Why are Cartier LOVE bracelets so expensive?
There are many reasons why Cartier LOVE bracelets are so expensive. Top five:
Designed by Italian Aldo Cipullo in New York in 1969, the LOVE bracelet is a plain bracelet decorated with bolts, echoing the bolt design found on some Cartier watches.
What sets it apart from other fine jewelry is how it’s worn: Each LOVE bracelet is a hinged two-piece design that comes with a small silver-plated screwdriver so the bracelet can be loosened, put on, and then locked into place.
Cipullo’s idea, said to be inspired by medieval chastity belts, was that the bracelet should become a symbol of commitment for continued wear, rather than just a piece of fashion jewelry. Once it’s open, you’ll need a special Cartier screwdriver – and the help of someone else – to get it off again.
To promote the design, Cartier presented its first LOVE bracelets to 25 famous couples, including Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Steve McQueen and Ali McGonagall labor. (At the time, only the female half wore high-end handcuffs. Male-sized bracelets came later.)
Although the first bracelets were made from gold-plated silver (and sold for only about $250), Cartier soon switched to 18K gold. Designed to withstand constant wear and tear, the classic Cartier LOVE bracelet is durable and weighs between 30 and 38 grams, enough to attract the attention of an overly sensitive metal detector.
Kylie Jenner, known for her obsession with the LOVE bracelets she wears multiple on both arms, shared a video of herself at a Cartier boutique where she went to get help, and took off a LOVE bracelet because she had been holding on to it for about four years.
Other celebrities wearing one or more pieces include Dakota Fanning, Julianne Moore, Naomi Watts, Katie Holmes, Angelina Jolie, Pippa Middleton, Jennifer Aniston, Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis, and Justin Bieber.
As times changed, Cartier added diamonds to its LOVE bracelet in 1979, and gradually evolved into the entire LOVE series, which borrowed Cipullo’s bolt design and included rings, earrings, necklaces, chain bracelets, and bracelets for those Customers who cannot use a screwdriver – cuffs.
Following the success of its initial celebrity giveaway, the company also held stunts, such as a Valentine’s Day contest that awarded a pair of bracelets for the best answer to “Do you believe in love at first sight?”
In early 2006, Cartier announced June 19 as “Love Day”, using this as an excuse to hold Cartier festivals in fashion centers such as New York and Milan and launch a one-time LOVE charity bracelet and other activities. It’s a mini LOVE silk cord bracelet that sells for $475, $100 of which is donated to charity.
Almost immediately, the LOVE bracelet became one of the most copied (and even counterfeited) jewelry designs in the world. Cartier patented the design in the United States in 1974 and began adding serial numbers, but as generations of girls dreamed of Cartier LOVE bracelets, sometimes counterfeiters couldn’t seem to fake them fast enough.
Not only has the bracelet played a supporting role in YA novels including Lip Gloss Jungle and Popularity Takeover, but it made its way into adult nonfiction with a starring role in Liz Astrof’s books of essays Don’t Wait Up: Confessions of a Stay-at-Work Mom.