by E.L Cravatte
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The history of the cufflink

The cufflink made its appearance at the beginning of the 17th century. Elitist men were the main wearers of this men's jewelry. At this time, it was not feasible for many men to wear a freshly laundered shirt every day. Therefore, loose collars and cuffs were worn over the shirt cuffs. These were then closed with gold or silver cufflinks. The two parts of the cufflink were then connected by means of a small link chain, a fabric thread or luxury ribbon. Precious metals were still a rarity currently, so wearing cufflinks was only for the wealthy.
Later, at the end of the 18th century, the double cuffs were fastened to the shirt, and it was more usual to put on a clean shirt every day. The collars and loose cuffs were redundant from this point on. However, the cufflink has always remained and was increasingly seen as a practical accessory.

The story goes those French tailors took their inspiration from one of the passages in a famous novel by Alexandre Dumas in 1847. The wealthy Baron Danglars was described as a pompous person who did not like his appearance. The only things that seemed to impress him were his magnificent carriage with horses, a giant diamond brooch and silk red ribbons through the buttonholes of his cuffs.

It is said to have inspired French tailors to make shirts with double cuffs that would stick just below the sleeves of an overcoat. The cuffs were then a means of underlining the man's status.

From the 19th century onwards, the cufflink was worn by an ever-growing public. In the 1920s, the popularity of the cufflink reached its first peak. The simple cufflink had to make way for a more elaborate and modern variant. An important and very influential style movement and this period was Art Deco. Cufflinks were now made in different classes of precious metals, making this piece of jewelry an increasingly accessible accessory.
Even for women, the cufflink was a fashion phenomenon currently. Whereas men expressed their status by wearing large cuffs and collars with a heavily made-up shirt, this was very different for women. Women wore subtle cufflinks inlaid with diamonds and made of gold in cuffs preferably made of soft cotton or fine linen. 

Since the 60's people started to dress less formal, with the result that the cufflink lost its stage and was only worn on more formal occasions such as a wedding, to the office or a party and then in combination with a suit, dinner jacket, dress suit or jacquet. Since the end of the 90's it's more accepted to dress more formal daily and fortunately the cufflinks are becoming a fashion accessory again. Cufflinks are available in many shapes, colours, types and materials. Nowadays anything goes. We can say that the cufflink has reached its next highlight!

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