Jewelry Made for Men

Collar studs

collar stud
Brass and mother-of-pearl front collar stud. MCHS object 2017-301-0013-FIC.

This is a collar stud. A man used a collar stud (also known as a collar button) to secure the ends of a detachable collar to each other and to his shirt. The flat, “button” part of the collar stud, in this case made of white mother-of-pearl, lies inside the shirt and collar, against one’s neck. The round end of the collar stud pushes through the layers of shirt and collar and protrudes to the exterior.

man wearing a collar stud
Photograph (cropped) of Edward Lowell wearing a collar stud. Collar button magnified at right. (Circa 1910, based on photograph type, photographer, and subject’s age.) MCHS photograph 1987-182.


gold cufflinks
Pair of 14k gold cufflinks, monogrammed “JL”. MCHS object 2017-301-0019.

This pair of monogrammed 14k gold cufflinks, and the collar button above, belonged to James Love. James was born in 1886 and wore these jewelry pieces in the early 1900s. He farmed the homeplace his grandfather established in 1830 in Quercus Grove, a community in Hamel Township, Madison County, Illinois. James and his sisters also created a showpiece garden of native flowers.

Cufflinks came in several different styles. When James Love wore the cufflinks above, he would thread the curved arm through the cuff buttonholes so that the monogrammed face would appear on the side of the cuff facing the public. The plainer, lozenge-shaped backing would be on the side of the cuff that faced him.

The bullet-shaped toggle backings on the cufflinks shown below swivel to make them easier to thread through the cuff buttonholes.

toggle-backed cufflinks
Toggle-backed Anson cufflinks bearing the initial “F” in script. The Anson brand was established in 1938. Donated to the Madison County Historical Society by Edward H. Fresen. MCHS object 1989-081-0003.

Two-piece, snap-style cufflinks provided identical decorative faces on both side of the cuff. Unfortunately one could easily lose half of a cufflink, rendering the remaining half useless. That’s probably what happened to the purple guilloché enamel cufflink below right.

snap-style cufflinks
Left: Silver-toned snap-style cufflinks with mother-of-pearl insets. Marked “PAT. SEPT. 14-20,” i.e. patented on September 14, 1920. Worn by Arthur Robert Rich with his tuxedo. MCHS object 1988-080-0001. Right: One-half of one snap-style cufflink of purple guilloché enamel surrounded by a silver-toned and black enamel setting. Marked “B&W CO.-PAT’D [i.e. patented] 1923.” MCHS object 2017-301-0028-FIC.

Chain-style cufflinks also had two decorative faces. The chain connecting the faces prevented losing one of the faces, but they were trickier to use.

chain-style cufflinks
Gold-toned, hexagonal chain-style cufflinks with mother-of-pearl insets and center rhinestones. Worn by Arthur Robert Rich with his tuxedo. MCHS object 1988-080-0002.

Tuxedo shirt studs

Arthur Robert Rich (known as Robert) wore the chain-style cufflinks above with a set of matching shirt studs, shown below. The jewelry ensemble accented his tuxedo.

In the Victorian Era, men and women both adhered to strict fashion codes. Propriety dictated specific attire for each time of day and type of activity. The tuxedo, also known as the English dinner jacket, started out as semi-formal wear. Invented in the 1880s, it was named after Tuxedo Park, a summer resort in New York. A man could wear a tuxedo for evening parties or dinner at a friend’s house, as long as women were not present. Otherwise, he needed to wear a full dress coat with tails. The tuxedo didn’t become acceptable formal evening attire until the 1910s.

Robert was born in 1909, just when the tuxedo became a wardrobe staple for men. Robert started out as a tester at the Shell Oil refinery in Wood River, Illinois, working his way up to foreman by the late 1960s. His wife donated two sets of matching tuxedo studs and chain-style cufflinks (including the set shown here) to the Madison County Historical Society in 1988.

Today most men don’t own a tuxedo. Many men only wear a tuxedo once in their life – at their wedding – and choose to rent the tuxedo and its accompanying jewelry. But in the past, when men wore tuxedos fairly frequently to evening dinners and parties, it made sense to own your own.

tuxedo studs
Set of three tuxedo studs with mother-of-pearl insets and center rhinestones. Worn by A.R. Rich with his tuxedo. MCHS object 1988-080-0003.

Tie clips

three tie clips
Rectangular, brass tie clip with opalescent white mother-of-pearl face, MCHS object 1991-031-0327 (top); triangular, blue tie clip with multi-colored flower mosaic inset, MCHS object 1983-013-0006 (middle); rectangular tie clip striped in different shades of gold, MCHS object 1989-081-0006 (bottom).

A tie clip keeps the bottom length of tie hidden under the top part. It also attaches the tie to one’s shirt so that the tie doesn’t hang down when the wearer bends over. Basically a tie clip keeps one’s tie neat and tidy. In the photographs below, the wearer on the left has successfully implemented his tie clip. The wearer on the right demonstrates an example of ineffective tie clip use.

tie clip wearers
Left: F.M. Scott, Madison County Superintendent of Schools. 1924. Cropped from MCHS photograph. Right: One of the first Madison County Jury Commissioners. 1940. Cropped from MCHS photograph 1993-054-0290.

Sources consulted for this article include Wood River (Illinois) and Edwardsville (Illinois) city directories, United States census records, and the following additional sources:

  • Gernsheim, Alison. Victorian and Edwardian Fashion: A Photographic Survey. New York: Dover Publications, 1981. Available at the Madison County Archival Library.
  • Maclochlainn, Jason. The Victorian Tailor: An Introduction to Period Tailoring. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2011. Available at the Madison County Archival Library.
  • Moorhead, Katharine. History of Quercus Grove Community. Manuscript. May 27, 1973. Madison County Historical Society.
  • Rosinos, J.G.E. Show Garden in the Country. Manuscript. Circa 1959. Madison County Historical Society.
  • Speidel. “Anson.” Accessed August 3, 2017.
  • Stulik, Dusan C., and Art Kaplan. The Atlas of Analytical Signatures of Photographic Processes: Platinotype. Los Angeles: The Getty Conservation Institute, 2013. Accessed August 4, 2017.
  • Walkup, Fairfax Proudfit. Dressing the Part: A History of Costume for the Theatre. Rev. ed. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1950. Available at the Madison County Archival Library.
  • Weinstein, Robert A., and Larry Booth. Collection, Use, and Care of Historical Photographs. Nashville: American Association for State and Local History, 1978. Available at the Madison County Archival Library.