The origin of cufflinks goes back to the 1700s. Although there is evidence of their use that can be found in ancient hieroglyphics in King Tut's tomb.
No one knows exactly when the cufflink was introduced. There has been written about it in 1788, but before this time shirts were being cut with cuff-fastening slits already.
During this time cufflinks were accessories for rich aristocrats, and the cufflinks were made from gold, silver and set with diamonds.
From 1850 it was possible to mass produce cufflinks from enamel (glass) by a machine. This made the cufflink more popular with middle class society, though these enamel cufflinks were still quite expensive. Some of the middle-class gentleman made their own cufflinks from fake diamonds and foil.
During the 1880's the American George Krementz invented a machine which could mass produce cufflinks from stainless steel. Suddenly the cufflinks became a true craze in de United States and companies gave cufflinks to their clients as a business gift.
In the 1960's the popularity of cufflink uses peaked but faded away in the years after. But cufflinks are making a comeback during the last 10 years. The reason for this is because fashion designers have even more eye for detail and accessories. Therefore, the design of shirts is even more with cuff-fastening slits.