History of Cartier LOVE Bracelet
The Cartier LOVE bracelet was created by Aldo Cipullo in 1969. The young Italian designer was working for Cartier during a time when a generation was enthralled with the “make love, not war” ethos. Cipullo also realized that this demographic was open to the idea of a new, contemporary love token that owed little to traditional jewelry expressions of the time. Drawing inspiration from the shackles of a chastity belt, he designed the jewel for both men and women (a unisex bracelet was unheard of at the time), and initially insisted they be sold only as a pair.
Aesthetically, Cipullo steered away from any fussiness, paring back the bracelet to the bare minimum of a simple, flat, yellow gold cuff, punctuated with industrial-style screws. The rivets on the bezel were a gentle homage to the Cartier Santos watch. Two of these were functional, fastening the tight-fitting bracelet to the recipient’s wrist, “locking” the giver and receiver into a jewelry love contract of sorts.
Nicknamed Aldo Americano in Italy, Cipullo had always been drawn to America, and New York in particular. Inspired by the industrial elements of the city and a fascination with hardware, Cipullo designed the Cartier LOVE bracelet, which was heralded as the emergence of modern jewelry design. The bracelet challenged the concepts of “day” and “night” jewelry by being worn constantly. The very idea of preciousness and what constitutes a love token was suddenly challenged.
Much of the story of Aldo Cipullo’s creation can be traced to rejection and ideals of love. The first sketch for the piece happened after a breakup, driving the jeweler to create something that would signify the eternity of love bonds. At first, Cipullo showed his prototype to Tiffany and Co., and it was after the house passed that he offered it to Cartier. “After all, love symbols should suggest an everlasting quality,” Aldo Cipullo said at the time.
Cartier at the time was going through changes, with the Cartier family selling the maison to a group of investors. The new owners fully embraced Cipullo’s Cartier LOVE bracelet and allowed him to sign his piece, an honor the Cartier rarely gives to designers. Cartier gifted the LOVE bracelet to famous couples of the moment, including Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Ali Macgraw and Steve McQueen.
Aldo Cipullo went on to create other pieces for Cartier before he prematurely passed away at the age of 42. His Nail bracelet (Juste un Clou) also uses simple forms and offers a new take on a plain hardware piece. But nothing quite beats the simple perfection of the original Cartier LOVE bracelet, a lasting legacy of one man’s ability to capture the zeitgeist and render it in gold.
Cartier LOVE Bracelet Variations
The modern Cartier LOVE Bracelet comes in three metals, yellow gold, white gold and rose gold. The LOVE Bracelet can be purchased with and without diamonds. The diamond studded LOVE Bracelet was introduced in 1979. Originally the LOVE Bracelet was created as a bangle but today is is also available as a cuff that is easier to take on and off. The Cartier LOVE bracelet comes in 6 sizes and can be engraved. The LOVE Bracelet is oval shaped so it can fit as closely to the wrist as possible.
The Cartier LOVE Bracelet is one of the most popular and iconic bracelets. Today, the LOVE bracelet remains an important product for Cartier. The Cartier LOVE jewelry has also expanded to include rings, necklaces and earrings but the LOVE Bracelet remains the most popular. Its popularity has reportedly forced New York’s maternity units to have their own screwdriver at hand to remove bracelets when needed.
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