As a purveyor of good junque, I am always on the look out for estate sales, auctions, antique malls, etc. Back when I had my bricks and mortar store, folks used to bring me boxes of "stuff" that they felt may be worth something to someone(else). Things that they no longer had a need or want, but the items were just too interesting to throw in the trash. Often times, as in this case, there were some wonderful bits and pieces to be had.
This particular box contained an odd set, if you will, of wonderful findings that belonged to only one man. Now that I have an on-line store, as a rule, when I list items the descriptions are, well..."just the facts ma'am". You know, age, size, condition, etc. Sometimes I will add bits of information from the experts as to a company's history or an artist's bio but, this entry somehow called for a story.
Although the real story is unknown to me, I have some wonderful ideas of how these circa 1880 - 1910 cufflinks stayed together as a set. My scenario is a romantic one and very elaborate and maybe a little like film noir. I imagine a stylish Hollywood crime drama involving a mysterious scoundrel bachelor.
Each of the cufflinks is of high quality in its craftsmanship and design. Rubies, Amber, Czech Glass, Gold, Rolled Gold, Steel, Mother of Pearl, and Brass are just some of the fine ingredients making up the tangible part of this story. The gentleman that owned these must have had a great sense of fashion. My guess is he was also very handsome and he would have been a man of means. Or, maybe they were gifts from his best girl.
The fact is that there is only one of each remaining. Smart in his look, as he must have been, careless was he in his demeanor, I would venture. Where, oh where were the mates lost? Many a gay evening of theatre, parties, and clubbing, or were they given away to a young lady? Do you think he kept the remaining because of a romantic attachment, or was he tight fisted and upset because they were expensive. Did he hope or expect to find the missing link one day?
I hope to find a new home for these in the way of a crafter or collector, or, just as with me, an inspiration for imagination. They are too wonderful to just dispose of but can no longer function as originally intended.
There are six, all together and all are around the same average size. Only one has a makers mark. Double C's surrounded by overlapping diamond shapes. Most scream Art Nouveau. A fire breathing dragon and a sleek steel Greyhound, one a little more traditional, but all are very elegant. Each is in excellent antique condition with their original patina intact.