Antique Cufflinks Identification, Design & Cost Guide (2023)

Do you know what antiques give instant returns? It’s neither an old trunk nor a vintage watch. It’s old, handmade jewelry! Women have many options like necklaces and clasps. But what about the men? Well, don’t frown! You’re gonna love old cuff links!

Now, you might wonder why! First, they are handmade, and second, they have pure gold walls! They are shinier than modern alloys, so you can up your style game and fetch returns easily! And today, I’ll help you pick the real antique cufflink for the best value!

Key Takeaways

  • Check if your old cufflink has gold walls, asymmetric shapes, and gems for an old make. Also, check their logos and hallmarks to verify the brand!
  • Pick old cufflinks with hand-chiseled diamonds, rubies, or pearls for the best returns.
  • You need not run after branded cufflinks every time. You can also pick old 1700s or 1800s pieces with bronze, ivory, or gold walls.
  • You’ll get four types of vintage cufflinks – fixed, double-sided, chain, or toggle. Of these, the fixed or double-sided ones are old and precious.

How Do You Check If Your Cufflinks Are Old & Precious?

Vintage Oxidized Silver Cufflinks on Table

Check your cufflink’s post for crude grinding marks. Next, open it and check its toggle. If the toggle’s between 150 – 180°, it might be an old, handmade cufflink worth $700 – 800. But if it’s stiff, it might be new and cheap. Also, look for faded marks and a brown patina!

But if you are not that sure about the angles, here’s another checklist:

  • Oblong or Criss-cross bar with Bean or Ball shaped backs
  • Gold-washed, Rolled, or Filled loops 
  • Etched 750, 585, or 417 hallmarks
  • Single or Double fold loops, Push-button connections, and Swivel bars
  • Chased or Embossed gems – Sapphire or Diamonds with hand-chisel cuts

A Historical Retreat to Old Cufflinks Evolution

Did you know people used ribbons to tie their cuffs in ancient times? Sounds uncool, right? But they literally had no choice! You see, there were no buttons or chains!

But it was not long before Louis XIV set to work! He made a royal, two-pointed cufflink to secure stiff shirts and robes. And these changed the fashion industry! So even merchants got gold-polished but carved cufflinks for themselves!

But sadly, this trend didn’t serve for long. Well, the 1900s was the era of economic depression, so people stopped buying fancy items like these. You’ll still see some 1920s cufflinks. But those will be thin, minimal, rare, and costly!

Things started to come back to normal in the 1930s. And cufflink production started again, in full swing! But this time, machines and molds ruled the process! So, these later cufflinks are common and similar. And these will obviously be cheaper than the rest!

4 Types of Vintage Cuffs and Their Base Values

We all know that a cufflink’s value changes with its design and carvings. But what you might need to learn is that even its type and lock affects the cost! Let’s see how!

1. Fixed or Stud Cuffs

Old, Fixed or Stud Cufflinks with Gold Loops

Yes, fixed cufflinks are just what they sound like! They don’t have hinges but do have stable backs, posts, and interior heads. You’ll also find small buttonholes and a unique sliding-screwing lock with these. So, they are sturdy and cost $50 – 400, as per design.

2. Double-sided Cufflinks

Double-sided cufflinks are more like press knobs. So, you’ll see flat, fancy disks and levers on both sides! And what sets them apart are their thick, gold-filled sides and round or barrel ends. Also if they have coral or onyx knobs, their cost might go even up to $600.

3. Chain-link Cufflinks

How do you imagine chain-link cufflinks to look? Well, they’ll obviously have chains instead of levers. But you can even find chained toggles and reversible designs with these. Plus, most will have a simple, gold-plated, welded body. So, they are a bit cheap, up to $150.

4. Toggle or Snap Cufflinks

Ask your dealer if he has small, 1-inch cufflinks with a swivel bar and gems. Next, see if these cufflinks have small, sterling silver loops, gold borders, and colored faces. If yes, it might be a toggle switch from the 1950s costing about $40 – 100 for their new, minimal designs.

7 Essential Factors to Know Your Vintage Cufflinks’ True Worth

We can’t get the exact values just by knowing the types, right? For the right value, we must consider many more factors like age and design. So, let’s list those!

1. Antique Cufflinks Date & Age

Not all antique cufflinks are the same age! Each tends to differ in design styles and makes. Take the example of the 1700s ones! They were so crude and asymmetrical! But the 1800s ones were exactly the opposite – polished and fancy!

And if you love shiny, branded pieces, the 1900s ones might be best! But they are new and, hence, cheaper!

But since cufflinks don’t have any dates, here are some clues to help you out:

How Does a 1700s Cufflink Look?

Now, you might have seen old, handmade jewelry in museums. Well, the 1700s cufflinks look the same! For example, they have simple square or round toggles and bronze or copper walls. And you might even see some natural carvings and motifs costing $150 – 500.

How Do You Check If Your Cufflink Is from the 1800s?

Turn your cufflink and check its base. Does it have a coin-like, mesh, or designer back? If yes, it must be an 1800s cufflink. Also, note if it has a wrap-around or oblong shape. And you can charge about $100 for them. Plus, you’ll also get them in bold colors and coatings.

How Do You Know If Your Cufflink Is from the 1900s?

If your old cufflink has simple bean backs and levers, it’s a 1900s model. Most will have an Edwardian design with stamped patent or brand numbers. And they will also have small toggles or buttons, costing $10 – 90. Plus, you’ll get hollow or gold-plated sections here!

YearAgePatent NumberAverage Valuation
1940s83 years2472958 (usually for Toggle designs)$40 – 90
1950s73 years2974381 (usually for Stud pieces)$50 – 70
1900s123 years144883 (Fixed Designs)$40 – 80

Pick cufflinks with simple round, square, or hidden button clasps for an old make.

2. Vintage Cufflink Materials

Different Types of Old Metals for Antique Cufflinks

Now, you might think those old cufflinks always have gold or silver walls. Yes, they have those. But there are many more options that you can explore!

For example, old and rare cufflinks have natural ivory or shell walls! In contrast, the royal era cufflinks played with brass and copper! So, get a brush, and scrub your cufflink thoroughly! If it shines, it’s made from metals. But if it’s matte, it might have plant resin or enamel walls.

And here’s how much you much you’ll earn for different cufflink materials:

Antique Cufflink MaterialsEstimated Price
Ivory & Tortoise shell$1000 – 1200
Coin Cufflinks (Great Lysimachos or Alexander on Horse)$40 – 100
Bronze & Copper$30 – 70
Gutta Percha (Plant Resin) & Mother of Pearl$120 – 600
Silver, Gold & Rose Gold$900 – 3000
Enamel or Niello (Sulphur Enamel)$400 – 850

Pick cufflinks with a 375, 585, 750, 916, 999, or 14k – 22k gold hallmark for the best returns.

3. Vintage Cufflink Gemstones

Antique Cufflinks with Green and Violet Gemstones

Most of the 1800s cufflinks will have embedded gemstones! Of these, you can easily identify diamonds, rubies, and emeralds from their shine. But you might even find rare or imported stones like opal or corals with them. So, the value changes with the gem’s rarity! Here’s how!

Antique Cufflink GemstonesEstimated Price
Diamond in Rose gold$3000 – 5000
Sapphire, Ruby, Sunstone, Emerald$1200 – 3800
Pearl, Onyx & Jade$500 – 1600
Turquoise & Garnet $1300 – 2000
Opal & Amethyst$500 – 1900
Coral & Lapis Lazuli (Rare)$2000 – 4000

Get cufflinks with hammered, stone-textured, or oxidized finish to verify their handmade bodies.

4. Antique Cufflink Brands

Branded Antique Cufflinks with Sterling Silver bodies

Branded pieces always have statement designs, don’t it? So, they obviously sell well! But first, check for logos or signs on the base and sides. Or you can also check the cufflink’s packaging for the brand. Once you verify it, check the brand’s catalog for the resale price.

Also, take your piece to a goldsmith and check if it has gold-filled walls. If yes, you can hike the overall cost by 15 – 20%.

And here are easy-to-collect, vintage cuff link brands for you:

Antique Cufflink BrandOld cufflink Type or MaterialsAverage Valuation
Cartier (1847)Diamond Clip or Double-sided Cufflinks$400 – 3000
Tiffany & Co (1837)Sterling Silver or Pearl Cufflinks$200 – 700
Bulgari (1890)18k gold Coin or Chain Cufflinks$1200 – 4000
Larter & Sons (1915)Gold & Mother of Pearl Button Cufflinks$250 – 1000
Carrington (1859)Stud Cufflinks$800 – 1800

Avoid cufflinks with major chips, rust, or tarnish, as they may lose their value by 7 – 15%.

5. Old Cufflink Stud Shapes

Now, let’s check your cufflinks shape. For this, rotate the cufflink and observe its studs. Are they round, s-shaped, or oblong? If yes, these are handmade and costly. But, if those studs are abstract or twisted, they might be new and enameled. So, these might be cheaper.

Wondering how much to charge for each cufflink’s shape? Here’s a list:

Antique Cufflink ShapesEstimated Price Increase
Round, Oval, Oblong$ 6 – 12
Rectangular, Square, or Shield$ 20 – 35
Bullet Back$10 – 12
S-shaped or Whale Bank$15 – 30
Bean Back$18 – 25
Animal or Bird$100 – 750
Floral or Ball Point$60 – 200

Pick cufflinks with small, 1-inch faces and grooves. Also check if it has curved heads or twisted cords for more returns.

6. Antique Cufflink Styles

You’ll get antique cufflinks in four styles – Georgian, Victorian, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco. Of these, the Victorian ones have religious and maximal carvings. In contrast, the Art Deco ones are quirky, colorful, and polished. So, each style changes the value as shown below:

Vintage Cufflink StylesAverage Valuation
Georgian$120 – 800
Victorian$400 – 650
Art Nouveau$150 – 800
Art Deco$100 – 650

Check if your old cufflinks have oxidized gray, black, yellow, blue, or red walls for a handmade make.

7. Old Cufflink Packaging

Dust your cufflink box and check its condition. Are its wooden straps still in shape? Are the locks functional? And is the velvet or leather casing intact? If yes, you can hike your cufflinks value by 1-2%. Also, check if you get its original certificates and receipts for more returns.

How Can You Tell If Your Cufflink Is Real Gold?

Check if your cufflink has any 14k or 18k hallmarks on the surface. Next, take a magnet and see if it sticks to your cufflink. Real gold is not magnetic! So, if your cufflink sticks to the magnet, it might be alloyed or iron-mixed.

How Do You Clean Old Cufflinks?

Take a toothbrush and brush along the nooks and corners of your cufflink. You can also use a professional gold or silver solution and polish to enhance their shine.

How Do You Store Old Cufflinks?

You can store your antique cufflinks in any dust bag, jewelry box, or padded case. But don’t forget to cover them in velvet or cotton to save them from rusting.

Identifying vintage cufflinks might seem confusing at first glance! But now we know how to check the type, shape, and gem before buying one. So, just dust your cufflink, note its features, and add the values next to it! Sounds easy, right?

Want such step-wise guides for more antique silver items like powder flasks, spoons, or glass? Don’t worry! We have already got your back!

Judith Miller
Judith Miller

Judith is an antique expert with nearly 20 years of experience in the field of antique identification and valuation. She has reviewed over 30 thousand vintage items and has worked with numerous antique shops. She enjoys seeing new places, attending antique shows and events, and sharing her knowledge with people! Know more about me

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