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Below are the interview conducted by me with Derek Anastasia, King of Enamel Cufflinks. Find out what made him collect over $500,000 worth of enamel cufflinks! 1. Hi Derek, what is the greatest satisfaction that you get from collecting enamel cuff links? Derek: Finding that next pair or single to include in my Collection. 2. I understand that enamel cuff link collectors are really a rare breed and your focus is on enamel alone. I can say it really makes you "The King of Enamel Cuff Links." What is the greatest challenge you face when collecting enamel cuff links? Derek: "King" ? Well, in the small world (sorry for the double-entendre pun) of cuff link aficionados I'm known as " Baron von Enamel. " As to " the greatest challenge I face when collecting enamel cuff links? " See the answer to question 1. above! 3. Derek, you also provide enamel cuff links appraisal services. What are the basic factors that you look for when doing a valuation? Derek: First and foremost ... Condition. Condition. Condition. Second, the type of metal used in the cuff link. Third, the number of colors incorporated in the enamel along with the enamel's opacity; is it translucent or opaque. Fourth, the art design that graces the cuff link. Fifth, the age of the cuff links. Sixth, is there a maker's mark. And if so, what is the prestige of the maker. And finally, all six factors taken as a whole in no particular order to ascertain the cuff links proper valuation. 4. Over the years of collecting enamel cuff links which pair of cuff links do you consider to be the most valuable? Derek: It's very hard to have a single favorite (i.e., "valuable"). I have a lot of favorites and they all have a significant meaning to me. However, there's one pair that stands out above the rest because it's the pair that I call the 'Mother of All Enamels'. Why? Because it has the image on one face of the Tour de Guilloch machine (it's the hand-cranked lathe that applies the design on the metal [a.k.a., 'engine turn'] underneath the enamel) and on the other face it has an image of an industrial firing kiln. 5. Where can a person who just started an enamel cuff link collection find more information? Derek: My web site,enamelcufflinks.com. After that, it depends on what particular question one has about enamel cuff links. The Internet is a smorgasbord of information. Further, jewelry dealers at antique shows are excellent sources of 'on the cuff' information. 6. Which pair of cuff links do you wear the most? Do you wear other cuff links other than enamel type? Derek: I rotate a tray of cuff links in/out of the collection and go one by one through the tray to wear each. After all, one must show love to all of one's children! "Wear something other than enamel on my cuff links?" Blasphemy! 7. What makes you focus on collecting enamel cuff links and why is it still so popular? Derek: The 'gemlike brilliance' of vitreous enamel. I find it totally captivating. Since man discovered how to convert silica and oxides into enamel ... I think others have found the brilliance equally captivating. 8. I saw the National Cuff Link Society's publication 'The Link' mention that enamel cuff links were only 25 cents in the 1920s and subsequently, the price went up to $3.00 in the 1930s. Do you consider that period to be the peak of enamel cuff link manufacturing? Derek: Yes, that period was the zenith in popularity for adorning jewelry with enamel. 9. How much can a pair of enamel cuff links be worth if they date back to the 1880s? Derek: Almost assuredly, if the pair comes from that period they would be "cuff buttons." They were the modern day precursor to cuff links. See the answer to question 3. above! 10. Where do you suggest cuff links collectors look for a pair of enamel cuff links to invest in? Derek: People can always e-mail me with their requests. Once again, the Internet is a great source; all the major online auction sites have enamel cuff links worth looking at. Also, visiting antique shows in your home city is viable sources for hunting these small treasures. 11. In one issue of 'The Link' publication, you wrote a two-part article on enamel cuff link restoration. Is it still common nowadays for people to restore their enamel cuff links? Derek: No. First, finding a competent enamel restorer is very difficult; a restorer that actually uses vitreous enamel and not the cheap "cold enamel" otherwise known as epoxy (using epoxy will totally devalue any pair). Worldwide, vitreous enamel restoration is a bit of a lost art. More restrictive, is the cost. It's very expensive and can price a pair out of their current market value. 12. It seems to me enamel cuff links restoration is a bit of work. Where can we find this form of unique service and how much does the service cost? How would you consider a pair of enamel cuff links worth restoring? Derek: Once again the Internet comes to the rescue. A search will uncover some sources. But again, caution is the word of the day. The first question to ask is does the restorer use vitreous enamel. If so, great, all other questions follow such as cost, time it takes to restore, etc. If the restorer uses cold enamel a.k.a., 'epoxy'), then think very very hard about using that restorer; applying epoxy to a cuff link does not make an enamel cuff link ... it makes for a plastic cuff link. That said, once you find a proper restorer, throw out all of the logical reasons as to why and why not to restore. If the beholder's eyes love the pair ... well, there you have it. Well, Special thanks to Derek for contributing to the cufflinks community. Let us all revive this beautiful art piece again. I am sure you do agree that cufflinks do tell a story for a particular event in your life.
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