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Cuff Links: Vintage Men's Jewelry Now Coveted By Women

Posted by Laurie Zeiden on

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

Cuff Buttons


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

Snap Links


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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