Christie’s specialist and cufflinks collector Claibourne Poindexter explains what he looks for and why, and selects his highlights from our online sale, which runs 1-13 December
For my high-school graduation, I was lucky enough to receive a handsome pair of Verdura cufflinks as a present from my parents. I found myself entranced by their subtle beauty, admiring the stones and the way they played with the light when I wore them. As time went on, I found myself looking at new examples from the larger jewellery houses and attending auctions and antiques shows to find vintage cufflinks, steadily building a collection that I wear often and proudly.
In regards to what I look for today in a pair of cufflinks, I find myself gravitating increasingly towards antique examples that I know I’ll never see someone else wearing, as well as classic pieces created by makers such as Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co., whose pieces remain as relevant today as they were when they were first created in the middle of the last century.
When Angelina Chen and I went to view this particular collection, we were handed tray after tray of cufflinks. Although they varied greatly by maker, material and period, the collector’s personality shone through the array of miniature jewelled works of art that he had assembled. The common thread is an extraordinary quality of design and workmanship, befitting of a connoisseur who sought to acquire the very best examples of both signed and unsigned pieces.
I have always had a special place in my heart for David Webb jewellery, and the frog motif is one of the famed American jeweller’s most readily recognised. Style icons over the past 50 years have owned and worn Webb frog jewels, and the blue and green enamel versions in these cufflinks are a variation on an enduring classic.
It’s always a pleasure to wear a pair of cufflinks that are unique. The Hemmerle family creates beautifully streamlined jewels out of unconventional materials, including copper, aluminum and iron. For this particular pair, blackened iron is used to set off the colour of the oval cabochon moonstones, creating an unapologetically bold statement for the wearer.
We are fortunate to have an exceptional variety of Cartier cufflinks in this single-owner collection, which shows the breadth and variety of the house’s work. While it was difficult to choose just one, this particular pair — set with reversible sides of diamonds and sapphires — gives the wearer multiple options, and are a wonderful example of cufflinks that could be worn day into evening.
As someone who has a collection of The Amazing Spider-Man comics, I was immediately drawn to these cufflinks. The enamel is executed beautifully and displays the superhero in mid-flight. They will undoubtedly provoke fond memories for many, whenever and wherever they are worn.
Verdura’s cufflinks are the perfect mixture of whimsical and wearable. When I first saw this particular pair, I was immediately struck by the detail and quality of workmanship. Fulco di Verdura had the ability to design and create jewels never before imagined, including a wide variety depicting flora and fauna. These cufflinks are a beautiful example of his incredible talent as one of the greatest jewellery designers of the 20th century.
For a first-time buyer of cufflinks, it is always worth acquiring a predominantly gold pair that can be worn on all occasions. These Taj Mahal cufflinks are one of Jean Schlumberger’s most celebrated designs, the texture of the gold and central sapphire element setting the wearer apart without creating an over-the-top statement.
I love the bold look of Bulgari jewels from the last 30 years, and the colour combination of steely hematite juxtaposed with the bright pink of the square-cut tourmalines would add a pop of style to any gentleman’s oufit. These types of bold Bulgari jewels, featuring unexpected colour combinations, continue to gather strength in the secondary marketplace.
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