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Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

T’S been a while since I men­tioned the young ap­pren­tices but both have flown the nest and nei­ther is so young any­more.

How­ever, the younger of the two came home the other day sporting a pair of cuff­links, each bear­ing an ini­tial of his name.

He’d been a grooms­man at a friend’s wed­ding and they were a gift to thank him for his ser­vices.

He wasn’t sure what to make of them. Too os­ten­ta­tious? I told him to watch Dragon’s Den. Blingy, show-off jew­ellery at­tracts multi-mil­lion­aires and not just the ladies.

Touker Su­ley­man, owner of quintessen­tially Bri­tish menswear brand Hawes & Cur­tis – he bought it for £1 – is a par­tic­u­lar devo­tee of ini­tial cuff­links, al­though why he needs his ini­tials on his shirts is be­yond me.

Tele­coms en­tre­pre­neur Peter Jones is not far be­hind, al­though his cuff­links are some­what more un­der­stated.

The boy has some way to go be­fore he at­tains such sta­tus, but there’s noth­ing to stop any of us start­ing a col­lec­tion of cuff­links, an­tique or oth­er­wise. Not all of them need cost a fortune, al­though a lot can.

The shirt with so-called “French cuffs” was the rea­son why cuff­links be­came an es­sen­tial on a man’s dress­ing ta­ble. Be­fore then, and since the 14th cen­tury, ruffed shirt sleeves (and col­lars) were se­cured with rib­bons at court, while coloured strings served for ev­ery­day gar­ments.

In fact, the so­phis­ti­cated French cuff orig­i­nated in the UK and got its name only when the fash­ion reached America. We called it the fold­back, turn­back or the dou­ble cuff and, as its name sug­gests, it was (and still is) dou­ble the length of the nor­mal cuff.

This is folded back on it­self and held, in the early days, by six holes for but­ton fas­ten­ers, rather than today’s four. When the cuff got dirty, this per­mit­ted the wearer to fold the dirty part out of sight and se­cure it by mov­ing the fas­ten­ers.

No one is cer­tain when this change in shirt de­sign evolved, but by the turn of the 18th cen­tury, the well­heeled soon en­joyed show­ing off their wealth by re­plac­ing the plain fas­ten­ers with gold but­tons, some­times set with jew­els.

It didn’t take a ge­nius to re­alise that link­ing the but­tons to­gether with a short chain made them more se­cure and easy to use, Cuff­links as we know them today were born.

The Sun King, Louis XIV (16381715) of Palace of Ver­sailles fame had

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