The Cartier Love Bracelet is arguably the most popular and widely-recognized Cartier design in the jeweler’s vast collection. Here we explore the history of the Cartier Love Bracelet.
Setting the Scene
Before the Cartier Love Bracelet debuted, the house of Cartier (founded in 1847) was already an incredibly well-established and respected jeweler, largely praised for their romantic and inspired designs. Cartier was first a favorite designer among royals and, in the 1950s, became a Hollywood mainstay after receiving a shout out in Marilyn Monroe’s performance of “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) and the jeweler designed actress-turned-Princess of Monaco Grace Kelly’s engagement ring to Prince Rainier (1956).
The same year as when the Cartier Love Bracelet made its debut, the brand was already the talk of the town after actor Richard Burton purchased a 68-carat, pear-shaped diamond from Cariter to give to his then-wife Elizabeth Taylor.
An Unusual Inspiration Source
It was amidst this buzz in 1969 that the Cartier Love Bracelet launched. Designer Aldo Cipullo drew inspiration from an unlikely and less-than-romantic source: the medieval chastity belt.
It was not the barbaric, bizarre and likely exaggerated practice of fair maidens wearing a chastity belt to preserve their purity while their beloved knights were away fighting in The Crusades that moved Cipullo. Cipullo was stuck more the symbolism of the chastity belt, an emblem of devotion and faithfulness. “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,” explained Cipullo.
Cipullo translated this theme of everlasting commitment into the Love Bracelet’s design. Made of two equal halves, dotted with perfectly spaced flat head screws, the Love Bracelet locks with a screwdriver which is to be kept by your significant other so only they can “unlock” your bracelet.
The Love Bracelet was an immediate and complete sensation with celebrities including Elizabeth Taylor, Ali McGraw, Cary Grant, Steve McQueen, and even Frank Sinatra– and this enthusiasm spread to non-celebrity fans and shoppers.
The Love Bracelet Today
When it was introduced, the Cartier Love Bracelet was only gold plated. Today the bracelet is offered in solid yellow, white and pink gold with variations including diamond and pavé encrusted bracelets and ones studded with gemstones like sapphires, spinels, and amethysts. One particularly expensive Cartier Love Bracelet is made of 18K white gold, set with 216 brilliant-cut diamonds and retails for $56,500 USD. The collection has also expanded to include unisex styles as the Love Bracelet has been increasingly popular for men as well.
The modern Love Bracelet counts celebrities Angelina Jolie, Reese Witherspoon, Kanye West, Sarah Jessica Parker, Leighton Meester and Eva Mendes among its fans. In 2006, Cartier leveraged their famous followers for a philanthropic endeavor dubbed the Cartier Charity Love Bracelet with a special-edition Love Bracelet made with a silk cord and round “Love” charm with a portion of the sales going towards the celebrity’s choice of charity.
Spotting a Fake Cartier Love Bracelet
Cartier has gone to great lengths to protect its iconic design against counterfeiters and even launched a lawsuit in the 1990s against a handful of Manhattan-based and international jewelry stores who stood accused of selling forged Love Bracelets. Even still, the Love Bracelet’s incredible popularity leaves it vulnerable to counterfeiters. Here are some questions to determine if a pre-owned Cartier Love Bracelet is authentic.
1. Does your bracelet have a logo and serial number?
If the bracelet doesn’t have the Cartier logo, copyright, the 18k gold 750 stamp and a hallmark, then you are looking at a knockoff. Fake Cartier Love bracelets will only have part of the stamp, usually only a logo. This is a sure sign that the bracelet is not the real deal. The stamp should be clear, easy to read and well aligned.
2. What color is the bracelet?
The next way to determine authenticity is right in the hue of the gold. Cartier Love Bracelets are made with high quality yellow gold, white gold, rose gold and platinum. If the Love Bracelet you’re looking at is tarnished or dis-colored, then it’s likely a fake. The color tone should be consistent throughout.
3. Are the stamp screws aligned?
If the screws or diamonds placed around the outside of the Love Bracelet look unaligned then it is a fake. A real Cartier Love Bracelet has screws that are meticulously placed and would never look misshapen or too large for the bracelet.
If you have questions about shopping for a pre-owned Cartier Love Bracelet, contact a TrueFacet concierge associate here.