antique men’s jewellery has a long and rich history. It has been used to display status, family crests and even as a fashion statement.
You only have to look at the famous portrait of Henry VIII by Hans Holbein to see how wealthy men wanted to show off their wealth. Even their clothing was encrusted with jewels.
Every piece of jewellery has a story behind it and cufflinks are no exception. These stylish little accessories have been around for centuries and have been worn by everyone from kings to Mick Jagger. They are the elegant, fun part of a man’s formal dress code and they can be made from just about anything.
Cufflinks were originally a very simple design, simply holding two shirtsleeve cuffs together. They were then embellished with engraved gold and silver or even gemstones. It was around the time of King Louis XIV that they really started to get noticed and they became fashionable.
One of the most popular types of cufflinks was the cloisonne enamel style that reached its peak during the early 20th century when skilled craftsmen like Faberge were producing them. They are also known as baton cufflinks and they feature bars with loops at either end which can hold interchangeable motifs such as acorns, flowers or stars.
The signet ring was once a symbol of power and status. These rings would have a crest or family coat of arms engraved on them and were worn on the pinkie finger of your non-dominant hand. They were used to authenticate documents, seal jars and prevent tampering.
The flat top of the ring was rolled over clay or wax to create an impression. These seals were not easy to replicate, making them a good form of authentication.
In modern times, a men’s signet ring can be customised with engravings like initials or symbols and can also feature gemstones like emeralds, amethysts and rubies. Jewellers like Dima Nawbar from L’Atelier Nawbar offer modern interpretations of this classic piece and some are even shaped to look antique.
If you prefer a more minimalist design, choose a steel signet ring. This style is easy to wear with any outfit and will coordinate well with your favourite watch. This is an ideal option for the discerning gentleman who prefers a clean, simple style.
The tie pin (also known as a stick pin or tie clip) is one of the most elegant men’s jewellery accessories. It’s a small metal bar that slides over the tie and prevents it from moving more than a certain distance away from your neck. This accessory is great to wear with a stroller suit or morning coat and adds a touch of class to your outfit.
Tie pins have been in vogue since the 1800s and they are often adorned with jewels. In the Victorian era, wealthy English gentlemen would use them to keep their fine woven silk ties and starch-dusted cambric or muslin cravats in place. This men’s fashion accessory was a symbol of wealth and social standing, so many were designed with motifs such as animals, shields, gemstones and monograms. They also made a great gift for groomsmen or other groups of men. These days, you can find them in a wide variety of shapes and designs.
Men’s jewellery has been worn for both function and fashion since ancient times. For example, sailors wore gold hoop earrings as life insurance – if they washed up on a remote shore, their family could claim a financial sum for a proper Christian burial. Wealthy Victorians adorned themselves in diamond and gemstone rings, necklaces and brooches. It was during this period that the tie pin was invented, originally to keep the silky folds of a cravat or scarf in place.
As technology advanced, jewellers were able to produce a wide range of designs for men. By the mid-century, men’s jewellery had undergone a dramatic change with bold coloured and oversized cufflinks and tie pins being commonplace. This was a time of prosperity, after food rationing had been lifted and technology allowed for mass production. During this time, many successful people began to wear flashy jewellery including musicians such as Elvis. Today, men still wear dress sets to add a sophisticated finish to formalwear. At LaCkore Couture, we offer a number of antique dress set pieces that can elevate your look.