Van Esser: largest collection of animal cufflinks worldwide

In addition to the ‘Van Esser A One’ – his own mechanical watch – and his typical, very recognizable bracelets, the Hasselt jeweler Denis Van Esser has also developed his own identity in the field of cufflinks. In fact, with his ‘Noark’ collection, Van Esser is likely to offer the largest collection of animal cufflinks in the world.

Denis Van Esser: “Show me your cufflinks and I’ll tell you about what you are like”

“Perhaps there is someone on the other side of the globe who offers an even more extensive collection of animal cufflinks. In any case, I don’t know about it ”, Denis Van Esser tells us. He is probably right, because from Moscow to New York to Beijing, … the demand for Van Esser’s animal cufflinks comes from the farthest corners of the world. “Animal cufflinks therefore form a specific niche within the area of cufflinks and that is what makes them so special”, Van Esser continues. “In addition, the animal images naturally appeal to the imagination of many people and are usually also linked to feelings, forces or symbolism. Cufflinks in the shape of salmon, for example, symbolize life.”

“The animal images naturally appeal to the imagination of many people and are usually also linked to feelings, forces or symbolism. Cufflinks in the shape of salmon, for example, symbolize life.”

Fits like a glove
By the way, did you know that it is important to choose cufflinks which match your personality or enhance your personality? Someone with playful cufflinks is more likely to be seen as someone who is easier to get along with. “When someone visits me and opts for a particular animal, after a while I also understand why that customer has chosen that specific animal. Sometimes the animal cufflinks refer to one’s life story, or rather emphasize the character of the person in question. Recently, a customer entered the store to order blue monkey-shaped cuff-links with red ruby eyes. The man seemed rather reserved but soon his playfulness and sense of humor emerged during the conversation. In short, his cuff-links are made for him. ”

I already sold cufflinks during the opening weeks of my store more than thirty years ago, but the Noark collection itself was created in the late 1990s. It started with a frog, my favorite animal because in many mythologies it symbolizes wealth and prosperity. In addition, the cufflink shape is very suitable for all occasions. Later, a customer demanded owl-shaped cufflinks. As the son of a farmer, the man – although he now lives in the big city – had developed an enormous fascination with owls. His parents used to have the nocturnal animals in the grain loft to catch the mice. For the man in question, his collection of owls now actually forms a connection with his youth. I am also regularly contacted by companies with an animal in their company logo. They have cufflinks made for their staff or as a promotional gift. Because admit it: a set of animal cufflinks is a great gift to give and to receive. ”

Noë’s ark
‘Noark’, the name of the collection, is a deliberate reference to Noë’s ark, the famous story from the Old Testament. An international sounding name that appeals to almost all religions and nationalities. A conscious choice, just as Van Essers strives to work always with the best materials. “A necessity, especially in these times, because no one is waiting for a set of cufflinks just like that. You have to earn customers by making special things in design but also in quality”, says Van Esser. The Noark animals – be it the cufflinks for Mr. or the matching earrings for Ms. – are a combination of Belgian design and Italian craftsmanship and are made of 18 carat gold, covered with different colors of enamel. “Because we master the technique of enameling right down to the tips of our fingers, we can also recreate the colors of the animals faithfully,” says Van Esser. “You can create any color with enamel, which makes the material ideal for what we want. It is not without reason that the famous Russian Easter egg manufacturer Fabergé also worked so much with enamel, just like the American jeweler David Webb or the Milanese Pierino Frascarolo. By the way, it is the latter who taught my enamel teacher the tricks of the trade. ”

“Animal cufflinks: stylish accessories for added value seekers”

Noble materials
The eyes of the Noark animals are invariably executed in gemstones. Combine this with the hours of manual labor and you will understand that the cufflinks have their price tag (from 3,550 euros onwards), but that clearly does not prevent their success. The cufflinks even turn out to be a worthwhile investment. A few months ago, a set of blue frogs sold at a Brussels auction for more than the purchase price ever paid in the shop. “Designing never stops,” Van Esser continues, “and this despite the fact that I already have so many ideas and designs ready in my mind that I will run out of time in my life to execute them. It’s a kind of unrest in me which every designer knows: when something is completed, something new has to be made. And as a designer you have never finished your creations and imagination. In addition to my work, those cufflinks are also my hobby. I can keep working on it. ”

More info:
Van Esser Antwerp, Schuttershofstraat 32, 2000 Antwerp, tel. 03-236 31 84,
Van Esser Hasselt, Kapelstraat 17, 3500 Hasselt, tel. 011-22.32.50, fax 011-23.45.04,

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