marketplace events links books 


silverforum archives advertise

contact us


  Part I

  by Patrick Kapty

Links to All About Cufflinks:

Part I Part II Part III Part IV Part V

Cufflinks were invented sometime in the late 16th or early 17th centuries, but weren't used much by the men of the day because they preferred the use of ribbons to tie their shirt cuffs. The first known reference in print was in 1684, when the London Gazette newspaper mentioned a pair of diamond and gold cufflinks.


It wasn't until the early 19th century that the cufflink, as we know it today, began to gain widespread use.

Fashion for men underwent a huge transformation from powdered wigs and bejeweled attire in the 18th century to a severe, almost puritanical, garb by the early 19th century. This sober costume for men was relieved by only a few small, but tasteful, ornaments for the gentleman of fashion, amongst which was the cufflink.

During the Industrial Revolution, less expensive, machine-made cufflinks were available for the average man who didn't have the deep pockets of the more well-heeled aristocratic trend-setter.


The earliest and most basic form of the cufflink consisted of
two metal plates attached by a short chain that was used to hold the shirt cuff closed. Over the years this form evolved into different mechanical configurations to suit changing tastes and fashion. Design and materials changed from decade to decade, and cuff links were made in every major style and period from Victorian to Art Nouveau, Art Deco to Mid Century Modernist, and beyond! At their best, cufflinks are an art form in miniature that reflect the spirit of their times.

 Sterling Classical Design Cufflinks, c. 1880s

 Edmond-Henri Becker
 Art Nouveau Cuff links. [above]

 Art Nouveau Silver cuff links. [right]

Photographs Courtesy of  Tadema Gallery

Artificer's Guild silver, gold, pearl, & chalcedony Cufflinks


Photograph Courtesy of Tadema Gallery


 Jugendstil silver & garnet cuff links, Germany

Photograph Courtesy of
 Tadema Gallery

Beginning sometime in the late 1960s or early 1970s and to the end of the 20th century, cufflinks began a long, slow decline in popularity.  This trend has only recently shown signs of reversal. Men have always treasured fine cufflinks, especially as heirlooms of their familial past or their own childhood memories, but the collecting specialty has grown significantly in the last few years. As demand grows, and the supply of quality design and material cufflinks gets smaller, it is inevitable that these little masterpieces of manly adornment will only get more precious with time.

Charles Horner Art Deco silver & enamel

Photograph Courtesy of
 Tadema Gallery


TG Secessionist gilded silver & enamel cuff links
 Austria c. 1912

Photograph Courtesy of
 Tadema Gallery


Fenwick &Sailors Sterling Automobiles.

Fenwick and Sailors was founded in Hollywood, California, just after World War II, by brothers, Bud and John Fenwick, with partner, Ovid Sailors. They produced a high quality line of men's sterling silver jewelry including cufflinks, tie bars, tie tacks, and key chains which were sold in upscale men's stores including the London Shop in Hollywood California and Alfred Dunhill of London.


Their designs ran the gamut from corporate designs for Coca Cola, CBS Television, and TWA Airlines to the more common figural designs popular in the 1950s, including animals of all kinds; sporting themes; transportation themes, including cars, trains, and planes; professional insignia; and even religious designs, like Saint Christopher and the Jewish Star of David.

Fenwick & Sailors Sterling
 Tennis & Bowling Cuflinks [above]

Fenwick & Sailors Sterling
Coca Cola Bottles cufflinks [left]

1950s Fenwick & Sailors Sterling Playing Cards, Trolley Car & Star Of David Cufflinks

Their jewelry was popular with Hollywood actors and sports stars. For many years, Bob Hope gave Fenwick & Sailors jewelry as gifts to his friends on his annual holiday tour for the troops.

Fenwick & Sailors Sterling &
Mother Of Pearl Cufflinks    


Fenwick & Sailors Sterling TV Camera, Radio, Microphone & Telephone Cufflinks



1950s Fenwick &Sailors Sterling
Cattle Brand Design Cufflinks [above]

1950s Fenwick & Sailors Sterling
 Oil Derrick Cufflinks






Fenwick & Sailors Sterling Ebony, & Wood Cufflinks

They produced a short-lived line of 14K gold jewelry for men in the 1960s but, in the 1970s, as sales declined, they sold the business. Their marks include “Fenwick & Sailors” and “F&S” and a later mark of “F&S” in a diamond shape.

Information from R.E. Dozier, a longtime collector of Fenwick & Sailors cuff links ,from an interview with Michael Fenwick, son of Bud Fenwick.


Links to All About Cufflinks:

Part I Part II Part III Part IV Part V

Back to the top

Article by Patrick Kapty, “Patrick Kapty California Dreamin Retro Modern” [760] 671-4879 

Photographs courtesy of  Patrick Kapty and Tadema Gallery

Web Design by Marbeth Schon

Your comments are invited. 

© copyright MODERN SILVER magazine, 2012