types And Styles Of Cufflinks

There are many different styles and designs of cufflinks to choose from including wedding cufflinks, link cufflinks, novelty cufflinks and formal evening attire cufflinks. Essentially, cufflinks are made to suit just about any occasion and to it any personal taste. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular.


Wedding Cufflinks


Wedding Cufflinks

With the wide and varied styles and themes of today’s weddings finding a cufflink to match your tuxedo or wedding theme is not a difficult task. Since weddings are formal affairs, most grooms want to stand out and look their best as much as the bride. Diamond cufflinks were the traditional choice for many grooms for the greater part of the last century. However, the times change just like weather and so do cufflink trends. Today’s grooms and groomsmen have an extensive selection of how to adorn themselves for the big event.

Matching your wedding cufflinks to the flower colors, the wedding theme or even your own personal interests is perfectly acceptable for the modern groom. From extravagant diamonds and gemstones set in gold, platinum, or silver to the inexpensive novelty cufflink that shows off your love of sports, fraternal organizations or even your favorite TV show, anything goes. It is your day after all and you get to make the rules.

Yellow gold cufflinks look wonderful with suits in shades of brown, while white gold is the preferred color for gray and charcoal-black suits. Apart from yellow or white gold, many cufflink sets have colored stones to match your wedding attire although.  You can also match your cufflink with your tiepin to create an even more elegant touch. 


Engraved Cufflinks

Engraved Cufflinks

Engraved cufflinks are an ideal gift to give the man in your life that has everything; they can be engraved with his initials or a personal message. Engraving cufflinks is a very affordable way to make your gift very personal and look stunning at the same time. They will give meaning to both you and the person receiving them and they are a timeless gift that you can wear over and over.

Engraved cufflinks are also an ideal wedding present for either the groom or best man and groomsmen. They are a perfect way to match all of the men, and by having the date of the wedding engraved on them they will always remember that special day. You will be able to wear engraved cufflinks for every occasion and be proud you are wearing them. Engraved cufflinks fit the bill very well – they look elegant, sophisticated and reflect the personal style of the man wearing them.


Silver Cufflinks

Silver Cufflinks

Silver or sterling silver cufflinks are a very popular choice for men’s cufflinks. The selection available is wide and prices vary according to the design, embellishments, and manufacturer. Monogrammed or initial cufflinks are a classic choice that never goes out of style and pair well with many different looks from business to casual.

No matter your personal style, you are sure to find silver cufflinks or sterling silver cufflinks in a style you like. Knot style cufflinks are classy for any occasion. For a modern look, classy swivel back style cufflinks provide a sleek look. Go retro with silver and grey cufflinks or consider going back in time with vintage silver cufflinks embedded with sapphires or even diamonds.


Onyx Cufflinks

Onyx Cufflinks

Onyx cufflinks are classic and elegant and work beautifully to complete a dark suit, white shirt combination. Typically found set with sterling silver, onyx is an opaque, semi-precious material that has been used to bejewel cufflinks for a decade.

Understated and elegant, there is something mysterious about a man with black onyx cufflinks. Onyx has a depth and reflectivity, and workability that other black materials do not. For that reason, it is also the most common stone found in cufflink design. 

Although onyx cufflinks can be expensive there are plenty of lesser expensive black cufflink options available. Black crystals set in silver plated settings can look just as attractive as the real thing at a fraction of the cost. For those budget-conscious buyers, choosing similar looking black cufflinks with a plated finish can enhance your wardrobe until you can upgrade to the more costly real thing.


Diamond Cufflinks

Diamond Cufflinks

Cufflinks are a timeless piece of jewelry that looks great on any man, the most elegant style to purchase is diamonds. Diamond cufflinks epitomize wealth and status. While they might not suit every occasion, diamond cufflinks can make a big statement. This style of cufflink looks amazing and can add a touch of elegance to your outfit.

You can buy diamond cufflinks from many jewelry stores and they will be able to advise you which ones will look best with your outfit. Researching the different styles of cufflinks is important as they are often set in different bases. Deciding if gold or silver will work best for you is important. Price may play a factor in this as well since they vary greatly.


Silk Knot CufflinksSilk knot Cufflinks

Another truly great style of the cufflink is the silk knot. Thin pieces of silk are used to form balls attached by a central piece of silk like a barbell. They come in a wide assortment of colors and perfectly balance casual and formal attire. Whilst some may argue that they would not be proper to wear with a tuxedo to a wedding, they would be fine to wear to the workplace with a good suit. And of course, they are perfectly suited for jeans and a casual dress shirt, maybe even with a sports jacket. Silk knots are also less expensive than metal cufflinks.


Novelty Cufflinks

These days, cufflinks can be worn as a luxury accessory but they can also be casual and quirky. For instance, several jewelers make cufflinks in the shape of globes, golf clubs, or skull and crossbones. These novelty cufflinks can be an ideal way to ‘funk’ up an outfit.

Novelty cufflinks are often produced of more affordable metals like silver. As a result, virtually everybody can afford to sport an entertaining piece of jewelry- if that’s their style of course. They also make great gifts. Novelty cufflinks have a limited amount of wear time and after a while, they will lose their fashionable status.


Tips For Buying Cufflinks

Fine Jewelry Cufflinks

Fine Jewellery Cufflinks

Shopping for the right style of cufflinks can be a challenge. You want them to look elegant without looking too flashy. Many stars are seen wearing diamond cufflinks and they can make you stand out from the crowd. If you want to impress then diamonds are the way to do it. They are timeless and classic. The fact that these cufflinks are rare makes them even more stunning. So having the right style and cut of stone on your cufflinks is very important. You will be spending a great deal of money on them. They have to be right for both you and your outfit.

Choosing your diamond cufflinks you might be harder than you may think. There are several different styles and cuts of diamond to choose from so do your research before purchasing. They are a perfect gift for any occasion and are ideal for a wedding or anniversary present. With all of the attention being on the bride at a wedding the groom will want to shine as well. Diamond cufflinks will enable him to do this.


Fashion Jewelry Cufflinks

Fashion Jewelery Cufflinks

There is nothing wrong with buying cufflinks that do not contain real stones or that are not made of solid gold or silver. It all depends on your budget and your own personal style. Simply put, know what you are paying for. Be wise when it comes to buying any gemstone cufflinks. Do not get duped by false stones for too low a cost or overpaying for less expensive stones. Most reputable jewelers can also make custom made cufflinks of your design. 

Cufflinks make a fantastic gift for that stylish and sophisticated individual for the holidays, Father’s day, birthdays, for a groomsman and so on. If you have a husband who requires the wearing of a suit or jacket rather often, then cufflinks make a brilliant gift.


Who Wears Cufflinks?


Who Wear Cufflinks

Ladies have jewelry for every single occasion. Diamonds for an elegant evening, pearls for formal, silver, white or yellow gold for every day, and costume jewelry for enjoyment. What about men though? Gentlemen normally wear cufflinks as a sign of status. Centuries ago, when they first came into fashion, elite men would wear them as a luxury item. Don’t forget that cufflinks have a tendency to be produced out of gold, gems, and valuable stones that can cost a lot of money. Traditionally, they were kept as heirlooms and passed down to younger generations.

The Beatles reinvigorated cufflinks for men by incorporating them into their refreshing rock and roll statement. Now cufflinks were worn by rockers and style mavens of all types. The demand from a new demographic began to grow. Thus requiring new and exciting never seen before more youthful and playful designs. To meet this new challenge, Cartier produced their famous heart-shaped cufflinks. Bulgari launched their famous diamond shape with blue enamel setting. David Webb introduced his miniature animal designs and Dinh Van used zen imagery in his cufflinks for men. Now, anything is possible and cufflinks are available to match any personality and occasion. They are worn by men and women from every class, profession, economic background and nationality. 


When To Wear Cufflinks?

when to wrear cufflinks

Today’s modern men appreciate the opportunity to adorn themselves with accessories that show off their own personal sense of style and cufflinks help them to do that in so many different ways. From the boardroom to Sunday brunch to a night out on the town, cufflinks are a gentleman’s best friend. They instantly add an element of class to an ensemble and elevate the man wearing them a step above the rest.

You could pick a pair of any color and style that appeals to you and see how they turn any business suit, formal wear or casual shirt and jeans into a well-dressed and stylish affair. Normally cufflinks are worn with double cuff shirts, which are worn with suits (as opposed to jeans and blazers). However, young men, college students, playboys, and junior executives like to wear double cuff shirts with jeans. It’s the ideal touch of formal to go with a casual outfit. It says ‘I know fashion, but choose to be relaxed’.

There are other approaches for men to jazz up their outfits. Men are now wearing leather, string, and silver bracelets, necklaces, rings, watches, sunglasses, and earrings. Cufflinks are still a classic accessory. They are an easy option that says a lot about how a man takes care of himself.


Caring For Your Cufflinks

Cufflinks are just like any other jewelry, they add personal style and class to your look. Even if your cufflinks are not new you can keep them looking their best for years if you know how to take care of them properly. This means keeping them clean and stored properly and not just tossing them in a drawer when they are not in use.


How To Clean Cufflinks

how to take care of you cufflinks

It doesn’t matter if you have expensive diamond and precious metal cufflinks or less costly crystal and metal plated cufflinks, the cleaning process is the same. Mild liquid soap and warm water are all that you need to keep them looking like the day that you got them. A soft toothbrush will help to remove any embedded debris easily. Add the liquid soap to a wet toothbrush and apply gentle pressure to the cufflink, gently brushing in small circles. Rinse immediately with warm water completes the process.

Avoid using harsh chemicals like bleach or cleaners that contain abrasive materials to clean your cufflinks. These types of cleaners can do more harm than good by breaking down and scratching the metal setting or gemstones. Jewelers can clean your fine cufflinks using a sonic cleaning machine that vibrates the dirt and debris while being submerged in a gentle cleaning solution. You can also use a jewelry cleaning solution sold in most stores for cufflinks made with imitation stones or that contain plated metals.

After you have cleaned and rinsed your cufflinks, make sure to dry them thoroughly with a soft absorbent cloth. Buffing them with the soft cloth will bring back their brilliant sparkle and highly polished finishes as if they were new. If you notice water spots on them after cleaning, simply wet them again with warm water and buff out the spots until they are dry and the high shine returns.


How To Store Cufflinks

Storing Cufflinks

Like any jewelry, fine or fashion, you want to make sure that you take care of it and store it properly when not in use. Cufflinks are no different. Since many cufflinks are made with a polished metal base, you want to make sure that you keep that shine and not scratch them. You can achieve this by storing them individually in a soft cloth or velvet bag. You can also wrap them in tissue and place them in a small box lined with a soft cloth.

If you own several pairs of cufflinks you may want to consider purchasing a cufflink display box to store them when not in use. These boxes are normally lined with velvet and hold from 10 to 30 pairs of cufflinks. These boxes are worth the investment to keep your cufflinks safe as well as displayed at your fingertips. Keeping them out of direct sunlight and away from moisture helps to ensure that your cufflinks won’t fade, rust or tarnish.


Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Cufflinks Used For?

The purpose of a cufflink is to provide a decorative and a functional way to fasten the cuffs of a shirt.


Are Cufflinks Supposed To Show?

When your arms are at your side, no more than 1/4″ of your cuff should be showing. Only when your arms are bent up, out in front of you or your jacket is off should you be able to see your cufflinks.


How To Put On Cufflinks?

Pinch together both sides of the cuff on a tuxedo or French Cuff dress shirt and slide the cufflink through the holes. For more information on how to attach different styles of cufflinks, watch this How To Put On Cufflinks Video.


Are Cufflinks Still In Style?

Absolutely!, Cufflinks have come a long way from days past and the rules are changing for men’s accessories. New styles, colors, cuts, and fits have come along however, the cufflink is now more popular than ever. From business to casual this accessory is widely accepted and used by the modern gentleman.


What Are Cufflinks And Studs?

Some tuxedo shirts have an extra set of holes above the buttons on the front of the shirt. These holes are used for attaching button studs that match your cufflinks. Simply insert the studs through the back of the holes. Then insert them into the front of the shirt just like you would the buttons. There are normally four or five button studs per shirt.


Are Cufflinks Too Formal To Wear To An Interview?

If you are interviewing for a position in the corporate world, financial sector or legal field then cufflinks are acceptable. It shows that you are serious about your look as well as your work. Showing up to an interview for a landscaping or construction position would be considered over the top.


Do Cufflinks Make Good Groomsman Gifts?

Cufflinks are often given to the groomsmen as gifts for participating in the big day. Engraved sterling silver cufflinks are a great economical choice that can be worn long after the wedding day is over. Matching the groom’s cufflinks to a similarly styled cufflink for the groomsmen helps the groom to stand out while still keeping the overall continuity intact.

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