There are so few companies that have the longevity or influence Swank does. An empire that exists independent of and yet behind recognizable brands, such as Guess. Though Swank went by many names before the title we’re familiar with today, the standard of its cufflinks has never faltered. Swank began as the Attleboro Manufacturing Company, producing and selling only women’s jewelry. It wasn’t till ten years later, under the name Baer and Wilde, that what we now know as Swank began manufacturing a men’s line of jewelry. The line of men’s jewelry was only moderately successful till the Kum-A-Part cuff button was released and drove then Baer and Wilde to popularity.
Through this popularity, the Attleboro Manufacturing Company had expanded enough to handle the manufacturing of dog tags used in World War I. Once the war ended Attleboro ended their women’s line and moved focus to strictly men’s jewelry. They specifically focused on men’s collar buttons, holders and pins, cufflinks, and tie clips.
Moving from the name Attleboro Manufacturing Company to Swank was a fairly quick shift and actually originated as an advertising campaign in 1927 for a men’s collar holder. Attleboro first invited it’s seven dealers to form a new corporation named “Swank Products, Inc.” in 1936 and the assistance these seven dealers gave moved the new Swank Products, Inc. to a national height. The former Attleboro did change its name again to “Swank, Inc.” just before World War II and caused them to halt manufacturing men’s jewelry. The reinvented Swank began producing tools, bronze stars, and purple hearts for the military throughout the war. Once the war had ceased, Swank began diversifying their catalog and included leather goods; first on the shelves were belts and wallets.
Swank remained in the men’s fashion world until the 1980s; throughout which they began producing women’s jewelry under a variety of different brand names like “Anne Klein” and “90 Park”. This move to manufacturing their high-quality jewelry under different brand names continued into the 1990s. Swank produced more casual attire under the “Guess” name for example.
Even though they’ve evolved into a diverse company, what Swank is still known for is their high-quality cufflinks and costume jewelry. The Missing Link has tracked down many of their vintage cufflinks from the early 20th century and offer them to you, the aficionado of vintage dress:
This vintage set in an original Swank box is pure opulence of the era. This cufflink and stud set is a prime example of why Swank is still respected in jewelry. This Swank set is gold filled with red cabochons; even more incredible than the materials it is made from, it includes a 4th stud! Most stud sets had 3 studs, as discussed here
An exceptional find! This Swank set comes in the original box and is made to last with platinum inlay rims with gold filled onyx. This set comes just before Swank had to cease its jewelry production and assist in the war effort. A true piece of history that is an engaging story to share out on the town.
Rare is what we do at The Missing Link! Another vintage set to meet modern tuxedo requirements. These Mother of Pearl cufflinks, shirt studs, and vest studs are a dazzling display of Art Deco’s reign. The simplicity of this Swank design calls subtle attention to style unburdened by ostentation.
Here at the Missing Link, we treasure antiques and vintage looks, giving the modern individual options to blend with the beauty of the past. Swank is housed in our physical store as well as our web presence because their entire history is an art show, a dazzling display of beauty’s longevity. While Swank has blended into the modern era and continues to display their understanding of superb aesthetic design, it is quite incredible that they are first and foremost respected for those tiny works of art: cufflinks.
Welcome to the Missing Link, unearthed.