Most online vintage jewelry sellers don't bother with cuff links. They are dated and no one wears them. At least that's the perception. I find it untrue. I sell quite a few sets every month. Half are shipped internationally and the remaining pairs are purchased by U.S. buyers. And those pairs go in equal number to men and women. Yep, quite a few women seem to be collecting and wearing cuff links. And why not? Like a pair of earrings, they can make an outfit. Unlike other jewelry, their origins are newer.
The first cuff links appeared in the 1600s and were simply buttons joined together with a short piece of chain. Before that, shirt cuffs were held together by string.
By the 1800s cuff links had became a fairly common accessory for the well groomed gentleman. With the invention and manufacture of swivels and toggles in the 1850s and the invention of electroplating in the 1860s, jewelers and designers began to create cuff links in a myriad of materials and styles.
Depending on your source, there are dozens of styles and types of cuff links. I've broken the list into categories grouping together styles which are similar to each other.
Swivel Bar Toggle Cuff Links
These are sometimes called bean-backs, bullets or whales depending on the shape of the toggle. Made with two parallel bars and a moving piece opposite the front panel.
Austrian Made Cuff Links
Anson Industrial Set
Enamel Cuff Links by Cicellini
Mother-of-Pearl Cuff Links
Watch Face Cuff Links by Bulova
1" Wide Cuff Links with Insects
And larger; 1 1/4" Diameter with Stones
Mixed Metals Set from Mexico
Mikimoto Pearl Cuff Links
Opal Mosaic Cuff Links
Silver Pillbox Cuff Links
Cuff links by Christian Dior
Double Panel, Two-Sided, Bridge and Chain Link Cuff Links
10k White Gold Cuff Links
Enamel and Silver Set
Another Silver Pair with Enamel
Enamel Flame Pattern
Krementz Mother-of Pearl Cuff Links
Silver Cuff Links with Applied Gold Design from Japan
Unger Brothers Cuff Links
Krementz Reverse Intaglio Cuff Links
Ball Return, Ball Back and Barbell Cuff Links
Gold Filled Cuff Links with Turquoise and Seed Pearls
The glass ball in this set moves allowing the wearing to show blue, wine or both colors.
14k Yellow Gold and Moonstones
Silver Cuff Links from Aksel Holmsen, Norway.
Striped Agate Cuff Links
Enamel Cuff Links with Fleur-de-Lis Design
Gold Cuff Buttons with Enamel
Saphiret Cuff Buttons
Banded Agate Cuff Buttons
Cuff Links with Chased Design and Gold Fronts
100 years old and still waiting for someone to have initials engraved on them
This gold pair has been engraved on the ball back.
Pietra Dura Cuff Buttons from Italy
3 Sets of Baer & Wilde Snap Apart Cuff Links
Wrap-Around Cuff Links
Dante Wrap-Around Cuff Links with Watermelon Rivoli Stone
Destino Cuff Links
Novelty Cuff Links
These are mostly toggle back cuff links but I thought I'd group them together regardless of their style. The common (cuff) link is that they are all novelty sets.
Anson Cuff Links with Fishing Fly and Unsigned Fishing Fly Set
How about this kitsch pair for the fisherman in your life?
Every pharmacist has at least one pair with mortar & pestle design. These are by Anson.
This style offers a chance to be subtle but still show your team support.
Singer Sewing Machine Novelty Set
Abacus Cuff Links
Where there's an abacus; there's a slide rule.
A Pair of Erotic Cuff Links and a 1950s Nudie Set
Maori Totem Cuff Links
These open; compass inside one and dice in the other. They are from Japan.
Wild West Cuff Links
Colonel Sanders Cuff Links
For the Chess Player. The first pair is by Swank; the second is unsigned.
That's it. Hope I've inspired you to give these little beauties a second chance!
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