30 Jun History of Cufflinks
History of Cufflinks
The History of cufflinks goes back to the Middle Ages where its precursor, the ‘cuff string’, adorned the wrists of fashionable gentlemen of the day. One of the earliest references to what we now recognize as cufflinks was made in the London Gazette of 1684, which referred to a pair of cuff buttons set with diamonds; the same journal in 1686 also described a pair of gold enameled cuff buttons. More evidence of the existence of cufflinks in the 17th century was found in Suffolk, England, where a decorated gold single chain cufflink was discovered.
Despite its early appearance, the continual taste for adorning sleeve ends with elaborate wrist ruffles meant it was not until the mid-nineteenth century that the cufflink really came into its own as dandy-ish ruffles gave way to functionally minimal sleeves and in particular the arrival of the French Cuff (also called the Double Cuff), or as the French themselves called it poignet mousquetaire – the musketeer’s cuff, paving the way for the emergence proper of cufflinks.
Initially confined to the upper echelons of society, by the 1860’s cufflink grew into the mainstream as jewelers like Child & Child in London and Krementz & Co in New York brought out cufflinks that were within the price range of the wider public