LYNBROOK, N.Y. – The Cartier Love bracelet – the plain gold band with screwheads to lock it around the wearer’s wrist – has become one of the most recognized pieces of modern jewelry. Less well known is its designer, the Italian American Aldo Cipullo (1942-84).
Cipullo came up with the idea for the Love bracelet in 1969 while lamenting the break-up of a relationship. His employer, Tiffany & Co, turned him down. Cartier New York said yes and sold thousands of Love bracelets at $250 each.
Cipullo was one of Cartier’s most successful designers during the 1970s, but it is only relatively recently that his name has come back to the fore. The fact that another of his seminal creations, the 1971 Nail bangle, was revived in 2012 with great success has helped. So too has the 2021 book Cipullo: Making Jewelry Modern by jewelry historian Vivienne Becker.
Cipullo’s name is now working its alchemy in the saleroom.
Breezing past its estimate of $5,000-$8,000 at Weiss Auctions on July 18 was another Cartier Cipullo design from 1971, the articulated hamsa or khamsa pendant. Like the Love bracelet, it was made at the time in different materials, either set with semi-precious stones or, as here, made in solid 18K gold.
Not much more than a decade ago these pendants sold for around $3,000-$4,000. However, after another in gold and hardstone offered by Bonhams Skinner in May this year took $14,000, the market looked to be heating up. So, it proved when bidding at Weiss Auctions reached $28,800.
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