Sunday, June 22, 2008

Carrington & Co. sunray cufflinks, circa 1940.

The Weakest Link?

When you begin to scrutinize the backs of antique cufflinks as closely as you admire the fronts, you have undeniably caught the cufflink bug. In your defense, a close examination of the reverse of a cufflink is an important step in assessing condition and wear. Always remember, a cufflink is only as strong as the weakest link.

In this note I feature a striking pair of Carrington sunray cufflinks in the style moderne of the late Art Deco period. The original owner loved and cherished these cufflinks. They are in beautiful condition with nary a scratch or ding across the top or along the edges.

Reverse of Carrington starburst cufflinks, circa 1940.

When we turn the cufflinks over we can see just how much the owner loved them. From the wear on the cross bars and brackets, it is evident that these cufflinks were worn frequently, if not every day. Otherwise the backs are as pristine as the fronts. These cufflinks were much loved, well cared for and frequently worn.

End of the cross bars worn thin.

When checking for wear on antique cufflinks focus on the areas where the metal parts of the linkage rub against each other. For double-sided cufflinks with a cross bar linkage, the greatest wear is usually found at the ends of the cross bars.

Wear on the link rings.

You should also look for wear on the link rings that connect the cross bars to the brackets. If the cufflinks were worn frequently the wear can be considerable. In some cases, the once round link rings may have been stretched to an ovoid shape.

Wear at the apex of the bracket.

A third area of possible wear is the apex of the bracket. When the cufflinks are on the cuff the link ring rests in the apex. Movements of the cuff can cause the two parts to abrade against each other and over time weaken the bracket.

When considering the purchase of antique and even new cufflinks, it is wise to carefully examine the backs of the cufflinks with a jeweler's loupe or magnifying glass. Focus particularly on the working parts of the linkage. With a little precaution you can avoid the tragedy of the weakest link becoming a missing link.

If you would like to learn more about cufflinks from the past,
please visit our Antique Cufflink Gallery.

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