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Various Designs of Cufflink

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This article introduces four types of cufflink designs, including the closing mechanism, motif, fabric cufflinks, and interchangeable cufflinks.


cufflinks design


Closing mechanism

Cufflink designs vary widely, with the most traditional being the "double-panel," consisting of a short post or (more often) chain connecting two disc-shaped parts, both decorated. Whale-back and toggle-back cufflinks have a flat, decorated face on one side, while the other side shows only the swivel bar and its post. The swivel bar is placed vertically (aligned with the post) to put the links on and off, then horizontally to hold them in place when worn. The decorated face on the most visible side is usually larger; a variety of designs can connect the smaller piece: It may be small enough to fit through the buttonhole as a button would; it may be separated and attached from the other side; or it may have a portion that swivels on the central post, aligning with the post while the link is threaded through the buttonhole and swiveling into a position at right angles to the post when worn.


Links of knotted brightly colored silk enjoyed renewed popularity in the 1990s, joined by an elasticated section.


Motif

The visible part of a cufflink is often monogrammed or decorated in some way, such as with a birthstone or something that reflects a hobby or association. There are numerous styles, including novelty, traditional, and contemporary. Cufflinks can and have been worn with casual wear, informal attire, or business suits, all the way to very dressy styles such as semi-formal (black tie or stroller)  and formal wear (morning dress or white tie), where they become essentially required and are matched with shirt studs. Colorful and whimsical cufflink designs are usually only suitable for casual and relatively informal events and signal someone who is fun-loving, approachable, and friendly. However, formal wear has stricter expectations, with pearl cufflinks being preferred for white-tie events. Traditionally, it was considered important to coordinate the metal of one's cufflinks with other jewelry, such as a watch case, belt buckle, tie bar, or ring. Sartorial experts prescribe gold to be worn during the day and silver for evening wear, but neither expectation is considered as critical as it once was.


Fabric cufflinks

An alternative type of cufflink is the cheaper silk knot, which is usually two conjoined monkey's fists or Turk's head knots. The Paris shirtmaker Charvet is credited with their introduction in 1904. They became quickly popular: "Charvet [link] buttons of twisted braid are quite the style" noted The New York Times in 1908. French cuff shirts are often accompanied by a set of color-coordinated silk knots instead of double-button cufflinks. They are now often not from silk and consist of fabric over an elasticated core. Due to the popularity of this fashion, metal cufflinks shaped to look like silk knots are also worn.


Interchangeable cufflinks

Interchangeable cufflinks have started to come back into the marketplace in recent years. Cartier introduced their type in the 1960s consisting of a bar with a loop at either end that would allow a motif to be inserted at either end perpendicular to the bar. Cartier referred to the interchangeable motifs as batons. A set including the bars would come with batons made from coral, carnelian, lapis lazuli, rock crystal, onyx, tiger's eye, and malachite. Bars would have been made from stainless steel, sterling silver, or 18k gold.


Cartier recently re-introduced these interchangeable cufflinks with batons made from striped chalcedony, silver obsidian, malachite, sodalite, and red tiger's eye. The accompanying bars are made from 18-karat gold or palladium-plated sterling silver. The securing mechanism is the same for either series using a small screw inset into the looped end of the bar. The pressure exerted by the screw on the baton holds them in place.


Another type of interchangeable system was created by pranga & co. The cufflink system comes apart allowing the motif, referred to as an Anker, to slide on. Putting the cufflink back together secures the anker into the cufflink allowing it to be worn. pranga & co's cufflink is simple and similar in concept to charm bracelet bead systems popularized by companies like Pandora Jewelry. The ankers used in the cufflinks are interchangeable with various charm bracelets systems and visa-versa.


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