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These new links are all the rage! Cuff links made of fordite, made of layer upon layer of dried paint from old auto factories. Awesome!

Lapidary cut, multi-layered Motor Agate (Fordite) inlays set in custom designed stainless steel. The salvaged and repurposed material set in this piece began as a hunk of cured auto paint overspray that was harvested from a major auto plant many years ago. These cufflinks have beautiful, matched Motor Agate inlays. The stainless steel cufflinks have an industrial brushed finish on the bezel and a smooth, high-polish finish on the branch and swivel bars.

With its layers of colors and psychedelic swirls, fordite resembles jasper or Mexican crazy lace. And though fordite is crafted into eye-catching jewelry, it is not a gemstone — rather, it is dried paint that built up, layer upon layer, in factories that built automobiles long ago.

And because many of the plants that produced it have been razed or mothballed, jewelry made of this material — known as enamel slag or “rough” — has nostalgic appeal.

“It’s a fun and interesting piece of history, a slice of Americana,” said Cindy Dempsey, an Illinois jeweler and designer who has been working with fordite for nearly a decade. “I’ve had people look at a piece and say, ‘That looks like a piece of the Ford Fairlane that I used to have.”

Cuff links made of fordite

The material was created through automakers’ now-defunct practice of spray painting cars by hand. Overspray in the painting bays gradually accumulated on the tracks and skids on which vehicles rested while they were painted. Over time, myriad colorful layers would build up in the ovens where the cars’ paint was hardened under high heat.