The History of Cufflinks
A cufflink is essentially a fastener used to hold together two sides of a shirt cuff. They are an alternative to using buttons which would normally be sewn on to one side of the cuff. Cufflinks are also designed to be very ornate, especially antique cufflinks which were typically a precious gemstone set in gold. In modern times however as cufflinks become ever more popular. They are made from a host of different materials. From simple silk knots to glass or quartz and even from enamel.
The Origins Of Cufflinks
Cufflinks as we know them today have evolved from a very early system of tying called cuff strings. The lacy cuffs of noblemen were typically tied with ribbons and the more elaborate the cuff the greater the nobleman`s status. Although buttons were introduced in the 13th century , the tied lace cuff remained popular and in use right up to the 1800s.
By the 17th century the tied lace cuff was slowly starting to give way to a more practical cuff and the use of ornate buttons began to appear. These buttons typically contained jewels and would have been prohibitively expensive. Being the sole reserve of the nobility. These jeweled buttons were attached together with a small chain and became known as sleeve buttons. Towards the end of the 17th century glass sleeve buttons were introduced as a cheaper alternative to gemstones.
But it wasn`t until the industrial revolution in the 1800s that mass produced cufflinks became affordable. This also allowed a huge range of cufflinks to be produced and from cheaper materials such as paste. In 1845 Alexandre Dumas`s book the " Count of Monte Cristo" was published and is credited with popularising the cufflink and so the French cuff was born. Which continues to be as popular today as it ever was.