Terms and Descriptions for Antique & Vintage Cufflinks
Aesthetic – Engraved symbols of flowers and butterflies, natural motifs,
Chased – A raised design moulded into the metal from the reverse side
not cut into the mould.
Chrome – Shiny metal, the same as on cars, particularly popular
in the 1920’s and 1930’s.
Edwardian – Cufflinks made between 1901 and
Enamel – Literally a pigment of vitreous nature composed of powdered potash
and silica bound with oil and coloured with metallic oxides. Block enamel is not transparent, guilloche
enamel is – see separate description.
Engine-Turned – A technique of engraving
with a continuous pattern, produced by hand or machine.
Fix – French mark denoting
gold chasing – always a high quality.
Foliate – Motifs of flowers or leaves.
Gilt Metal – Gold plate on base metal.
Gold Fronted –
A layer of gold over a base metal core.
Gold Filled – The same as
Gold Plated – A process of electroplating, can be very thin.
Guilloche Enamel – The process of covering engine-turned with transparent enamel through which
you can still see the engine-turned design.
Import Marks – Foreign items that may
have their own marks but have also been assayed on import and have English hallmarks as well as the import symbol –
an oval with a cross through it.
Intaglio – A design etched out from the reverse side
of domed glass, crystal, quartz or other material. Sometimes then in-filled with enamel paint.
Niello – A process of inlaying powdered matt alloy into silver particularly used in France
and Russia and also Turkey (though usually with less finesse). The effect looks rather like polished grey
steel and silver.
Paste – A substance used to simulate precious stones, but different
Rose Gold – Gold has alloys in it to make it useable. Pure
gold is too soft to be practical. One of the alloys used is copper, this gives gold a pinkish tint which
was particularly popular in the late 1890’s and the early part of the 20th century.
Gilt – Gold plating on a silver base – also called gold on silver.
– Cufflinks made between 1837 and 1901.
White Metal – The term used to describe
silver that is not hallmarked with British hallmarks.
Yellow Metal – The term used
to describe gold that is not hallmarked with British hallmarks.
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