The style that once meant opulence, luxury, and prestige in the early 20th century still draws the present to its rich designs and sharp beauty. Art Deco still resonates with many, even outside of those who endeavor to remain in an aesthetic time period (such as those interested in swing dancing or steampunk lifestyles). Art Deco emerged in response to the Art Nouveau trend of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a rejection of the curved and floral shapes, moving to angles and lines born out of Cubism. Though an amalgamation of many styles, it is largely defined by a departure from femininity in form.
Art Deco is more obvious when it is shown in architecture, interior design, and painting; but as it pertains to jewelry or subtle accessories, it is often an unappreciated detail. You’re here because you value all adornments in dress, specifically cufflinks, and studs; you treasure the details of an outfit, suit, or tuxedo. For those who seek the style that once meant modern prestige and now conveys an air of sophistication, cufflinks and studs from the Art Deco period are a necessary element of that aesthetic.
All elements of art were reinterpreted during the heyday of Art Deco; materials and designs used in jewelry easily applied to cufflinks and studs. The affinity for gold, the then-standard of diamonds and pearls, was dropped in favor of more colorful gemstones such as rubies or emeralds. When diamonds were used, they were taken from their prominent centerpiece positions and cut into part of the supporting design of these more vibrant gems. Rather than gold, jewelers began using platinum for setting. Darker materials such as enamel and black onyx were used to improve contrast and the era of polished machinery, sharp angles, and stark differences reigned. The new designs for jewelry bled into cufflinks and studs as well. Good looks and style were never only the domain of women.
While the liberation of the fairer sex meant they could wear bracelets on the higher arms as well as on the wrists, the increasing acceptance of smoking in public for these lovely dames also meant new ornate cigarette cases. No accessory was left untouched by the shift in styles. The men kept up with shifting trends in jewelry, namely their pocket watches, cigarette cases, cufflinks, and studs. During this period the waistcoat was still in use, so three studs and two cufflinks were still the standard.
Pairing the studs to the cufflinks is a bit of a “duh,” but what would these items match with? While matching isn’t strictly necessary, the sets could reflect the same patterns or colors of one’s pocket watch or tie clip. Either way, a color scheme is important. For example, if wearing purple amethyst cufflinks and studs, the tie could be amethyst as well or some other blending color.
Here are some examples of Art Deco Cufflinks & Stud Sets from the Missing Link store:
A perfect example of black enamel dominating cufflinks, the platinum used to outline the rich depth of the bejeweled ornament. It’s a simple elegance, like an old school Gucci tuxedo.
With a mother of pearl center and beautifully laid out design made of abalone and platinum, a testament to the change in materials mentioned earlier. Once the First World War hit, these incredible metals were switched out due to scarcity. This antique is quite a find.
Before Art Deco took hold of the world, the centerpieces were often diamonds. Here is an example of other gems taking center stage and getting their due, a cufflink & stud set from the 1920s with an Amethyst center. While diamonds and mother of pearl are still present, they’ve taken quite the back seat.
While the heydays of various styles trend on and off the global stage of aesthetics, that doesn’t mean they are no longer applicable or can’t be resurrected for an evening to indulge a preferred decade. Art Deco is one treasured moment in a cornucopia of beauty that can be brought forth onto the contemporary tuxedo.