Many discerning fashionistas and patricians alike can spot the infamous Cartier love bracelet in a busy room. An understated yet iconic piece of jewelry, the love bracelet has become a staple on the wrists of both men and women around the world.
The simple metal bracelet, complemented with its own individual screwdriver that secures each screw onto the wrist, was the invention of Aldo Cipullo in 1969. Cipullo came from a family of jewelers in Naples. Shortly after immigrating to America, the jeweler gained huge traction and reputational success as he worked for top Manhattan jeweler David Webb and later Tiffany & Co. in the early 1960s.
At the time, the up-and-coming jeweler’s designs, largely clean and sculptural, were reflective of the graphic modernistic movement that became Cipullo’s iconic style. However, it wasn’t until the end of Cipullo’s contract with Tiffany & Co., along with the demise of his then romantic relationship, that the idea for his most famous design arose. In his own heartbreaking words: “I felt very sad. I wanted something no one could take away from me. I was searching for a permanent symbol of love.”
Adorning a straightforward metal band with individual screws, the jeweler crafted a bracelet that secured itself onto the wrists of many. Cipullo later went on to explain that the almost utilitarian use of the screws was inspired by the American hardware stores he used to frequently visit with his brother. In this way, Cipullo’s work captures a poignant moment in his life – full of deep nostalgia, and a wish for enduring love.
In its own way, the bracelet and its significance has endured. After the prototype proposal was rejected by Tiffany & Co., it was quickly accepted by Cartier in 1970. At the time, its design was incredibly popular – it was the perfect, functional piece for consumers who heralded in a new era of fashion which promoted moods of freedom. The piece was worn by both men and women, an ode to the gender fluidity that was celebrated in the 70s, and later in the 1980s.
The bracelet at the time was also brought to the forefront of consumers by being adorned on the wrists of many celebrities, such as Sophia Loren, Richard Burton, and Princess Caroline of Moanco. Today, the bracelet is still seen as one of many on a stack of timeless pieces on the wrists of icons such as Angelina Jolie and Meghan Markle. For the keen consumer, it still remains one of the most popular pieces of jewelry worn to this day.
by Samantha Wong