Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Cufflink Mystery

Antique cufflinks are miniature windows into the past. Cufflinks often celebrate great historical events and intimate, private milestones. They evince the spirit and fashions of an era and the aspirations of the wearers. And sometimes antique cufflinks pose a mystery.

I purchased the above cufflinks from a Boston estate several years ago. They feature an impish fellow wearing a crown of laurels and holding a scroll marked "DECREE" or "DEGREE." In his right hand he clutches a long pole or staff and his right foot rests on a small ball. Other clues are the "99" on his shirt and the word "QUINDECENNIAL."

My initial thought was that the cufflinks celebrate the 15th anniversary (the quindecennial) of an important event, possibly a graduation or decree issued in 1899. But what is the meaning of the impish fellow, his laurel crown and the accessories? Any suggestions?

When you turn the cufflinks over the mystery deepens. The sterling cufflinks are marked with a crown, an elaborate "T" and a prowling lion. These form the maker's mark of Charles Thomae & Son.

Charles Thomae & Son is a wonderful jewelry and silver manufacturer based in eastern Massachusetts. What is puzzling is that the firm was founded in 1920. So how was a pair of cufflinks created to celebrate an anniversary in 1914 made by a jewelry company that was not founded until 1920? Perhaps only the Shadow knows.

If you are intrigued by cufflinks, please visit
our Antique Cufflink Gallery.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Blackinton Cufflinks

Several weeks ago I wrote about enamel and gold cufflinks created by Larter & Sons. Here is another nice example from the firm R. Blackinton & Company.

This pair features double borders of black enamel surrounding classically-inspired laurel wreaths. In the center is a geometric motif reminiscent of Japanese designs. The cufflink designers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were adept at combining design elements from diverse cultures and historical periods. Crafted in 14kt gold, circa 1900.

R. Blackinton & Company was a maker of fine jewelry and accessories in gold and sterling silver. In addition to cufflinks Blackinton is noted for Egyptian Revival silver accessories created during the decades around 1900. The Blackinton maker's mark is a "B" impaled by a sword.

To learn more, please visit our Antique Cufflink Gallery.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Art Nouveau Cufflinks

Art Nouveau cufflinks crafted in 14kt gold.
Created by Krementz in 14kt gold, circa 1900.

Krementz & Company is one of the oldest and most prolific of the American jewelry makers. Over the 150 years since the firm's founding in 1866, the Krementz family has been involved in almost every aspect of jewelry design and manufacturing.

One summer while on break from Yale, Richard Krementz, son of the firm's founder, took a bike tour of Europe. During his travels he fell in love with the sinuous curves and exotic themes of Art Nouveau design.

Upon his return to the United States, his new passion found expression in beautiful enamel brooches and wonderful gold cufflinks featuring sinuous curves.

Krementz Art Nouveau cufflinks crafted in 14kt gold.

Flowing, unrestrained curves were a hallmark of Art Nouveau design. These elegant gold cufflinks from the early 1900s beautifully capture the spirit of the age. The sinuous curves recall the artwork of Alphonse Mucha and Aubrey Beardsley. Created by Krementz & Company in 14kt rose and yellow gold, circa 1900.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Sapphires and Scrolls

In the early decades of the last century Wordley, Allsopp & Bliss (and several successor firms) created beautiful gold cufflinks. Engraved with graceful pendant swags and accented with elegant scrolls, the cufflinks recall the Neo-classical designs of the late 1800s. The cufflinks were often set with cabochon sapphires and decorated with dark enamels.

Crafted in 14kt gold, these "swag and scroll" cufflinks exemplify the exuberant elegance of the 1920s. They are set with dark blue cabochon sapphires. Created by Allsopp-Bliss Co., circa 1920.

Allsopp-Bliss also created a "swag and scroll" dress set crafted in 14kt white gold and set with cabochon sapphires. The bright white gold and blue sapphires give the set a jazzy sparkle. The dress set consists of cufflinks and three matching shirt studs.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Carrington Platinum Cufflinks

Another pair of striking solid platinum cufflinks from the 1920s. This pair features linearly engraved centers surrounded by scrolling wave-like borders. On the back they are engraved "12-25-23". Somebody had a very good Christmas in 1923!

Like the pair I featured earlier, these platinum cufflinks were created by Carrington & Company. Carrington was a maker of fine cufflinks and other jewels during the first half of the last century, 1900 to 1950. They made beautiful gold and platinum cufflinks for many of the finest retailers of the day, like Tiffany & Company.

Solid platinum cufflinks from the early 1900s are rare. In the early 1920s platinum cost eight to ten times as much as gold. So platinum cufflinks were often made with only a thin layer of engraved platinum on top of 14kt yellow gold.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Larter Gold and Green Cufflinks

Another pair of Larter & Sons enamel and gold cufflinks. The rich green enamel borders surround golden concentric circles and brightly polished golden dimples. The design nicely illustrates the bold geometric look of the Art Deco era. Crafted in 14kt gold, circa 1925.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Antique Platinum Cufflinks

Carrington platinum swirl cufflinks. (J8475)

Beautifully crafted platinum cufflinks that epitomize the cool elegance of the 1920s. This pair features intricately engine-turned radiant centers surrounded by wave-like borders. Crafted by Carrington & Company, circa 1920.

Antique platinum cufflinks are relatively rare. Because of the scarcity and costliness of platinum, few platinum pairs were created. Then, during World War II platinum jewels were often sacrificed to support the war effort. Recent record prices for platinum and gold have undoubtedly resulted in a further loss of fine antique jewels. The survival of an exceptional pair of platinum cufflinks is a rare event.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Gold and Blue Enamel Cufflinks

A striking pair of gold and blue cufflinks from Larter & Sons, maker of elegant cufflinks during the early decades of the last century. This wonderful pair features rich golden snowflakes surrounded by regal blue enamel and gold borders. Crafted in 14kt gold, circa 1920.