Saturday, April 5, 2008

Creature Comforts

Unger Bros. Possum Cufflinks, circa 1900.

The jewelry and taste makers of the decades around 1900 (the Late Victorian and Art Nouveau periods) were extremely fond of jewels featuring animals and insects. It is fair to say they were a little critter crazy.

Among cufflinks of this period you find a diverse menagerie of exotic and mythical creatures. From traditional links sporting foxes and hounds to the fantastic hybrid creations of the Art Nouveau jewelers. In between dwell lions, possums, dragons and griffins.

Art Nouveau lion cufflinks by Larter & Sons

Here I feature a wonderful pair of gold cufflinks from about 1900. The cufflinks feature regal lions prowling through a jungle of swirling vines. The cufflinks beautifully illustrate the sinuous, flowing curves and asymmetry of Art Nouveau design. It is reasonable to wonder if a pair of cufflinks like these inspired C.S. Lewis when he wrote The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe several decades later. There is something magical about the Art Nouveau designs.

Crafted in 14kt gold, these cufflinks nicely evince the artistry and craftmanship often found in antique cufflinks. The links were created by Larter & Sons, a firm founded in 1865 and still making jewelry today. In several earlier posts I discussed the distinctive gold and enamel cufflinks created by Larter & Sons during the 1920s.

Larter & Sons gold and black enamel cufflinks.

Larter Gold and Enamel Cufflinks, circa 1920

If you enjoy elegant cufflinks from the past,
please visit our Antique Cufflink Gallery.

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