What do the Duke of Windsor and Cary Grant have in common? They loved cufflinks. Louis XIV, however, did not. He preferred coloured string to fasten his sleeves.
Researchers found that the history of cufflinks is closely connected to that of the shirt. The idea started in 18th Century Europe, when men often used pairs of identical buttons, joined by chains, to fasten their sleeves.
The modern shirt-sleeve cufflink, in the mid-19th Century, was stiffened by starch. This made it difficult to use a button, so cuffinks grew in popularity. During the 19th Century, cufflinks became more commonplace due to advances in technology, which allowed them to be mass produced. Women took to wearing them including Marlene Dietrich, The Gibson Girls and the Suffragettes.
Cufflinks are both functional and decorative objects. Over the centuries, they have been treated as miniature canvases. Collectors prize antique and designer vintage cufflinks. This pair of initialled 9ct-gold cuffinks is valued at £50-£60.
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