How to Choose and Wear Cufflinks

I’ve always loved the way cufflinks are both practical and decorative. A significant moment in my career was being asked to design and make the official 10 Downing Street cufflinks back in the late 90’s. I used the door, with it’s iconic decorative semi-circular window above, as my inspiration for the design which was finished with a number 10. The cufflinks were given out as gifts to leaders who visited from across the world - it’s fascinating to think where each pair could be now.

Catherine Hills Jewellery - No.10 Cufflinks commission

I’m often asked questions about how to wear and choose cufflinks so I’ve put together a quick guide.

You can shop my cufflink collection here and contact me here if you have any questions about cufflinks or would like to get in touch to discuss a cufflink commission.

Can You Wear Cufflinks with any Shirt?

Catherine Hills Jewellery - Snake Eye Cufflinks

To wear cufflinks you need holes on both sides of your cuff. Double or French cuff shirts have extended cuffs that fold back and are fastened in place with cufflinks (rather than buttons). You can also find single cuff formal shirts that are convertible, with a hole alongside the button (you remove the button if you want to wear cufflinks).

If you like a DIY project then it is possible to make a standard shirt cufflink ready - here’s a tutorial.

Types of Cufflinks

T Bar Cufflinks

Catherine Hills Jewellery - T-Bar cufflinks

I have two types of cufflinks in my collection - T Bar cufflinks (which are sometimes called bullet back cufflinks). They are easy to put on and provide the perfect finishing touch for an outfit. The metal T bar rotates by 90 degrees so you can pass it through your sleeves easily. Once in place the bar then locks back to create a T shape that keeps the cufflink in place and that sits flush against the sleeve.

Chain Cufflinks

Catherine Hills Jewellery - Acorn chain cufflinks

What’s special about chain cufflinks is that they are double sided so when they are worn both sides of the sleeve are as interesting as each other. Often I like to repeat the design on both sides, as I’ve done here with my popular Catherine Wheel Cufflinks. But with my Love Knot cufflinks I’ve created a front with the Love Knot (a symbol of never ending love) and a unique dotted bar with bauble ends for the reverse.

I thought carefully about the length of the chain on my chain cufflinks so they are still easy to put on but also stay in place when worn.

If you have seen a design you like but would like an alternative fitting do get in touch by emailing me here.

Understated Good Taste

Catherine Hills Jewellery - Textured Bar cufflinks

Cufflinks have stood the test of time and make a great gift, which is both practical and decorative. My most popular designs are classic but modern and unique.

Bespoke Cufflinks

Catherine Hills Jewellery Cufflink commision

These are a special pair of Cufflinks incorporating some silver curb belonging to someone special in his life. The curb chain has been added to my new Solid chunky plain cufflinks. These were designed so that they could be customised in many different ways. They are very strong and robust and have a heavy fixed bar between the two circular buttons.

Personalised Initial Cufflinks

Catherine Hills Jewellery - Engraved Acorn cufflinks commision

Adding hand engraved initials to a pair of sterling silver cufflinks makes a truly personal gift. I work with a very talented hand engraver, a skill that’s now incredibly rare, to create bespoke initial cufflinks. The lead time is about three weeks but if you are in a rush do get in touch by email here and I will see what’s possible.

For a friend’s 50th, we were asked to only give handmade presents. I felt like I had a bit of an unfair advantage. My gift was these half oval cufflinks engraved with his initials.

Bespoke Engraved Cufflinks

Catherine Hills Jewellery - Button cufflinks

These shiny Button Cufflinks are a new design which I created as the perfect base for engraving. They can be hand engraved with initials or even a short word or motif. Do get in touch here if there’s an option you’d like to discuss.

Unique Cufflink Commissions

Each month I also take on a small number of bespoke jewellery commissions from my Tunbridge Wells jewellery shop and atelier. You can find out more here.

Here’s some examples of past cufflink commissions.

Bespoke Swan Cufflinks

Catherine Hills Jewellery Cufflink commision

These were such a wonderful commission to work on. A pair of bespoke cufflinks for a man who was about to become a master Vintner at the Vintners Company – the swans represent the company’s emblem of two swans with grapes around their necks.

Personalised Aquamarine Cufflinks

Catherine Hills Jewellery Cufflink commision

A 50th birthday present – my egg cufflinks set with my customer’s birthstone aquamarine. They have a fixed back so they are easy to put on and we matched the dimensions to an existing favourite pair so they would fit just so.

Unique Pearl Cufflinks

Catherine Hills Jewellery Cufflink commision

These bespoke pearl cufflinks were a 30th wedding anniversary gift (pearls are the traditional gift to celebrate 30 years of marriage). I liked the idea of hinting at a pearl in an oyster shell by cupping and partially protecting the pearls in the sterling silver.

Enamel Cufflinks

Catherine Hills Jewellery Enamelled Cufflink commision

I was commissioned to make these enamel cufflinks, inspired by the city of Maastricht’s flag. It was really fun to experiment with working in another medium.

Cufflinks as an Anniversary Gift

Catherine Hills Jewellery Turtle Cufflinks

If you are looking for a pair of unique cufflinks as an anniversary gift then I often suggest thinking of special moments or a personal message as a starting point. If you share a love of nature take a look at Raspberry or Mushroom Chain Link Cufflinks. If you love to travel or being by the sea then my Turtle Chain Link Cufflinks or Urchin Cufflinks may bring back special memories.

Cufflinks as a Birthday Gift

Catherine Hills Jewellery Catherine Wheel Cufflink commision

For a special birthday then I think cufflinks hand engraved with Initials makes a wonderful keepsake. Some of my designs such as my Snake Eye Cufflinks, and Catherine Wheel Cufflinks can be personalised with stones of your choice. I made these Catherine Wheel Cufflinks for my husband's special birthday and added his birthstone, my birthstone and the birthstones of our two children to make them even more personal.

Last Minute Cufflink Gift

Catherine Hills Jewellery Serpent Cufflinks

Most of my Cufflinks have a lead time of 2-3 weeks but I do keep some stock in my Tunbridge Wells jewellery shop. So if you are looking for a last minute gift do get in touch.

You can discover my Collection of Cufflinks here or stop by my Tunbridge Wells shop in the Pantiles - I’m open Thursday to Saturday each week - you can find the opening times and directions here.