The infamous Cartier love bracelet, or Cartier love bangle, has become one of the jewellers most iconic designs. It was first created more than 40 years ago in 1969 by Italian jewellery designer Aldo Cipullo in New York at the French luxury jewellers NYC headquarters and workshop. Cipullo caused controversy with the Cartier love bracelet and its design and symbolism. The original design was modelled after medieval chastity belts and it quickly became renowned as the go-to piece of jewellery to show your loved one that you were locked into love.
When first released, the bracelets could only be purchased as a gift with the recipient required to surrender the screwdriver which opens the bracelet to the giver. The Cartier love bangle became known as the “modern love handcuffs” and became a popular design for couples as it was suitable for both men and women.
When the bracelet was first lunched, Cartier gifted pairs of love bangles to some of the most famous couples of the era including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burto as well as Sophia Loren and Carlo Ponti. Today, Cartier love bracelets continue to have a star-studded following with celebrities including Kylie Jenner wearing the famous Cartier screw bangle in stacks up her arm, reportedly often wearing more than £30,000 of love bracelets at once.
The Cartier love bangle changed the way that luxury jewellery was worn. Previously luxury items would only come out on special occasions, or to match a certain outfit, but owners of the Cartier love bangle made high-end luxury pieces become everyday statements.
Designs and technical details
The Cartier love bracelet has an intricate design and comes in an oval shape which closely follows the contours of the wrist. The permanency of the design is highlighted in its most unique feature which is that the bracelet can only be removed with the assistance of a special screwdriver which comes with the bracelet. These small round screws are the defining feature of the Cartier Love bracelet, and they were based on the screws on the Cartier Santos watch.
So how do you open the Cartier love bangle? You will need to use the original screwdriver, which also comes in 18k gold. The screws and tiny gold screwdriver which come with the bracelet in its original box are themselves very valuable. Some hospitals reportedly keep them on site in case they need to remove a Cartier love bangle from a patient in an emergency.
Following the success of the original launch, Cupillo later launched a collaboration with Charles Revson, the founder of Revlon Cosmetics. The new limited edition Love bracelet featured a screw only on one side rather than both, and it was plated in precious metals in order to make it more widely available.
Today the Cartier love bracelet can be purchased in solid white gold, yellow gold and rose gold as well as the option of having different diamond designs alongside the famous screw motifs.
Cartier Love Bracelets at Susannah Lovis
How much is a Cartier love bangle? While the original retail price was around £200, today the prices for a classic bracelet can start at £1,200 and range up to £35,000 depending on the precious metals and stones used. However, you can get authentic Cartier Love bracelets second-hand which are often available at Susannah Lovis in the Burlington Arcade.
Today the bracelet is offered as part of Cartier’s complete Love collection which also includes earrings, pendants and cufflinks all using the famous screw motif. Each Cartier Love bangle comes with a hallmark which reads the unique serial number for each bracelet, with additional copies being stored at Cartier HQ.
Though originally created to signify love and commitment, today this famous Cartier screw bangle can be worn alone as a staple or investment piece of jewellery which is unlikely to ever go out of fashion.