Image: Cartier Love Bracelet. Source: Pinterest.

The Cartier Love Bracelet: The Story Behind One of the Most Iconic Pieces of Jewellery

The Cartier Love bracelet is one of the most iconic pieces of jewellery ever designed. First created in 1969 by Italian jewellery designer, Aldo Cipullo the iconic piece of jewellery was designed in the New York workshop of the French jewellery house. A bracelet first made from silver and plated in gold, before Cartier began designing the iconic piece in solid gold and diamond-studded versions.

Modelled after medieval chastity belts, the bracelet quickly earned the nickname of “modern love handcuffs” for it’s inability to be removed from the wrist without the help of a special screwdriver. Due to this, the bracelet was worn as an every day item and was credited with changing the way we wear jewellery. Before the Cartier Love bracelet, high-end pieces of jewellery were only worn on a special occasion to compliment a particular outfit. The simplicity of the bracelet, combined with it’s difficulty to be removed – meaning that women started to wear luxury jewellery items on a day-to-day basis.

Italian jeweler ALDO CIPULLO, celebrated for designing the CARTIER LOVE BRACELET, is the subject of CIPULLO: MAKING JEWELRY MODERN, out this month from ASSOULINE (photo courtesy of Renato Cipullo). Top: Cipullo demonstrates how to attach his creation using the screwdriver that comes with each bracelet (photo © Gary Bernstein. All Rights Reserved).
It was widely reported at the time that to mark its launch, Cartier gifted pairs of its new Love bracelets to famous couples, including Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

At the time of the Love Bracelet’s release, it was rumoured the bracelet could only be purchased as a gift, symbolising a couple’s love and commitment, or ownership, depending on how you look at it. Cartier gifted bracelets to certain high profile couples of the time, including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, and Ali McGraw and Steve McQueen. The bracelet’s controversial symbolism and it-couple wearers meant the Cartier Love bracelet soon became one of the most recognisable jewellery items around the world.

Steve Mcqueen and Ali McGraw modelling the bracelet

Today, the Cartier Love bracelet is still on of the most desired pieces of jewellery for for many individuals and you don’t need to be coupled up to purchase it. Accompanied by rings, earrings and necklaces, the bracelet forms part of an entire Cartier Love collection. Now available in solid gold, white gold and rose gold, the luxury jewellery brand offers many variations of the iconic bracelet, including the favoured studded diamond finishing.

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