Saturday, March 1, 2008

British Cufflinks

Great Britain has a long tradition of creating beautiful and elegant cufflinks. The bespoke jewelry ateliers of London, large manufacturering jewelers in Birmingham, and workshops like Charles Horner in Halifax have all contributed to the history of the British cufflink. Here are two examples from the Edwardian and Art Deco eras.

The Edwardian era created exquisitely crafted cufflinks that seem to float with light, airy opulence. The materials of choice were platinum, pearls and diamonds.

Above is a pair of British cufflinks that exemplify the Edwardian style. Swirling mother-of-pearl centers are surrounded by reeded platinum borders. In the center a small pearl rests in a milgrained platinum collet. These cufflinks are the epitome of the phrase "cool white". Crafted in platinum and 18kt gold, circa 1900.

The tradition of stylish elegance was continued between the first and second World Wars. Many British cufflink makers created beautiful gold or gold-over-silver cufflinks with intricately engraved linear designs. The cufflinks often featured Art Deco motifs, such as rising sunbursts and soaring designs reminiscent of Art Deco sky scrapers.

The links I have chosen to illustrate feature a background of fine diagonal lines overlaid with an engraved diaper (diamond shape) pattern. The main diagonals are intricately engraved with a geometric design reminiscent of an endless stairway in an M.C. Escher print. Crafted in 15kt gold, circa 1930.

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