Cartier’s Love bracelet styled L⊝Ve is one of the most iconic pieces of jewellery ever designed & one of the most popular. In fact, it was THE most googled piece of jewellery in the WORLD last year alone, making it a luxury staple. Little is it known that it also has an age old surprising history, which we are about to tell you!
In late 1969, Italian jewellery designer Aldo Cipullo created the Cartier Love bracelet – however, not at the design house’ headquarters in Paris, but in their New York workshop. The bracelet was controversially modelled after medieval chastity belts which posed a small issue for a short while only. They eventually became one of the must-have items as a way to show the world that the one who wore it was “locked into love.”
The oval-shape of the bracelet is meant to adhere closely to the body and can only be removed using a special screwdriver that comes with the bracelet. The screws act as a defining detail to the bracelet and are taken from similar screws on the bezel of Cartier’s Santos watch (so imagine the work that goes into wearing it and taking it off!)
Allegedly, at first the bracelets could only be purchased as a gift additionally having to surrender the screwdriver to one another. It has often been referred to as “modern love handcuffs,” for that reason alone.
“What modern people want are love symbols that look semi-permanent—or, at least, require a trick to remove. After all, love symbols should suggest an everlasting quality,” Cipullo said.
At the time of its release, Cartier gifted bracelets to a curated list of some of the defining it-couples of the century to publicise the romantic symbolism which included gifts to The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, and Ali McGraw and Steve McQueen.
In the earlier days, Cartier also had a policy that Love bracelets couldn’t be purchased for oneself, and could only be purchased as gifts for a special someone. Of course that policy is long gone with the world turning into a love thyself kind of place, and of course: sales spiked!
Fun fact: The original retail price was around $250 back then. Now, the classic bracelet starts at $1,600 and can range upwards of $50,000 depending on the precious metal and stones.
Of course the high price tag led to a large counterfeit market which became so bad that Cartier had to prescribe each bracelet with a hallmark reading the unique serial number to each bracelet that is additionally stored at Cartier HQ for proof of authenticity.
Today, the bracelet is offered in Cartier’s complete Love collection including earrings, pendants, cufflinks, and more. The design has become an integral part of Cartier as the ultimate collector’s piece with the most social cache, whether it’s just one, or stacked from wrist to elbow.
It is also a form of complication for airport security being labelled “the biggest problem item” due to the difficulty removing the bracelets going through the body scanners.
Whatever the case, we love the Love bracelet!