We sit down with Director of Handbags & Jewellery at Xupes, Debra Willis to speak through Cartier’s most coveted collections, Love and Juste un Clou.
Why have the Love and Juste un Clou collections always been so popular and what’s the history behind them?
Love and Juste un Clou are two of the most recognisable jewellery collections by Cartier and were designed by Aldo Cipullo who emigrated to the US from Italy in 1959. He worked for Tiffany prior to Cartier and initially pitched the Love collection to them, although they turned it down and when he moved to Cartier, he introduced the bangles. The concept of the Love bracelet was born out of the desire for something permanent to represent a love affair and leaning into the concept of jewellery as a physical representation of precious memories. He was obsessed with hardware stores at the time and the connectivity of screws and nails, so he designed a piece of jewellery that not only expressed the emerging trend for androgyny, but almost became part of the body - the bracelet is fastened with a screwdriver becoming a ritual in itself and representing the commitment and permanence of love for everybody and for every day. At the time that the designs were launched in late 60’s and early 70’s, they were different and ground-breaking, and they remain so distinctive and iconic to the brand that they are instantly recognisable as Cartier.
At the time, androgynous jewellery was not a thing and the majority of women tended to wear jewellery to match their outfits. There are several stories about the origins of the “Juste un Clou” translated as “just a nail” that was introduced in 1971 and became Aldo’s second most popular collection but what is clear is that it was a fitting continuation of the Love bracelet with its nod to hardware and androgynous influence. Like the Love bracelet, there are now many options within the Juste un Clou collection which features a medium and slim version of the bracelet along with a newly introduced wider bracelet. When investing in high end jewellery our clients look to buy something that retains its longevity and wearability, the fact that these collections are as popular today as they were 50 years ago makes them feel like something that will be worn and passed down to future generations. The prices of the collections have risen consistently over this time as well which makes them a great investment piece that you can wear and then trade in in the future should you wish to wear something else or release funds for another reason.
How would you style pieces from these collections, and can they be worn together?
We have all seen these pieces worn by countless celebrities and influencers and the bracelets are perfect to stack together or with other bracelets. You can mix up metals and there’s various diamond options available. There is nothing like a Love or Juste un Clou bangle to elevate your bracelet stack. Similarly, the rings are easy to wear with other pieces of jewellery to create a signature look and the love rings make perfect wedding bands and anniversary rings that can be worn alongside your other wedding jewellery.
How do your clients benefit from purchasing pre-owned?
Buying pre-owned is a very smart choice with jewellery which is made to last. Precious metals can be brought back to pristine condition with a polish so you cannot tell the difference from new. You will never find these products on sale in store so pre-owned is a great way to get a discounted price on the RRP in store.
Would you say Love and Juste un Clou pieces are a good investment?
Definitely! The bangles hold their value very well so the upfront discount to retail may not be as much when you buy but you benefit from this if and when you sell as the brands are seeing an upward trend in prices. Another contributing factor is the scarcity of these products on the resale market, this keeps the pre-owned prices quite high. Cartier have just had a price increase of between 3 -5% this year and the Love bangle prices have increased by around 20% in the past 5 years making them an ideal investment piece. I have seen many clients make money from their bangles which they have bought, worn, enjoyed and then sold on again.
If you could only have one piece from either collection, which would it be and why?
This is something that I have given a lot of thought to and for me it would be the classic Love bangle in white gold. There is such a great story behind the design and personally the original design is the ultimate one.