Aldi Cipullo

Aldi Cipullo (1936-1984) was a jewelry designer whose claim to fame was designing the Love Bracelet for Cartier. The design was inspired by a medieval chastity belt. The bracelet was designed to lock around the wearer’s wrist. The screwdriver that matches the bracelet was made available in necklace form and allowed the bracelet to be ‘locked’ onto one person, while the ‘key’ could be worn around the neck of another as a symbol of commitment. Some of the celebrity couples who wore the bracelet were Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren and Carlo Ponti, and Robert Evans and Ali McGraw.
In an interview, Cipullo said, “Design has to be part of function. That’s the secret of success. When you have function and design married together, you have a successful item.”
Cipullo, who was born in Rome, was introduced to jewelry designing by his father Giuseppe, who owned and operated a costume jewelry manufacturing business in Rome and Florence. After graduating school, Aldi began an apprenticeship where he learned the jewelry business. When he came to the United States in 1959, he was discovered and hired by jewelry designer David Webb. Not satisfied with designing for larger jewelers, Cipullo’s ambition led him to Cartier in 1969. That was only a year before he designed the famous Love Bracelet, followed by the Juste un Chou (Just A Nail) Collection. Cipullo has the distinction of being the only Cartier designer permitted to place his signature on designs for the company.
Though his years at Cartier were productive, he left in 1974 to start his own company so he would have complete artistic freedom. It was then he crafted pieces containing the dollar sign that he described as “the electric eye that reflects the mood of this country.”
In 1978, the American Gem Society commissioned Cipullo to design a collection of 31 pieces for men and women that used only American sourced gemstones and metals. He opted to use turquoise from Arizona, sapphires from Montana and diamonds from Arkansas. To this day, the Smithsonian continues to lend out his prized collection to other museums.
Cipullo’s illustrious career was cut short by a double heart attack in 1984. His celebrated designs are timeless and still worn and imitated today. In 1988, the Men’s Fashion Association paid posthumous tribute to Cipullo by changing the name of its Lulu Award for Excellence in Fashion Journalism to the Aldo Award.