Cufflinks – How They Work

Cufflinks have a long history in men’s fashion and have been around since the early 16h century when they first appeared in France. Until those days, the cuffs of shirts had been tied up with pieces of string which, while practical, hardly did a lot for a man’s appearance.

During the reign of Louis XIV cufflinks were developed from coloured baubles of glass held together by a short chain and known as boutons de manchette or “sleeve buttons”. By the early 18th century, these had been developed further into studs connected by gold or silver links.

Today, of course, we have cufflinks in an almost endless array of designs and patterns, and in a variety of materials. There are also different types of closure. The majority of modern cufflinks have a front face which is the part of the cufflink which shows on the outside of the wrist, so on the right wrist it is on the right-hand side and on the left wrist, the left. This is attached to the post which is what goes through the holes in the cuffs, and at the bottom of the post is a toggle which folds through 90° and locks the cufflink into position. You fold the toggle so that it is parallel to the post, slip it through the cuffs, and then twist it 90°. Simple.

Different Types Of Toggle

There are different types of toggle, the most common being the bullet back, where the toggle – unsurprisingly – looks like a bullet. You can also get a whaleback cufflink where the toggle looks like a whale’s tail.

But not all cufflinks work like this. There are some which have a face on each end of the post and are called stud or button style cufflinks. As you might imagine, these are not so easy to put on. There are also ball return cufflinks which feature a large ball on the end of the post opposite the face, and the post is curved. Then there are chain link cufflinks which have two identical faces attached by a chain. There is also a modern design of cufflink which has a dual action locking mechanism where both the face and the toggle move into position.

On top of that, you can also still buy silk knot cufflinks in a range of colours which are made of silk and are knotted at each end. Again, a bit more difficult to put on, but not the sort of cufflink you would want to wear to a formal occasion or for business. However, they are very, very cheap.

Of course, cufflinks can be made of a range of different materials, including platinum, gold, silver, titanium, copper, bronze, stainless steel, and even metal alloys.

When it comes to the face of cufflinks today, there are endless different patterns and choices. You can have cufflinks that are made of enamel and glass which are made by hand-applying finely ground coloured glass to a stamped design. Then you can also have cufflinks that incorporate precious or semi-precious stones in the face, and as you can imagine, they can cost a considerable amount of money.

Many of our customers like our Heritage range of cufflinks which use designs in silver and gold that are based on traditional features, such as our Scottish Shield cufflinks. These incorporate the Royal Banner of Scotland which is also known as the Lion Rampant. The cufflinks show the lion rampant in red on a yellow shield all set on a deep blue background. The Scottish Shield cufflinks make the perfect gift for that man in your life who hails from the north of the border.