A brief guide to cufflink collecting January 06 2021

Why men collect

Men love to collect. This has long been the case and whether it is stamps, records, books, watches or cufflinks, the thrill of adding a new piece to the collection is quite the buzz. According to psychologist and writer Dr Christian Jarrett the gender bias towards men, when it comes to collecting may be best seen from an evolutionary perspective, where “it is to men's advantage to advertise their ability to accumulate resources and there's some evidence that they use prestige items to signal their fitness to potential mates.” Psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen believes that we, as humans, are either “systematisers or empathisers” and men tend towards the former, which ties in with collecting and cataloguing things. So, there it is, we have a wired-in impulse to collect and what better object to collect than the cufflink? They are small, beautiful and often made of precious metals and minerals that hold or increase in value.

A bit of history

Cufflinks really came into their own in the 19th century, where they found their place for shirts that were, then so starched and stiff that it was nigh on impossible to comfortably thread a button through the holes. By mid-century more or less every middle class man was wearing links. The designs changed somewhat as the prevalence of stiff, starched shirts waned, so the cufflink evolved, meaning there really isn’t such a thing as a ‘classic cufflink design’ although when there is a reference to one it is usually to the plain gold oval with a gold chain link.

Collecting cufflinks

The idea that you need vast sums of money to begin a cufflink collection is a bogus one. Of course, it is true that there are cufflinks that run into the many thousands of pounds range, but just as with records, hi-fi, stamps and antiques, you can start with fairly modest sums of money and go from there. A major advantage of cufflinks as an object for collecting is that they have a use as well as a mystique. You can place them in a special draw for admiring and take them out not only to buff or polish, but to wear and feel special as they glitter and sparkle in your very sleeves. Cufflinks take up very little room, compared to many other objects that people choose to collect and little masterpieces like these spiral design cufflinks which will not only provide much pleasure in pride of place in the collection, but dazzle all and sundry when you wear them. You will also find yourself upping your suit and shirt game to match!

Unlike some collections, which have a finite number of pieces, some proving inordinately expensive as they are scarce, you do not suffer such limitations for a cufflink collection. You can dip in and out, choose your own prerequisites and boundaries and the possibilities are endless. There are plenty of cufflink collectors out there, so bespoke and pieces of quality always remain desirable.