Style Highlight: The Cartier Love Bracelet

Style Highlight: The Cartier Love Bracelet

One of the most Googled pieces of jewelry in the world, the Cartier Love bracelet has long been hotly desired by luxury jewelry lovers. This unique bracelet revolutionized fine jewelry, reflecting the ethos of ‘60s and ‘70s New York City while retaining a timeless quality. Over half a century since its release, the aptly named Cartier Love bracelet still symbolizes the power of enduring love.

The Cartier Love bracelet was created by Aldo Cipullo in New York City. It was the first piece of jewelry Cipullo designed for the brand, and it was actually not originally intended to be a Cartier design. Prior to coming to Cartier, the Italian born designer worked at Manhattan jeweler David Webb and then Tiffany & Co. In 1969, when Cipullo’s contract with Tiffany was set to expire, the designer went through a breakup that led him to create the Love bracelet. Inspired by American hardware stores and medieval chastity belts, Cipullo set about designing a piece of jewelry that physically symbolized romantic love. He stated, “I felt very sad. I wanted something no one could take away from me. I was searching for a permanent symbol of love.” After his design was rejected by Tiffany & Co, he brought it to Cartier, where it was immediately accepted.

The Cartier Love bracelet is a simple gold band with screw motifs. Referred to as a “modern love handcuff,” the Cartier Love bracelet was designed to be worn extremely close to the body and can only be removed with a special screwdriver. This unique unisex design revolutionized the concept of fine jewelry – unlike other pieces that are only worn for special occasions, the Cartier Love bracelet is never meant to leave the wrist. (Rumor has it that some New York City hospitals have a stash of these screwdrivers in case a Love bracelet needs to be removed in an emergency.) Vivienne Becker, author of Cipullo: Making Jewelry Modernstates that the Love bracelet “captured the spirit of the time when sexual liberation and casual luxury were coming to the fore.” Elegant with a hint of subversion, the Love bracelet instantly became a Cartier icon.

The Cartier Love bracelet was intended to be worn by two people in love, and so the brand allegedly promoted the bracelet by sending it to famous couples, including Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. As the bracelet’s popularity grew, Cartier expanded the fine materials used to create it. By the end of the 1970s Cartier introduced a Love bracelet studded with diamonds, and the bracelet was eventually produced in rose gold and white gold, in addition to the classic yellow gold. Today the Cartier Love collection includes rings, necklaces, and earrings. While these other forms of jewelry cannot be adhered to the body as the classic Love bracelet, they still represent eternal love.

When the Love bracelet was first introduced, Cartier reportedly did not allow individuals to buy one for themselves, insisting that they be purchased in pairs to be worn by couples. Luckily, today there is no such stigma. If you are looking for a Cartier Love bracelet, necklace, or ring for yourself or a loved one, look to Luxury Garage Sale for a quality pre-owned piece. Browse our selection, or contact a personal shopper