Unlike many male accessories, which are best kept stylishly simple, cufflinks are the perfect opportunity to express yourself. Small and discreet, you can be creative without feeling like everyone in the room is looking at you. I never register a man’s cufflinks unless they’re bold and original. They might be a little detail, but a great pair will never go unnoticed.
The brothers in charge at Deakin & Francis are at the forefront of the quirky cufflink revolution. A quick browse of their website throws up hand-painted enamel designs, coloured gemstones and charming little creatures, including lobsters and tree frogs. “Over the years, our styles have become famous for their diversity and we always like to have a little fun,” says managing director Henry Deakin.
“One of our biggest lessons last year was to keep being different and offering unique pieces – to be outrageous. Some of our show-stoppers became our bestsellers – the hairy Viking cufflinks and mechanical owls, for example, had fantastic reviews. Our craftsmen pay close attention to every detail to ensure we produce pieces that amaze, astonish and last a lifetime. While classic and sophisticated will always be a core part of our offering, we also expect the trend for different and quirky to remain popular.”
Pinner & Co is a new jewellery brand from Manhattan that also offers a range of gold cufflinks with an unconventional style. My favourites are the Cleavers, which are scaled-down models of a sharpened meat knife.
The rose-gold handles have been faithfully recreated, right down to the screws, and the polished blades gleam like the real thing – perfect for the home chef with aspirations of opening their own restaurant one day.
If your idea of foodie heaven is meat in a bun, Lydia Courteille’s burgers look convincingly like the real thing, with layers of tomato and lettuce sandwiched between a carved jasper bap. “l make around five pairs of cufflinks a year, not more, just for my private customers, inspired by what they love,” says Lydia. “My clients love them because they are usually oversized, sometimes gothic and always provocative and unusual.”
I was recently introduced to the wonderfully over-the-top world of Dolce & Gabbana fine jewellery for men, where the wearing of ornate filigree brooches is encouraged and the selection of cufflinks is as elaborate as they come. What sharp-shooting businessman wouldn’t love the fun design, below, with a pistol firing a heart-shaped bullet?
Italian jeweller Vhernier is well known for its menagerie of animals, and its lifelike creatures have made their way on to cufflinks too. Choose from crabs, caterpillars or, my favourites, toucans in carved cornelian or mother-of-pearl for an eccentric take on contemporary.
Alina Abegg’s Alien cufflinks are destined for the cuffs of sci-fi buffs, and if scuba-diving is your passion, enter Stephen Webster and his sapphire-set hammerhead sharks. Fast cars more your thing? Pimp your ride with Theo Fennell’s Garage Door cufflinks, which can be personalised with miniature paintings of your pride and joy.
With hundreds of quirky designs out there, the trick is to hunt out a pair that suits you, recommends Henry Deakin: “Cufflinks are the gentleman’s must-have accessory – they are all about reflecting your personality. At Deakin & Francis we really do have something for every passion. From a subtle finishing touch to a bold statement piece, there are no rules. Simply choose a pair that makes you feel good.”