Cufflinks may be a rare sight in Western men’s clothing these days, but in the Middle East they have become a status symbol – adding a personal touch to the traditional gown-like outerwear worn by men in the United Arab Emirates and United Arab Emirates. neighboring Arab countries.
After all, these links are worn on the sleeves of a thawb (pronounced “thobe”) (also called a kandoora or disishdasha), so they stand out more than a Western suit.
In a bustling corner of Dubai’s Gold Souk, jewelry has become an important product of a business founded in 2009 by five immigrants from different countries.
“We offer cufflinks with the customer’s name or his initials in Arabic or English,” said Junaid ur Rehman, co-founder of Necklaces by Samaa and the company’s creative director. “We decided to personalize our jewelry and cufflinks. , so that everyone has a piece of jewelry that is completely their own.”
Over 14 years, the company has grown from producing only necklaces to producing other accessories, including men’s jewelry. The company now offers 19 cufflink designs, all made in sterling silver by 35 full-time employees at the souk in the Deira neighborhood, commonly known as “Old Dubai.”
The links, often engraved with the wearer’s initials or name, are designed by the company’s calligraphy experts and then crafted into a series of cut-out letters or, on more traditional links, lasered onto their flat or rounded surfaces Sculpture. Prices for the engraved and skeletonized versions range from AED 319 to AED 445, or $87 to $121.
Mr Lehman said the growing popularity of cufflinks was not limited to local Arabs buying them for themselves. They have become popular gifts to impress clients or mark the end of a business transaction, while cheaper versions are often given to visitors as souvenirs.
“We work with 25 to 30 companies in the UAE to provide gifts to their best employees or foreign visitors,” Mr Rehman said. “We also make cufflinks as gifts for Christmas, graduations, Muslim holidays like Eid, birthdays, weddings and anniversaries.”
For London jeweler Deakin & Francis, one of the oldest jewelers in Europe, founded in 1786, cufflinks were suddenly a popular item in a part of the world the company had only recently begun to discover, despite a steady stream of arrivals from Arab countries. Insert cufflinks. Visitors visit its London flagship store.
“Thawbs are a very plain piece of clothing with only three ways to really express yourself, like a watch, a pen and cufflinks,” says Henry Deakin, partner and seventh house at Deakin & Francis. One generation of his family has been in the business.
In February, the company, which sells mainly online and in London stores, began selling about 30 different cufflink designs at the Rivoli men’s store in the Dubai Mall. Deakin said he is also in talks with some retailers in Qatar about starting sales there.
The most popular cufflinks among Middle Eastern customers, including those worn in the UK, are two diamond-encrusted 18-karat white gold cufflinks, priced at £15,710 and £18,860 ($19,575 and $23,500) respectively.
Mr Deacon said interest in customized links had also grown over the past few years. “For this market, we are providing a large number of customized products for customers who need 3D models of pet falcons, cars or boats,” he said.
A recent commission from a Qatari client actually did depict a falcon, crafted in gold and white gold with ruby eyes. Another customer in the area wanted cufflinks in the shape of his private jet. Mr. Deakin said there are many details that need to be perfected with a custom product. It cost around £10,000.
“It was very important that we get the number of windows on his private jet right,” he added with a laugh.