Forget signet rings. You should be wearing custom cufflinks…

While signet rings come with a certain stigma attached, bespoke cufflinks are a perfectly practical investment — and fantastic, dynastic future heirlooms to boot…

What makes a man a gentleman? We’ve got some ideas. A man wears a bow tie; a gentleman can tie his own. A man orders an Old Fashioned at a bar; a gentleman can mix his own at home. A man knows to button up a shirt and tie; a gentleman knows only cufflinks can complete the outfit. But not any old cufflinks…

Custom cufflinks are the real key to sophisticated suiting. They’re the finest of finery; personalised-yet-practical touches that add a distinctive, distinguished air to any trimly tailored get-up. But they’re also tricky to get right. When we say ‘custom cufflinks’, we don’t mean novelty trinkets. If you think sterling silver aeroplanes or miniature roulette wheels are charming and whimsical, you’re better off with buttons. 

Because we mean truly bespoke cufflinks. Precious metals and personalised designs as unique as your singular signet rings. But, while these rings come with a certain stigma attached, cufflinks are both characterful and useful — a perfectly pragmatic investment, and a fantastic dynastic treasure to boot. But, as mentioned, they can be tricky. That’s why we’ve outlined three golden rules (24-carat, naturally) for creating custom cufflinks…

Keep things simple with engraved initials

It’s an easy — but exceedingly effective — place to start; your initials. Whether you’ve been blessed with a handful of marvellous middle monikers (most brands will engrave up to four initials), or you just have two characterful characters to your name, this clear-cut combination of letters is the perfect jumping-off point when creating a pair of custom cufflinks.

Like a monogrammed shirt or personalised briefcase, a pair of initialled cufflinks requires no explanation or justification. Instead, it simply shows that you’ve taken an extra, self-discerning step towards creating a complete, well-devised outfit. And, given the common, relatively easy process of engraving letters, brands from Aspinal of London to Deakin & Francis offer the service — often at a very reasonable cost. 

All that’s left for you to do is decide on the specifics. As the engraving itself is established by your birth certificate, your only choices will be picking a precious metal, selecting shape of your cufflinks, and choosing between a chain fitting and a T-bar. It’s the uncomplicated option; perfect for those keen to go customised — but lacking any strokes of creative inspiration. 

Create a future heirloom with a distinctive design

Our second option expands on the idea of initials. Because, while your forename is unique to you, your surname is shared across generations. That being so, creating a pair of cufflinks to celebrate this shared identity will give your children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren something to treasure for years to come. And there’s no better way to create a pair of future heirlooms than by getting your cufflinks engraved with the family crest.

We’ve seen everything from velvet slippers to personalised stationery bear family crests — and these stamp-sized pieces of heraldic art really are something to behold. Even if you’re unaware of it, many of you will already have a family crest — a coat of arms carried down through the male line of a family — and you can find yours through any number of online registries or genealogical services. 

Or, of course, you could create your own. Using specific heraldic symbols and colours, it is possible to build a family crest that represents your own lineage and identity — before taking it to trusted a brand such as Rebus to have it engraved on your cufflinks. Known for signet rings, the heritage jeweller offers a small range of fine gold cufflinks which can be enhanced with your coat of arms by either surface-cut or deep-seal engraving.  

Go ultra-bespoke with the full signet ring treatment

For the most creative cufflink aficionados, there’s always the full signet ring treatment. While these pinky-specific accessories have always been afforded the highest calibre of artistry and attention, few brands have ever afforded similar levels of craftsmanship to cufflinks. But the brands that do — unsurprisingly, most of these also create signet rings — do it extraordinarily well. If you really want bespoke, this is how you do it.

Ruffs, the revered British brand which creates magnificently-made signet rings, also offers a range of bespoke ‘Rufflinks’. Bespoke, the brand says, can mean any shape, size or metal, with chain connectors or with swivels, engraved or enamelled. “But, invariably,” they add, “our bespoke links have a family crest on one side and perhaps initials on the other”.

It’s the truly tailored approach; with customers being offered any combination of initials, crests, logos, engravings or even coloured enamel images. There’s even the option of die stamping, whereby Ruffs will create a 3D ‘mould’ of any object you present them with, and have it engraved onto your cufflinks. What’s more, each cufflink has two sides — meaning you can choose different motifs or designs on a total of four faces. That’s four times more personal than a signet ring will ever be and, for our money, four times better.

Forget signet rings. You should be wearing custom cufflinks…

Rebus 9ct Yellow Gold Cufflinks

£610

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Forget signet rings. You should be wearing custom cufflinks…

Aspinal of London Engraved Cufflinks

£90

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Forget signet rings. You should be wearing custom cufflinks…

Ruffs Smart Oval Cufflinks

£200

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