Over 24 years ago, in the summer of 1969, a young Cartier staff designer created a remarkable new item that was to become one of the most famous status symbols of our age. The designer was the late Aldo Cipullo...and the item was the Cartier "Love Bracelet".
A student of history Cipullo's early work centered around modern interpretations of ancient design terms and legends. One particular medieval practice (fact or fiction?) especially fascinated him: the story that warriors, prior to going off to battle, often "locked up" their wives around the waist with iron "chastity belts" to preserve the fidelity of the their marriage. Cipullo's desire to create a modern-day symbol of a "locked up", committed relationship led him to the design of a two-piece bracelet that had to be bolted together to encircle the wrist. And thus was born the "Love Bracelet" and its accompanying screwdriver.
Cartier management, quickly catching the spirit of the item, launched the product with a startling and unprecedented purchasing policy: customer were not allowed to by a "Love Bracelet" for themselves! The Cartier regulation firmly said that no one was permitted to purchase one for their own wrist!
As part of the launch of the product, and to reinforce the "lovers only" message, Cartier presented "his-and-hers" bracelets to 25 famous couples chosen from the fields of entertainment, business, communications, society, and sports. In light-hearted "ceremonies" conducted in Cartier's Fifth Avenue boutique, these notable "lovers" locked each other up and formally exchanged screw drivers. All loved it, the fun began, and the item was off and running.
Soon, stylish people all around New York and across the country rushed to get one. Photos of celebrities began to appear in newspapers and magazines with that distinctive band of gold gleaming at the wrist. Before long, a "waiting list" had to be created because the demand for the bracelet had vastly outpaced the ability of the Cartier workshop to make them.
By 1973, the roster of "Love Bracelet" owners included Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Nancy and Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant and Dyan Cannon, Ali McGraw and Steve McQueen, Mai Britt and Sammy Davis, Jr. and many other famous couples for around the world. The bracelet had become so well that it was often humorously cited as the definitive measurement of a lover's commitment (e.g. "Do you love me enough for the Cartier 'Love Bracelet'"?) As the years passed, the appetite for this extraordinary item continued to grow.
The continuing popularity of the bracelet led to the development of additional products in this motif, starting with the "Precious Love Bracelet" (with diamonds) in 1979, and followed by the "Love Ring" (1983), the "Love Cufflinks" (1984), and the "Love Earrings" (1985).
As this "love story" enters its 25th year, new customers every day continue to discover for themselves the special wit and style of the Love Bracelet. And, at the same time, another whole generation of celebrity wrists have appeared "locked up" in this famous Cartier shackle: Barbara Streisand, Diana Ross, Joan Collins, Jane Seymour, Princess Diana, Linda Evans, Lionel Ritchie, Kenny Rogers, Reggie Jackson, John McEnroe, Elton John....the list goes on and on.
Today, the Cartier "love Bracelet" remains the world's most celebrated and desirable wrist ornament.
NEW YORK PARIS LONDON BEVERLY HILLS
BOSTON COSTA MESA FORT LAUDERDALE PALM BEACH ATLANTA BAL HARBOR CHICAGO
HOUSTON SAN FRANCISCO SANDIEGO SAINT LOUI S MONTE CARLO CANNES GENEVA MUNICH DUSSEDORF HONG KONG TOKYO
One of the first types of special symbolic jewelry I came across is the "Cartier Prisoner of Love Bracelet" When I visited a Cartier boutique and asked when the "Love Bracelet" was introduced, I was provided a sheet with the above information. The rest of the information on this page is unofficial but from reliable sources.
I have just been sent this picture, email me if you have information on a Cartier Ankle bracelet!!
Famous People wearing the Love Bracelet
Angie Harmon is one of the lucky ones: "Jason (Seahorn, her husband) said from the beginning that I would never have to buy jewelry for myself - he will always do it for me," she said, showing off her diamond and platinum Cartier Love Bracelet. "It's really romantic: They screw it on when you buy it, so it never comes off. On the show ("Law and Order") they sometimes give me blazers with long sleeves to cover it up." Jason evidently has all of the bases covered: he also bought her engagement ring one half-size too small, "so that I could never take it off," she said. Now we know why she's always smiling
Other Noteables that were the bracelet, Anna Kournikova, Shauna Sand, Mary Bono, Cindy McCain, Tina Turner, Ayumi Hamasaki
From the Lou Boyd syndicated trivia column, January 1990:
For Lovers, Cartier once offered fitted bracelets. To be locked onto measured wrists by special screws. With each of a pair of wearers to get the other's screwdriver.
The Cartier Love Bracelet design was introduced by the House of Cartier 30 years ago. When it first debuted, it was popular among Hollywood's movie stars. The Love Bracelet was meant to be given to one's true love and then screwed into place for eternity. This design was nicknamed the Slave Bracelet because once it was put on, one (usually) never took it off. The bracelet is composed of 2 C-shaped halves. The 2 C-shaped halves are then put on your wrist and screwed into place by two working screws on each side. I purchased this Cartier 18K yellow solid gold Love Bracelet from the Hawaii boutique years ago for $3625. I wore the bracelet for a few months and then retired it to my jewelry box where it has stayed for the past couple of years. Cartier sizes this bracelet into two categories, small and large. There are three small sizes and three large sizes. My bracelet is the largest of the small sizes. It is 1/4" wide, 1/16" thick and the interior circumfrence is 7-3/8"
My husband and I found the Cartier Love Bracelets in a shop on St. Thomas Island. Most people may not know this but they make these in for both women and men. We were going to renew our wedding vows and decided to use these instead of rings. We said our vows on the cruise ship and used the screws to secure the bracelets on each others wrists. Then upon the end of the cruise, we decided to make them permanent and had a local goldsmith/jeweler use a drop on gold solder in place of the fastening screws. This was five years ago and we have had no problem with the bracelets.
Click on picture to see full size version.