Gentlemen’s accessories with mourning and sentimental motifs are common in relation to their use. In the section of necklaces and chains, there are examples of fob chains made from hair and with mourning symbolism. Less commonly found, however, are pieces like the above cufflinks.
Originally, these monogram cufflinks with glass and hair would have been separate pieces, but over time they have been turned into a brooch. Restoration is now underway to return them to their former glory. Accessories for gentlemen range from rings to fob chains and lockets and even vinaigrettes, but cufflinks are more difficult to find than most other pieces.
Men’s costume in the 19th century evolved from the opulence of the 18th century to the armband. Women became the focal point for mourning and the household, men’s regulations were freed from their previous obligations. By the turn of the century, men removed all gilt buttons, buckles and Court swords and replaced them with black ones. Cloaks were worn to funerals, until they were replaced in the latter century with diagonal sashes in black or white crape. These cloaks were often only worn by the undertaker’s men post 1860, but had gone out of fashion by 1890. In a stark contrast to women’s mourning wear, only the black armband was necessary with a black suit. The black suit was not necessary for mourning, as the armband was representative enough.