No one is sure when the cuff links of today first arrived. They are originally mentioned in writing pieces in 1788, but they had actually had been worn sometime before that. It seems that suddenly people started cutting cuff-fastening slits into clothing. Tape ties or ribbons had been used in the past to fasten cuffs, but these ribbons or ties were replaced with luxurious items, made of gold or silver and set with gemstones. Cuff links were a hand made luxury item reserved for the aristocratic classes.
During 1880s in America, a George Krementz invented a device that could mass produce one-piece cuff links. The device was based on an American Civil War shell-making machine and this enabled US businesses to use cuff links. for advertising purposes or as gift incentives for clients.
By the 1920s, the most popular style was the enamel cuff link. After the Communist revolution in Russia, the luxury artisans of Faberge fled to Europe and America, and it was these artisans who taught their enamelling skills to others, and 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 cuff links which have now become collectors' items, especially the hand-made ones.
The peak of cuff link. popularity was probably in the mid-1960s. Swank, Inc., a popular manufacturer at the time, was making 12 million cuff links. a year, whilst oday, they make about 200,000 a year, but cuff links. are making a comeback and sales have been increasing over the last ten years. The French cuff shirt remains the most formal and prestigious of all shirts.
Cuff links have often reflected the significant art movement of the day. To see proof of this, one can visit the Cuff link Museum in Conway, New Hampshire, USA. This museum has over 700,000 pairs of cuff links. Today, there are numerous styles of cuff links. ranging from novelty cuff links., contemporary cuff links. and humorous cuff links. Some top designers of cuff links. are Sonia Spencer, Murray Ward, Babette Wasserman and Simon Carter.
The most expensive pair of cuff links ever sold was a pair that was given to King Edward VIII by his wife Wallis Simpson. These cuff links which were made of platinum, had diamonds set into them and were sold at an auction for $440,000.
In Europe, there is an alternative to cuff links. called the silk knot or monkey's fists. They are cheaper than cuff links., but they are still considered to be appropriate for formal occasions. French cuff shirts could be accompanied with a set of colour co-ordinated silk knots instead of double-button cuff links.
When you are choosing cuff links as a gift, the most important thing to consider being the cuff links reflects the personality of the wearer. One of the best things about wearing a pair of cuff links 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, their tastes, favourite colour, do they like to wear gold, do they prefer metals or plastics 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.