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Cufflinks are used for certain shirts that have French Cuffs on them, which will have two buttonholes on them instead of the normal one. These are decorative fasteners designed to fasten both sides of the cuffs. Not only do men wear them, but also women as well. Most cuff links have some sort of design or decoration that faces out and a pivoting post that secures it in place. Some of them have straps that can wrap around the edges of the shirt's cuff as well.
The first Cufflinks were used in the early 16th century by King Louis XIV who used simple glass buttons linked with a chain. After 1715, more decorative studs with jewels or painted were used (typically diamonds) and were connected with gold links. During the late 1800s and end of the 19th century, the Edwardian style was quite popular. Cufflinks contained 14 karat gold along with precious stones laid into them. Not only were stones and gems like agate, onyx and diamonds used, but also other charms like coins, lion heads, and royal symbols. One popular manufacturer was Fenwick and Sailor, which produced many exotic designs. Many of these antique cufflinks are not only valuable because of the collectible's history, but also the rare stones and precious metals in them.
A new type of enameling process was used in the 1920s and 1930s for cufflinks and was already popular with other jewelry-making for rings, necklaces, brooches and bracelets. Silver cufflinks were also crafted by silversmiths in Taxco, Mexico in the form of animals and birds. Taxco has always been very widely known and famous for making silver jewelry. Another popular manufacturer is Royal Copenhagen, who produced beautiful blue and white colored porcelain cufflinks. This company is known for using the blue color throughout many of their products. Wedgwood is another famous brand for producing Jasperware cufflinks.
As time went on, different styles and functionality were produced. A new style came out called the dumbbell cufflinks, which had a back piece in the shape of a dumbbell that would be the right size to fit into the buttonholes. This were typically one solid piece, but some had chains instead. Doubled-face Cufflinks are another major new style in which both sides of the cuff links have decorative designs. These are sometimes referred to as "Double-Panel" and "Double-Side" cuff links as well.
After World War II, cufflinks became a big hit and many people built up their own personal collection of different vintage cufflinks to use along with their collection of neckties. One particular company that was popular back in the day was Swank, who produced over 10 million pairs annually. They were known for producing brass styled ones or in the shape of crowns. Some were even plain brass or black squares, which was both professional and stylish. These were not exactly super expensive, but they did make very nice and cool looking cufflinks with semi-precious stones including quartz, topaz, rhinestones and marble. Swank also produced custom designs with unique logos and symbols as well.