How to Choose the Right Cufflinks

Cufflinks date back as far as the early sixteenth century, and have often made a statement within men’s, and, indeed, women’s, fashion. They’re both functional and ornamental, and really finish a shirt off. However, this doesn’t necessarily make choosing cufflinks an easy job!

If you’re buying cufflinks as a gift, it can be harder still. There are a few simple rules that independent jewellers everywhere will suggest you follow in order to get it right.

Cufflink Types

There are several different types of cufflinks, and their names tend to correspond to their closures. These are:

  • Bullet back and toggle closure cufflinks: these are the most common type of cufflink and are easy to use. They have a secure fastening which is flipped 90 degrees to line up with the post to secure.
  • Whale back and toggle closure cufflinks: similar to the bullet back, the closure, which is shaped like a whale tail, flips flat against the post and back again to lock it.
  • Chain cufflinks: These are the most traditional type of cufflinks and are comprised of two rectangular pieces of metal suspended between a thread of chain.
  • Stud / button cufflinks: the most secure type of cufflink, they are also the most difficult to fasten, simply because the ball on the back is immovable. However, they are smaller and lighter in weight, and therefore suit some people better.
  • Ball return cufflinks: these give a looser fitting than bullet cufflinks, and the back is simply pushed through the shirt button hole to fix.


If you’re choosing cufflinks to wear for a specific event, then you must consider the occasion. For formal events, opt for cufflinks that contain precious stones, such as diamonds, rubies or opals. If you choose cufflinks with coloured stones, always match them to the colour of the shirt you are wearing.

If precious stones aren’t for you, then choose a simple plain gold or silver cufflink for a formal event. For black tie events, go all out with titanium, glass or enamel cufflinks in muted tones. Keep fabric cufflinks for informal events.

As Gifts

As a general rule, if you’re buying cufflinks as gifts, then go with the less is more rule. Cufflinks are meant to enhance an outfit, not overshadow it. By choosing plainer cufflinks made from glass, titanium, gold, platinum or silver, you’ll be giving your recipient the gift of versatility in terms of how they wear them.

What About Novelty Cufflinks?

Although they can make a great conversation starter, unless you know the recipient really well, we’d suggest not buying them as gifts. They can only really be worn to informal gatherings – such as Christmas parties – and you do run the risk of them languishing unloved in a drawer! Stick to classic, and you won’t go wrong.

Jewellers in Ilford will happily help you choose cufflinks for any occasion or as treasured gifts. Why not pop along to E.K. Jewellers for local help with this task? Our experts have over 35 years’ experience, and can help you be a ‘cuff’ above the rest!

Posted on by Ian Tubby.