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When were cufflinks invented

When were cufflinks invented? Our resident time traveller at Geek Cufflinks goes in search of answers.

Sadly, no one really knows for sure precisely when cufflinks first started to adorn clothing but the general consensus amongst cufflink-master consigliere is they that first appeared in early-16th century when the ruffled shirts of the time had their cuffs tied together with bits of string.

More recognisable cufflinks by todays standards appeared during reign of Louis XIV (1638 – 1715) when men started using identical pairs of buttons, typically made of glass and held together with a short chain, to fasten their shirts1.

late 17th century cufflinks

Found in London, late 17th century cufflinks, via Museum of London.

In short succession, these simple glass buttons gave way to jeweled studs connected by gold links and the name cuff-Link emerged with the first printed reference in 1684 when the prestigious London Gazette newspaper referred to  a pair of diamond and gold cufflinks.

Other sources however cufflinks go further back. Much further.

The National Cufflink Society reports items similiar to cufflinks appearing in hieroglyphics in King Tut’s tomb while another source2 notes that as far back as Anglo-Saxon times women used gilded bronze “wrist clasps” to hold folds of sleeves together.

So, until someone comes up with a way to travel through time (maybe Dr Who will appear at Geek Cufflinks and offer to take us) we’ll have to go with metal detector finds and archaeology to know when cufflinks were first invented.  Btw, if you’re looking for time travelling cufflinks, take a look at our range of Dr Who cufflinks.



1: New York Times, October 30, 1991

2: The Chap Magazine

London Gazzette image via RedCoat10 Wikipedia

17th Century cufflinks – image via Museum of London, Portable Antiques Scheme

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