How we classify antique goods so
you know what your getting is what we have said they are?
Classifying antique goods is not always an
exact science. However, there are various ways in which we can identify items. In Great
Britain we have a thorough and efficient system of hallmarking. The hallmark not only guarantees that the
goods are made of silver or gold, it also identifies the gold content and the town and date of assay. Therefore
if a description on a pair of cufflinks says:
‘9 carat gold, Birmingham 1912’
can be assured that the cufflink is hallmarked. Other countries’ cufflinks may have a different mark
and the classification of some of these is covered by European Union regulations. These regulations are
in the process of being formalized and there are many discrepancies and anomalies in the current guidelines, but generally
speaking you can use the terms gold and silver about most pieces emanating from EU countries and also those made before 1920.
For non-EU, American and cufflinks which are post 1920, as an industry we are not supposed to use the term silver and
gold unless they have a British import mark.
Where antique American cufflinks show the appropriate
marks, we do identify both 10 and 14 carat gold. Where items do not carry a hallmark or are not made from silver
or gold, the date is determined by the style of the cufflink. As styles changed dramatically between 1880
and 1940 it is fairly easy to determine the date to within 5-10 years.
Cufflink Descriptions & Terms
Dates & Styles of
Antique & Vintage Cufflinks
Victorian – (1837-1901)
Hand and machine engraved designs – often leaves, scrolls and flowers.
Art Nouveau – (1890-1920)
Pretty, soft lines, cherubs, female figures, pastel coloured enamel and mother-of-pearl.
Edwardian – (1901-1910)/
The period between 1895 and about 1915 – but generally the same type of styles.
Art Deco – (1920-1945)
Linear and angular designs, geometric patterns, block colours and bright coloured enamels,
use of black onyx.