The History Of Cufflinks: From Functional To Fashionable

Cufflinks have been around for longer than anyone has been alive – several hundred years, in fact.

However, in centuries past, cufflinks were not as we know them today. Certainly, men wore shirts with cuffs that needed to be fastened together, and going back to the 13th and 14th centuries they used that very simple answer: a piece of string! Hardly what you would call decorative or attractive, but at least it was functional.

However, a piece of string is not really what you want when going to dinner or your friend’s birthday party, and so men began to use pieces of coloured ribbons to tie the cuffs together, which worked just as well as the string but at least looked a lot more attractive.

Then came the reign of Louis XIV in France and along came the invention of “boutons de manchette”, or in English, “sleeve buttons”. These were a pair of simple coloured glass baubles that were joined together by a short chain that had links. The chains were usually of either silver or gold, and so were not for the man in the street, but for the more wealthy. In fact, you can still buy cufflinks today that are of a similar design using a chain, although to our minds, they are a bit fiddly to put on.

More Ornate Cufflinks Using Jewels

In the mid-1700’s the silver or gold chains remained, but the “sleeve buttons” began to give way to far more ornate buttons made using jewels, which were often diamonds, but could also be emeralds, rubies, sapphires, or lesser stones such as pearls or corals. Again, these were for wealthy men. King Charles II popularised these by wearing them and showing them off in public.

Eventually, we got to the Industrial Revolution, and this enabled manufacturers to produce cufflinks using metals of various kinds, and also covering them with patterns. Thus the “common man” could at last join in, as the cost of cufflinks became affordable for everyone.

Today, we go much further, because cufflinks can have any type of pattern that you wish and can also have a much easier method of fitting, such as the bullet back or whale back style.

At Wimbledon Cufflink Company we offer a huge range of different cufflinks in a wide variety of designs. We are proud to be considered as manufacturers of what many of our customers tell us are the best cufflinks in the UK. These include our Heritage Range of cufflinks which enable you to display your pride in the country of your birth, whichever of the four countries of the UK you belong to. Take a look at our gallery to see what we mean.