Cellini's recipe

Stylish, antique cufflinks made of silver niello, probably Florence around 1940

The Florentine artist Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571) was one of the most talented goldsmiths of all time. In addition to important goldsmith works such as the so-called "Saliera" for Francis I of France, which is now kept in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, he is also responsible for two treatises on the art of goldsmithing, which he published in 1568. For many goldsmiths, these treatises were for a long time the basis for the art of alloying different metals, as well as for the processing of surfaces and the correct setting of precious stones. In the first tract, Cellini describes a craft technique, ancient in origin, for inlaying surfaces of gold or silver with dark, almost bluish-gloss inlays that are very resistant and durable. This technique, called "niello", is reminiscent of inlay work in furniture art and manages to create smooth surfaces that shine in two colours. The silver cufflinks here showcase this ancient technique. The pair each presents a round button, the surface of which is decorated with foliate ornamentation against a nielloed ground. It is highly probable that the buttons were made in Florence in the years around 1940. The well-preserved cufflinks are a style-conscious and classic eye-catcher on your shirt, with which you will be suitably equipped for any occasion.

As early as the 16th century, the forerunners of today's shirts were created, whose sleeves could be tied together with a silk ribbon. Although silk cuff bands remained popular until the 19th century, from the time of Louis XIV sleeve endings were increasingly closed with boutons de manchette, or cufflinks, typically pairs of colored glass buttons connected by a short chain. During the 18th century, these glass buttons were replaced by elaborately painted pieces or pairs set with precious stones. At this time, cufflinks were widespread as distinct luxury items, mainly in aristocratic circles. In the first half of the 20th century, cufflinks also peaked in popularity among the middle classes, and in the last 10 years, cufflinks have experienced a noticeable upswing, as many fashion designers are once again paying more attention to accessories, and thus, fortunately, more shirts with cuffs are being sewn again. Nowadays, cufflinks are one of the few pieces of jewellery that can adorn men. Why don't you make a fashion statement on your sleeves - a dignified pair of cufflinks made of noble material is so much more stylish than plain shirt buttons made of plastic!

We want you to be 100% satisfied! For that reason, we examine, describe and photograph all of our jewellery with the utmost care.

You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

Should you for some reason not be satisfied, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can begin to find a solution together. In any case, you can return any article within 30 days and we will refund the full purchase price.


We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.