There’s something about a pair of cufflinks that can take an outfit from everyday to extraordinary. They’re such a small accent, and yet they add a touch of elegance and distinction to a man’s shirt. No wonder there are so many passionate cufflink collectors out there!
Cufflinks first appeared roughly 300 years ago. They were once sold along with removable stud buttons used to fasten shirtfronts, but as buttons became cheaper and were sewn onto shirts more and more men began wearing the cufflinks alone. Though cufflinks are traditionally worn by men, over the years women have adopted cufflinks as well, particularly when masculine styles were popular. Cufflink use dwindled after the 1960s as casual clothing became the trend for men.
Cufflinks are a way to show personality, and there are all sorts of styles for collectors to choose from. One avid collector amassed so many that he started a Cufflink Museum in the 1990s, which has since closed. While some men have preferred conservative cufflinks in somber colors and conventional styles, others prefer to make a statement with loud, flashy cufflinks. Some choose to focus on collecting sterling silver or enameled cufflinks, while others pursue cufflinks made by famous jewelry designers like Tiffany. Some look for cufflinks with sports themes, such as golf or football. Some collectors prefer collecting cufflinks from a particular era, such as the sleek, geometric Art Deco designs. Many think the best part of having an antique cufflink collection is donning a shirt with French cuffs and wearing the unique cufflinks to work, parties, dinner or a house of worship.
The range of prices for vintage and antique cufflinks—from around $5 to thousands of dollars for a rare set—makes them available to collectors of all budgets.