Cufflinks are used to secure button shirt cuffs and may also be an item of jewellery for men. Cufflinks can be manufactured from a variety of different materials, such as glass, stone, leather, metal, precious metal or combinations of these. Securing of the cufflinks is usually achieved via toggles or reverses based on the design of the front section, which can be folded into position. In addition, there are also variants with chains or a rigid, bent rear section. The front sections of the cufflinks can be decorated with gemstones, inlays, inset material or enamel and designed in two or three-dimensional form.
Types of cufflinks
Cufflink designs vary widely, with the most traditional the “double-panel”, consisting of a short post or chain connecting two disc-shaped parts, both decorated. Other types have a flat decorated face for one side, while the other side shows only the swivel-bar and its post. The swivel bar is placed vertically to put the links on and off, then horizontally to hold them in place when worn. The decorated face on the most visible side is usually larger; a variety of designs can connect the smaller piece: It may be small enough to fit through the button hole like a button would; it may be separated and attached from the other side; or it may have a portion that swivels on the central post, aligning with the post while the link is threaded through the button-hole and swivelling into a position at right angles to the post when worn.
The visible part of a cufflink is often monogrammed or decorated in some way, such as with a birthstone or something which reflects a hobby or association. There are numerous styles including novelty, traditional, or contemporary. Cufflinks can and have been worn with casualwear, informal attire or business suits, all the way to very dressy styles such as semi-formal, and formal wear, where they become essentially required and are matched with shirt studs. While whimsical or ornate styles can be worn to casual or informal events, formal wear has stricter expectations, with pearl cufflinks being preferred for white tie events. Traditionally it was considered important to coordinate the metal of one’s cufflinks with other jewellery such as watch case, belt buckle, tie bar or rings.
An alternative type of cufflink is the cheaper silk knot which is usually two conjoined monkey’s fist or Turk’s head knots. They are now often not from silk, and consist of a fabric over an elasticated core. Owing to the popularity of this fashion, metal cufflinks shaped to look like a silk knot are also worn.