50 years of Love by Cartier
The Love bracelet by Cartier is still ever-present among the stars of street style, flaunted everywhere, from the social media to showbiz celebrities. In fact, it is so popular that it is hard to believe that its design is 50 years old. And yet it is: in 1969, the year in which Cartier bought and sold a 69.42 carat diamond to Richard Burton for Elizabeth Taylor, the brand also launched the Love bracelet, an iconic item devised by designer Aldo Cipullo on Fifth Avenue.
As the name suggests, the origin of this eternally modern bracelet was romanticism. The idea came into the designer’s mind when he was suffering from insomnia following a relationship break-up. “It was 3 in the morning. I was feeling extremely sad and I wanted something that nobody could take off me."
Believing that jewellery should be an integral part of the body, Cipullo designed the gold, oval bracelet with its decorations dotting the surface, one acting as the clasp, to comfortably and closely fit on the wrist. A tiny vermeil screwdriver that came with the jewellery was used to tighten the screws and fix the bracelets permanently onto the wrist of the wearer.
Cipullo was one of those jewellery talents who not only knew how to design extraordinary pieces, but could also make them with his own hands and the Love bracelet’s screwdriver was clearly a reference to the goldsmith’s bench tools.
As a teenager growing up in Rome, Cipullo worked for the homonymous costume jewellery company belonging to his father, Giuseppe. After graduating, he spent a lengthy holiday in America visiting over 30 states and, shortly afterwards, he decided to settle in New York City where he ended up working initially for David Webb and Tiffany and then for Cartier. The Love bracelet was the first thing he created entirely on his own for the historical brand.
Cipullo’s Cartier jewellery is listed in the credits of the 1973 Oscar-winning thriller “The Exorcist”, in which the leading character flaunts a Love bracelet and another item that Cipullo made for Cartier, a Hamsa gold pendant for warding off evil.
After 50 years, the meaning of the Love bracelet has changed: nowadays, the symbol is not just linked to a romantic gesture but has become more generally popular, so much so that, in recent years, it has been searched for in Google an average 353,840 times a month, four times more than the next item on the list, the Tiffany engagement ring.